Shop's Award
Carmine Street

Photo of
Dr Rick

Doing what he does Best!~ Photo courtesy of Professor Edwin Martin Rutgers University

Although the actual street location is now closed the shop continues to
maintain it's online presence and devotion to quality and professionalism

Village Flute and Sax Shop ~ Now drrick.com !


June 2000

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SHOP HISTORY        Sundays   NY Daily News       Centerfold Article        About Dr Rick and the Village Flute and Sax Shop

                     TEXT OF ARTICLE Rick Rajca has a thing for saxophones and all the rest of the woodwinds, and when they hurt he loves to heal them.To the musicians who bring their sick saxes and flutes and clarinets to the Village Flute and Sax Shop on Carmine St. in Greenwich Village, he's Dr. Rick, the man who can bring the timbre back to that twisted tenor, get the buzz out of that beat-up baritone or the screech out of their sopranos. To the neighborhood kids and passersby who look past the giant bass sax in Rajca's shop window and watch him at his workbench, he's a fascinating neighborhood fixture.In a way, his store window is like a window to the past. "This is the last old-time craftsman instrument repair shop on the street in New York City," he said last week, "the last old vintage music shop. I do all custom stuff, stuff that nobody else can fix. I like doing the really difficult repairs." He says he learned the art by necessity. Born in Newark, he picked up a guitar when he was a kid in Middlesex High School and ever since has rarely been without an instrument of sort in his hands. He's always loved flutes and saxes the best. Rajca served in Vietnam and afterward became a full-time musician, first playing on Bourbon St. in New Orleans and then touring around the country with a series of Bands."That's where the trouble is," he said. "in a small town, you bring your horn into some shop to be fixed and it comes out worse, unplayable. So I had to learn to do it myself." He signed up with a highly respected instrument repair school in Union, N.J., then he went to work repairing instruments for the late Charles Ponte, then the proprietor of Chas Ponte Music Co. on W. 46th St. In 1977 Rajca opened his own repair shop. Woodwind problems keep me busy Dr. Rick said. "You know, springs break, pads crack and fall out, things get bent and out of alignment. What you have to do is fix them without changing the timbre of the instrument. "There's an art involved in realigning everything while keeping the tone in consideration," he said. "Not everybody does it." There's also a lot you won't find in books. "Resonances build up over the years in both metal and wood, that's why many of the older instruments have the better sound," he said. "Some shops, they don't even play the instruments, so they have no idea how to get them aligned." Even the walls, ceiling and floor of the repair shop get themselves resonating in a special way, Rick says. "The acoustics in this store are unbelievable," he said. "The shop itself gets to vibrating in a special way, which helps us bring the instruments to the maximum playing potential. The music has been in here for 20 years. This place is very friendly to sounds."

By Don Singleton
New York Daily News
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