From repairing and selling brass, woodwind and stringed instruments to making violins in the onsite workshop, there’s lots going on in this music shop!
Nestled in Evegate (just outside Ashford, Kent) we spoke to StringWind Repairs owner and maker Derek Himsley to find out more…
How would you describe your shop in three words?
We solve problems!
How did the business get started?
In 2010, I started to learn to play the flute as a distraction from grief. Being an engineer, I thought that I should be able to service it myself so I signed up for a three year course in brass and woodwind repairs at Merton College. The second year was cancelled due to too few students, so I transferred to the second year of the three year violin making and repair course, which I completed in two years. I have been trading since 2011 and my son-in-law has now joined the business as a partner.
What does your shop specialise in?
Following my courses and training, I now repair almost any musical instrument and make instruments in the violin family. We also look for innovative solutions to help the disabled to play music, but this is a generalised answer. I guess we specialise in making people happy ☺️
What additional services do you offer?
We sell a range of instruments (both new and used), offer advice on the choice of instruments, have a range of rental instruments available and advise on the viability of repairs.
What’s your favourite item for sale in the shop right now?
Actually, my most favourite instrument, a Yamaha bass clarinet has recently been sold. It had been here a while and I was beginning to think that it may end up as mine!
Name a favourite piece of music. (From any genre you like, absolutely no judgement!)
Ok we’ll let you have the three! How do you get involved in your local community?
I support the Pilgrims Hospice by selling donated instruments for them, making sure that they are in playable condition, I also take part in their charity events, such as parachute jumping or walks – I recently did a wing walk!
We’ve also worked on adapting instruments for physically disabled musicians such as an adapted violin for a one-handed player. We very much support the Take it away Inclusive and Accessible Music-Making Initiative.