Repairs in SE Wisconsin

As some of you might know, Steve Schoene is retiring at the end of March 2021, and is closing Schmitt Music. Steve has been working on my horns for years, and has been an absolute godsend.

While I don’t think he can be replaced, are there any folks comparable in southeast Wisconsin, or even northern IL? I have heard good things about the folks at PM Woodwinds in the Chicago area, but have heard they are pricey.

Who do you folks use for your repairs?

I use Ned Nagy at white House of Music in Waukesha. His work is absolutely amazing on flute, clarinet, oboe and sax. He loves his job like life itself.

I use Jeff LaBarge, whom Ned trained, for my sax repairs just to spread the love around a bit. With Jeff it’s best to ask him to take the job to 100% perfect, as he will sometimes factor in the cost vs. increased playability (which the students’ parents seem to appreciate). I like my horns to play perfectly and am willing to pay for it, so Jeff knows to get my saxes playing like new every time. Both guys do great work and don’t over charge.

I use Ned for my flute too, and he’s always done a great job at a fair price. I heard there is a good place in Chicago too (I forget the name) but terribly pricey.

At the UW-Milwaukee Double Reed Day in 2019 I met Katy Hopkins, who is a professional oboist and woodwind repair tech. She recently moved to the Madison area, after living in Tennessee (I think). I know when she moved to WI she spent some time with Steve Schoene. I think once the gigs start coming back, I’ll be giving her some business. Unfortunately she doesn’t fix saxes.

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Thanks, everyone, for the replies so far.

I have used Jeff LaBarge in the past, and have been generally pleased with his work, especially in emergency situations. I have never used Ned, but I know him and know may folks really like his work, especially on flutes.

Thanks for the tip on Katy. I have an alto flute that needs some TLC, and she looks like the perfect person to do so, especially since I’m not really (or have ever) gotten a call for an alto flute gig.

If anyone else has recommendations, please keep 'em coming!

Paul Maslin is probably the best guy near you. I take my horns out to Tenor Madness when they all need work or when one needs something pretty big.

Otherwise I have a guy here near Madison that I like a lot, but I’m sure there are others in the Milwaukee or Chicago areas that could do a good job, too.