Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 87 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,409 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Got my sax back the other day (Selmer USA tenor) after 14 weeks in the shop for an overhaul - no buffing or lacquer, of course. I've been working on it ever since but I think its about ready to go to work now. I'll cut to the chase - the worst thing I found was pivot screws left loose on purpose so the keys would work. I spent two hours today reshaping the point ends on three pivot screws by hand so they could be tightened without jamming the keys. I only discovered that while doing a routine screw check after finishing all the other stuff I had to do to it.
There was a bad leak on G# - it wouldn't close all the way by itself. I tweaked some springs but it was something else - I had noticed earlier that he had bent the tabs on the G# key up at an angle - but that had slipped my mind. That's what it was - I had to unbend them just a hair so the G# key could rise enough to let the key close. I hate to see those tabs bent - only so many times then they break off and you're up the creek.
The G key and touch were too high and the cup would hit the bell key rods if I let it snap up, so there was also lost motion under the G arm. I added a little cork at the body octave which lowered the key, lined up the upper stack touches and quieted the action. I had to add a little piece of cork on the low C# linkage to stop bounce and to quiet. I tweaked the low C# spring a little. Speaking of G#, he had a cork under the foot which was loud and too thin as it let the key travel past the point of maximum opening. I replaced it with a thicker felt.
I thinned the cork under the octave key so the body octave pad would rise a little higher. This is done by pulling a thin one-sided sandpaper strip under the cork with the smooth side to the horn so the thinned cork takes on the curve of the body.
They put a new cork on the neck after giving them written instructions not to mess with it. The reason I didn't want them working on it is its a Sterling silver neck, and I knew they would attack the cork with sharp steel instruments and scratch/gouge the hell out of the neck. When I do it I start by pushing the cork with my thumbs to open a little gap, then applying 'Goof-Off' solvent which dissolves contact cement without affecting lacquer. Then I can simply push the cork, mostly intact, right off the neck without leaving the slightest mark. I know they gouged the neck but they managed to cover it up with cork all except one scratch.
I think I've overlooked a couple of things I fixed but you get the idea - I sure am glad I can do a few things for myself without having to drive the horn back to the shop two or three times.
Hey, maybe this is a new business for me - fixing saxes after they come out of the shop! Hell, I've been doing it for fifty years so I'm very experienced!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Boy, do you ever need to find a new repair person.

I have found this kind of nonsense in the past, and I never do business with that person again. My personal favorite was the guy who, when I took in my Conn tenor for a couple leaky pads, proceeded to steal all the little set screws. If you're not familiar with these old Conns, it takes about 15 minutes of playing that way before pivot screws back out and parts start falling off. He claimed "those screws are not necessary" and basically refused to put them back in. So, I was done.

A few more incidents like this and I started doing everything except dent work myself.

For that matter, if there's no refinishing to do, what takes 14 weeks?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,269 Posts
I hate to read stuff like this...you should have seen my horn, a King super 20 tenor, when I got it back from this idiot that had been recommended by someone on here to go see out here in LA for an overhaul...the horn barely played when I first got it. A bunch of keys made a bunch of clanking noises, "hey what is this crap" I said...The Idiot responds "bring it back if you don't like the way that it plays, and I'll tweak it for ya", lol. I was told the overhaul would take 2 weeks, idiot ended up taking 9 weeks.

There were a bunch of screws that I had to screw in, otherwise the keys would have fallen out. Idiot used the old felt, old cork when he put the horn back together, plus he didn't wash the horn, like I acts him too. The horn was a big mess!

Anyway, I got a different repair person who said the sax had lot's of problems, he completely took it apart, washed it, which the idiot did not do, checked out the tone-holes, etc...and was put back together the way it should be, with all new felts, corks, and now this Super 20 is now my main gigging horn, it's now a [email protected]@ playa!:bluewink:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,960 Posts
Boy, do you ever need to find a new repair person.
Yup. You have before expressed unsatisfactory work from your tech(s). Not sure if this is one tech, or multiple you have used in past, but...
You need to find someone you can trust. Seems you are extremely unsatisfied with the folks you have been using...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,960 Posts
And regarding the time a tech actually HOLDS your horn at the shop BEFORE actually working on it.

I NEVER understood this. If the tech knows he/she cannot get to the horn for several weeks....put customer name on the schedule, take a small deposit, and tell customer to return with horn in 2,3, 4 etc. weeks w/ horn, when the bench time is scheduled.

IMHO....there's just NO reason for a tech to keep someone's axe on his/her shelf for weeks and weeks when he/she has no intention of getting to it for a while. Unless owner is fine with that and has no conceivable need for the horn.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,010 Posts
Do you mind my asking how much you paid for that overhaul? lf you know so much why don't you do overhaul's yourself and save all that time money and hassle? Obviously you have the attention to detail that it requires. Any truly competent tech would have caught and addressed all of those issues before returning a sax to a customer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
252 Posts
25 years ago I had a beautiful Mark VI alto with needed a complete overhaul. When I picked it up the lacquer had been scorched off all the pad keys. When I complained he basically shrugged his shoulders. And it was leaky as well. I asked for him to fix the leaks and he did so under protest and it still didn't play properly afterwards. It was at that point I made the same decision as Turf3 - learn how to do most things yourself and for the things that require specialized equipment go elsewhere. But getting back to the thread, how can someone release a horn to a client in such poor shape? Did they even play it? It really is nonsense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,800 Posts
Gary,
Maybe you need to share the name of the tech that perpetrated this mess with the rest of us Virginians so we'll know who to stay away from!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,409 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Hey, I just finally finished the last tweak which turned out to be perhaps the most critical one for playability and tone. I wasn't satisfied with yesterday's practice - reeds didn't want to play and the horn was thin and reedy. I decided to throw it back on the table and check out the places that had the loose screws. Everything was free except the side F# which had a slight drag. I realized that pad was blowing open/not sealing so I spent a few minutes on both pivot screws and got it just right. Then I played it again and it was like night and day - suddenly all my reeds are fighting to get into the 'good' Reed Guard! So, I took it back to the table and finished up (if you can ever say you're 'finished' with a sax - its always something) by giving it a lube with my super-secret stuff. Played it again and I'm getting very excited about my upcoming gigs. Checked it on the tuner again and at room temperature it is basically on the money with the mouthpiece about 1/8" back from where I had been playing it. This has nothing to do with the overhaul - its about the neck change and the fact that I had four or five cold gigs in a row toward the end of the year.

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,935 Posts
Got my sax back the other day (Selmer USA tenor) after 14 weeks in the shop for an overhaul - no buffing or lacquer, of course. I've been working on it ever since but I think its about ready to go to work now. I'll cut to the chase - the worst thing I found was pivot screws left loose on purpose so the keys would work. I spent two hours today reshaping the point ends on three pivot screws by hand so they could be tightened without jamming the keys. I only discovered that while doing a routine screw check after finishing all the other stuff I had to do to it.
That sounds like they swedged the tube, then machined the end flat - but failed to ream the depth of the pivot receiver. Reshaping the pivot screws means that you now have to ensure which screw goes where if/when you disassemble it for the next cleaning and lube.

When Matt Stohrer rebuilt my Borgani, he rebuilt the pivots and reamed each one to make it right. For me, that’s the ultimate way to go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,010 Posts
That sounds like they swedged the tube, then machined the end flat - but failed to ream the depth of the pivot receiver. Reshaping the pivot screws means that you now have to ensure which screw goes where if/when you disassemble it for the next cleaning and lube.

When Matt Stohrer rebuilt my Borgani, he rebuilt the pivots and reamed each one to make it right. For me, that’s the ultimate way to go.
Due to the differences in wear of the pivot screws on any well used saxophone it is always a good idea to return the pivot screw to it's original post even if the screw has not been modified. On overhauls and repads I typically don't remove the screws at all and just clean an oil the threads during re-assembly. Well equipped techs should have a set of hinge rod reamers that match the contour of common pivot screws. Another option that is available is to make a small brass washer to keep the pivot screw from traveling as far, but it takes longer than using the reamer and there is the chance the tiny washer can get lost.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,935 Posts
In no way would I want to have shim washers in those locations.

I, too, tend to leave most pivot screws in place in the posts when doing a clean and relube.

I don’t see how filing a pivot screw could hope to maintain the correct profile and center. It could happen, but I’d rather see it done right.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,450 Posts
"I, too, tend to leave most pivot screws in place in the posts when doing a clean and relube."

I've always wondered about this. I've seen Music Medic's disassembly boards, but I've always left screws in their posts for fear of doing anything else would simply be another way for me to lose things. I'm glad now to know I wasn't simply being lazy...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,409 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Yes, when I take one down it is SOP to put the pivot screws right back where they came from, so if I take this one down at some point the modified screws will stay in the right places. I also leave the palm key hinge rods in place assuming they are correct - when they are mixed up, sometimes one will stick out a little. I think Dr. G nailed down exactly what happened because they did a really good job of tightening up the action - it feels like a factory-new horn. Other aspects of the job were very good too; they were very careful with the tone hole leveling, dent work was acceptable, they used the correct .160" pads for Selmer USA and did a credible job on the corks and felts except for glaring issues they left - by and large the stacks worked properly and had no lost vertical motion. Spring tensions were good for the most part. For some reason the palm keys came out particularly nice - snappy, good tension, not too stiff and correct opening heights for intonation.
So in retrospect I guess the job wasn't as bad as I made out although there is no excuse for turning over a sax with the obvious faults it had. I plan on taking it over there and having a short conference with them where I will point out what I found and show them the fixes. Depending on their reactions I might take another sax there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,010 Posts
"I, too, tend to leave most pivot screws in place in the posts when doing a clean and relube."

I've always wondered about this. I've seen Music Medic's disassembly boards, but I've always left screws in their posts for fear of doing anything else would simply be another way for me to lose things. I'm glad now to know I wasn't simply being lazy...
I call it "common sense". I have however, come up with an easy way to remove springs and assign them to posts. One takes a photo of the saxophone and prints it on glossy photo paper and then glues the sheet to a piece of thick corkboard of the type used for bulletin boards or a backing of thick styrofoam. As each spring is removed one just sticks it into the post in the photo where it came from. The same idea could be used for pivot screws if one wished.


View attachment 226874
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,025 Posts
14 weeks to repair a sax shows the general laziness and lack of respect your bad repairman has for you.
I call my guy and ask what’s a good day I can drop it in the morning and get it back that afternoon.
Of course, that isn’t an overhaul, but it’s been as much as replacing some pads and some other adjustments.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,743 Posts
And regarding the time a tech actually HOLDS your horn at the shop BEFORE actually working on it.

I NEVER understood this. If the tech knows he/she cannot get to the horn for several weeks....put customer name on the schedule, take a small deposit, and tell customer to return with horn in 2,3, 4 etc. weeks w/ horn, when the bench time is scheduled.

IMHO....there's just NO reason for a tech to keep someone's axe on his/her shelf for weeks and weeks when he/she has no intention of getting to it for a while. Unless owner is fine with that and has no conceivable need for the horn.
Yes! My guy gives me a day and time to bring it in and has it ready the same day for a routine COA and change a pad or two. Keeping a horn for months and leaving it on a shelf is wasting valuable time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,010 Posts
And regarding the time a tech actually HOLDS your horn at the shop BEFORE actually working on it.

I NEVER understood this. If the tech knows he/she cannot get to the horn for several weeks....put customer name on the schedule, take a small deposit, and tell customer to return with horn in 2,3, 4 etc. weeks w/ horn, when the bench time is scheduled.

IMHO....there's just NO reason for a tech to keep someone's axe on his/her shelf for weeks and weeks when he/she has no intention of getting to it for a while. Unless owner is fine with that and has no conceivable need for the horn.
In my own shop all repairs are done by appointment only. Occasionally I will do an impromptu "over the counter" repair or adjustment for a friend or friend of a friend who has a playing emergency. In the repair shop of the music store where I worked for several years the customer brought the instrument in, was given a quote for the cost and then an estimated completion time typically 2 weeks and then the instrument was put in cue and repaired in the order in which it was received. In a high volume repair shop it is virtually impossible to project when in the future a slot will open up in which to do a repair. Some shops will offer "loaner instruments" but ours did not due to the expense and hassle. I might add this was primarily a "play condition shop" that did not take repads and overhauls because they take too much bench time and don't make as much profit as lots of smaller jobs. This turned out to be one of the reasons I left and opened up my own shop, and now all of the customers who need saxophone repads and overhauls are referred to me at no charge. In return I agreed to do "overload rental return play conditions" when they get backed up. It was a win, win as far as I am concerned.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
998 Posts
I take appointments, but also over the counter. They can work fine together if you do it right. Assembly boards are a very worth while investment, and they are easy to modify on the drill press if you want to have a place to put springs, or the configuration of a particular model of instrument requires a extra hole. That overhaul was a disaster. Techs like that make all of the other hard working real techs and the profession look bad. They lower the value of what we do, because regardless of what they call it, they are not doing the same thing. I see all too often people that will replace just the pads, but not clean the instrument or replace all the corks, felts, synthetics, etc. let alone fit all the keys, adjust the springs, fit the neck, level all the tone holes, level the cups and center the cups and on and on, then they will try to give the repair they do the same name and charge half or less of what i do. They are a cancer to the trade. The sad part is that the customer just hears that magic word"repad or Overhaul" and a low ball price and goes for it. That doesn't justify people who raise their prices just for so they can claim to be the best, but sometimes you get what you pay for, I sure hope the OP didn't pay much for what was delivered. 14 weeks, really? I have had instruments in the shop longer, but only when the customer took a long time responding to estimates or making a deposit on a job. 14 weeks is a crazy long time though. Can't imagine how they stay in business.
 
1 - 20 of 87 Posts
Top