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Discussion Starter #1
I feel like my horn needs to constantly be fixed! When I get it back from the repairman, it sounds great, feels great, but maybe a month after that, it feels like there are some leaks in there, extra airiness around the horn. Is this normal? Is there some way I can prevent this? My horn is a Yamaha - 62 II tenor, and I've had it for a year and a half. It's in a protec contoured case, and I'm quite careful with it, although it might get a few bumps on the bus every now and then. How often should I be bringing my sax for maintenance?
 

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i usually bring my horn in for maintenance about once a year, twice when i used to march. My friend has an sa80 series 2 alto and he hasnt had maintenance on it for 3 year. most people get their instruments repaired yearly though
 

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A horn should only need adjusting once a year in general.

There are a few reasons why it might need more frequent adjustment.
It might be that the pads aren't seating properly. There are some methods for seating the pads that rely on over-compressing them. This works fine and gives a good seal...for about a month, after which the pads start to relax and swell. If you're lucky they'll swell up evenly and you won't have a leak - but it will still throw the regulation out, and because the keys will no longer be in relative adjustment to each other they'll leak.

Some players are quite 'grippy' and have a tendency to really crush the keys down. This can put the regulation out if the keys aren't sufficiently stiff enough to tolerate such pressure.

Another possible reason is that the quality of the felts or corks used is poor and they have compressed.

Some horns, like the 62, have adjusting screws on the main stack keys. If the screws are loose they can move, and so throw out the regulation.

You can test for leaks using a cigarette paper:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/LeakyPads.htm


Regards,
 

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When I get it back from the repairman, it sounds great, feels great, but maybe a month after that, it feels like there are some leaks in there, extra airiness around the horn. Is this normal?
Actually, I've found this to be fairly common. I take my horn in about once a year, at most, and I play it a lot. What often happens is a pad or two gets replaced and some adjustments are made. The horn always plays much better, but within a couple of weeks to a month, it sometimes develops a leak (not always, but it's not unusual). I take it back to the tech, he fixes it in about 2 minutes at no charge, and then the horn is good to go for at least another year. What seems to happen is the new pads need to settle in or something. I'm not a tech, but I have a very good one who can do the job.

I'd suggest that whenever you get any major work done, especially new pads or an overhaul, pay attention to how the horn plays for the next month or so, then if there's any indication of leaks, take it back in and get a 'final adjustment.' That will usually do the trick. If you are using a new tech you might ask them about this. Any good tech will readjust the horn for free, if they did the work on the horn.

You shouldn't have to keep taking it back in multiple times, though. I've never had to return more than once in the short term after getting new pads, or whatever.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How can I personally check if there are any leaks in my horn without a leak light? Or at least have have an idea as to how badly damaged/in need of a repair is my horn?
 

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I built a cheap leak light out of 18 inches of LED rope light and a rope light kit for about $15 from Ace or Home Depot.
 

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Another possibility that the horn needs regular adjustment could be the type of case you use to transport/store the sax.

I have a customer who inists on using a reunion blues gig bag and taking the sax to gigs over her shoulder using public transport - bus and tube (underground/metro) it would regularly take a knock at least once a month and need 2 hours work.

I had another customer who kept his MK6 tenor in a shaped selmer case, it was a tight fit, he was always coming round for a tweak a few days after it had been regulated as the low notes were always leaking, I repaied it and suggested he used the original case as I suspected the bell was shifting, and now the isssue has been resolved.
 

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I agree with what Stephen said. And he said it so politely. (Some "technicians" take short cuts and simply do not address the basic adjustment issues, but just clamp keys closed instead.)

More often than once per year, on a regular basis, and sniff for a rat! Or sniff out another technician, whose customers report reliability to you.

"And some players are quite 'grippy' and have a tendency to really crush the keys down."

And they are most likely to learn to do this if the sax is out of adjustment. Chicken and egg situation.

"This can put the regulation out if the keys aren't sufficiently stiff enough to tolerate such pressure."

And the 62 does have quite soft key metal.
 
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