Bellingham Wind Works: My New Favourite Sax Shop

I was visiting friends in the US the weekend before last, and finally was able to make the trek to a music store that I have heard so much about from my friend and sax teacher who also lives south of the border. If you’re a vintage sax lover like myself, Bellingham Wind Works is a store you will fall in love with.

Wind Works has everything a vintage sax player loves: from a great selection of reeds for SATB saxes—which is the reason I went there to begin with—to a nice selection of vintage mouthpieces and ligatures; to a great selection of vintage saxophones. They had so much there that I was tempted by, that I told the owner to please take my credit card away from me and freeze it in water while I played around with some of their inventory. ;) Yes, I was that tempted by some of their offerings.

Bellingham Wind Works is owned by husband and wife team Ed & Kat DeVaney.

Kat assisted me with my Fiberreed purchases and allowed me to try out a couple of the vintage baris that they had for sale on consignment. I tried out a Conn tranny, as well as Noblet. Both were low Bb horns, and neither was in particularly good mechanical shape. (Read: I see lots of work—likely an overhaul—in both of their futures.)

I didn’t let a little thing like lack of good playability deter me though. I tried a bari Vandoren and Theo Wanne Durga MP as well. It did make me wonder though what both of these pieces might do on one of my baritones…. Mmm …

Vintage gear and so much more

If you need it: Wind Works likely has it in stock. If they don’t have it, they can get it for you. Even if what you’re looking for doesn’t exist—E.G. I was looking for a carrying bag for my Hercules bass clarinet stand—then their resourceful and crafty staff person Dave can likely figure out what will work well for your needs.

For a vintage sax lover, being in Bellingham Wind Works is a bit like being a kid in a candy store. Not only do they have vintage saxophones, mouthpieces, and a selection of reeds that is incredible, but their accessory selection is nothing short of remarkable.

For those of us prone to GAS, be warned, reeds could be the gateway drug to Wind Works’ vintage mouthpieces, ligatures, and saxophones. :wink:  So, in that way Ed and Kat aren’t just running your usual mom & pop music shop. Nah, for a vintage sax player like myself they are like a dealer selling my drugs of choice. :lol:

Yup, it took all the control I had not to play-test a curvy Pierret soprano that they had on they had hanging on the wall… Or the Silversonic Super 20, or, or, or….

Because I had very little time to spend in the shop, Ed and I agreed that I would come down and spend an afternoon there in the next couple of months. Truth be told, I could easily spend a day or more there. Their inventory is so great that I could amuse myself for hours in one of their practice rooms trying out all the various interesting horns and mouthpieces. Add ligatures and reeds into the mix and I’ll be booking my Summer 2019 vacation in Bellingham. :mrgreen:

Stay tuned. More updates to come. In the meantime, if you’re looking for something, contact Bellingham Wind Works. They may well be able to help you find what you’re looking for!

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I want to thank all the super helpful staff like Andrea, who made shopping at Bellingham Wind Works such a great experience. Just talking on the phone these days you usually end up speaking with people who often don’t know the products that they’re selling. Not so with Andrea. She knows what she is talking about.

Also a big shout out and thanks to Marcel, for sending me all the photos I used in this article. I’m looking forward to meeting you the next time I’m in the shop.

© 2019, Helen. All rights reserved.

Helen

Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.

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