Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
593 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just got my sax out of the case after 20 or so years and need to get it tuned up. i suspect all the pads should be replaced. since its a nice horn, a mark vi alto, and old, I'm kind of reluctant to just take it just anywhere.

I'm kind of looking for tips on what to ask and how to find a place to get repairs. maybe a checklist to use in choosing a repair place. it might make a nice topic for the newbie forums are interested.

Why take it out now? Well my son just signed up for band and Alto Sax. the horn i got him has also not been played in a few years so i need to have it checked. I also thought i might relearn with him.

Sorry if i missed it in the existing topics.

any help apreciated.

any help apreciated.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,889 Posts
In that respect there is a lot of information here already or alternatively simply ask for recommendations relative to the area where you are and it is more than likely that both players and technicians will be chiming in.
 

·
Distiguished SOTW Tech
Joined
·
1,545 Posts
Ask the technician you pick, after getting a few local peoples suggestion to look at the horn and evaluate it. Tell the tech any problems you are having with the horn like, won't play this..., keys stick, noisey this... ( as a tech please don't tell me where the leaks are because almost always customers and Band directors are wrong) Ask the tech to give you an evaluation and price for what they will do to repair your sax. The terms playing condition, A&R, overhaul, repad, rebuild... mean very different things to techs even on this site. The end result should be that your sax is in mechanically good condition, so that the mechanisms operate as designed or better and the instrument should play like YOU want it to. As far as needing to replace all of the pads after 20 years, that may or maynot be needed. It depends a great deal on the quality of the original materials, how you took care of the horn 20 years ago, and how you stored the instrument.

If the instrument is in relatively good condition, I would ask the tech for two levels of repair and his or her best judgement on the evaluation of your sax. #1 check it over and evaluate it for any obvious mechanical and pad issues. Ask the tech if he/she thinks you can get away with a good playing condition so that only pads/corks/felts that need replacing right away are changed and the instrument mechanism is adjusted to play well. #2 should be all pads, corks, felts replaced, and mechanism repaired to like new operating condition. If #1 is 1/3 - 1/2 the price of #2 then I would probably go with job #2 if the bank account can afford it. Going with the first level of repair could save you some money and get you up and running until you decide if you can keep up with your son on re-learning the sax.

Lastly, as a father with two daughters who are very good musicians (one is a music major at college), I wanted nothing more than for them to choose the flute to play when they were in elementary school. Both my wife and I are flute players, and although we are not Pros, we do OK. They wanted nothing to do with playing the flute because I don't think they wanted to be compared to how their parents played. So my piece of fatherly advice is that if you try to play along and help your son, don't show off because when he is struggling he won't think he can match what you do, praise him even when it aint so good don't hassle him about practicing and be proud of his accomplishments. I took this tactic when my daughters were learning their instruments and it seemed to work pretty well they actually practiced quite a lot and became very good at their instruments.

Last lastly...support the music program at his school and go to the concerts. STAY through the ENTIRE concert and support the other kids as well.
Matt
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
593 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
thanks. i am in fort worth tx if anyone wants to recommend places. I was looking for how to evaluate them too. it seems everyone has an opinion and every shop will say they can do it even if they never have. all the key actions seem fine but its hard to tell if the pads are sealing well with the right pressure. i want to make sure that the horn isn't making it harder than it needs to be. i remember i had some problems with notes starting to wobble on a few of the notes when i was still playing it a lot. the Juno i bought him had a really long swab looking brush stuck down it and he called it a pad guard. it looks like it keeps the pads drier but i couldnt tell if it was meant to be left in all the time or just to clean it.

yes i know it is not about showing off but thanks for the reminder. that shouldn't be much of a problem since i seem to have forgotten more than i thought since college. My son chose it himself. i actually tried to talk him into looking at other instruments and make him try all of them at the band sign up day. he did well on most but the flute person didnt like something about his lip. no matter, he wanted the sax. he is also taking piano lessons. he complains but i think its giving him a good understanding of the rythym, the sounds, reading music, and so forth. He also seems to just like me paying attention and sitting down to listen to him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
alljoe, I hate to hijack your thread but I wanted to know if anyone has dealt with Charles Music in Glendale, CA.
We took my sax that was recently purchased from a member here & was touted as being recently "gone over".
The sax has an air leak & the tech saw a problem with a needle 'rest' (for lack of a better term) that was non-existent.
He was kind enough to show us the problems and give us a price.
What I found troubling was when we asked if he played he said no.
How important is it for the tech to also be a player?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
593 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
hijack away madam. slausonm seems to have a pretty good process and others may add more.

i would think the tech would need at least some ability to play to figure out if the keys were acting right or pads sealing but maybe there are some really cool tolls and processes for checking these days. as an engineer, ive seen tons of hanges and better equipment over the years. why should saxaphones be any different. Unless the whole world starts playing sax and some need for detailed processes develops, i think there will be a lot of individuality. I sort of prefer it that way. a uniform product of everyone the same doesnt seem very apealing to me.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,640 Posts
alljoe, I hate to hijack your thread but I wanted to know if anyone has dealt with Charles Music in Glendale, CA.
We took my sax that was recently purchased from a member here & was touted as being recently "gone over".
The sax has an air leak & the tech saw a problem with a needle 'rest' (for lack of a better term) that was non-existent.
He was kind enough to show us the problems and give us a price.
What I found troubling was when we asked if he played he said no.
How important is it for the tech to also be a player?
One of the undisputed best techs in San Francisco is a Cello player. He can play sax ok but his ear is great. I think the fact that he is less likely to be able to blow past some problems is a good thing.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
alljoe, I hate to hijack your thread but I wanted to know if anyone has dealt with Charles Music in Glendale, CA.
We took my sax that was recently purchased from a member here & was touted as being recently "gone over".
The sax has an air leak & the tech saw a problem with a needle 'rest' (for lack of a better term) that was non-existent.
He was kind enough to show us the problems and give us a price.
What I found troubling was when we asked if he played he said no.
How important is it for the tech to also be a player?
Jeff Smith, JL Smith Co. is one of the best sax technicians in the country and he does not play the sax himself. He makes the sax as mechanically perfect as it can be, and then he collaborates with the player for the final adjustments that have to do with the player's tastes and preferences. So, it is not that important that the tech is a player himself if he has sufficient skills and works closely with the customer.
 

·
Distiguished SOTW Tech
Joined
·
1,545 Posts
I believe Bickford Brannen is an Oboe player. He seems to make a pretty good flute. :) I think most good Techs can play the instruments they repair, but don't neccesarily consider themselves a Sax Players or fluteplayer or clarinet player... I play test all of the instruments I repair.If the player is good they will usually play test the instrument and ask for adjustments if needed to fit their personal needs. The only instrument that I consider to be a player on is flute and piccolo. The rest I can play well enough to test... FYI I past all my methods classes at college :).

Matt
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
Just being able to play a chromatic scale on an instrument with a characteristic tone does not make a person a "player" just a "tester". There are nuances in the mechanics and response of high end woodwinds that it takes an accomplished player to be sensitive to and identify. At this level the tech, if not a player, needs to collaborate with the person who plays the instrument at the end of the repair to make those minute adjustments which more often than not are subjective in nature.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,690 Posts
Just being able to play a chromatic scale on an instrument with a characteristic tone does not make a person a "player"
Umm, I think if the person is playing the instrument then in all definitions of the word they are a "player" of that instrument
 

·
Distiguished SOTW Tech
Joined
·
1,545 Posts
I can live with being called a "Tester" of saxophones, or flutes or anything else I repair because that's what I'm doing. The benefits experienced by some "Players" when they play test an instrument they have repaired can be offset by high quality repairs that those of us do that are simply Testers. The key fit, regulation pad seal, and articulation of the keys as well as quality dent repair can be done by craftspeople who take pride in their work. When repairing any instrument the proof is in the end result, not in the process. If the customer finds that the instrument meets their needs when it has been repaired, then whether one has played the instrument to an extreemely high level of performance or a lowly level of performance doesn't really matter. If everyone in the repair world had to pass a performance standard on every instrument they were able to repair before they could work on it there'd be very few instruments in the hands of "Players".
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,309 Posts
alljoe,
The last thing to do is take any specific recommendation from a public forum. All you need to do is search and read some threads here that deal with repair and or sax modifications and you will understand!

Grumps and swperr1 give good advice. I'd add call up the top woodwind faculty members of you universities in the area and ask them who they use in the area.

JR
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
836 Posts
Alljoe,
In the DFW area, very good techs are David Schottle in Carrollton, Dana Rivard in Arlington, and Ann McMillan in Denton. These are who most of the local pros use. All great!
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top