Testimonials & Endorsements

Read what  more of our recent customers have to say…..

In my 35 years as a professional clarinetist, Andrew Roberts is by far the best clarinet repairer I have come across, by a significant margin. His work is unbelievably good. My clarinets and bass clarinet are better than they have ever been, including when they were new. His attention to detail, skill and dedication are just what you need. Truly inspiring!”
Iain Dixon – Member BryanFerry’s Band and jazz & improvisation teacher Chetham’s School of Music 2021

I first met Andrew, just after I joined the Ulster Orchestra, having tried his clarinets during a rehearsal I realised that my ageing Buffet clarinets were not performing as well as they could. This was mostly due to the wear over 15 years since I had never been brave enough to allow any repairer to work on my instruments as I was scared that they might change in the wrong way.
Andrew worked on my clarinets in an emergency and it was clear to me that he understood my demands for the instruments. I eventually got the courage to take my instruments to the ARCS workshop in Liverpool and stayed with them to check that everything was done to my satisfaction. I was so happy with the work that was done to my instruments that meant I could play with so much more security and control, this is important to me as the clarinet sound should be flexible and easy to change colours and dynamics.
I also found that legato was now much easier to achieve than I had thought possible. During our work together in the Ulster Orchestra I began to trust Andrew’s tuning ability, which is unusual as most repairers cannot play to the highest levels you need to change the tuning of an instrument for another player.
I now feel I have the right tuning and setup with my clarinets for the first time in my life, I don’t know anyone else in the UK or in Europe that I trust in this way.
My friends, many Principal clarinets around Europe, have been made to try my clarinets and they were all shocked as to how well they worked and how quiet the ARCS pads were. The ease of legato which no other pad has allowed before was a big surprise.
I now send my friends and students to ARCS to find out for themselves what they have been missing in their clarinets! A huge thank you to a friend that has made my life easier.

Francesco Paolo Scola – Former Principal Clarinet Ulster Orchestra

I am very happy with the work you’ve done on my clarinet. It’s probably the best I’ve ever known my instrument, it plays with ease and silently for the first time ever! I wish Buffet actually set up their instruments like this from new!  It’s really obvious how much my instrument had deteriorated I was working quite hard for an airy unfocussed sound but had just adjusted over time, but no more! I’m delighted with the ease of response , the beautiful consistent tone across all registers and the ease of producing the wide leaps and large slurs across registers. I have found that I can drop a couple of my venting fingerings as the intonation and tone colours have all improved too. The most surprising improvement was how much more alive and immediate the sound was, with no wasted air the dynamic response is more obvious and has more subtlety. The pianissimos were amazing! The “niente” effect was just magical when I discovered how easy it is now! The cleanliness of articulation is also better especially with staccato attacks. Everything I’ve read and head about your brilliant overhauls has been proved, I am absolutely delighted and look forward to being able to concentrate on the music rather than the technique in my playing  – shame it’s 10pm  – I want to practice again!!

Rob Cox – Freelance player and teacher 2020

My Buffet RC Prestige is now 35 years old and had been subjected to ten years of heavy use since you last serviced it.

The whole instrument has been restored to its former glory. I would even go so far as to say that it now plays better-than-new thanks to the new ARCS MK5 pads you have fitted. These, in combination with the felt you use instead of cork, make for a totally noiseless action. It’s a small but vital point, and one I wasn’t expecting, but I love the cushioned thumbrest you have created. I was previously thinking of trying something like the Kooiman thumbrest but the cushioning you have provided on the existing thumbrest suits me well and is really comfortable. Overall the marked improvements are:

Intonation – noticeably improved in the altissimo register.

Speaking – rapid staccato tonguing is now a joy across all registers and notes that were sometimes reluctant, such as top D, now speak freely.

Tone –  is improved and is more flexible at all dynamic levels. The bottom register is also beautifully rich.

Keywork – somehow the keys feel tighter into the instrument. There is an evenness in the action that allows your fingers to “ripple around”. It’s fun!

In a word, the clarinet is now effortless. It finally sounds like me, rather than like me fighting to be me. Many thanks for your expertise in restoring a much-loved instrument.

Chris Evans MA – Solo Clarinet, Waterloo Band of The Rifles 2020

After trying a colleagues clarinet that had just been overhauled by ARCS I thought it was about time my own Buffet R13 deserved an overhaul.

What a difference this made I was literally blown away, what a transformation, it plays better than new, not really surprised as it was losing at least 30% of its air tight seal !! Very quiet keywork, his own designed pads seal the tone holes beautifully, now it’s a real pleasure to play.
Andrew also advised that the bell required some attention due to this being dropped, this was repaired with carbon fibre, again wonderful job.

Andrew is a genius, I highly recommend him and I will certainly use him again

Robert Ghigi – Army Musician 2019

Thank you Andy for the fantastic work you have done overhauling both my A and Bb clarinets. I was beginning to feel frustrated that the clarinets were stuffy and not projecting fully across the range, plus the key work was noisy, and didn’t sit correctly under my fingers. The main difference now is that they play freely and I feel like they are working with me, rather than against me. I now feel that I don’t have to work as hard to achieve the result I want. Thank you also for cleaning them up and making them look like new again. I would highly recommend your overhaul service to colleagues and pupils’

Emily Anderson, clarinet teacher RWCMD Junior Conservatoire

I have only known Andy personally a short time, but I have been aware of him for considerably longer, having blown several colleagues instruments that have had the ‘ARCS’ magic performed on them. He worked on my B&H 1010, improving the C#/G# note by removing and fitting a custom C#/G# tone hole and reshaping the key. He also tweaked and altered the shape and feel of the key-work to make it feel more like a Buffet. What a massive improvement. He has since gone on to adjust my R13 ‘A’ clarinet to correct two very stuffy notes, and has done a complete overhaul of My Buffet S1 Bb clarinet using his latest Mk 5 pads. 
Andy is a genius, not only is he a wonderful soloist/clarinet player himself, but is also a marvellous technician. He is able to offer his personal knowledge of playing to advise you and then execute the highest level of workmanship to his repairs, modifications and overhauls. He is very easy to communicate with, and from the very outset, it is clear that he knows everything there is to know about clarinets. He is also able to offer advise on everything from posture to mouthpiece choice, (I am now using a Brad Behn mouthpiece purchased from Andy). 

Thanks so much Andy.

Mike Read – freelance woodwind Specialist and Tutor Leicestershire

Just wanted to drop you a line as promised and tell you how pleased I am with the overhaul you did on my Bb clarinet. The whole thing is balanced beautifully and plays so evenly and smoothly! It responds like a new instrument. It’s always daunting handing over an instrument for repairs, but I know how seriously you take your work and so I knew I could trust you to do your absolute best for me. You didn’t disappoint! Your patience in helping me get to the bottom of an issue which had been plaguing me (and other instrument technicians!) for months was greatly appreciated. I can’t wait to get the A done now. Thank you so much for the new lease of life you’ve given to my much-loved Buffet 

Anne Harper – Freelance clarinettist Belfast

Having played on a friend’s clarinet which had been overhauled by Andy using ARCS Mk 5 pads I quickly came to the conclusion that my clarinets were in desperate need of them! I had played on the factory standard clarinets for nearly 4 years, and it had become clear that I had grown accustomed to the problems of the instruments, such as not sealing properly or having to be quite forceful in my finger work; basically putting in 100% and only getting out 50%. I can’t recommend enough the benefit of Andy’s work. Now my clarinets work so much more fluid and with very little effort I am able to get 100% out of my instruments every day. I played in a concert straight after the work had been done and the difference is staggering! Thanks Andy 🙂

Ciaran McQuaid – Sub-Principal of Ulster Orchestra Belfast

I can recommend Andrew Robert’s work wholeheartedly.
As a parent of a talented 13 year old clarinettist the idea of needing to send off a pair of clarinets for an £800 overhaul when we had recently paid £6,000 for them was excruciatingly painful. After all, last year’s ‘service’ had only cost £30, they were almost new weren’t they?
I now see it a different way….Why on earth WOULD you pay that much for a pair of clarinets and then have them function at substandard level? 
We were literally blown away by the level of service that Andrew provides. Not only the detail of his concern that the instruments were working absolutely to their potential, but the concern for my son’s developing hand position, and the problems he has had with his teeth; showing him how to improve his embouchure and texting reminders about how important that is. Finally, selecting exactly the right new mouthpiece for him (and offering a trial period)  even providing a tailor-made service by text supporting us in selecting reeds to match the new mouthpiece.
Andrew Roberts is not only a genius, but a kind, thoughtful professional who really cares for every one of his clients. It is 6 1/2 hours round trip from our house to Andrew Roberts residence, but he has a customer for life.
Jane Mitchell – Mother of National Youth Orchestra Clarinettist & Professional Recorder Teacher/Player

I’ve just had my old Selmer Bass clarinet and Eb clarinet overhauled by ARCS and have never enjoyed playing the bass more since then. The instrument is beautifully transformed, with exceptionally quiet key work and incredibly well-sealing pads, making it a pleasure to play. I have friends with new(ish) Selmer basses who are now quite jealous of my old bass! I would recommend ARCS to you as a brilliant investment well worth it. I can’t wait to get my Bb and A instruments done also.

Helen Pierce – Freelance Clarinettist London

I have the good fortune and privilege of knowing Andy thanks to Francesco Paolo Scola, after trying his clarinets overhauled by ARCS, I realized that my instruments did not play as they should. After 4 years my intruments have just been overhauled again by ARCS, the instruments now resonate far more and are much more fluid and easy, thanks to the unique new pads that Andy makes himself. I have tried many repairers in Germany, Italy, Switzerland … but I don’t know anyone who works to such a high standard and with such passion. Many clarinetists in europe have now tried my “new” clarinets, and were amazed how easy they were to play. The clarinet becomes much more fluid and homogeneous in all registers, allowing the clarinettist to have fun and enjoy their clarinet. I’ve never been so comfortable playing. I invite all my clarinet friends to give their clarinets the ARCS treatment! Grazie mille amico mio!

Alessandro Cirrito – Principal Clarinet Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana

Ah, my dear old banger! My 48-year-old Moenig bass clarinet has seen and done much around the world, and was rapidly slipping into its dotage: over the years soft metal gradually altering venting, hence tuning, response and finger pressure requirements; tiny cracks emerging; appearance becoming shabby. Over the hill like John Wayne and the cavalry rode the (almost) unflappable Andrew. How he kept his cool with what I had thrown at him I don’t know. Perhaps it was as well I wasn’t around to find  out. He rebuilt all sorts; repositioned holes; repadded the lot; somehow managed to make dodgy key work revert to original positions (or better) with barely any protests from it (I dread to think what A said to it, though!); discovered and sorted tiny cracks…You name it he did it, and did it so expertly that amazingly many things were an improvement on the original when it started life for £208 all those years ago. And it is shiny again too! Many thanks Andrew, for your intimate knowledge of instruments, your skill – and patience in the face of serious adversity!

Ian Mitchell – Clarinettist, Director of Gemini

Andy is a genius….

He has once again made my clarinet feel like it works even better than a new one.

I have been struggling when playing my clarinet recently, so I sent it to Andy, I will not let anyone else touch it, he said it was losing 40% of its air tight seal! He has worked his magic, fixing a crack and replacing a tone hole and fitted his new pads and it now feels amazing and so much easier to blow. Thanks Andy

Sally Harrop – Principal Clarinet Orchestra of the Swan & Clarinet tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire

Having put up with incredibly noisy keywork and other mechanical hinderances for quite some time, I knew my clarinets needed some serious attention. My main fear was that in making improvements, the character of my instruments would be changed irreversibly. I saw Andrew’s work on other instruments, and finally took the plunge with my own. I’m so glad I did. As a performer himself he completely understands the requirements of the individual, and sets about finding solutions that work for you. His approach yields fantastic results, blending the knowledge of a master craftsman with a skilful and experienced performer. Playing is now so much more enjoyable with my “new” instruments. Thanks Andy!

Andrew Mason – Clarinet Opera North & ABRSM Examiner

There is no other Clarinet technician that creates, modifies, and repairs instruments to such a high standard as Andrew Roberts.

I have been using ARCS for a number of years now, and every time I return, the quality of my instrument increases exponentially. Andrew integrates new and innovative ideas into his work. He uses his experiences as a professional player as a basis to create unique styles of clarinet modification, which directly responds to the growing needs and demands of the twenty first century clarinettist.

I have yet to find any other clarinet manufacturer or technician that creates a result as this; playing has become enjoyable again. I no longer feel restricted by instrumental limitations. From new pad material to barrel manufacture and extremely high standards in his work, Andrew endeavours to do all he can for his clients. My own playing has been taken to a level I never thought possible. I would recommend ARCS to anyone and everyone!

Emma Haughton – Freelance Clarinettist Manchester

I got to try my clarinet late yesterday evening, playing through some scales, arpeggios and so on.

I am very pleased by everything you have done, and also very surprised by the difference in quality of the clarinet. It is now better than ever, truly amazing, and such a wonderful experience to play, it’s so quiet! There is hardly any “mechanical” sound from it all now, so I presume that must be because of the new pads. The throat b flat is also better than ever; perfectly in tune and clearer than it’s ever been. Overall the clarinet seems just so much smoother and somehow “easier” to play than before, with quite an extraordinary response. As far as I can tell it’s better than it’s ever been, and certainly by far the best clarinet I have ever played.

Thank you so very much for the work you have done on it. I honestly hadn’t expected my clarinet ever to be as good as this!

Pathik Strand

Following the ARCS work undertaken on his 1960’s Buffet R13 clarinets, the world famous mouthpiece maker and Principal Clarinettist of the Oklahoma City Philharmonic Orchestra Brad Behn wrote the following I know of no other high-level clarinet repair technician who performs with as much frequency and in as many high-level ensembles.  Andrew Roberts is on stage on a weekly basis!  And through his extraordinary professional experiences his repair service is informed in a way that brings very special results.  For this reason, combined with his generous spirit, and intelligent pedagogy, I believe Andrew Roberts is a great resource to clarinetists worldwide. Through an extensive career as soloist, recitalist, and orchestral clarinetist, Andrew has learned first-hand the huge advantages a properly setup and personalized instrument can have over your performance life.  And so his desire as a craftsman, and artisan is to customize his work to your individual needs, preferences and sensibilities.  When Andrew begins your instrument’s service, he communicates with you; he discusses how you would like your instrument’s setup. Andrew addresses each service comprehensively.  From key height, ergonomics, thumb position, to your instrument’s intonational tendencies, tone and response, he skillfully addresses your wishes with precision and beauty of craftsmanship.     I am very pleased with the work Andrew did on my two clarinets.  They are both older instruments which needed much care and some intonational improvements to allow me to use them.  To my amazement, he made them both play beautifully and they now serve me in my orchestra.  Andrew not only made unusable instruments play beautifully, but he actually moved a tone hole to fix some major intonation problems, he totally repadded both instruments with his bespoke super-quiet pads, made in-house, achieved the best seal I have ever experienced, and mechanically setup my clarinets with wonderful key motion.  And not only that, Andrew was able to enhance the spirits of these very special instruments; their unique voices as manifested through their combination of sound, response, and tonal character are now even more beautifully stated.  Andrew’s service allowed me to experience the truth in my instruments, in an inspired way.  I can now have a relationship with these clarinets which will allow my artistry to unfold with a confident adventurous enthusiasm.  

Thank you my good friend Andrew! Sincerely, Bradford Behn

I’d been experiencing problems with my A clarinet for a few months (flat throat notes, sharp right hand,) before a chance meeting with Andy in London. The instrument had become very stuffy, the intonation was inconsistent and I was finding it very difficult to articulate in the high register. Andy made some suggestions as to the cause of some of the intonation and articulation problems.
I arranged to see Andy at his workshop in Liverpool to see what could be done to correct the tuning. We experimented with different length speaker tubes until the right hand intonation had dropped and the throat notes raised.
Thoroughly cleaning out the throat note tone holes and replacing my old blown out barrel, made further improvements. Unfortunately there was not enough time that evening to complete all the necessary work, but I returned to London with a greatly improved instrument.
Since then Andy has given it a complete overhaul and I’m delighted with the results. Having discovered a tiny hole and 3 cracks under the cork of the middle joint tenon, a metal socket was made and fitted to prevent further cracks occurring. He replaced all the pads with his own design ARCS pads and re made every tone hole to ensure they were all airtight.
It’s retained the warm sound that I liked about it when I first bought it, but now the articulation has improved in the high register, the sound is even throughout all the registers (it had become very thin in the high register,) and the intonation is where I’d expect it to be.
I’m enjoying playing my `A` again and feel as though I’ve rediscovered a long lost friend. Thanks Andy!

Marina Finnamore, Principal Bass Clarinet – Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden London

“I have been very fortunate for over two decades to have Andrew Roberts as a friend and clarinet colleague in his capacity as a very gifted player and also as a craftsman and clarinet technician of painstaking quality.
“I deliberately do not use the term “repair man” because Andrew is much more than that. He has been looking after my aging Leblanc clarinets for many years now (at least 10) and has miraculously kept them in fine enough condition to enable me to play at the highest level possible. I have recorded 3 solo albums using the clarinets he has personally vetted and tweaked and also they have had to cope with a witheringly exhausting (mechanically speaking) Welsh National Opera schedule (I am the W.N.O. Principal Clarinettist).
“His workmanship and attention to minute detail is supreme and he manages to lift my clarinets into a new lease of life every time I see him – whether just a simple maintenance job or complete overhaul Andrew gives his fullest attention and care to the task.
“I cannot recommend his ARCS service more highly. It is worth every penny – perhaps on paper it looks as if the service is more expensive than some overhauls but in my experience the cost is negligible compared to the standard of workmanship he delivers. Top professionals and students alike will see and hear for themselves the difference between an ARCS overhaul and a cheaper inferior less comprehensive service. If you want the best you sometimes have to pay a little extra but having said that Andrew’s rates are very reasonable indeed especially given the time and care he takes over the slightest job.
“I shall continue using ARCS for many years to come.
Leslie Craven – Former Principal Clarinet of WNO

“I have known Andrew personally and as a clarinetist of the highest calibre for the the last 25 years. It was for this reason that I chose him to work on my instruments; he is a performer who understands others needs and expectations.
He was always interested in the mechanics of the clarinet and experimenting on his own instruments in those early days and has since gone onto develop that passion into a real expertise and service to others.
I was shocked to discover, using the latest technology, how my well worn instrument had a leakage of 50%!
Using his new pads it sealed perfectly and immediately performed wonderfully on a humid tour of Thailand and the dry Middle East. Better than the day I bought them in fact.
I have no hesitation in endorsing and recommending ARCS to anyone who is serious about improving their instruments and making their performing life easier.

Nicholas Foster – Freelance Clarinet and Saxophone

“Les Craven had told me about Andy’s unique method of overhauling clarinets at a time when my E flat was in need of repair. When I got it back it was literally like a different instrument – far better than new. It is testimony to how pleased I was that within 2 weeks of this I had booked in my B flat and A clarinets for the same treatment. I now have them back and they are playing better than I knew clarinets could play. Now that Andy has attended to all the sealing and venting I feel that an obstacle between myself and the music has been removed. It is his attention to tiny detail that makes the huge difference. I would recommend this service to anyone who is serious about getting the best out of themselves and their instrument.”
Jane Calderbank – Glyndebourne Touring Opera

“I would like to recommend the clarinet overhaul to any professional clarinettist. Andy’s service is excellent; it covers every single aspect with great detail and care to ensure that the instrument plays to its full potential. Now my clarinet is air-tight it allows me to persuade it to play in the way that I want it to. It responds instantly at all ranges and dynamics and is no longer stuffy and resistant The main difference is being able to perform without being distracted by the flaws of the clarinet-I no longer have noisy keys or poor intonation that I have to compensate for. Thework on the tone holes has improved the intonation vastly and it is such a nice change to play a clarinet that is actually in tune! Aside from the brilliant technical work, Andy sent my clarinet back beautifully polished and looking brand new!”
Emily Heathcote

“I almost didn’t believe they were my clarinets when I opened the box – they looked at least 10 years younger! Andrew has done a great job with my Selmer Recital clarinets. I am very fond of these instruments, but after 15 years of heavy professional use, they were getting to the stage where I thought they might be approaching retirement if something wasn’t done soon, and now they have been given a new lease of life. On an aesthetic level they look wonderful. I have had quite a few keys re-plated and the rest have been polished to a lovely shine. But the best improvement is in their feel when I play. Andrew has regulated the key-work and springing so that they feel even and responsive, without any slack. The pads seal perfectly so that the instruments respond immediately at every dynamic level.
Some excellent repairers have worked on my clarinets in the past, but I think that Andrew’s attention to detail and, (as a fine clarinettist himself) his knowledge of what sounds and feels right, makes his repair service special. I don’t think my clarinets have ever been this good.”

Daniel Rye – Freelance clarinettist

“Since having my clarinet overhauled by Andrew Roberts I have noticed a huge improvement in my instrument’s performance and, as a result, my standard of performance. I hadn’t realised that my ten year old Leblanc Opus had so many small imperfections that were making my life as a musician more difficult than it needed to be.
Before its service the most noticeable problem was the noisiness of the keys, but the keywork is now virtually silent. The smooth keywork action has made my legato playing much more fluent, and playing really smoothly over the break and in other difficult areas now seems effortless. As there is much less movement in the keys I find that my fingers can relax more as they have to travel smaller distances.
Another huge difference has been the improved tuning in all registers, most noticeably on the throat notes and the altissimo notes. I used to have to compensate quite noticeably to make these notes reasonably in tune, but I now find that I can play with the same embouchure and set up on all notes without having to adjust in order to be in tune. When my friends and colleagues have tried the instrument they have immediately commented on the marked improvement that this service has made and I would highly recommend it to anyone… you will feel like you have a brand new instrument in perfect playing order! I think it’s a small price to pay for such a thorough overhaul and I’m already saving to have my other clarinets done! ”
Jude Hood – Freelance musician and teacher in Birmingham