UPDATE (27 March 2014):
Hold on! Looks like my students were wrong, and there is one sax tech somewhere in Saigon. Problem is, I’ll have to track him down myself: I went to the music shop my student mentioned to see if they had something that could remove the stuck swab, and they told me that, no, they can’t, but there’s a saxophone repairman in District 10 who can do it. They called him and he confirmed that he could.
The catch? They tried to tell me I couldn’t go there myself, I had entrust the horn to their care. Which, I explained, was out of the question. I said that I would be happy to pay them, but I’d be coming along. But it’s far, they told me, as if that would change my mind. I said I was not going to put my horn in someone else’s hands whom I have never met, who I don’t know, and hope he didn’t screw up the horn. I will be in the room when he removes the swab, at the very least, because I don’t want the octave pip damaged.
(There’s a delicate little “pip” inside the neck; that’s what the swab is caught on. If he tries to ram it out, that’ll bork the horn seriously.)
It boiled down to the shop refusing to tell me who the repairman is because they don’t want to lose future business from me. Which is stupid: I’m pretty sure I found the guy in ten minutes flat searching online, but now I’ll also be determined to tell people not to go to the local shop where I asked first, because they’re zero-sum-minded twits. They want a cut of the repair fee for nothing more than being a contact, which: if you can’t repair the instrument, give me the name and contacts of the person who can. Don’t act like it’s top secret information: that’s just not cool.
Which is why I won’t be going back to Mozart Music in front of the Sky Garden apartments in Phu My Hung. If they’d just given me the information, I’d have had nice things to say. But trying to force me to pay them for something they can’t even fix themselves? Meh.
By the way, the repair (and sax sales) shop I mentioned? In fact, I suspect it’s this guy, going by a post I found on the local saxophonist board. So, you know, it’s not like they had some deep, hidden, obscure secret information. Off to email the guy and see if I can work out a time when I can drop by, get my soprano looked after… and maybe recork my tenor neck, while I’m at it. (Maybe he’ll even let me snake a leak light through my flute, while I’m there?) And he seems to have loads of saxes for sale (temptation!) as well as an array of mouthpieces… maybe I can find something interesting for my soprano there, who knows?
Okay, I officially have enough music gear to keep me busy for years to come… but I can’t use all of it.
I managed to pick up my Selmer soprano saxophone, my Yamaha flute, and the Yamaha WX5 wind controller my friend Mark received for me in Seoul… and I also have on hand a bunch of tenor and soprano sax reeds my friend Joe picked up for me in the States, so I’m pretty much set in terms of new challenges.
Or so I thought. But there are a couple of hitches… Continue reading