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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading a music magazine a few years ago when I came across an article on Emilio, the saxophone repair technician.

‘Nobody builts up a horn like Emilio’ an enthuiastic player exclaimed.

I am fairly sure others can built up a horn like Emilio and I would like to think Emilio himself would agree.

Nevertheless the evocative phrase has stayed in my mind.

It suggests that there is a craft to horn repair and also the possibility of admiration in the eyes of horn players

I was wondering what members of this forum think of Emilio or other Emilio- like figures.

Do they genuinely possess some greater mastery of their craft compared to compared to other technicians?

Are there secrets to building up a horn or is it basically about conscientiously taking care of the basics?

It seems to me that if you use first rate materials, deal with root problems, and live with the horn for a few weeks if you have too, also if you have a sense of quality when it comes to procurring pleasure in terms of comfortable action and in terms of richness of tone, then your work is perhaps in the Emilio zone.

Or would Emilio have special techniques known by few others?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
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Like a red rag to a bull. :D


"Popcorn!!! Get yer Popcorn."
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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It seems to me that if you use first rate materials, deal with root problems, and live with the horn for a few weeks if you have too, also if you have a sense of quality when it comes to procurring pleasure in terms of comfortable action and in terms of richness of tone, then your work is perhaps in the Emilio zone.
Lot of 'if' statements in there!

Like I said before, IF my aunt had a mustache, she would be my uncle!!
 

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Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contri
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I was playing a gig with an excellent tenor player I hadn't met before. When we got to chatting, the first brag he had about his gear was that he has his horn serviced by Emilio. The next proud comment was that he plays a Sugal mouthpiece.
 

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I don't know Emilio personally, but I live not too far from his shop here in Boston. Amazing place. Everyone swear by him. I see him in there frequently, toiling away in the corner....If I had a DECENT horn, I wouldn't hesitate to take it to him..

Ask MartySax....he'll know, for sure...
 

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whaler said:
Maybe by "built up" he means the corks he puts on the keys (never quite understood doing that on a MarkVI).
My alto Mark VI was overhauled by Emilio and I've never had a set up so stable and correctly innovative. imo his reputation is well deserved if not even underrated. Stable felts and leather substitutes are quiet and long lasting. The epoxy risers are optional and he'll only build up or not build up what you ask for. I don't understand why you wouldn't so want this especially on a MarkVI! Ergonomically it cries out!

Have you played a Mark VI with such refinements? Being able to reduce movement catching the wonderfully exaggerated low Bb lip is a dream come true. Reduced movement and comfort is why octave key, side keys and palm keys are also offered. Unless you have tiny hands I don't understand how this wouldn't help technique. What is your reasoning for such a comment?

Sigmund, my sticker is clear, hardly noticeable and removable. Frankly, after my horn came back to me in a condition unsurpassed even when new in 1968 I'm quite proud of it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Steve J. so I gather he modifies the shape of keys with epoxy so as to render them more ergonomic, a bit like the Oleg attachments do.


What do you mean by stable felts and silent leather substitutes?
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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"‘Nobody builts up a horn like Emilio’ an enthusiastic player exclaimed"

Nobody can say that unless they know the work of all other technicians. So take it with a grain of salt.

"I am fairly sure others can built up a horn like Emilio and I would like to think Emilio himself would agree."

He'd pretty up himself as a technician if he did not!

"It suggests that there is a craft to horn repair...."

May I suggest that people call something a "craft" when they are not aware of the science and methodical analysis behind it. When the practitioner conscientiously understands the why and wherefore of his choices, the methods used, the materials chosen, I think he does it better, and it is almost an insult to call it a craft. It is applied science. Having said that, If asked my occupation, I sometimes write Precision Engineering Craftsman.

"Do they genuinely possess some greater mastery of their craft compared to compared to other technicians?"

No. Good technicians have outstanding analytical skills, and KNOW why they choose to do everything the way they do it, in the face of knowledge of the many other possibilities. That is the applied science. "Craft" seems to be a name given to that process when the beholder has little understanding of that process.

"Are there secrets to building up a horn"

I take it that building up means getting it as good as it can practically be. Answer = NO! They are not secrets if technicians repeatedly reveal them in this forum!

" or is it basically about conscientiously taking care of the basics? "

Yes. Most people, including many 'technicians', are not aware of how complicated that is though.

"It seems to me that if you use first rate materials, deal with root problems... have a sense of quality when it comes to procuring pleasure in terms of comfortable action and in terms of richness of tone, then your work is perhaps in the Emilio zone..."

I would think so.

"Or would Emilio have special techniques known by few others? "

I very much doubt it. There are outstanding new tools, techniques and materials that probably did not exist when he gained this legendary status.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Like I said earlier I have had a chance to work on quite a few Emilio-ized horns. I am always impressed with the longevity of his padwork, but there are other things I am not as impressed with- usually mechanical work (or the lack thereof). There are a lot of very, very good technicians out there. Some of them frequent this forum, some work in almost total obscurity known to only a few, some are known to many.

Personally, I know quite a few I would take my personal horns to before I took them to Emilio, even in his heyday. MusicMedic, Chu-Jerry, Gordon and HornImprovement are just a few of those, and they are right here on SOTW.
 

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Prodigal Son and Forum Contributor 2008
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I love the way Emilio set my Tenors, both Super 20 and Mark VI. Everything works perfectly and they fit my big-*** hands. I've known him since the mid 70s and he's been the man ever since. I'm about to go to visit him today with my Super 20 for a check-up.

Someday I'll have to take pics of the improvements he made for my Super 20, the Mark VI mods are more traditional.
 
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