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Let the Music Play

Instruments that are guaranteed to sound just right

Article by Sue Baldani

Photography by Thomas Hall

Originally published in Topeka Lifestyle

Jimmy Hayes, owner of Hayes House of Music in Topeka, is an interesting guy. In addition to selling new and used instruments and doing repairs, he’s also been a National Pool Champion, grew up and was best friends with the MVP of Super Bowl 17, John Riggins, and met Robin Williams. He’s led an interesting life and shows no signs of slowing down.

“I’ve been doing repairs since 1967 and can repair any instrument, usually within 24 hours,” says Jimmy. “I stopped counting the number I’ve repaired when I hit 50,000.”

He owes his career to his high school band director, Glenn Axelton, who gave him a job and taught him how to repair instruments. Since then, Jimmy’s invented 15 to 20 instrument repair applications and has a patent on one. He can also make parts for older instruments when none are available. 

Hayes House of Music sells mostly band instruments such as trumpets, saxophones, and trombones, but also guitars, drums and other popular instruments. Every one, whether new or used, comes with a one-year guarantee. “On eBay I specialize in unique instruments such as bass clarinets and baritone saxophones. These also come with a one-year guarantee.” 

Jimmy has done repair work for well-known bands such as the Carpenters,   Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band. He also handles repairs for the musicians at Juilliard, USC, UCLA and all the schools in the Big 10 and Big 12, and the SCC. 

“I’ve sold and repaired instruments on every continent except for Antarctica,” he says.

Jimmy also believes in supporting the community by donating to just about any organization that needs it. “It’s just something that feels right.” 

And, no matter how busy he gets, he always finds time to fish with his grandson, Mighty Max. 

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