Around 1973 I got very interested in saxophones and bought an old 1920’s Hawkes alto that needed a lot of work. I took it to a music shop but was told that it was a hopeless case so I decided to try and repair it myself. It wasn’t the most successful repair ever but it was such an enjoyable experience that I decided that I’d like to do this sort of work as a career.
In 1978 I enrolled on the three year full time Woodwind making and Repairing course at Newark Technical College (as it was called then) and finally found my feet. I embraced the course and loved the work. It lead on to working for oboe makers T. W. Howarth and co Ltd in their workshops in Worthing where I made good progress and after a year or two I was making keys for professional oboes, oboe d’amore and cor anglais. After ten years in the Worthing workshops I left and cultivated my woodwind repairing business but carried on working for Howarth’s as an out worker.
I now work in my workshop at home in Balderton and enjoy a rich and varied workload of instrument repairs. I cover everything from complete overhauls, key modifications and services on top flight professional bassoons, clarinets, saxophones, flutes and oboes to rather more lowly but nevertheless important student instrument repairs.
Denise Marques Neves
11 January 2018
He’s the best in the business and kind with it. Always willing to help and find solutions that suit the instrument as well as the player.
4 February 2018
Derek knows his way around even the most complicated of double reeds & has given our daughter the confidence that whatever goes wrong with her oboe Derek will sort it out!
25 September 2018
Derek has taken care of my children’s instruments for several years. He’s always reliable, friendly and professional and goes out of his way to do the best possible job.