A clef-er solution is instrumental in helping a true craftsman

Musical Instrument Makers Hanson Instruments was founded in 1989 by Alastair Hanson with support from The Prince’s Trust.  More than twenty-five years on and still based in Marsden, Hanson Musical Instruments are recognised amongst the finest in the world with considerable international acclaim. On visiting the workshop you can often hear Alastair playing a clarinet or sax,  however, his ‘first study’ is actually in brass instruments. He has played with some of the best brass bands, in professional orchestras and as a soloist. So you can imagine how delighted we were when Alastair paid a visit to Allegro Optical Opticians, just over the hill in Meltham. Alastair had recently repaired Sheryl’s cornet and following a conversation with Steve, he felt it would be a good idea to get an eye test and some new spectacles.

In Detail

Alastair doesn’t have a particularly high prescription, but working with small instrument parts and screws can be problematic. In fact, the conversation about small screws digressed quite a bit, as Alastair and Sheryl got into quite a conversation about sourcing such small screws. It seems these two “Screw Geeks” have a shared interest. Small screws, who’d have thought, it’s just another overlap of Music and Optics! Being someone who is always on the go Alastair needs to be able to focus on many different distances during his working day. From crafting his beautiful instruments to looking at the computer and moving around the workshop, he needs to be able to focus clearly. For this reason, we dispensed him with our performers’ lenses as his working distances are very similar to a French Horn players. In addition to the performers’ spectacles, we dispensed a pair of single vision glasses for very close work, when inserting those all important small screws. By doing this we have given Alastair the magnification he needs for those very intricate tasks.  Allowing him to work in comfort and with confidence.

Clear vision ahead

Hansons are a small company with a big reputation for high quality, value and ethical and sustainable working practices.  In fact, they won a special award from the Forest Stewardship Council FSC. They went on to become the world’s first FSC Certified maker of woodwind instruments in 2011,  a landmark in sustainable musical instrument manufacturing. At Allegro Optical Opticians we love to work with other organisations who are as passionate as we are and share the same values. We can also vouch for the quality of their workmanship and the service is second to none. We contacted Alastair a few weeks after he collected his glasses and asked him about his vision now.  He said, “It’s very nice to be able to see what I’m doing when setting the smallest of screws in our flutes and our customers appreciate it too!”


Focusing at many different distances can pose a real problem for craftsmen like Alastair. Many struggle to focus clearly at varying distances they work with and with the very intricate work. In fact, many craftsmen also suffer from postural problems as a result. Dispensing the right solution for the job is important as the last thing Alastair needs is to be worrying about seeing things when he is creating a beautiful instrument.

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