Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I came across an old clarinet that is a Selmer Bundy (Resonite?), in its original case, that was used as a high school instrument in the early 1950's. Needless to say, it's not in real good condition. All the joints need to be recorked and all the pads are essentially gone. The mouthpiece (Babbitt?) has a small chip on the leading edge which I assume would affect the sound. The rest of it appears relatively sound--no breaks, cracks, springs seem springy (mostly).

I don't play myself, but my son plays sax and flute and wants to someday play clarinet, so that's where my interest in woodwinds is starting. It seems like repairing instruments like sax and clarinet may be kind of fun and relaxing, and something that I might actually be able to do.

My questions (finally) are: Should I go for it? Am I being too adventurous? I've been looking at the repair thread for the sax and it seems like the principles are the same and it just takes some time a patience.

Thanks for the input!
Jeff
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
snethej said:
My questions (finally) are: Should I go for it? Am I being too adventurous? I've been looking at the repair thread for the sax and it seems like the principles are the same and it just takes some time a patience.
By all means, go for it. Do spend some money for a decent mouthpiece (budget hint: Fobes Debut or Hite Premiere), though. Recorking and repadding isn't all that difficult, and there's hardly a better instrument to learn to do these tasks than one of those million-seller horns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Wait, use the resonite instrument to learn disassembly and reassembly. You can break stuff if you're not careful, and this is a good candidate to learn on. However, the final product may not be something you want to subject your kid to after you've worked on it - no offence. :)

Once you can take everything off, and put it back on correctly, then look into inspection for cracks, bent rods, bent cups, and leaks around the pads. Putting pads on a clarinet isn't hard, but requires patience.

don't expect your first try to be playable unless you spend a lot of time on it. Sax repair is about the same, except you have metal to worry about and no wood to crack. there are specifics to each instrument but the skills are similar.

finally, there are some obscure tools, some even handmade that each technician uses for specific jobs. Special solders, torches, pliers, and little dental tools. It's an interesting field, I've been doing my own work for about 2 years. some times I take it to the shop for specific stuff like dent removal. I don't want to invest in all the fancy tools for my small work. Look on the internet for materials like pads, springs, adhesive, and cork.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
docmirror said:
Wait, use the resonite instrument to learn disassembly and reassembly. You can break stuff if you're not careful, and this is a good candidate to learn on. However, the final product may not be something you want to subject your kid to after you've worked on it - no offence. :)
No offence taken. Rest assured that a Bundy in good working order with a decent mouthpiece plays just as well as any other good clarinet. (There have been behind-the-screen auditions that showed no significant differences, but I spare you that).
Of course, there's the label factor - are you good enough for a humble Bundy or do you need a flashy XYZ brand to compensate for lack of self-esteem? :twisted:

Per the tools: In order to refurbish a mechanically intact (short of bending back some keys) Bundy, I need: a small screwdriver, a hook made of wire (for the springs), and my army knife. Plus supplies such as glue, cork and pads (musicmedic has them as a set) and a drop or two of oil. I've done a number of 20$ Bundies in the past, and I've yet to see one that was seriously damaged. Those beasts are sturdier than a tank. No need to go berserk with it, however.

Either way - you can't lose. At the minimum, you learned something. Good luck.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
GO FOR IT!!!

You couldn't have chosen a better clarinet to start learning the refurb process. When it's finished it is a great clarinet for your son to start on. Many of the worlds finest clarinetists started their career on a resonite Bundy. There are lots of relativly inexpensive mouthpieces out there that are great for students. Just be sure you go with hard rubber and a medium tip opening. Bundy still makes a hard rubber clarinet mouthpiece that is pretty good. Many directors suggest a Vandoren B45. I say get what feels and sounds the best for you.

Don't let these guys scare you with the specialized tools. If everything is in good working order to start with, all you need are the pads, hot glue, a screwdriver, sheet cork, contact cement, and razor blades. A disposable lighter comes in handy if you need to reset a pad. I use a candle to heat the key cups and remove the old pads. That is AFTER the keys have been removed from the clarinet.

Sorry if I talk too much, but if I can do a clarinet refurb you can too.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
"...If everything is in good working order to start with.."
My, that is quite a rare condition, for a clarinet that needs new pads.

But I guess the perceptions of a professional are quite different from the DIY-er.

But yes, go for it!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
Gordon, I think you misinterpreted 'good working order'. What I meant was if there are no badly bent or missing keys, weak or broken springs. A basic repad is not that big of a deal.

FYI Not ALL DIY-er's are incompitent.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
"What I meant was if there are no badly bent or missing keys, weak or broken springs."

You could add another 20 things to that list, and the average DIY guy is not usually aware of them.

When a technician gets an instrument to set right, and it has has a DIY job done on it, the DIYer has typically done very little of what needs doing, and what he has done, often needs re-doing.

Of course there are exceptions, and these are the ones that tend to get proudly reported in forums, but in my experience they are mighty rare.

But if you are happy with a substandard, less than reliable result, then go for it. (But best not to impose that result on a beginner kid)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
I appreciate all the great feedback and the encouragement. I figure that I can't go too wrong since it's not near playable now. If I screw it up, I doubt that I'll inconvenience a professional in an attempt to fix my DIY mess. It'll probably go back into the closet from whence it came, or turn into a lamp.

If I'm actually successful at creating a useful instrument again, I probably will report it in the forum as an encouragement to someone else. That, and it's more fun to say, I did it!, rather than,I couldn't do it!

Thanks again for the input, and chances are I'll be back when I get into it and realize that I don't know what I'm doing (well, I already realize that :).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
I'm betting that you get things pretty close on your first try.

If things go horribly wrong, what type of lamp shade were you thinking about?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
Gordon (NZ) said:
But if you are happy with a substandard, less than reliable result, then go for it.
Excuse me while I take offence at that blanket judgement.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
Can you tell me of ANYBODY, who after many years of doing work to a very high standard, who does not look back at their first job, and KNOW that it was probably substandard. It's certainy true in my case. There were a thousand things I was not aware of then, than I am aware of now.

I meant no offence, no more than I took offence at including my own first attempts in that statement. You are free to take it or not; I cannot force your hand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
bandmommy said:
If things go horribly wrong, what type of lamp shade were you thinking about?
I haven't quite decided that, yet. Either a simple, classic white to complement the age of the instrument, or maybe something more modern, black and white, to provide a contrast of ages (which would probably be more appealing to one of my kids).

The simple white worked for the old teapot I made into a lamp for my wife. I guess what will decide it is who it will be for.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
Joined
·
3,764 Posts
Gordon (NZ) said:
Can you tell me of ANYBODY, who after many years of doing work to a very high standard, who does not look back at their first job, and KNOW that it was probably substandard. It's certainy true in my case. There were a thousand things I was not aware of then, than I am aware of now.

I meant no offence, no more than I took offence at including my own first attempts in that statement. You are free to take it or not; I cannot force your hand.

In defence of the alleged offence, it might be worthwhile if we commence with a reference to Gordon's intent.

Gordon might be erring on the side of caution, and his message may seem to be off-putting to the novice repairer. In fairness to him, Gordon, as much, if not more than anyone else here, is always willing to provide sound, practical advice to those idiots like myself, who ignore his warnings and plough ahead anyway.

It is true that your first effort at repair won't be your best work (and you'll burn yourself :D ). Gordon's warnings have save me from making many a costly mistake.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
Gordon (NZ) said:
I meant no offence, no more than I took offence at including my own first attempts in that statement. You are free to take it or not; I cannot force your hand.
Agreed, we all learn every day and see things we didn't the day before. Perhaps I simply misread your statement as that every DIYer's work is automatically substandard and inherently flawed (or that a tech's is inherently superior).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Well, I'm not taking offence from Gordon and I have no illusions of grandeur that I'm going to be an instant professional. I'll let my son's teacher, who is experienced enough to teach every woodwind and has a long waiting list of potential students, decide if the result is worth learning on. I imagine if I get started, Gordon will be a wealth of information for me and I appreciate his candor. He also is provoking some interesting discussion. :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Columnist/Official SOTW Guru
Joined
·
3,764 Posts
Bear in mind also that Gordon is a Kiwi and that where Gordon comes from, his remarks wouldn't even raise an eyebrow, much less be taken as offensive.
Some cultures, condition a person to be more easily offended, than do others.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
I will admit that I was a bit put off by Gordons' comments. I'm happy to know he wasn't saying that ALL work done by a DIY-er is inferior. My first repad took 3 days to find all the leaks. BUT, I found them, fixed them, and the instrument is still being used as a loaner by my clarinet students.

With proper knowledge of the instrument and how it's SUPPOSED to work, patience, and a few basic tools the end result can be equal to that of a good tech. Knowing the limits of your ability is essential. I will NOT pin or band cracks, attempt to straighten badly bent keys, or any swedging.

I have done probably 35 repads, countless tenon/mouthpiece corks,minor key adjustments, and spring replacements for kids in our band program that cannot afford to take their clarinet to a tech. I guarantee the refurbished instrument completly playable throughout its entire range. I throw in a new reed, a tube of cork grease, and charge only for the pad set. Recorks, springs, and adjustments are free. I put in writing what was done to the clarinet and if they feel the work is not satisfactory, they are to take the instrument in for an estimate and I will pay to have it put right. This is my eighth year and I have yet to have one of my horns go in to the shop.

Am I bragging, You're darned right I am. I take pride in my work and have enough sence to know when a job is best left to a 'Professional'.

I would like to know how many Professionals out there would be willing to do what I do for ONLY the cost of the pads. I'm guessing not many.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
Dog Pants said:
Bear in mind also that Gordon is a Kiwi and that where Gordon comes from, his remarks wouldn't even raise an eyebrow, much less be taken as offensive.
Some cultures, condition a person to be more easily offended, than do others.
LOL! That is so true! Watch it if you are easily offended and go to Australia! :twisted: :)

I've had a pvt chat with Tictactux:

Some (actually many, it seems) technicians do a b**** awful job.
Some DIYers are very careful, and do an acceptable job. They often have useful skills and attitudes from other parts of their life that many technicians do not seem naturally to have. And many DIYers also do a b***** awful job; every tech has had the unenviable task of explaining to a customer, as also when a 'technician' has done awful work. The problem is when the tech or DIYer doesn't know his work is hopeless, and some beginner gives up the instrument as a result.
Often techs working in an environment that also sells instruments, will push for a sale rather than do a challenging value-for-money job on a sad-state student instrument.

Tictactux seems to be doing worthy things for the benefit of others. I have no problem with that. All power to him and other astute, conscientious DIYers. That's how I started off myself.

We have had metaphorical drink together and all is well. :) :) :)
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top