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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read through a few pages on another topic about repairing older horns. This made me think about a question that I have had. I am planning on buying a new Yanagisawa horn soon. I am really a fan of the WO1 alto. I have mentioned on here a few times recently that I think it is my favorite modern horn. I am planing on buying it new, my first new horn.
I am pretty locked into getting a new horn and plan to have it for decades. (I have had one tenor for 12 years now!). So I am considering the *very* long term here.

My concern is that some things that I have read online make it seem like the ribbed construction that would be found on the WO10 might have an edge on the WO1 post to body construction from a repair and longevity standpoint. I have also read that Keilweth does post to body as well as Conns that will be 100 years old in around a decade. So is there any merit to this worry that ribbed is superior for build? Or has construction gotten so good, and particularly with a brand like Yanagisawa, that it is deemed irrelevant?

I am wondering about both regular use as well as accidental damage.

I would love to hear from repair techs as well as anyone who has any stories to share.

I once bought a balanced action alto and like a month later a whole section of keys fell off during a recording session. I am not sure if they are ribbed or post to body....but this is a type of example that worries me.
 

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For stable adjustments associated with the stack keys (including especially incluidingG#) I consider ribbed construction to be pretty important, even without the sax getting knocked.
For the other keys, ribs offer more stability in the face of small knocks or bumps. Otherwise pad sealing can easily be compromised.
Off-hand, I do not know the extent of ribs on the two models mentioned.
 

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Well...what is the meaning of 'longevity' in this instance, exactly ? Longevity of what ? A ribbed sax vs. conventional post one is not going to naturally be able to go for a longer haul throughout its life, if that's what you mean.
Ribbed horns still need their keys swedged over time, for example.

As Gordon says, ribbed horns tend to be less effected by bumps and knocks; the posts anchored to the rib produce a better connection. So in general the posts ain't gonna move as easily.

So I suppose one can say that ribbed posts are more stable. One might also claim the ribs add to the strength of the body tube.

The intimation that a ribbed horn will keep its regulation 'better' ? I would not go so far as to make that statement, myself. Because other elements in the sax construction/fabrication are involved outside of just how the posts meet the body.
Sometimes key play develops because posts move. Oftentimes key play develops due to other reasons, too....not associated with the posts at all.

Personally, if there were two horns I was looking at and the conventional-post one had the very slight upper-hand for me, I would not let the ribbed construction of the other horn necessarily sway me to it . Particularly if we are talking a very reputed brand of horn.

Interesting question, tho.
 

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Selmer has modified/reduced these reinforcements on some Jubilee models but they're still in use. There's a fine line between increasing resonance and maintaining durability. I look at things differently than most - for example, if the Selmer MK VI is so great, with it's extensive reinforcement plates, why would anyone even look at reducing them?
BTW, you'll notice I don't use 'ribs'. That's because in the engineering sense, the reinforcing plates are not 'ribs'. 'Ribs' on a sax would be ugly rings all down the bore either inside or outside to strengthen it against crushing. Obviously, ribs are not needed or desirable on any wind instrument.
When a sax has sizable plates with the posts brazed to them, a very strong system is created - it makes the posts very resistant to being deflected. On a sax with independent and smaller plates, the posts are far more likely to be deflected by impact as the post/plate combination simply tilts into the body tube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you! These are the exact type of responses I am looking for.
Does anybody have any experience with older vintage horns with post to body construction and repair? Either from the owner or repair tech vantage point? I’m reminded of checking out a Martin-The Martin tenor with a student that sounded so good but they didn’t want to buy it because there was soldering work in a few places. They were worried about build, not aesthetics.
Also, can anybody comment about Keilweth Saxes? Those are supposedly built like tanks and have been around for quite a while. I would love to hear how Keilwerth has held up against various knocks or heaven forbid, drops.
 

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I have numerous post to body constructed vintage horns. Don't drop it or bump it. However repairing dent in brass is not that difficult. This ribbed vs post to body would not be a factor in my choice. Sound is what matters.
 

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Some of the issues I have found with posts soldered directly to the body include: posts that are "pushed in" which generally creates a leak, posts that become bent, and posts that have come unsoldered. In almost all cases when a post shows signs that the solder is about to fail, I remove it completely, clean the contact areas and then resolder. On older saxes with nitrocellulose lacquer there is a possibility that soldering will cause the lacquer to burn. In these cases I may leave the post alone until it fails and soldering becomes necessary. Occasionally I have had to remove and re-solder a post in order to remove the gap caused by key wear on posts with pivot screws.
 

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about the comment about rejecting a horn because of solder work. Keep in mind that solder joints don't last forever and it may have just been a low quality joint from the factory, or something that just decided it was going to let go. Could have also been a post that was in the wrong place from the factory *not uncommon on rib-less horns*, even today.
Now, if it was knocked off and the body tube was bent in, then that's something that I may be somewhat concerned about because there's a possibility of a hairline crack in the body, but in general some solder work on posts isn't something I worry about. It's not uncommon during overhaul for a post to have to get moved for alignment or fitment issues.
 

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I sure hope my tenor had ribbed construction. It's posts, which do protrude quite a lot from both sides from the body, have been knocked twice (first time by yours truly, second time by a drunken comrade). Both times the body tube took a bend at the root of the post and created a leak at the bow-to-body connection - a more troublesome fix and more $$$. I'm sure ribbed construction would have resulted in less trouble.

Anyway, if I were buying a new or vintage sax, ribbed vs post to body wouldn't be a deciding factor - or at the very bottom end of my list of considerations.
 

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Thank you! These are the exact type of responses I am looking for.
Does anybody have any experience with older vintage horns with post to body construction and repair? Either from the owner or repair tech vantage point? I’m reminded of checking out a Martin-The Martin tenor with a student that sounded so good but they didn’t want to buy it because there was soldering work in a few places. They were worried about build, not aesthetics.
Also, can anybody comment about Keilweth Saxes? Those are supposedly built like tanks and have been around for quite a while. I would love to hear how Keilwerth has held up against various knocks or heaven forbid, drops.
André, I think Martin saxophones are a bit special in this respect:
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/martin_committee_III_alto.htm
 

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When you mention 'Martin' and 'soldering' in the same breath, you must be aware that the soldered-in tone holes are subject to being de-soldered during otherwise routine repairs. However, the wonderful sound qualities of a Martin are worth the trouble. Post/rib construction would not even come into the picture. You must be careful and protective of any sax at all times - accidents have consequences.
I had a Martin tenor that I had to get overhauled before I could even play it. I had Selmer-type tone boosters installed, and my mouthpiece was a Guardala 'King Curtis'. Even with all that, I will never forget the first gig I took it on after the work - lets just say the MK VI stayed in the case that night as I heard things out of that Martin that make me want to get another one as I write this.

 

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Just to be clear: "ribs" have absolutely NO effect acoustically. The only thing that matters is the geometry inside the tube. There is no significant vibration of the metal tube that would affect the sound, so no amount of metal on the outside is going to make any difference. I don't think that there is any question that ribbed construction is superior, in terms of durability. Obviously if the horn is always treated gently, the body tube is strong enough to hold the posts in alignment, but ribbed construction, which diffuses shock, is certainly going to allow for rougher handling without deforming the tube and getting things out of alignment. Ribless construction was never common on flutes, but it was given up completely in the early 20th century. It is amazing that it was found on saxes so much later.
 

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I have a Yani 990 tenor along with several other horns which do not have ribs. From the latter, I can observe the effects of minor damage when it's under a post. Sometimes the post falls off and other times it just screws up the alignment causing leaks and alignment friction/wear. That can be expensive to repair and reduce the market value quite a bit.

Given the choice is between the two Yani models, if it is affordable, you do get more bling along with the ribs. And, as ever, earlier models like the 990 can be had for a lot less than new.
 

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Just to be clear: "ribs" have absolutely NO effect acoustically. The only thing that matters is the geometry inside the tube. There is no significant vibration of the metal tube that would affect the sound, so no amount of metal on the outside is going to make any difference. I don't think that there is any question that ribbed construction is superior, in terms of durability. Obviously if the horn is always treated gently, the body tube is strong enough to hold the posts in alignment, but ribbed construction, which diffuses shock, is certainly going to allow for rougher handling without deforming the tube and getting things out of alignment. Ribless construction was never common on flutes, but it was given up completely in the early 20th century. It is amazing that it was found on saxes so much later.
My Yamaha student model flute has ribs. So does my cheap Antigua alto. I wouldn't consider either of them more rugged than my nearly 70 year old Conn tenor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I am not sure if a repair tech has chimed in or not. Can I get any hard answers from the repairer point of view? I would particularly like to hear how much difference in cost similar accidents would be between a ribbed and non ribbed horn.
Also, my concerns are only regarding accidental damage and repair, not acoustic sound.
 

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I am not sure if a repair tech has chimed in or not. Can I get any hard answers from the repairer point of view? I would particularly like to hear how much difference in cost similar accidents would be between a ribbed and non ribbed horn.
Also, my concerns are only regarding accidental damage and repair, not acoustic sound.
This question is often mentionned in the thorough reviews of Stephen Howard. Here are some examples:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Keilwerth_sx90r_anniv_alto.htm
(posts with a rather small base)

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/martin_committee_III_alto.htm
(posts flexing due to a too thin base)

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Tenor/lupifaro_platinum_vintage_tenor.htm
(bad soldering)

Contrast this with the review of the AW02 and its elder the 902 (you get more informations about the construction in the review of the older model):
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/yanagisawa_aw02.htm
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/yanagisawa_902_alto.htm
 

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I am not sure if a repair tech has chimed in or not. Can I get any hard answers from the repairer point of view? I would particularly like to hear how much difference in cost similar accidents would be between a ribbed and non ribbed horn.
Also, my concerns are only regarding accidental damage and repair, not acoustic sound.
Gordon piped in first and is very much a real repair tech fwiw. In terms of cost, I think it's going to be really dependent on the horn and the specific accident.
 

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I don’t think it makes a big difference as far as longevity is concerned. As long as everything is fitted well, it will stay that way for a long time. Bumps and knocks will happen whether you have ribs or not and can be repaired.

My 5 year old jumped onto the bed where my A990 was lying and whacked the top post with his knee, which caused it to shift and create leaks in the high e and f# keys. The horn wouldn’t play at all with these normally closed pads cracked open. That vulnerable post on my alto is right on the edge of a rib. I don’t know if the rib extends beyond the post in all directions on the newer versions. It was a quick repair and you would never be able to tell that it took a knock.

Just go with whatever you like to play best and take good care of it.
 

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I haven't handled enough different saxes to know personally. But perhaps ribbed construction is associated a with thinner body tube, an attempt to achieve an overall lighter instrument by optimizing where metal is placed?
 

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My Yamaha student model flute has ribs. So does my cheap Antigua alto. I wouldn't consider either of them more rugged than my nearly 70 year old Conn tenor.
How would you know without deliberately attempting to mis-align posts and comparing the force needed to do so?
Technicians get to know because they regularly re-align posts. (This is very rarely needed for a student Yamaha, which also has the advantage of very tough body metal!)
 
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