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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I have a Selmer BA Tenor that got damaged at 2 points during transit :

1. Dent on Body: It got slight dent on the body tube under pole connecting C/ C#. (Image 1 & 2 attached)
saxophone-1.jpg
saxophone -2 .jpg

2. Body-Bell Brace: One of the solders on the brace came off and the ring is slightly squished. (Image 3)
saxophone-3.jpg

My local tech has suggested removing the body-bow rim to smoothen the area under the pole & remove the full brace to bring it back to position and re-solder it.

I'd like to understand if this is the best way forward or there could be an alternative to repair this sax. Really not sure if removing of rim and full brace is necessary to bring the shape back.

*Just Curious - How much does a dent like that really affect the overall sound or response of the sax?

Thanks for your help in advance!

Best,
V
 

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That is an appropriate approach. It is normally not possible to remove a dent well when double thickness metal is involved, without first changing it to single thickness, hence the unsoldering.

The dent itself will not have a noticeable effect on the sound. However any decent bump on a sax will throw out many adjustments, which are relied upon for accurate pad closing and sealing. IMO a well-adjusted sax is done to an accuracy around .01mm (0.0004") or better. And most players have no idea just how flimsy a sax is; it has to be or it would be too heavy. Leaking pads will have a huge effect on overall sound and response.
 

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IMHO, that dent under the post can be raised up with some judicious dentwork without needing to remove the rib, no problem. Just requires a good bit of pressure in exactly the right spot.

As far as the out of round ring, you can make something a bit like this: http://www.jlsmithco.com/saxophone-tools/selmer-alto-sax-brace-tool

It will need to be different than that one because the angle and size of ring on a BA tenor is different than a VI tenor, which that tool is designed for. In your case, it looks like (and I could be wrong, a picture isn't like having it in front of you) you could clean up the old solder on that ring joint, resolder it, and then use the rounding tool to round it out.

You definitely want to get it fixed, but those problems are not a huge deal- both of them are common dents on those horns.
 

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IMHO, that dent under the post can be raised up with some judicious dentwork without needing to remove the rib, no problem. Just requires a good bit of pressure in exactly the right spot.
I agree. For that specific dent, in that specific location, you should be able to take care of it without removing the rib.

Things become more interesting when the dent is much sharper than the OP's example, or if the rib starts to peel off the body at the location of the dent and the post is no longer square to the rib.

But I also agree completely with Gordon's observation about the general difficulty of working around double layers of metal.[/QUOTE]

In your case, it looks like (and I could be wrong, a picture isn't like having it in front of you) you could clean up the old solder on that ring joint, resolder it, and then use the rounding tool to round it out.
This usually works. But sometimes, even with cleaning up the old solder and using enough flux, new solder still won't flow into the joint.

In the OP's example, is it possible that I'm seeing evidence of a previous resolder attempt? A blob of solder on the outside, with traces of either burnt lacquer or burnt flux? Or am I just looking for trouble? :mrgreen:
 

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I would concur with OP's tech in this case, both instances. Best repair is to remove the ribs and brace escutcheons and make the proper roll-out, then resolder on. Of course, this means there will be loss of lacquer.

Perhaps a tech of Matt's or Scott's ability could disappear that spat dent sans removing the rib...but IMHO more techs would probably end up doing a botch job by trying to avoid unsoldering it first.

My concern on the bellbrace...and again, like Scott perhaps I am inventing further problems which do not exist....but...is there any sign of impaction into the back of the bell ?
 

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Perhaps a tech of Matt's or Scott's ability could disappear that spat dent sans removing the rib...
Just to be clear, there are many instances where I need to remove that rib to do the job right. Skill and experience will only take you so far. This dent looks to be one of the easier ones.

...but IMHO more techs would probably end up doing a botch job by trying to avoid unsoldering it first.
In that case, better to leave it alone or unsolder completely. While I don't condone leaving this kind of problem alone, sometimes the Eb and C keys can still work without removing the dent. Not 100%, of course - you'd still have bent rod and hinge tube issues - but functioning. And you'd preserve all of the lacquer.

Many Selmers I take in for an overhaul seem to have this condition when they arrive. The F# trill rib seems to attract this kind of trauma, too. But none of them leave that way...

I hate seeing bumps pushed up through the body from using the wrong ball or the wrong kind/location of force. A much more difficult repair to make look good.

My concern on the bellbrace...and again, like Scott perhaps I am inventing further problems which do not exist....but...is there any sign of impaction into the back of the bell ?
I wasn't going to say anything, but I thought I saw "something" there and it's possible. Of course it could just be lighting, reflections, and camera angle. As Matt said, having a picture is not the same as having the patient on your exam table.

Hopefully the ovaled ring and broken joint took most of the impact.
 

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Definitely a resoldered ring. Someone already tried to flow some in there, so likely the ring wasn't really attached when it took the recent hit. That sort of damage won't cause a properly soldered ring to pop like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Advice needed on Sax Repair

Thanks for chipping in!

Dent:
The idea of removing body-bow ring to smooth out dent terrifies me as the lacquer is great on the sax. If you closely look at the image below the dent is really light:

sax image2.jpg

Brace:
There is absolutely no damage to body or bell, it could be that solder on ring was not properly done. The ring is also just slightly out of shape, see below image:

IMG_2919.jpg

Is the repair going to be necessary and difficult for a normal tech to accomplish?
 

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You are aware that is a relacquer, right? Looks like a nice job that was done in the 40s or 50s with appropriate lacquer, which is quite common. Not that you should go ahead and burn the lacquer (which I don't think is necessary) because it is, but the way you are talking about it makes me curious is all.

As far as "normal", we all have different skill sets based on what we get asked to do regularly. I regularly get asked to make saxophone dents go away without damaging lacquer since I work primarily on vintage/collectible/unusual horns. But I can't do flute padwork even if I try, and some people find that very easy to do well.

Also, super cool horn. The ones with the adjustment screws on the F# bar are a rare variant.
 

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Good news that there is no impaction into bell or tube. So it seems it's 'just' the O-ring and the spat key rib dent.

Not too terrible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Matt!
Firstly, your videos are really informative and I've never looked at sax with such amount of precise details. As a player, tech information just makes you more comfortable with the instrument.

Yes, I am aware it is a re-lacquer and well done, which is the reason I don't want remove body brace for any repair work. I am just trying to understand how much difference that little impact on rib will make on the sound of the sax if the pads (C/ D#,E) seal well. Or does the dent in that area make it vulnerable to further damage?

And I don't know if it is necessary to repair the ring at all (I can agree that it would be good to have solid round shape of ring).

Thanks for the help once again!

Musically,
V :)
 

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When I look at the second picture (of the out of round brace), I see that the narrower of the two bright reflections above the brace curves in towards the brace. When bottom feeding on Ebay for horns to fix, I always assume that type of reflection means that the impact did dent the body tube. It would be slight, and I wouldn't worry about it too much. But I would make sure that it hasn't put a slight bend in the entire body tube and I would definitely look closely at the surrounding tone chimneys to make sure that they haven't been tweaked. But, following the "do no harm" theory, I wouldn't actually worry about the foot of the brace. The other post dent would concern me.

I have used a dent removal system that is probably unconventional (because I'm not a tech) that has worked for posts that don't have a rib construction. I'll try to explain. It is basically the reverse of a fly-wheel removal tool (which pushes at the center spindle and pulls at the fly-wheel via a threaded bolt). Say the completely stripped down sax is strapped on to the bench like a crazy person on a gurney. I attach to the post that has the dent under it so that I can slowly pull up on that post. I pull up using a threaded system, watching the dent, and releasing the pressure often to see if I am making actual progress. One of two things happens. 1) The post pops off because the solder gives way. If so, I then go traditional and use a dent ball and resolder. Or 2), pulling up on the post removes the dent, or lessens it to the point that I could do no better with another technique (and figuring in the possibility of lacquer damage or a less than perfect solder job). I then check the surrounding tone holes and, if all is okay, start to rebuild.

I've had #2 happen more often, including straightening a slightly curved body tube at the same time (by spacing the tube hold-down points farther apart). It could be dumb blind luck on my part, but my idea was to think of the dent project more like a body shop (or panel beater) straightening the frame on a car. Slowly torque things back in to shape.

I would be reluctant to use this on ribbed construction because of the two possible solder fault points. Ribbed construction makes the post/tube connection sturdier, but makes repair more complex should it be damaged.

Mark
 

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I am just trying to understand how much difference that little impact on rib will make on the sound of the sax if the pads (C/ D#,E) seal well. Or does the dent in that area make it vulnerable to further damage?

And I don't know if it is necessary to repair the ring at all (I can agree that it would be good to have solid round shape of ring).
The dent will affect the sound about as much as bald tires on a car affect the engine- not much. But it will affect how it drives. In your case, the dent on that post has introduced play in the Eb/C mechanism and also slightly moved the Eb and C pads relative to the toneholes, so they are not sealing exactly how they were, and furthermore even if you were to change out the pads now you've got slop in the keywork that shouldn't be there and doesn't need to be. You should get it fixed.

The ring should definitely be fixed as well for a similar reason (and by fixed I assume you mean re-rounded, vs. soldered back together which is obviously and self-evidently important)- the ring being out of round changes the relationship of the bell to the body, and therefore since the low B and low Bb keys are mounted on the body also changes the relationship between the B and Bb pad cups to the toneholes on the bell. If you leave it, someone might bend the B and Bb toneholes to make them centered and level relative to the toneholes, which means that when someone fixes the ring down the road, they will also have to fix bent keys which never needed bent in the first place if the correct repair had just been applied.


Neither of these fixes is a huge deal for someone who deals with horns like this often.


And I am glad you are enjoying my videos!
 
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