Emergency Instrument Repair Kit (Top Items to Include)

What items should you include in an emergency instrument repair kit when you take your band off-campus?

First and foremost, know your inventory. If you are using older instruments and equipment, then make sure it stays in good condition, and continuing problems will need to be anticipated. Say you have a 50-year-old sousaphone and the second valve is always sticky and slow, you need to have a heavier spring and heavier oil, and keep those on hand in your kit. 

Everything you need for your emergency instrument repair kit can be found in this article!  Great suggestions for every band program.  Be prepared for spring trips, football games, contest and performances!  Suggestions include mouthpiece puller, repair pliers, water key and valve spring assortment, pads, corks, screwdrivers, timpani keys, slide-o-mix and more!  Great tips from N Tune Music and Sound, a reputable instrument repair shop located in Texas.

There is what is known in certain circles as a “go-bag” or “bug-out bag”. The concept is this, keep the basics of what you would need to get you through a few days of a sudden trip already packed and ready to grab at any time. This is a great idea for any program. Any concert, football game, contest, or spring trip just pick it up and you know you’re set for almost anything.

Go-Bag Ideas 

  • Your 10 (ok 11) item emergency toolkit – see below 
  • Box of a common size of each reed plus oboe and bassoon
  • One pair of drumsticks, keyboard mallets, and bass drum mallet 
  • One of each mouthpiece/ligature/neck strap (optional)
  • Spare baton
  • Small tuner, batteries kept separate 
  • Spare cables if you are using a sound system
  • Small LED flashlight w/batteries

Top 10 Items for your Emergency Instrument Repair Kit  (ok 11…)

  • Two sizes small high-quality screwdrivers  
  • Superglue  
  • Slide-o-mix rapid comfort  
  • Multi-spring hook  
  • Hi-torque drum key and timpani key  
  • Micro pad and cork cement
  • French horn string
  • Bailing wire
  • Mouthpiece puller
  • Small flat billed pliers or a set of repair pliers that don’t have teeth (contact your local music store to purchase)
  • Water key and valve spring assortment for your inventory (again talk to your local music store)

It’s important to keep your go-bag locked away so you’re not tempted to get something out of it in your day to day rehearsals, so that way everything is there when you need it in a pinch. If you have to use something, replenish it ASAP. 

A little organization and preparedness goes a long way, but by far the best prevention is keeping your inventory and equipment maintained in the best condition possible!

Special thanks to N-Tune Music & Sound, a nationally recognized instrument repair facility with 3 locations in Texas, for providing this article. N-Tune Music & Sound is a business partner for BandDirectorsTalkShop.com and supports music education and band directors in many ways. Their dedication to student musicians and music educators is unmatched, as is their instrument repair quality and customer service.

At N-Tune Music and Sound we have over 200 years of hands on experience with a crew of young technicians learning from the master technicians everyday.

There are many shops that perform some degree of service that they call an overhaul. But N-Tune Music and Sound is the only shop that we know of that understands the proper application of lacquer and the use of an oven to cure the lacquer correctly on brass instruments. N-Tune Music and Sound utilizes dust proof rooms and specialized spray guns for application before the oven.

N-Tune Music and Sound stands behind every instrument we overhaul. Ultimately, we aren’t finished with an instrument until the school or individual having the instrument overhauled or serviced is satisfied. Talk with anyone who has had instruments overhauled at our facility about the amount of budget money saved on overhauls versus the cost of new instruments. (We are happy to provide references upon request.) Our reputation has been forged over years of doing overhauls the right way and standing behind each instrument. N-Tune Music and Sound has been a NAMM Top 100 Dealer for five consecutive years.

N-Tune Music and Sound has a published retail overhaul price list. Directors, administrators or dealers interested in overhaul service should contact N-Tune Music and Sound at repair@ntunemusic.com. We also have a booth each year at the Texas Music Educators Association convention in San Antonio, Texas.

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