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Discussion Starter #1
I purchased a Soprano a year or two ago. I've never got around to taking it to get fixed, but in that amount of time I think I have gained the knowledge to get the horn into adjustment, and fix the leaks that it has. My question is when there are many keywork adjustments that need to be made, what is he best order to go in, to ensure that the things you adjust stay pretty close to how they were. Another question I have is should I take the pads completely out to make sure there is enough glue behind them to float it. If that is the case, is there a way to make sure I put the pad back in the same direction to where the impression from the tone hole lines back up.

Thanks in advance,
+JY
 

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YPYAJ said:
I purchased a Soprano a year or two ago. I've never got around to taking it to get fixed, but in that amount of time I think I have gained the knowledge to get the horn into adjustment, and fix the leaks that it has.

Unless that knowledge was learned from an experienced repair person, I'd agree with saxdaddy. I thought I'd gained some knowledge by tinkering with school horns but when I got my current job I realized how little I really knew. My first two projects when I began apprenticing were both sopranos and they almost got me to quit before I'd even gotten started with my repair career. I think it was a test to see if I was deticated to it or not, who knows :?


What make/model is your soprano?
 

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YPYAJ said:
I purchased a Soprano a year or two ago. I've never got around to taking it to get fixed, but in that amount of time I think I have gained the knowledge to get the horn into adjustment, and fix the leaks that it has. My question is when there are many keywork adjustments that need to be made, what is he best order to go in, to ensure that the things you adjust stay pretty close to how they were.
Everybody probably has a different approach. This is mine, approximately:

No special approach is needed for the keys that are not linked to others.

My approach for the other keys, bears in mind appropriate diagnosis before removing stack keys, to avoid repeatedly taking them off and putting them on. My approach is also based on almost exclusively re-aligning key cups to to tone holes to achieve pad sealing, rather than messing about heating glue and moving pads around. Therefore I do not my adhesive to double as a filler.

Of course order can change depending on how certain keys are mounted, e.g G# being a stack key on some instruments.

What follows does not go into the intricacies of changing relative venting of top and bottom stack clusters, nor addressing any other venting issues for tuning purposes, which complicate the operation somewhat.

I do most adjustments by bending. It needs experience, because for any adjustment, the metal needs to be overbent, and then returned a little to restore the metal to a stable state. Every adjustment that is made by bending is annotated with *.

I typically check previous adjustment frequently as I move through the sequence, especially when forces applied have the possibility of altering previous adjustments.

What follows assumes that appropriate materials have already been installed to silence feet and linkages.

What follows is a superficial summary.

1.* Adjust sealing of G, followed by small C key, B, Bb A, making sure linkages do not obstruct adjustments. Then remove these if needed for replacing any pads where sealing is not otherwise viable. Replace keys (leaving off G and high E in the mean time, because later adjustment of linkages is easier with them off.)

2.* Adjust sealing of G# (closing if from where the F# arm pushes it), F# (operating it by lifting the bar at the back), F, E, D, making sure that linkages do not obstruct adjustments. Then remove these if needed for replacing any pads where sealing is not otherwise viable. If this is done, then adjust sealing of Low Bb, B, C# first, in case these pads need changing also, because these keys will have to be removed.)

3.* Adjust the opening of F.

4. Ensure the F# bar sits level on the F,E,D key stops. (Usually cork thickness adjustment under feet)

5. Adjust linkage from F# to G#, (always operating F# form the bar at the back) Then adjust linkage from F# to Bb (same again), so it only just closes, lightly (because closing pressure is more important for G# than for Bb).Then check F# to G# again. Keep checking these two until a good compromise is reached. This is by far the most tricky part of sax adjustment, and depends on excellent sealing achieved earlier, and some resilience in the pads. (Hopefully there are adjusting screws. Otherwise by bending or altering thickness of composite cork)

6.* Ensure that front F allows Small C key to fully rise.

7.* (This can be tricky!) Adjust the relative geometry (i.e key cup, pealed arm, and foot) of the A key so that:
  • There is no play before it operates Bb.
  • There is no play before F# operates Bb
  • A and Bb pads close together.
8. Front F links to Small C key via the felt under it's pearl to B, and form there via B's foot to Small C. So if there is any cork between Front F's foot linking directly to Small C, then get rid of it. It only confuses the adjustment. De-activate this linkage if there is a connection. The front F foot simply does not need to operate the small C key directly. Do not adjust the front F yet.

9. Ensure that the Small C key's linkage bar bar sits evenly on B and A feet. (Make sure that front F does interfere with this by preventing the full opening of B.) (By bending, or adjusting cork under B or A foot)

10.* Adjust the geometry between the Small C key's key cup arm and the key's linkage bar, so that Small C and A close together.

11.* Adjust the geometry between B key cup arm and B foot, until B and small C close together.

12.* Adjust any play from under the Front F pearl, so it just sits on the B key, while at the same time it is about to operate High F. Make sure High F opens far enough for B to fully close. Sometime sometimes geometry of the linkage needs to be altered so that front F does not open too high, especially with altos. (linkage materials may be significant here, even capitalising on a degree of squishiness!)

13.* Recheck 5, then adjust the geometry between F key cup arm and F foot, until F and F# close together. Recheck 4. Recheck 5, but this time, operating form the F key rather than the F# bar.

14.* Adjust the geometry between E key cup arm and E foot, until E and F# close together. Recheck 4.

15.* Adjust the geometry between D key cup arm and D foot, until E and F# close together. Recheck 4.

16.* Check sealing of Low C#, then Low B.

17.* If Low C# & Low B are linked... While Low C# lever is pressed (i.e pad open), operate Low B and ensure that the C# pad only just touches the tone hole. If it is adjusted to close Low C# equally then because of the flexing of metal, it Will interfere with 19 which is far more important.

18.* Adjust sealing of Low Bb.

19.*Adjust linkage between Low B & Bb, so both pads close together.

20. Adjust the B or Bb bumper felts for appropriate venting, and so that these keys both begin travelling together.

* At this point I am leaving out some of the complications of adjusting the ergonomics of the little finger touch pieces, which can involve a lot of analysis and complicated correction, especially if some previous person (or the manufacturer!) has mucked it up.

21* Adjust the geometry of the Low C# lever &/or key, (bending &/or slot adjuster), such that the C# touch piece opens a sensible amount relative to the B touch piece - on some saxes it is appropriate to be higher, bearing in mind how far the C# pad is opening. Consider also that Low C# should really open all the way to the link (if it exists) from Low B.

Carry out 22 to 25 cyclically, until all objectives are achieved. If they cannot be met, because of poor design, or being thoroughly messed up, then other alterations to the geometry, or adjustment to the G# lever's foot's cork thickness may be required, case by case, to correct the situation or reach the best compromise.

22.* Adjust the geometry of the G# touch piece &/or the Low C & B linkage tabs under it, so that there is the same gap between the underside of the G# touch piece and each tab.

23* Adjust the geometry between the the G# lever's touch piece arm and linkage arm to G#key, until there is a very slight gap between the underside of the G# touch piece and the linkage tabs to Low C# and B. This is necessary for G# to fully close. (This will alter 24.)

24. Use the slotted adjuster between G# lever and key such that G# opens to just contact the linkage from F#. (This will alter 23.)

25. Ensure that when Low B is pressed down, the G# lever does not go quite all the way down, otherwise Low B will not fully close.

26. Adjust the octave mechanism, in conjunction with G key opening. This can be complicated, and depends a lot on the type of mechanism. If you cannot it confidently, then you probably should not be doing the rest!

However my first post in the following thread may help
http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=312749#post312749
 

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YPYAJ said:
...Another question I have is should I take the pads completely out to make sure there is enough glue behind them to float it. If that is the case, is there a way to make sure I put the pad back in the same direction to where the impression from the tone hole lines back up.
Especially for older pads, if you take pads out, and then put them back in, then there is a good chance you will never get them sealing well again. In most cases, alignment would certainly be crucial, and an attempt could be ensured by putting a small pen mark on the pad, say adjacent to the key cup arm. If you take them out, it is normally worth replacing them.

I think you are better off not to remove them. However be aware that some pads are installed with adhesive that does not melt when heated.
 

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Saxdaddy said:
Man just put the horn down and walk away. A sop. is the last place you want to start out.
I totally and absolutely agree!!!!
 

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Thanks, Gordon

Wow, What an excellent summary for us guys who have to occasionally make an emergency repair or adjustment, especially at gig time!

Thanks, Gordon.

--Sidepipes
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is the deal about the horn. It is a Britany, or Brittany curved sop. made in Italy. I think its from around the 50s because of the attached neck. I bought it for $150, and it came with a Yanagisawa metal MP, so thats really the reason I bought it. (I buy a mouthpiece and they throw in a sax for an extra $50). Most of the pads do not seat. Seeing how I am very interested in learning this craft and have time to focus on learning, since summer break is pretty much here, I feel it wouldn't hurt to learn on this horn. I am by no means expecting for this to be a one week gig, but with the things I have learned, yes from an experienced tech who works on my good horn, I feel I can leave this horn in better shape than it was. I have taken it apart, and put it back together, although I'm sure this is probably a no-no in the tech world, I felt it gave me a better understanding of how everything works together. So for Gordon, and the other guy who said "put it down". how do you suggest learning instrument repair? Because I've talked to other techs at the music store at home, and they kind of seemed like they didn't really want me there, and I've also heard that that's not the best way to learn, because a lot places like that are more concerned with quantity rather than quality(getting things done quicker, probably with shortcuts, because of an overwhelming amount of jobs rather than ensuring that each horn is in complete adjustment.

Thanks
+JY
 

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I don't think anybody is saying don't learn how to repair a sax. What they are saying is don't start with a soprano, as they are the most difficult sax to get right. Find a few old C melody saxes for little money and get them going. Then see what presents itself.

If you screw up the soprano it will most likely cost more, dare I say much more, to put it into playing condition then if you had just put it down.
 

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Correct. Start with an alto or tenor.

BTW what I wrote uses an approach where bending metal is an integral part of adjustment. (There are other approaches. It is the results that are important.) The smaller the instrument, the more difficult or even impossible this approach becomes, unless you have special tools to assist.

BTW, don't even bother trying to adjust sop sax stack keys if there is any sloppiness in the pivots, which is highly likely on a cheap or old, or obscure instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Would there be any negative effect on the horn if I went ahead and tried to do what I can without bending anything. I wasn't even considering trying to do anything like that, but I was going to see if I could make it better by just replacing/adding cork and fixing leaks to adjust the horn as much as i can. I DO NOT want to get into bending metal because that is something that I will admit I have no business doing.
+JY
 
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