Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello SOTW community. I need some advice. I am not a pro...played a lot in middle school and HS, and played in bands in college and had a few serious bouts w practicing and embouchure development as an adult....in any case, I am coming off quite a big hiatus. I bought a new (used) horn a couple of years ago (alto reference 54) and now that I'm feeling primed for another bout of practicing I want to take the horn in to a tech. I'm having some issues w the neck being too loose...I made it a tad better by cleaning the screw hole, but it's still too loose. Also I want to make sure all the pads are sealing well. The guy I bought the horn from seemed like an amateur type...I wouldn't be surprised if the horn has never ever had any sort of service So, when I take it in to the shop, what intelligent suggestions can I make to the tech? Obviously I don't need major work, but I'd like to be smart about it. I am a tad neurotic about care for my equipment. I will mention the neck, and the pads, but what else should I direct him to for what might presumably be the debut service trip for this sax? Also. I'd like to sound like I know what I'm talking about so he takes the whole thing seriously and doesn't just overcharge me for simple work.
Thanks all.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,949 Posts
Ask the tech to optimize the tenon fit, and inspect for leaks.

If it truly has never had any maintenance, it might actually need to have the key height set right. If you play each note against a tuner, are they all in tune? Write down which ones are off, and by how much, and ask if the tech can adjust key heights to optimize intonation. The horn should probably be stripped down, and lubricated. If the tech just puts a drop of oil at the contact points, that won't work. See Matt Stohrer's YouTube regarding proper lubrication.

Enjoy that horn!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,019 Posts
If you take your saxophone to a qualified tech, he/she will know what to do without your directions. A general service on a saxophone is generally called a "play condition" or PC. Typically this involves replacing a few pads, most often the palm keys and low Eb, adjustment and regulation, and replacing loose or missing felts, corks, etc. What Dr. G suggests is what many technicians call a COA---clean, oil, and adjust. This service is in addition to the work done on a "play condition" and adds to the cost. It is easy to tell if a COA is needed when there is a lot of gunk in between the keys. If the exterior is relatively clean, I like to unscrew the upper stack rod and pull it out a few inches. If the rod is dry or has a thick black sludge on it, it is time to clean and oil all the keys. If the oil is just black looking, it is ok because all oils look like that soon after the keywork is oiled. Neck fitting is generally an additional charge when doing a PC.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
If you take your saxophone to a qualified tech, he/she will know what to do without your directions....
Hear, here!

He might ask if there is anything specific that is worrying you, but other than that, don't waste his time... leave him to do his job.
(Unless he is one of those who does not know what he is doing. In that case, don't go near him.)
BTW, Selmer has done a lot of scruffy things on their new saxes in the last couple of decades, including Ref 54, but I have never come across a poorly fitting neck. That seems odd to me.
 
M

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
I have recently had the same issues as the OP. I have taken my horns to Bill Singer in NY/NJ and in my first visit he saw things in 60 seconds that I would never have noticed. Some good, some not so good. Bottom line is a TOP QUALITY tech is worth more than all the money you may think you're saving by going to someone cheaper. If you spend $300 and the problems are not really solved then you've wasted $300. If you spend $7-800 and the work is done right you may go 5,7 or even 10 years without another major expense. My suggestion is look on SOTW for the best tech you can find within driving distance and they will tell you the good, bad and ugly. Then you will know when it's the horn,,and when it's you. Hope this helps.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
... Take a look at this Ref 54 review from a guy who seems very informed on all things saxophone. Serious neck fit issues.

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Selmer_Ref54_alto.htm
And that just shows, finding half a dozen good-fitting necks does not mean the next will be. More consistency could probably be found in Yamaha or Yanagisawa though.

An impressive review. He did not mention that that Eb/Low C, chopped and sprung pivot rod means that a very vulnerable area of the sax is far weaker, hence more subject to damage, i.e. seriously bent pivot tube. That and the shortened springs.... It makes one wonder... Have they ever had a decent mechanical engineer in the factory since the Mark VI days?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Shortened springs all over the horn? Thanks Gordon...that's interesting even if I'm not versed enough in sax anatomy to fully understand. Maybe I'll ask the tech to show me these things when I finally take the horn in.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,949 Posts
Shortened springs all over the horn? Thanks Gordon...that's interesting even if I'm not versed enough in sax anatomy to fully understand. Maybe I'll ask the tech to show me these things when I finally take the horn in.
Don’t get hung up on the trivia - a lot of serious players love these horns. Yes, Gordon is correct - these changes exist, but that doesn’t make it less of a horn. Seriously. I heard all the trash talk about these very things when I got my Serie III almost 20 years ago. I had a Ref 36 tenor for many years (same mechanics on the low Eb/C). I worried for a long time about this mind worm until I finally forgot about it and just enjoyed the horn. Know what? I never had an issue with it - and I’ve never heard anyone else complain of this theoretical “weakness” turning into a real failure.

Wanna sound like a noob? Ask your tech to show you the things that you heard about on the ‘net. Bahhh. Just let the tech do the work, and set up your horn without distraction.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
42 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Oh I'm not worried. Just keen on learning new things. And don't worry the horn will get plenty of play.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top