All tuned up

Brenden Stevens

Photo by Josh Cozine

Brenden Stevens first started repairing instruments back in 2008, apprenticing under 60-year veteran repair specialist Chuck Madere at a small family music shop in Southern California. In that time, Stevens says he’s worked on literally thousands of instruments. Also an avid musician, he can play every instrument he works on, ensuring they are 100 percent operational before he’s done with them. Early in June, his brother, a piano technician at Chico State, reached out and told him about a specific need for his repair services in the area. He’d heard that Ed Luce, the owner of North Woodwinds, was planning to retire and sell his business, causing some worry in the music community. Stevens, knowing that summer is the busiest season for repairing and maintaining instruments due to school breaks, quickly moved north. After finding his bearings and meeting with locals in Chico’s music and musical instrument repair scene, Stevens first opened up his business out of his home. By Sept. 1, he had opened his current office and repair shop at 574 Manzanita Ave., Ste. 5. Stevens offers free repair estimates on brass and woodwind instruments, as well as evaluation services and even the occasional refurbished instrument for sale. Find Brenden A. Stevens Band Instrument Repair Specialist on Facebook, or call 720-3161 to schedule a time for a repair estimate.

How was the move?

I’d been up and visited the area a lot over the years visiting family, and it was one of those places where I could see myself moving if the right situation came up.

Where do you get your tools?

It’s an accumulation effect. There are a couple of big manufacturers of band repair tools, and you have to make a lot of the tools yourself or adapt another for the job. My mentor passed on many of his tools to me, which was a big honor to me to continue my career using the same tools he used for so many years in his memory.

What do you like best about your work?

One of the reasons I like this business is you really play a role in the musician’s success. It sets students up for success for learning and staying interested in music, and it helps local professionals earn their livelihoods.

How has business been?

With the start of the school year, it was great to get set up in here. It’s off a busy [freeway] exit, and real close to The Music Connection, which makes it easy for them to send people here for repairs, or for me to send them over there for accessories or other purchases. There’s been quite a few people that found out about my location through word of mouth, which has been really huge. With a service, I believe word of mouth is really important. Putting your instrument in the trust and care of someone—it’s not always easy for people. Especially if they’ve had their instrument a long time. You kind of develop a bond with your instrument. So to be new in town, and to make the connections I have, it’s just been awesome.