Instruments & Gear

  • Jupiter 1100 Series Saxophones

    Mike Lawson | July 18, 2014The 1100 Series saxophones combine classic hand-crafted design and modern technology. Featured is the new Sona-Pure™ neck, which undergoes a special annealing process, giving the instrument a full, rich sound with a solid attack. In addition, a G key adjusting screw and adjustable rocker key octave mechanism facilitate quick adjustments by the performer/educator.   Read More...
  • Vandoren Extended ‘Masters’ Clarinet Mouthpieces

    Mike Lawson | July 17, 2014Vandoren’s Masters clarinet mouthpiece line has been expanded with the addition of the ‘13’ series which is pitched at A=440. Previously available in two distinct models, Vandoren has also added the CL6 model to the ‘13’ series as well as the standard A=442 series. The Masters line features a unique exterior shape and chamber design, […] Read More...
  • JodyJazz 9* Model Tenor Mouthpiece

    Mike Lawson | October 15, 2013

    The new DV CHI Tenor 9* provides a larger facing and now offers the widest tip opening (.125) in the range. The DV CHI series is designed to produce a darker, less bright tone than the contemporary sound of the JodyJazz DV, but a considerably brighter more modern tone than the JodyJazz DV NY. The baffle/chamber design of the DV CHI allows the player to push more air through the mouthpiece without experiencing any harshness. The DV CHI range is silver-plated.

  • Cremona SV-130 Student Violin

    Mike Lawson | October 14, 2013

    Cremona now offers their SV-130 Premier Student Violin Outfit in a choice of six colored finishes, in addition to the standard warm brown finish that is familiar to all. Students can now choose from the available five sparkling colored finishes: Black, Blue, Green, Purple and Rose. The violins utilize material fit for not only beginning students, but more advanced players as well.  As with every Cremona instrument, each SV-130 is hand-crafted from fine tonewoods with both the tops and backs hand-carved and graduated.

  • Yamaha VC3 Cello

    Mike Lawson | October 11, 2013

    Yamaha’s new V Series Violin and Cello outfits are designed for beginning student string players and feature three violins and three cellos in one-half, three-quarter and full sizes, respectively. Components featured in the V Series outfits include ebony pegs, D’Addario Prelude strings, a composite tailpiece with four fine tuners, wood bow with ebony frog, and sturdy shaped ABS plastic case.

  • Cervini Student Violin Outfit

    Mike Lawson | October 10, 2013

    With its traditional red finish and select spruce top, maple back, sides, and neck, the HV-100 has the beauty to match a quality tone. The fingerboard and fittings are of dyed hardwood and the Cremona VP-201 bridge is of select, aged maple. A lightweight, composite tailpiece with four built-in fine tuners makes tuning easy for the novice.

  • Repair: Servicing Brass Instrument Tuning Slides

    Mike Lawson | April 8, 2011

    Servicing brass instrument slides can be rewarding. With only a few affordable supplies, some basic knowledge, and a little time, you can greatly affect the playing condition of your brass inventory, stretch your repair budget, and have fun getting your hands dirty at the same time! Servicing brass instrument slides can be rewarding.  With only a few affordable supplies, some basic knowledge, and a little time, you can greatly affect the playing condition of your brass inventory, stretch your repair budget, and have fun getting your hands dirty at the same time!


    Stuck slides on brass instruments are usually the result of neglect: infrequent cleaning and lubrication and, sometimes, improper lubricants.  Also, examine the slides and connected tubing for dents, as well as for loose braces and solder joints.  Don't try to free slides that have any of these issues, or slides that are adjacent to loose braces, as this could lead to further damage.  Please refer these jobs to a professional repair shop.

  • How to Buy a Step-Up Trumpet

    Mike Lawson | August 5, 2009

    I started playing cornet in third grade and switched to a professional trumpet my second year not due to any great improvement on my part, but because my older brother who was going to high school switched from trumpet to French horn and I inherited his trumpet. I thought that I sounded a lot better on the trumpet, but at that time in my life I was also convinced that a new pair of sneakers would enable me to run faster and jump higher.

    Even though I switched to a professional trumpet at an early age, generally the ideal time to purchase a step-up instrument occurs at the transition from junior high/middle school to high school. I spoke with several successful junior high band directors about this and they all agreed on this timetable but also pointed out that exceptions can be made in the case of an advanced and noticeably dedicated student. Students entering high school are also often inspired by the level of "older" players around them as well as exposure to more challenging and sophisticated music.

    When buying a step-up instrument, parents must consider whether their child is mature enough to appreciate and care for the instrument. I remember teaching a seventh-grader several years ago with well-to-do parents. They wanted the best for their child so, against my advice, they purchased the most expensive trumpet on the market. Within months, this beautiful instrument looked like it had been through a war zone.

  • Report: Marching Snare Drums

    Mike Lawson | August 1, 2002

    One of the most important pieces of a marching band is the percussion section. Without the drums to set the pace and keep the beat, the rest of the band would be out of time and out of step. For this Report, SBO is focusing on the all-important marching snare drum. Which model is best for your marching band? Here is an alphabetical sampling of companies offering marching snare drums.

    DEG Music Products

    The Dynasty USA top and bottom head/pipe band snare drum is used by the Blue Devils, Boston Crusaders, Magic of Orlando, Hawthorne Caballeros, Syracuse Brigadiers and San Francisco Renegades, among others. The Wedge Snare Drum is used for indoor/outdoor playing and features a lightweight design. Drums feature Dynasty Erudite hoops, which increase the durability of the drums. Standard finishes are red, white, black and blue.

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