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One-On-One with Repair Specialist Manuel Furtado

Being part of Melody House family for a year, we sat down with Manuel Furtado our orchestral repair specialist.

Getting a better understanding of how he started repairing instruments and to share his fascinating experiences with everyone.

How long have you been repairing instruments?

"I started repairing instruments sometime in the 1980's, so it has been around over 40 years now."

Which instruments can you repair?

"Everything from the symphony in the orchestra, which is practically almost everything. That is excluding pianos, harps, accordions and any electric instruments. So I would say my main expertise is on acoustic based instruments."

What made you interested in repairing instruments?

"Well it all started when I had a motorbike accident when I was 19 years old, and had badly injured my right-hand. I had bought a flute to help start moving my fingers as I had lost all senses and movement on my hand, this led to me learning how to write with my left-hand. One day I had a problem with my flute, and took it to the shop to repair but wasn't happy with the results, so I decided to start repairing it myself. That's how everything started, me repairing my own instruments. Luckily my hand has healed up and I can do everything with both hands if needed!"

Can you share your first experience repairing an instrument?

"One day I had bought an old clarinet and restored it and gave it a complete makeover, I then went to one of the biggest shops in Lisbon to sell it and get some money out of it, the owner had seen the work I had done on it and asked "This is very nice, who did this job?" I replied "I did, do you want someone to help you?". The next day I had my first day of work there, I just remember it being one of the busiest shops in Lisbon and I was around 26 or 27 years old at the time. The owner had over 30 years of experience repairing instruments and became my mentor, learning repairs on woodwind instruments from flutes, saxophones and all kinds of woodwind instruments, then I had moved on to Brass instruments. The funny thing is everyday someone would come into the shop with their broken guitar necks, that's when my boss asked me "Manu can you fix this?" and I replied "Yes I can!" so I took it home and started doing it myself. I taught myself how to repair all string instruments and guitars, starting from dismantling the guitars and measuring them, which soon after I started building myself my own guitars."

It's been almost one year since you've joined Melody House. How does it feel?

"I'm very happy being part of the Melody House Team, so far it has been a great experience. With my workshop setup and having all my materials and tools I'm fully prepared to do my work!"

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