Well, I noticed no repair shop stories had been posted here in quite a while, so I wanted to put my most recent story on line. A bit of background...
As many of you know, I purchased my new Buffett-Besson Prestige 2051-2 sight unseen from Arnie Williams over 1.5 years ago. He had purchased it new from Dillon Music in March of 2007 when it was one of the very first of the new production imported into the US. This horn was completed in January of 2007 and tested by Steven Mead on Jan. 25 of that year. It was in the third batch of new Besson production. I have come to love playing this horn and it keeps getting better with time as it gets broken in. HOWEVER, the high-B natural was a really bad note (the dreaded high B) with no center and a tendency to fall off into high C or high Bb.
My teacher, Mike Milnarik had suggested that I make an appointment with Matt Walters at Dillon Music in Woodbridge, NJ to see if he could work some magic on the horn. I tried to schedule an appointment for the Christmas holdiay vacation, but Matt was too busy. He told me to contact him after the first of the year. I was able to schedule an appointment for Monday, Feb. 23rd, the first day of my school vacation. After escaping from a northern New England snow storm, I had a liesurely drive down from Boston in pouring rain on Sunday and stayed overnite in NJ. I arrived at 10:00AM sharp at Dillon's opening time.
Matt asked me to warm up the horn and demonstrate the problem. He had a new 2052-2 for me to play so I could do A-B comparisons between a late 2008 horn and my early 2007 horn. I demonstrated the issue and he took the horn downstairs to his shop. After a while I heard strange noises, then relative quiet, then more strange noises. Matt is a tuba player, so the strange noises were him testing his hypothesis of the issues with the horn. After about 15-20 minutes and several episodes of "Matt, phone call on line 1...", he brought the horn back up and asked me to try it.
I played it and "voila", there was a noticeable difference. Any note using the 2nd valve was more open and clearer. The high B had a better center and was more playable (through still not a great note) using either 2nd valve or 1-2. It turns out that there was a minor impediment in air flow where the 2nd valve knuckle attaches to the sleeve that holds the longer of the two 2nd valve slides. Matt did some magic at the joint and with the 2nd valve slide and the horn is now more responsive and open on any combination using 2nd valve.
After tweaking my horn, I asked Matt to chem clean it, put new spit valve corks on it, and reassemble it using new Besson synthetic felts (hard to get here in the US) that I had bought in England last summer. This took a little over an hour, so the folks at Dillon were kind enough to bring out a new York 4052 Emminence for me to compare with the Besson 2052-2 Prestige. I got to play and do my daily routine on these horns for perhaps 40-45 minutes. Then I wandered the shop and found some things I absolutely needed like a new spray can of Hagerty's, a small shank BB1 and a CD of Arthur Pryor.
Just after noon, Matt came back up and returned my Prestige to me in better than new condition. I test played the horn again and realized again why I prefer it to the larger bell 2052 and 4052 (a story for another day). Since it was lunch time, I paid the very reasonable bill and then had the pleasure of taking Matt to lunch at a nearby Italian deli and having a delightful conversation.
I left Woodbridge around 1:15P and was home at 6:00P. Of course, I had to take my horn out and practice another 30 minutes or so as soon as I got home.
Many thanks to Matt and the folks at Dillon for their hospitality. His work and ability to tweak a horn like my Besson is absolutely unique in my experience.