Sax on the Web - Forum Archive / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / SML rebuild

User ID: 0701364
Dec 12th 6:31 PM
I have a gold medal SML tenor and I am going to have it rebuilt. Is there anyone who is more experienced rebuilding SML's than others?Also if anyone has any suggestions on what pads and resonators to use for jazz,I would appreciate it too.
Thanks, Steve
User ID: 0624334
Dec 12th 8:47 PM
Yes, I've spoken with Roberto's in NY and with Saul Fromkin in Sarasota, Fl. Also, Jay Clark at 4Winds in Berkley, CA. All have experience with rebuilding SML's. (Saul used to work on Sam Rivers' SML...)
Out of curiousity, how far back does yours go? Have you had it for a while, or is it a newer acquisition??
User ID: 9182423
Dec 13th 9:12 AM
Any competent tech should be able to overhaul this horn. I an not so sure that anyone is an expert in the USA at working on SML's. There are just not that many around.
Where do you live perhaps someone can recommend someone local.
User ID: 0701364
Dec 13th 10:04 AM
I bought this sax a year ago.The ser number is 18870. I live in Utica, New York.
Joseph Dec 14th 11:01 AM
I'm not a pro, so all of this is just someone's opinion. Anyways, I bought a SML tenor, S/N 8xxx which came with dark brown plastic domed resonators. I repadded the instrument,using selmer metal dome resonators. When I got the instrument back, the sound was a lot brighter, and I felt it was too bright, and that I had lost the sound that I had originally bought the horn for.
Since then, I have purchased a King Tenor Super 20, S/N 399,000 with a silver neck. Again the King has plastic domed resonators on the main stack and no resonators on any of the side keys. The King is loud enough, but has a darker complex sound, that is closer to what I want.
In my opinion bright is not always the best, even for a jazz sound. SML's are heavy walled instruments, I estimate that mine weighs 20% more than my king. It gets loud! Loud is not the point, I want complexity, and something throaty and yet focused.(sorry for the lack of precision). You know how they say, to get a concept of the sound you want, and then learn how to play it. Well that's what we're doing. It's important. I would also consider no resonators at all on the lower stack,just resonators G and above.
P.S. You may think, well let me get metal resonators, get the volume up and then get a mouthpiece that has a larger rounder, more classical chamber. I tried this, without success. I think its better to start with a dark horn, as long as it has some resonant volume, and then find a good mouthpiece with a baffle that gives the sound some interest. Anyways good luck!
User ID: 8562343
Dec 14th 1:57 PM
Joseph, I like your comments about looking for a complexity to your tone. I agree that this is difficult to describe, but this is a main reason that I returned to Selmers after playing Keilwerth's for a few years. It's easy to get a big sound on a Keilwerth, but the complexity is missing (for me, with my set-ups, and all the other usual disclaimers).
User ID: 9976863
Dec 15th 1:11 AM
My SML tenor has medium sized flat metal resonators and it gives me a lovely, dark sound. I believe on one of these threads Fred Cicetti revealed what the original factory resonators were on his tenor and alto "finds."
User ID: 3417814
Dec 16th 1:07 AM
I'm not a pro-repairman, but it is my passionate hobby to overhaul saxes, mostly SML's. Personnally I think you must be careful not to overestimate the influence of resonators on the sound of a horn. Generally there is an important improvement of the sound quality after an overhaul, even when no pads have been replaced. In my opinion ohter factors are more important, like tight and well-adjusted keywork for a perfect seat of the pads on the tone-holes, and to avoid unwanted vibrations of keywork-parts. Also new felts, good-quality cork and optimal oiling and greasing let the main tube vibrate freely and produce a purer sound. After an overhaul a sax responds much easier than before, so that you can concentrate on the quality, and not on the production of a tone. And don't forget, a clean and glossy horn suonds better in your ears (or eyes??)than a dull, black, sticky and stinky one. But let's get back to the pads.
So far I have never replaced all the pads on a horn, but only the torn, hard or deformed ones. Then I strictly use original Selmer pads with nylon dome-shaped resonators. They have a thikness that fits best in the cups of SML's.
User ID: 0164614
Jan 8th 5:33 AM
I recently had my SML rebuilt and had the metal star resonators replaced with the nylon Selmer dome-shaped resonators and was very pleased with the result. I fully support Rick M's comments and found that with the Selmer domes I would getting a more complex, warmer sound than with the metal which was louder and brasher. I use a Coelho .125 mpc with a Consoli lig and a Superial #2 and get a warm, full, complex sound which I can push to peel off wallpaper without the edge. If I need edge I'll use a Barone Hollywood or metal Link. As a final comment I would be very careful in selecting a tech to rebuild an SML. These horn are not easy to setup and regulate properly. If you get someone who isn't experienced and competent you are taking a big risk with a valuable instrument.
User ID: 0575574
Jan 8th 9:56 AM
To dmfurman, Would you mind telling me who you used for your rebuild? I have to send the horn out anyway so I guess it doesnt matter where I send it. Thanks, Steve
User ID: 0164614
Jan 8th 1:35 PM

I use Jerry Naper out of Allen Park, MI. He does all the Detroit pro's horns. Honest and respected throughout the area. He isn't cheap but you will get what you pay for. Expect to pay between $500-$600 for the rebuild but you won't believe what he can do with a horn. If you want to post your email address I will send you his telephone number and you can discuss particulars with him. By the way, he's a hellofa sax player and knows what players want in a setup.
User ID: 9614573
Jan 22nd 4:25 PM
I'm a repairman in Seattle, 20yrs in fixing saxophones. The SMLs with rolled tone hole need to be repaired by a serious tech. These tone holes are not level and need to be to funtion well with a modern pad. The typical repair job involves filing the tone holes until level, very destuctive. The tone holes can be made mostly level with vitually no metal loss be a skilled tech. I believe the resonators should be replaced with the original style, flat metal - smallish, this will allow the best balance of tone. Important with a brilliant "french" toned instrument like the SML. Can I be of any more help?