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Very interesting, I'm learning a lot about these horns. As for my own excellent tech, I believe that his issue wasn't with the snap-ons so much as the lower stack (dis)assembly, which made the overhaul more challenging somehow.

Then again, I've also read that the B12 has a different mechanism than the B11, so maybe that relatively late innovation was the culprit.
 

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the majority of Dutch repairers don't stock Norton springs replacement ( which was one of the problems with my friend's horn) and they would have to be ordered.

Incidentally, the modern Ferree's replacement are: not-pointed and stainless steel springs whereas the old original were different and gold plated.
See the difference ( picture on top, on the right, are the original springs)





You can certainly change the old springs with new but THAT will also devalue your horn (in the

Juan Canio, a Buescher repair specialist, described years ago how he rebuilt the norton springs because he didn't trust or like the modern replacements.

As for dealing with the snap on, well, some people do ( I've just seen a beautifully repadded straight alto Buescher where all the studs were taken out without damaging them and then new pads were punched one by one and then set.... a long and expensive procedure) but the 3 (not one of them) repairer where my friend brought his horn fell( all 3 ) short of replacing all the pads and the springs.

Mileage may vary, but my account is a faithful and truthful one.

Hey man!

You can get norton springs from Ferree's tools. I would not recommend to do so, they aren't anywhere near the quality of the OEM norton springs. There's also a minor nuance and that's they stock the longer version of each wire gage, so you need to cut them down.

What's one Buescher man to do, you ask? ;) I turn bushings on my lathe. It would be sort of a headless screw with a thru hole of the proper size for you (or a tech) to fit a regular blued needle spring. You install the bushing with Loctite 242 or a similar "permanent" type of thread locker adehesive (hi torque) and after they set you install the springs as you'd do on any "regular" saxophone.

There's many advantages to this, being the nortons either too light or too stiff (if they don't break when you try'n adjust them). Originally they were very, very nice. Buttery action and yet fast response and no stickiness, but after many years and with suitable hi quality replacements unavalible, this is the only option that I find acceptable (being in addition, a reversible mod) There's no unsoldering and filling necessary, so the finish (may that be a concern) soes not suffers with this conversion.

The big, big advantage is that you can set the mechanism to any tension you'd like, in my experience the action feels tighter with no increased stress over the parts and no additional gymnastics involved in playing afterwards.

You can get them bushings from a couple of vendors (Kraus comes to mind) they're as expensive or even a couple of coins more than Ferree's replacement, but after you converted your horn you'll love it, and it's once in a lifetime.

If you can't get them feel free to contact me, also if you're looking for a couple of salvaged VG condition OEM replacements for your horn.
He is not the only one not likeing the new replacemt

If there is a chart, the spring diameters on the chart will not be relevant. The current springs available are not as strong and it is often necessary to go up a size or more to get the same feel.

Of course increasing the diameter of the springs may add some sluggishness to the mechanism. You can work around this, but it is work.
Norton springs come in different sizes and some from windcraft/ferrees are not original stock and do not fit well in my experience - you may be lucky and get one that does.
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This is a picture of the tech recommended by Kenny Z Daniele Bergese he MAKES his own springs. I am sure his production won't be too different from Juan Caino, one of the best Buescher technicians that I know of and a serious loss of this forum. He is much missed and I would welcome his comeback.

 

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Very interesting, I'm learning a lot about these horns. As for my own excellent tech, I believe that his issue wasn't with the snap-ons so much as the lower stack (dis)assembly, which made the overhaul more challenging somehow.

Then again, I've also read that the B12 has a different mechanism than the B11, so maybe that relatively late innovation was the culprit.
Afik, the stacks are the same in post B11 saxes. What has changed are the linkages on the bell B/Bb keys and the RH side keys. The B11 has an L shaped linkage between the key lever and the key itself. If you mix them up, their action may get sluggish or locked up due to differing wear patterns on the keys.

Otherwise, there is nothing different about the B11 which makes it difficult to work on.
 

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This is a picture of the tech recommended by KennyZ Daniele Bergese he MAKES his own springs.
I know through FB that Daniele made a new set of Norton springs for Mark Madden (Maddenma here who is an irreducible Buescher player) and he was pleased with them
 

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the majority of Dutch repairers don't stock Norton springs replacement ( which was one of the problems with my friend's horn) and they would have to be ordered.

Incidentally, the modern Ferree's replacement are: not-pointed and stainless steel springs whereas the old original were different and gold plated.
See the difference ( picture on top, on the right, are the original springs)

Stainless steel is more convenient to work with than the old fashioned spring steel but it tends to be softer. I'm sure Dr. G could add a lot of detail here and I would not replace the springs just because they look ugly, they can always be polished using steel wool and should be replaced only if they are really damaged.

BTW, I am not sure what year the Norton springs were introduced since none of my 1924/1925 TTs have them.
 

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Very interesting, I'm learning a lot about these horns. As for my own excellent tech, I believe that his issue wasn't with the snap-ons so much as the lower stack (dis)assembly, which made the overhaul more challenging somehow.

Then again, I've also read that the B12 has a different mechanism than the B11, so maybe that relatively late innovation was the culprit.
I think it is more the "how in the world is that supposed to work?" Disassembly of the lower stack should not be a real issue other than that it is different on different horns and if he is used to Yamahas or the like and blindly walks into a situation where things are taken apart and then there is a puzzle that needs to be solved. None of this is serious trouble but if you are working against the clock it can get a bit frustrating.
 

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The "non pointed" stainless steel springs sold by Krause Music are excellent and come in a variety of diameters. With a set of these springs, it is a simple matter to swap out for a damaged original Norton spring. Any experienced tech with a lathe, brass rod stock, and the correct die to cut the threads can reproduce a replica set of "Norton Springs" in a few hours work. Those who have a basic jeweler's plating station can gold plate them as well.
 

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The "non pointed" stainless steel springs sold by Krause Music are excellent and come in a variety of diameters. With a set of these springs, it is a simple matter to swap out for a damaged original Norton spring. Any experienced tech with a lathe, brass rod stock, and the correct die to cut the threads can reproduce a replica set of "Norton Springs" in a few hours work. Those who have a basic jeweler's plating station can gold plate them as well.
Excellent info, thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
What would justify replacing a Norton spring besides the obvious? I have a few on my horn that have some surface rust, otherwise the key work feels well tensioned.
 

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[ . . . ]BTW, I am not sure what year the Norton springs were introduced since none of my 1924/1925 TTs have them.
They were introduced on the New Aristocrat altos, I'm pretty sure from the beginning of the run. Try one out if you get the chance; they're essentially True Tone horns with an improved G# cluster, higher palm keys, and Nortons. And they tweaked the neck. The Nortons make them feel very different from the earlier horns.

What would justify replacing a Norton spring besides the obvious? I have a few on my horn that have some surface rust, otherwise the key work feels well tensioned.
Nothing. People only replace them if they need to & can't find originals.

The gold plate on the Nortons was a nice touch, really cut down on corrosion. The NA alto I have is an abused, ugly beater but the Nortons are all in fine shape.
 

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They were introduced on the New Aristocrat altos, I'm pretty sure from the beginning of the run. Try one out if you get the chance; they're essentially True Tone horns with an improved G# cluster, higher palm keys, and Nortons. And they tweaked the neck. The Nortons make them feel very different from the earlier horns.
My NA (S# 272... is actually my main alto so yes, I know what you are talking about. And they moved away from the split bell. Among the 10+ altos that eventually gravitated here, this is my favorite (aside from my 6M but that one is in factory new condition and I only play it on a blue moon). Built like a tank and an incredible sound!
 

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What would justify replacing a Norton spring besides the obvious? I have a few on my horn that have some surface rust, otherwise the key work feels well tensioned.
I think some people live near the ocean and get a lot of rust on steel springs, leading to breakage. In my whole life of playing I 've maybe had to replace two or three springs ever, but I've never lived anywhere that salt air was a factor.
 

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well, my friend's spring had considerably lost their action and the keys would not travel as they should have ( very sluggish) in particular there was one very long spring that was completely lame.

Before he bought the horn some folks had been replacing some of the springs and the action was very uneven.

This is the same found by the italian tech whomon his page says: " New rebuild Norton Springs. The original Norton springs were exhausted and weak. I rebuilt the Norton Springs with their original threads. The new springs greatly improve the saxophone performance and efficiency. With a suitable diameter spring selection, the saxophone action and response was enhanced, by providing modern fast key feeling..."


"..
Norton springs are typical to buescher saxophones. I reconstruct these respecting the original thread preserving the saxophone originality. The newly created springs can easily be returned back to the originals. Norton springs are very good quality but after 70 years they are prone to exhaustion and weakness.

The new spring set greatly improves the saxophone performance and efficiency. Moreover with a suitable diameter spring selection it is possible to improve the action according to the saxophone's characteristics and player's needs.

A buescher saxophone, in particular "Aristocrat" and "400 series", with a new spring set 'surprisingly' improves the technical quality."


Few people like the Ferrree's replacements , I have shown 3 good technicians quotes all expressing their dissatisfaction , don't know about the Krause.

One thing to me is clear, the techs whom rebuild these springs from scratch wouldn't go through the fuss if it wasn't, in their opinion, necessary.

I am not sure what year the Norton springs were introduced since none of my 1924/1925 TTs have them.
As usual the search engine is your friend ( there is a thread in the archives which offer answers to most questions to the people whom look for them https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?5270-Norton-springs-and-snaps&p=43727#post43727 where this question was asked, the reply seems trustworthy)

Buescher patented the Snap-on Pad in 1921. I don't deal with many of these earliest Bueschers but I can say for sure that I've seen them in horns from 1922. The New Aristocrat Model had Norton Springs, I've never seen a True Tone with them. They were introduced in 1931.
Also the wikipedia page on Buescher says: " Buescher saxophones became distinctive with snap-in pads, patented by Buescher in 1921, and screw-in gold-plated Norton springs, introduced in late 1931."


 

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As usual the search engine is your friend ( there is a thread in the archives which offer answers to most questions to the people whom look for them https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?5270-Norton-springs-and-snaps&p=43727#post43727 where this question was asked, the reply seems trustworthy)

Also the wikipedia page on Buescher says: "Buescher saxophones became distinctive with snap-in pads, patented by Buescher in 1921, and screw-in gold-plated Norton springs, introduced in late 1931."
Yes, I was wondering, however, if there had been any TTs with the Norton springs since they were introduced in 1931 whereas the NA only came out in 1932. Most likely not because AFAIK the S# refer to the date of sale rather than manufacture so it is possible that the early NAs were indeed made in 1931 coincident with the introduction of the Norton Springs. But that was really what my question was aimed at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Simple physics tells me a spring under tension for 70 years is going to lose an amount of tensile strength from it's original design. Knowing this variable, would it be recommended to replace all the Norton springs on my horn to gain its former glory?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
I just realized, the springs on saxophones can simply be bent a little more to get the proper tension back into the associated key, Twasn't thinking it all the way through
 

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It's much easier than that, the pegs are soldered into a little center hole in the cup, if you heat it up, they come out without damage.
Supposedly some were soft soldered and some were brazed, so only true for soft soldered ones, and only if there isn't lacquer that burns at lower than the temp required to unsolder.
 

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BUT...and I have said this before....that some sort of "Tech Guru" is necessary to 'properly' overhaul/repad a THC...is hogwash. I can think of 4 off the top of my head whose names are guaranteed NOT to ring a bell with anyone (I am on that list) :|

So just some advice, don't get caught up in that belief....
On some forums (especially one... not SOTW, though it happens here too) there's a tendency to say that "your local repairer" could be fine for small stuff... but for overhauls or "special" repairs, you should ship it to a "specialist"...

Well... posted this on another repair forum... but a saxophone player moved to my building a few weeks ago and he just contacted me about repairing his sax. Who should I tell him to ship it to? :mrgreen:
 

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Simple physics tells me a spring under tension for 70 years is going to lose an amount of tensile strength from it's original design. Knowing this variable, would it be recommended to replace all the Norton springs on my horn to gain its former glory?
What "simple physics" is that?

F=-kx has no time dependency.
 
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