Friday, March 23, 2012, 08:15 AMDay two of the Messe was somehow even busier than day one! For those of you that go to trade shows, you can appreciate the fun and excitement of a busy day on the trade show floor. In Frankfurt at the Messe, the excitement can be even more for us. One never knows what will happen. For instance, as I'm writing this blog, I'm sitting in a station wagon on the Autobahn traveling at about 180kph, headed to a Rascher Saxophone Quartet concert with an advisor to a musical instrument maker and the tuba player with the Beijing Phil.
I'm sure Rich had no idea coming to the show that he would be giving demonstrations in the morning to 10 Japanese repair students, none of which spoke English! What a day!
I said goodbye today to my good friends from Holland and talked repair to so many technicians I can't count. Getting ideas from other repairers is total geek joy for me, and even more so, talking with repairers from other countries who have dealt with odd problems and found completely unique solutions. It was really something. I was approached by a couple manufacturers to help improve their instruments and I believe I might get on board.
Speaking of great improvements, I was really happy to see that many of the ideas that Theo and I talked about had been implemented on his saxophone, the Mantra. Gone are the days when only a large volume manufacturer can make a difference. Theo is really trying to do something great with these horns and I'm really anxious to help him do it. It's great when things fall in place: the assembly line style Sax ProShop is a perfect place to set up and perfect a horn from a factory. Better, in fact, than the factory.
So I'm really looking forward to this concert! We're running late and the speeds are getting high. Luckily I'm not the one driving! I didn't take too many pictures today, it was just too busy at the booth. Ok, we're here. I will try and check out some new products tomorrow and let you guys know who's making the finest widgets.
Thursday, March 22, 2012, 11:21 AMWow, what a day! It was nonstop from morning to night. We had a great day hanging out with old friends. It's cool for me to be here with Rich and introduce him to folks that are now my old friends in Europe. This is officially my extended family! The coolest part is that Rich knows most of them by email already. What a truly awesome family we have in the repair world.
After the first day, we went out on the town with Paul and Jan from De Saxofoonwinkle for Great Turkish food and drinks and, as usual, a great time with my friends from Holland.
Here you can see, we're not the only ones occupying Frankfurt!
This morning, I'm headed in early to meet with Theo Wanne about his new Mantra saxophone. We're setting these up for him at the Sax ProShop and we are all working very hard to make that saxophone a success! What an honor to work with such great people on such a cool project!
Additionally, we were invited by Ken Coon to travel out to see a concert that the Rascher Saxophone Quartet will play tonight. What an honor it is to be friends with Ken Coon of the RSQ and membership definitely has its privileges!
Tuesday, March 20, 2012, 05:12 PMWe got to the Messe early this year. We were able to set up and get everything done before almost anyone else! Set up so early, in fact, that now Rich, Ken, and I are going out to get a nice German dinner in downtown Frankfurt.
We were ready, but the rest of the Messe was still a mess!
We were all rested up and ready for a great show. Looks like there are some new exhibits this year a few new things to see and we'll let you know what we see tomorrow when the show starts.
If you're at the Messe, come visit us at booth D 37 Hall 1.1. If you can't make it to the Messe, of course you know you can stop by the site! Or call the shop and let us know what you need.
Although Rich and I are at the Messe, there're plenty of people back in Wilmington, North Carolina holding down the fort at MusicMedic.com.
Friday, March 16, 2012, 09:51 AM
We've been really busy here at MusicMedic.com lately. Even too busy to write a blog! So here is a last-minute update on the upcoming MusikMesse in Frankfurt, Germany.
For the first time, Rich will be going to the Messe with me and he couldn't be more excited. We're ready to catch up with some old friends and hopefully meet a lot of new friends too! The booth is located at Hall 1.1, booth D37 (if you went to last year's Messe, we're located at the same spot).
I can't wait to get some delicious German coffee and baked goods! See you at the Messe!
Thursday, March 8, 2012, 03:19 PMThe Saxophone Smackdown II at MusicMedic.com was a raving success! Technicians from around the US gathered to experience an event that was truly historic and monumental! Comments we received at the Smackdown were overwhelmingly excited and pleased. Folks were coming to the staff at MusicMedic.com commenting, "I really feel like I'm a part of history here" and "this is the greatest clinic/event I've ever attended”.
An event of this size required a lot of preparation. We did some deep cleaning, which involved moving a lot of equipment and shelving!
Day One started with a tour of the MusicMedic.com facility, including the future house on premises and a discussion of the green building techniques that Curt is designing for the space. The new lacquer booth and buffing room were visited, along with a trip through the Sax ProShop and the MusicMedic.com shipping area.
One thing that every clinician at the Smackdown had in common was that they were not clinicians. The "Clinicians" were all very successful people with an amazing passion for what they do and a willingness to share ideas. That feeling of being in a room with someone that may only talk about what they do and share their secrets this one time, was simply amazing. The excitement could be plucked from the air it was so apparent. Steve Goodson introduced the clinicians in a way that only the Great Steve Goodson can. Everyone was drawn into the day with coffee and bagels in hand.
Theo Wanne started the event. Theo talked about his life as a saxophonist, mouthpiece refacer, mouthpiece manufacturer and now saxophone maker. Theo's ideas and approach are bar-none the most advanced in the world of mouthpiece making. Theo openly shared his amazing five axis CNC machining techniques and even showed a video of the software he was using. Theo's down-to- earth attitude combined with his other-worldy calm and creativity drew everyone into the event. Everyone was enchanted, including Jerry Chang from Tennon who started a business deal with Theo in the clinic. It was amazing to see two great business men talking about working together openly in front of all the attendees. Two people who are striving for greatness in what they do are now working together and know each other because the Saxophone Smackdown exists. Seeing this exchange alone made coming to the Smackdown worth it for most attendees.
The amazingly talented Wally West Trio performed while attendees were treated to Flaming Amy's Burritos. MusicMedic.com's own Rich Zimmerman and clinician Jason DuMars were invited up to play a few tunes as well.
Next up was Jerry Chang. Jerry is one of the senior Asian manufacturers and it is well known that Jerry makes some of the finest saxophones in the world.
Jerry walked us through his factory virtually, sharing pictures starting at the outskirts of town and advanced into the inner working of his factory. This tour was eye opening for many of us. Jerry shared what he has learned about manufacturing, metal composition, saxophone making and improvements. Jerry and his company's attention to detail and down right brilliant business sense put many of us at ease knowing that the future of the Saxophone is safe in this man's hands. After the factory tour, Jerry talked openly about manufacturing in Asian countries. Jerry talked about the difference between manufacturing techniques in countries like China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam and even India and Bangladesh. The information given at the Smackdown by Jerry also made this trip more than worth while for many of the attendees. Truly information that one could not find elsewhere.
The clinic ended for the day with drinks, conversation, and product demonstrations, but the night was still young!
Darrel Brown giving a presentation on MusicMedic.com Swedging Pliers.
The clinicians and attendees headed to dinner at Hell's Kitchen. Here, the talk about saxophone didn't stop, but allowed the attendees and clinicians the chance to speak candidly with one another in an informal setting.
On Day 2, new friends chatted over breakfast pastries and the famous MusicMedic.com coffee. Jason DuMars stepped up next with an awesome and honest recount of how he got into engraving. With frankness and honesty, he explained the long road that one must take to become truly great at a craft. Jason talked about every technique, every cut, every stroke that goes into engraving. Jason also shared some great ideas dealing with the inevitable injuries that ensue when one is engraving.
Jason's clinic was especially interesting because he talked about the artistry of what he does and the dedication his work demands. Truly inspiring! In addition to his clinic, Jason did custom engraving work for attendees in addition to showing engraving techniques and talking about the different tools he uses.
The North Carolina Saxophone Ensemble wowed the audience, and so did the giant party subs from Taste of Italy!
Finally, Jerome Selmer came to the floor.
We all wanted to hear what Mr. Selmer would say. Almost anything that comes from this man can be taken as gospel. Knowing that Jerome Selmer might have some secrets to share, we were all conscious not to ask questions that would pry or force Mr. Selmer to give up any secrets. Those notions were quickly set aside as Jerome started to freely share any and all information relevant to his company. Questions started flying and the attendees gained knowledge previously only shared in private rooms between industry leaders.
Topics like, manufacturing techniques, metal choice (including the exact composition of the metal in each type of Selmer including the MKVI!), bore taper, neck taper, differences between the various models old and new, how the reference models are made and how they are similar to their vintage counterparts.... it goes on and on.
Nights were filled with more drinking, eating and sharing ideas. Imagine a dinner table with: Steve Goodson, Jerry Chang, Jerome Selmer, Theo Wanne, Jason Dumars and Curt Altarac all coming at the saxophone from a different angle. It was truly amazing!
If you missed the Smackdown, you are likely full of regret for squandering an amazing opportunity! Don't worry, though- you'll get a chance to attend the next one, which will be even bigger and better! The only time when any disapproval was shown was when someone asked Curt, in front of the group, "when will the next Smackdown be?" Curt's reply of "two years" got him boo's all around. This group was pumped and ready for the next Smackdown. The crew at MusicMedic.com is looking into making the Saxophone Smackdown an annual event but we need your help! The next one will be better and you better get to Wilmington for it.
And finally, thanks to some handy engraving work, it's easy to remember the MusicMedic.com offers Free Shipping!!