Woodwinds

Summerhays Music Center offers a full line of Woodwind instruments. We carry everything from student model to professional model instruments, available for purchase or rent-to-own.

Our Professional Band Department includes three full time technicians and two professional band consultants and available to help you determine which instrument or item is right for you. From mutes to mouthpieces, reeds, or upgraded instruments, our knowledgeable staff can turn a somewhat intimidating situation into an easy selection process! Stop in any time and we will be happy to assist you!

SAXOPHONES

The saxophone is one of the few instruments not gradually developed over time. It was invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840’s and is a relatively young part of the musical family. Sax’s intention was to create something with the tonal qualities of both brass and woodwind instruments. The sax is divided into four types: alto, tenor, baritone, and soprano.

FLUTES

A recent discovery of a 40,000-year-old vulture-bone flute is likely the worlds oldest recognizable musical instrument. Early flutes were often made of wood, stone, and bone. More recent flutes have been constructed of glass, ceramic, brass, and other metals. The flute, part of the woodwind family, includes the piccolo, E flat, concert, alto, and bass flutes.

CLARINETS

Johann Christoph Denner invented the clarinet in Germany around the beginning of the 18th century. By adding a register key to a folk instrument called the chalumeau, Denner was able to extend the range of the instrument significantly. Over time, additional keywork and airtight pads were added to improve tone and playability.

PICCOLOS

The piccolo is a half-size flute, and a member of the woodwind family. The modern piccolo has most of the same fingerings as its larger sibling, the standard transverse flute, but the sound it produces is an octave higher than written, giving rise to the name ottavino (Italian for “little octave”).

OBOES

The oboe is a double-reed instrument and a member of the woodwind family. The original name for the Oboe was Hautbois —a French word meaning “high wood,” dating back to the 17th century when the modern oboe first began its development. The first oboes were much simpler than the instruments oboists play now, originally using only three keys until the 19th century when the seven-key oboe was made.

BASSOONS

The bassoon is a woodwind instrument in the double reed family that typically plays music written in the bass and tenor clefs, and occasionally the treble. Appearing in its modern form in the 19th century, the bassoon figures prominently in orchestral, concert band, and chamber music literature.

CHOOSING A WOODWIND INSTRUMENT

Choosing the right instrument is very important to guarantee success. Select an instrument that interests you and that has an appealing sound. Having a vested interest in mastering something you like is half the battle.

QUALITY

We feel strongly that a player’s first instrument is in many ways the most important one he or she will ever play. A well-made instrument is reliable, easy to play and maintain, and rewards a students efforts with excellent sound and response. Poor quality instruments can frustrate and discourage a student from playing by not staying in tune, breaking often, or having a poor quality of sound.

WHAT TO AVOID

Sadly, some overseas manufacturers, more interested in corporate profits than the success of the beginning student, are producing extremely low quality, poor sounding, cheap instruments trying to draw parents away from the high quality instruments that cost more. These online special instruments are poorly constructed and hinder students’ ability to learn. Summerhays Music Center refuses to carry instruments of such poor quality.

RENT OR BUY

For the beginning brass player, we suggest renting a high quality, student line instrument. At Summerhays Music Center we carry only the best in student line instruments. After a few years, the student will be ready to upgrade to a professional quality (also known as “step-up”) instrument. When that time comes, Summerhays Music Center will help find the best instrument for you.

SAXOPHONE

Check the body for cracks, dents, and warping. Cracks in wood are repairable, but plastic or rubber is usually not. With major cracks, dents and warping, the instrument will not play properly. All woodwind instruments should be taken to a repair tech for a complete analysis, as damages will often not be visible externally.

You will want to make sure your instrument is looked over by an instrument repair technician. They will check the condition of all the pads and insure that all the pads seal tightly. Any air leakage will adversely affect the clarity of the tone production. Low and high registers of the instrument will be checked for accuracy of pitch. All keys will be checked to make sure they move with ease. Spring tension is also checked to insure proper resistance and key closure when pressing these keys.