The final stop in my northeastern repair shop visits was Perry Ritter Woodwind Repair and Sales in New York City. Perry prides himself on being old school, and he has worked on everyone’s horn from Sonny Rollins through local teachers that he’s known for years. He’s the best kind of old school because he uses classic techniques but also has plenty of modern tools, like a lathe and a mill. When you go to Perry’s shop, it’s in the jewelry district, so when you get to the building, you go through a turnstyle and there’s surveillance cameras everywhere. There’s a long hallway with door after door of jewelers, and the you find Perry’s shop. He chose this area because there are similar traits in the jewelry industry, and the space allow him to use torches and various tools.
Perry’s known for his woodwind work, which he has been doing in New York City for 38 years now. He has lots of horns on the wall for sale. He shared stories about old times and what it used to be like in NYC when it was a jazz haven. He also shared some wisdom with me about what it’s like to work for older guys who’ve been in the industry longer than I’ve been alive, and the differences in their preferences. Another interesting thing is that when you call Perry Ritter Woodwind Repair, Perry’s the one who answers the phone and he’s the one doing the repairs, and his active involvement in all areas of his business is unique. I gave him a set of RooPad EXTREMES that he’s going to try and I look forward to hearing his thoughts.
Perry is not only a repair technician, though. He makes whimsical art from spare parts of wind instruments. There are reptilian sculptures made out of saxophones, mobiles hanging from the ceiling, and cool art that woodwind fans will like.