Saxquest in St. Louis is nationally known for saxophone repair. Saxquest’s repairman Chris Funck meets superstar saxophonists and sometimes fixes up their instruments.
By Matt Woods
(St. Louis) Branford Marsalis, one of the most well-known jazz instrumentalists of
all time, played a gig at Sheldon Concert Hall. His saxophone needed some repairs so he brought it in to Saxquest for Chris Funck and the repair team.
Funck has spent over 25 years in the repair business. His mechanical background led him to Saxquest, where he meets dozens of famous performers every year.
Jeff Coffin from the Dave Matthews Band, grammy-award winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and Bob Sheppard from Steely Dan are just a few of the dozens of famous performers Funck has met while at Saxquest.
Funck also repairs instruments sent to him from customers all over the world. Not every instrument brought in is an easy fix.
“(Sometimes) we’re twiddling our thumbs going, how are we going to fix this one?” Funck said.
Funck’s family passed the repair trade down to him. His grandfather owned a repair shop and his dad and uncle worked in the business as well.
Saxquest currently displays a museum upstairs from the shop that contains more than 100 vintage saxophones. Some of the instruments Funck handles date back to the 1700’s and are rare like the ones displayed in the museum.
Mark Overton, owner of Saxquest, started collecting vintage saxophones in his home before he made the museum. He wants to reveal the importance and history of the instrument.
“The whole goal for the museum is to preserve the past and highlight and showcase the instrument in the present,” Overton said.
Some of the saxophones featured in the museum are over 100 years old and are not in
the best condition. That’s where Funck’s skills come in.
“(We’re) bringing stuff back to life ya know, that most people think is irreparable,” Funck said.
Funck recently restored a pre-1920 Conn New Wonder saxophone.
“We do a variety of ethnic instruments and oddball stuff that’s museum quality and old,” Funck said.
Funck said the best part about his job is that it’s hands on.
“I don’t care if I was fixing this (saxophone) or wrenching, ya know, a toilet or something,” Funck said. “I just like repairing stuff.”
Funck says at the end of the day the bottom line is to put the instruments back in the hands of the owner and sounding like new.
Saxquest is located at 2114 Cherokee St in St. Louis.