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Saxophone Smackdown 2010 Recap

If your kicking yourself for missing the Saxophone Smackdown at, you need to kick harder!

To the Music Medic team: Thanks for everything! You guys have significantly raised the bar regarding what a regional clinic can be. - Jeff Peterson Yamaha

This year was the host of the first ever, Saxophone Smackdown! The Smackdown is series of clinics aimed at addressing advanced repair procedures of the saxophone. It's also a great time where techs come from all over the world to party down and enjoy a great time with fellow NAPBIRT members; MusicMedic style....


Jeff Peterson -Yamaha
Matt Stohrer -Stohrer woodwinds
Steve Goodson -SaxGourmet Products
Curt Altarac

Band: Benny Hill Trio

Catering: Flaming Amy's Burrito Barn.

I was going to take a moment to tell you about the clinics and clinicians and the parties and festivities that happened at the Smackdown but, after the event I received so many Emails from attendees that I think I let them tell you the story.

Here's a synopsis from Smackdown Clinician, my friend and Mentor, Steve Goodson.

“In spite of bad weather on the East Coast, we had standing room only attendance! It was absolutely the BEST saxophone conference I have EVER attended, and all the credit goes to Curt Altarac and the staff at MusicMedic for superb organization and planning.

Curt started us off with some really technical explanations of his neck research, with fantastic graphics that didn’t cause your eyes to glaze over. He’s doing some amazing experiments with pips (shape, placement, and other parameters) and other aspects of neck design. His work is simply brilliant, and we must all encourage him to do more.

Jeff Peterson may very well be the finest, most thoughtful saxophone tech in the world, and it’s a cryin’ shame that Yamaha and their endorsing artists have him all to themselves! His clinic on high performance saxophone repair left everyone just amazed at his innovation and insight. Jeff really puts some thought into his work, and it shows.

NYC superstar tech Matt Stohrer (who I met for the first time, and who is not only knowledgeable but an INCREDIBLY nice guy) gave a fascinating and quite comprehensive presentation on saxophone manufacturing techniques, along with literally hundreds of photos he had taken on his personal factory visits. He filled in a lot of blanks about “how it’s done” for the attendees.

I presented a program about saxophone mouthpiece design, modification, and repair, which seemed to be well received. I’ll have my presentation available on DVD soon for anyone who wishes a copy.

The new MusicMedic facility is amazing, and was the perfect place for this conference. It is truly the most state of the art saxophone repair facility anywhere, no question about it. The food was fabulous, and even the live band which performed during lunch (yes, they DO support live music and working musicians at MusicMedic, as everyone should) was just great, and the perfect touch. We had a lot of great fellowship and interaction, and I know that everyone left with only one regret: it was too short, we want more!”

Steve Goodson
SaxGourmet Products.

Aside from the great visiting clinicians, the attendees were a veritable whos-who of saxophone repair. Here are some comments from our friends that came to support NAPBIRT and be part of our day.

Thanks to Curt and the staff of Musicmedic for a great clinic!!!!!
Very well organized, clear concise information. OUTSTANDING WINE &
BURRITOS!!!!! The staff was eager and wanted to share information with everyone. Wonderful opportunity to see and feel tools before ordering them!! Nice to be reminded about taking care of details (small stuff) and then the big stuff works so much better!!!

Good to put a face to the voice on the phone. I have had the music library at the university I teach at, Appalachians State, order all 3 of Steve's DVDs. Great info on these and sources for things!!! I can always refer to them if I need to. If you can get these I think you should.

As a clarinet specialist this was very good information, I use the roo clarinet pads on all pro overhauls and custom clarinet building, They are so good I do not make pads anymore!!!!

Again thanks to Curt and the staff!!!!

Rodney Berry
Repair Department
Muncywinds Music
Vilas, NC

Thanks to clinicians Curt and crew and the band...Fantastic new facility !! ...There was more interaction among participants than I have ever experienced at a regional. ...words cannot express how much I enjoyed the clinic.

Jim Varno

“As an attendee, I did not get a chance to meet many folks cuz so much was going on!...Super great clinic! Thanks


To the Music Medic team: Thanks for everything! You guys have significantly raised the bar regarding what a regional clinic can be.

To those that planned to attend but couldn’t make it: We missed you, but hope you can make the next one!

To clinicians Curt, Matt, and Steve: Thanks for sharing your knowledge and continuing to inspire!

To Curt: Thanks for inviting me! I had a blast!!!

Jeff Peterson
Manager - Los Angeles Atelier
Woodwind Artist Development

I rolled in about 11pm last night. My wife and kids greeted me gleefully and then wife and 16 yr old daughter were off to bed. However my 20 yr old son hung out and asked a bout the clinic. When I finally shut up, he said... " Wow Dad, I don't think I've ever seen you this excited about what you do."

Thanks Curt. To You, the clinicians and your staff for an outstanding day.

I have no doubt that the investment in this trip will pay dividends in spades.

Very Best Regards,

Sid Marlin

As I open the package containing my nice, new, exciting post swedging pliers, I am reminded of the wonderful time I had at the clinic. This was the first and only clinic I have attended in my 25 years repairing. I found the level of passion and dedication of the clinicians and Music Medic staff inspiring. It was also especially fun to meet the other technicians in your fine facility and share some ideas and stories, although I wish there was more time for that.

It is comforting to know that when there are difficult saxophone related problems that confront us, there are people out there with the answers, willing to share. Thanks again.

Cheers, Don LePage,
The Woodwind Project

Thank you for everything , Curt , Rich and Matt , and all the Clinicians. It was our first time and overwhelming, we wish others may come in future. Congrats on the Shop is really the best, Keep doing it
Warms regards from Chile!

Hey Curt, Thanks. Awesome regional clinic! You sure stirred it up. The event fueled the collective energy that is NAPBIRT. From the mohawk pipped Bundy neck, through the factories of Japan and Taiwan, into the depths of saxophone mechanisms, and out the playing end, you covered the saxophone world in microcosm. Not to mention the equipment demos, saxophone demos, and display of your totally awesome facility. It was truly a great setting as you can tell from the response of your fellow NAPBIRT's.
Don sends thanks and especially wanted to send regards to Matt and Rich. Thank them for their part in making this happen. We know they worked hard. I'll be in touch.

Lee Kramka
Lee's Saxworx