Buddy Mercer – 46 years with Jim’s Music

As a professional musician over the last 45 years I have been buying my gear and instruments from Jim’s Music, since my first “real Guitar and Banjo” in 69. My first tour was with my Father, Sister, her Husband and our first drummer Nick Vincent, whose Dad was our Agent…Bob Vincent (Bobby Vincent – “You Call Everybody Darling”record). At that time Bob was working with Jim Bozio setting up Vocal System purchases for Holiday Inn’s nation-wide. The Shure VocalMaster System was the first nightclub application for traveling musicians at the time, and with Bob being the middle-man for Jim, they had created a great relationship for the store. Because Bob’s son Nick Vincent was my drummer, Bob introduced Me and my Father Bud Mercer to Jim as we were “gearing up” for our first real national tour.
I got a 1969 Les Paul Custom “Black Beauty – Fretless Wonder” and a Gibson TB-250 Mastertone Tenor Banjo, Dad got a Gibson EBO Electric Bass and of course…a Shure VocalMaster PA for the smaller venues (see pic year I acquired yet another of many guitar rigs from Jim’s which included a special introduction run of G&L’s Classic “S” Alnico (one of 50 made), a Fender Deluxe Reverb re-issue amp (silver face), some Audix mic’s, effects pedals AND a Taylor GS Mini “KOA” Acoustic. I had the guitar Tech install an L.R. Baggs Anthem Tru-mic System, and with all the great personalized assistance I walked out with a whole new sound to match my newest endeavors and sonic direction!!
I have had an exceptionally long term relationship with Rick and his staff of resident associates as well as the Founding Owner, Jim himself. And being a veteran musician of many years, I can truly say that my journey was much easier having a personal connection with what has been and continues to be the Best Music Store in the Nation!
Jim’s is still my store to come home to…, Thanks for the memories and continued support.
Buddy Mercer

Brass Instrument Cleaning


Greg Pate, Low Brass Specialist

An instrument needs to be clean in order for it to function properly. Valves and slides can be affected by a lack of maintenance and lead to the instrument being unplayable. A dirty instrument is not only difficult to play, but may also cause health issues.


Cleaning a brass instrument is a fairly simple process and should be done on a monthly basis and involves using soap and water.  This procedure is for trumpet, trombone, baritone, tuba and other similar instruments. Cleaning kits are available to help with this process. The kits will usually include brushes of various sizes to scrub out specific parts of the horn.


DO NOT use this cleaning method for woodwind instruments.


Step 1:

Disassemble the instrument. Remove all of the valves, valve caps, and tuning slides. The valves are usually numbered to ensure proper placement into the correct valve casing. Place small parts into a basket to keep track of them.  For trombones, take the outer slide off and remove the tuning slide from the bell.


Step 2:

Place the instrument and the parts into the bathtub with lukewarm water and mild dishwashing detergent. Let the body of the instrument and parts soak for about 15 to 20 minutes. Use the brushes to clean the tubes, valve ports and mouthpiece.


Step 3:

Rinse the instrument and let the parts dry. Wipe off as much water as possible with a soft cloth to prevent water spots. In the repair shop, we use an air compressor to blow most of the residual water from the horn. If you do not have that equipment, you can use the canned compressed air that would be used for cleaning your computer.


Step 4:

Apply slide grease to all of the tuning slides, oil on the valves and re-assemble the instrument. It is now ready to play again.


In addition to this, having your horn professionally cleaned annually will prevent most major issues such as, corrosion or “red rot”.


Woodwind instruments are treated very differently. Do not place the instrument in water. The pads on a woodwind instrument are made out of leather or felt and will be severely damaged.  Woodwind players (saxophone, clarinet, flute, oboe, etc.) will use a cotton or silk swab to remove moisture from the instrument after playing. The only part of a woodwind instrument that can be cleaned with water is the mouthpiece. Be sure to clean this part on a regular basis.


There will be another detailed post on woodwind instrument maintenance next week!


Brass Mouthpiece Selection

By: Greg Pate, Low Brass Specialist (Bass and Tenor Trombone, Contrabass Trombone, Tuba, Euphonium)

Selecting a brass mouthpiece can be a challenge for many players. A mouthpiece that is too large or too small can have a detrimental effect on the players sound, embouchure, and ultimately their sound.

I will try to give some clarity to this process based on what I have learned over 45-plus years of playing experience. mouthpiece1_c.jpg


The rim of the mouthpiece should be comfortable on the face. Rims can be narrow or wide, sharp or round. Brass players may prefer one shape over another. The diameter of the rim must feel comfortable as well.


The mouthpiece takes the vibration and airstream from the embouchure and transfers it to the horn. The input that the player gives must make the instrument respond properly. If the mouthpiece is not correct for the player, it will feel like the sound and pitch of the instrument is unstable.


The correct mouthpiece will help the player to get the best sound. It is always a good idea to have another musician listen while the mouthpiece is being tested and give feedback on the sound quality.

In summary, selecting the right mouthpiece will give the player optimum results in all three of these areas.  Be patient though. Sometimes it may take a long time to find the right one.


Identifying Fake Band Instruments

Identifying Band Fake Instruments

by: Luke Armstrong, Band and Orchestral Instruments Specialist

Step 1: when coming across a possible fake instrument, search for the manufacturer’s website and inspect the various instrument specifications and pictures provided. Take some notes.
Step 2 Identify Common Errors:  Company logos will sometimes be incorrect on fake instruments, and we have seen instances of professional instruments being featured with incorrect engraving and/or finishes that are not actually in production lines for said models. Stamped vs. printed serial numbers are an easy one to spot.
Step 3: forward the link on to Jim’s band & orchestral specialists and we can verify if it’s “too good to be true”Click here to contact us
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WHY/HOW do people do this?
My repair experience has shown me this….as manufacturing has been improving over the last 20 years globally, opportunists have sprung up that can have professional instruments copied to an impressive visual equivalent. The case, the engraving, the finishes ALL look like the real deal when propped and pictured, but the actual play-ability and composition of these fakes is apparent upon visual inspection & play test on my repair bench. Ebay or whoever is listing the fake item gets their listing fees, the shipping companies collect their cut both ways, as does the credit card company who sits in the middle of the whole exchange with that money floating back and forth between customer and ebay as things get resolved. The complexity behind the profits, the wasted time the customer experiences could have been all alleviated if they had supported their local music shop. We want to keep people playing and happy….. everyone online trying to sell that copy is just there for a buck.

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