Double Reed Tips from Michael Dicker

Double Reed Tips from Michael!

This month we have some great information from our associate Michael Dicker, as the wooden instrument "crack season" is upon us...

Avoiding Oboe Cracks!
by Michael Dicker, MD Double Reed Services
What is the biggest single problem in maintaining oboes and English horns?  Yes.... wooden oboes and English horns are susceptible to cracking in the top joint between the trill keys.  Even the most conscientious and careful players – regardless of age --may not be able to avoid this occurrence. When it happens there are several approaches to repairing  the crack.  Sometimes, if it is a severe crack the joint must be replaced.  In any case the restoring of the top joint to “like new” condition is iffy and often expensive. 
As a former oboist I have seen and experienced the trauma and the inconvenience of a cracked to joint and would like to offer my advice: avoid the wooden top joint!
Fox Products manufactures several oboe and English horn models made of polypropylene. 
They also produce hybrid models made of grenadilla wood with polypropylene top joints.  There is never a worry about these joints cracking.  Nor is there any wearing out as is sometimes the case of wooden top joints in the most expensive oboes.  Please understand that polypropylene is a very high quality, very durable synthetic. It is NOT plastic or resin both of which are hard materials which can break and which do not help to produce a high quality tone. It may also interest you to know that the “poly” body parts are actually more expensive than grenadilla ones!
If you ask whether an English horn or oboe with a synthetic top joint sacrifices tone quality, your question is certainly justified.  I have done the “behind the screen” comparison test between totally wood and hybrid and totally polypropylene oboes and can tell you truthfully that the listener has great difficulty distinguishing a difference in the tone.  In fact, the “poly” oboes may have a bit better carrying power. 
To reinforce my enthusiasm for the “poly” oboes and English horns, please consider the fact that in the past few years the most famous French oboe makers have copied Fox Products and are offering oboes with synthetic top joints.  One maker has developed a synthetic material that is supposed to completely replace wood! 
The problems with the French oboes and English horns is both the price and the ability to get good service.  Do yourself a favor and consider the Renard Model 330 Oboe and the Renard 555 English Horn.  Both of these instruments, made by Fox, define the word “bargain” in purchasing oboes and English horns.
If you are looking for an oboe or an English horn, Carl’s Pro Band has a new Renard 330 and a new Renard 555 in stock ready for you to examine and to purchase at excellent, discounted prices.  Carl and Travis also provide the very best service available for these instruments!

P. Mauriat's Spring Saver Event Starts Now!

P. Mauriat's Spring Saver Event is now underway!  If you're in the market for a new saxophone or trumpet, now is the time to check out all of the great P. Mauriat instruments we have in stock.  Feel free to stop by the shop and spend some time play testing instruments that can take your playing to the next level! 

Don't see a model you're interested in on our Online Store??  Simply email us about it's availability, and we can have it on the way quickly!  We can typically get additional models in stock within days, as they ship to our shop from within the Midwest!

The following mail-in rebates are available:
TENORS - $100


Cold Weather Care For Your Musical Instrument

Hello from your local family owned and operated music store, Carl’s Pro Band.  This month we’d like to touch on proper care and preventative maintenance of musical instruments during the winter months.  The cold, dry weather we experience in the Midwest can be very detrimental to musical instruments if care is not taken to offset the weather’s effects.  The majority of all band and orchestral instruments are built from (or utilize) natural materials such as wood, cork, leather and felt.  These natural materials tend to fluctuate with weather and humidity changes, which can affect adjustment and regulation, and can also cause cracking in wooden instruments.

When dealing with any valuable possession, avoiding extreme temperature and humidity change is ideal.  However, the whole point of playing an instrument IS TO PLAY!  This requires instruments to be transported to and from school, lessons and performances.  Not to worry, with 60+ years of experience we have compiled a list of some simple actions you can take to help protect your instrument:

  • Keep the instrument in a well-insulated case or consider an insulated case cover.
  • o not leave the instrument in a cold vehicle for extended periods of time. 
  • When an instrument has been in the cold weather, allow it reach room temperature naturally before you begin playing.  Cold weather generally causes natural materials to shrink and heat causes them to expand, so if hot air is blown into a cold wooden instrument it will begin to expand, which is one of the primary causes of cracking.  Extreme cold can also cause brass instrument valves and slides to become stuck or “frozen”.
  • se a case humidifier to maintain proper humidity of your instrument while it is in the carrying case.
  • Use a reed case with a humidity control system, which will increase the lifespan and playability of wooden reeds
  • Use a synthetic valve oil or lubricant.  Synthetic valve oils do not evaporate like traditional petroleum based oils, and therefore, protect your valves for a longer period of time.  Carl’s Pro Band stocks the areas widest variety of synthetic oils.
  • Have your instrument professionally serviced when the major seasons change, or annually at a minimum.  The professional repair technicians at Carl’s Pro Band will attend to your instrument’s every need.  This includes oiling mechanisms, adjusting pads/corks/felts, annual Ultrasonic cleaning, applying bore oil to wooden instruments (which helps maintain proper wood conditioning), and much more.  State-of-the-Art Ultrasonic Cleaning utilizes a biodegradable cleanser which cleans brass instruments in a safe thorough manner.  Regular maintenance ensures that your instrument will be ready for whatever the ever-changing seasons bring.

Be sure to stop by Carl’s Pro Band for more helpful tips and advice or to schedule your instrument’s maintenance.  We also offer great pricing and availability of accessories, cases and instruments to fit every player’s ability and budget.  Trust our family to take care of yours!


802 N Morris Ave – Bloomington, IL | | 309.828.HORN

Holiday Gift Guide!

With the holidays upon us, we have taken the challenge out of shopping for the musician on your list!  We have compiled lists of stocking-stuffer ideas STARTING AT $1.60 that are sure to please...

Mouthpiece Cleaning Brush - $1.60
Oils & Greases - $3.78 & up
Chop Saver Lip Balm - $3.96
Flexible "Snake" Cleaning Brushes - $4 & up

Mouthpiece Pouches - $4 & up
Polishing Cloths (Silver or Lacquer) - $4.80
Valve Guards - $7 & up
Mutes - $10 & up
Music Stands - $11.99 & up
Tuners - $15 & up
Instrument Stands - $25.99 & up
Warburton Buzzard Buzzing Device - $24.95
ProTec Instrument Cases - $32.90 & up

Mouthpiece Cleaning Brush - $1.60
Cork Grease - $2 & up
Thumb Savers - $2 & up
Mouthpiece Tooth Guard Patches - $3
Chop Saver Lip Balm - $3.96
Cleaning Swabs - $4.40 & up
Palm Key Risers - $6.40
Neck Straps - $8.04 & up
Music Stands - $11.99 & up
Selmer Bundy Plastic Mouthpieces - $12 & up
Cleaning Snakes for Clarinet/Flute/Piccolo - $12
Tuners - $15 & up
Instrument Stands - $24.04 & up
ProTec Cases - $25 & up


Small Business Saturday takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving (the day after Black Friday) and gives shoppers the opportunity to support small businesses in their community by shopping locally and spending their hard earned money with folks that are working just as hard to earn their customers' business.  As a family owned and operated business we are excited to offer some great deals for our loyal family of customers on Saturday the 28th!  Join our Facebook Event for updates and more information!

*The following deals are limited to Saturday Nov 28th*

~ADDITIONAL 5% DISCOUNT STOREWIDE on our entire stock of already discounted musical instruments, cases, & accessories!

~FREE INSTRUMENT EVALUATION & MINOR ADJUSTMENTS on your current instrument, when you play test a new step-up instrument (All of our Technicians will be in the shop to help evaluate & adjust your current instrument!)

~Rebates on all new P. Mauriat Saxophones & Trumpets
($50 on trumpet, $75 on alto/soprano, $100 on tenor)

~Receive a FREE Carl's Pro Band t-shirt or hat with any instrument purchase

~12 Months Same-As-Cash Financing available for instrument purchases

~Regular Saturday hours extended to 8AM-1PM for an extra hour of shopping!

~FREE Shop Small reusable shopping totes, stickers, & buttons while supplies last

~Take a ShopSmall Selfie at Carl's Pro Band and post it online to receive a free Carl's Pro Band t-shirt or hat!

~Refreshments provided from our favorite locally owned bakeries!

October Newsletter

Welcome to the Carl's Pro Band e-Newsletter...
Check out the html version here

Fox & Renard Double Reed Products
We are extremely excited to announce that Carl's Pro Band has partnered with Michael Dicker Double Reed Services to offer Fox & Renard double reed instruments and products.  These product lines will help broaden our current instrument offerings, and Fox Products are some of the finest double reed instruments available.  We will be selling these exceptional instruments at great pricing and are looking forward to expanding double reed selection.  We currently have a Fox Renard 330 oboe available for purchase, a Fox 555 English horn on the way, and several Fox bassoons in the pipeline.  Be sure to contact us with any instrument inquiries!

Interesting Repair of the Month
One of the many interesting repairs we completed this month was fabrication of a part for a Selmer Paris bass saxophone.  It was missing a vital part, the tension screw that holds the floor peg in place. Unfortunately the replacement part was not available, so we fabricated a replacement from brass bar stock. This bass saxophone is now back in action, and fully supported by the floor peg (which is probably helping the player's back)!  Check out the photo album here.

Selmer Bundy Mouthpiece BLOWOUT Sale
To celebrate Carl's birthday, during the month of October we are offering an unbelievably low price on all Selmer Bundy plastic Bb clarinet, alto and tenor saxophone mouthpieces to our newsletter recipients (while supplies last).  Be sure to show this email newsletter at checkout and we will apply the special discount.  These are great mouthpieces for beginners and marching band.

Bb Clarinet:
List Price: $27
Blowout Price: $12

Alto Saxophone:
List Price: $29.20
Blowout Price: $14

Tenor Saxophone:
List Price: $38.90
Blowout Price: $18

For news on what's happening at the shop, special promotions, or to leave a review of your experience at Carl's Pro Band be sure to...
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Back to School!

It is that time of year when all the schools and universities are starting back up, which can only mean that school bands and orchestras are getting back in gear as well.  We are stocked up on everything you need to succeed including:
-Marching band accessories (DrillMasters marching shoes, marching gloves, lyres, & flip folders)
-Beginning band & orchestra (Rental instruments, beginning lesson books, reeds, oils/greases, and music stands of all sizes and colors)
-Concert band: High quality reeds from Vandoren, Rico, D'Addario, Legere & many others; Denis Wick brass mutes, Professional mouthpieces, and New & Used Instruments

Be sure to stop by Carl's Pro Band between trips for school clothes and supplies to stock up on all the instrument supplies you need for a successful musical school year!