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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone,

I thought it might be interesting to start a tips 'n tricks thread based on stuff that sounds kind of outlandish, unexpected, or just not something that is usually focussed upon.

Just so we are clear, this stuff can sound CRAZY. And you are free to disagree, but I wouldn't call it the sounds-crazy thread if this was stuff that is universally accepted or obvious. I'm hoping to have a little fun here and maybe even learn something. It is understood that YMMV.

So here's mine:

Clean your neck screw and neck screw receiver. Clean it really well- I use naptha on the really bristly pipe cleaners on both the screw and the receiver until it comes out without any dirt, and then I scotch-brite the screw itself. I prefer metal-to-metal contact- if there is lacquer on the screw threads, remove it. The slicker and cleaner it feels, the better! No gumminess allowed. No messed-up threads allowed either! Also the shoulder of the screw and the receiver must be an excellent fit and totally flush- no bent screws or poorly machined shoulders or receivers. Then if you haven't already, fit your neck tenon perfectly, and then clean your neck tenon and tenon receiver the same way. At the end, everything should fit together absolutely perfectly- completely free but without any air leakage or gaps or any kind.

The more perfect the fit here, the more of a difference it will make. Try overhauling a horn but when you take it apart at the beginning remove the neck screw and leave it uncleaned until the end. Playtest the horn with everything else complete and perfect but with a dirty/ill-fitting neck screw, then clean it (and the receiver) and try again.


Sounds crazy, but I swear it makes a difference!
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here is the original advice given to me by MusicMedic's Curt Altarac that made me start thinking about stuff that sounds crazy but works: http://www.musicmedic.com/info/articles/num_47.html

I was at wit's end so I duly gave it a go, and I'll be darned if it didn't completely fix the problem and make my sax a joy to play again.
 

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Here is the original advice given to me by MusicMedic's Curt Altarac that made me start thinking about stuff that sounds crazy but works: http://www.musicmedic.com/info/articles/num_47.html

I was at wit's end so I duly gave it a go, and I'll be darned if it didn't completely fix the problem and make my sax a joy to play again.
I'm Confused? Is that the right link?

r.

ps. I've heard/read something similar about cleaning and lubricating the screws on your ligature.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If it works for the neck screw, I would imagine the same thing would happen with ligature screws. Good call.

The link I posted should be for the sandpaper tonehole liner. I had a sound on my Buescher Aristocrat alto when I played octave C like I was playing through a fan, and after driving myself halfway mad I called Curt and he knew EXACTLY what I was talking about and walked me through the above tip and it totally worked.

PS: thanks for responding! I was sure I was going to have my first ever total bomb thread.
 

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Got it! I was thinking it would be a how to clean a screw demo!

The best one I've seen from Curt has to be the pantyhose over the octave vent one--pure musical McGiver!

I was thinking about adding some speed holes to my Martin. I like the tone, but I can't play very fast :)
 

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When improvising in a 3/4 time signature, I put a piece of bologna in each of my shoes so I feel funny, just like 3/4 time.
 

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When improvising in a 3/4 time signature, I put a piece of bologna in each of my shoes so I feel funny, just like 3/4 time.
Funny strange or funny Ha Ha?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' bit of clarinet
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The link I posted should be for the sandpaper tonehole liner… it totally worked.
I used that sandpaper trick on three different altos and it really works. I told a friend about it. He tried it too, and for some reason the sandpaper fell out of his sax. But amazingly, it fixed the problem anyway… probably because the glue was still in the tonehole doing the same job as sandpaper.
 

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very interesting this thing of the sandpaper in the tonehole (makes me wonder if in general wouldn't be beneficial to have a rough surface on all toneholes......), I have read the first post several times trying to find the relationship between that receiver screw advise and the sandpaper one and I still fail to grasp it but that must be me.......
 

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Matt,

I do some things that may not be quite as widely used as other techniques, but I wouldn't call them "crazy". While I respect what Curt has done as a tech and a supplier, his advice to look for the root cause of a problem before trying the more unusual techniques should be take to heart. It will probably be my last attempt to repair a horn by gluing sand paper to a tone hole, but I'm willling to try if the conventional stuff fails. Your technique of cleaning the neck screw actually makes some sense to me (doesn't really sound crazy )because cleaning the screw should allow you to tighten the receiver more with what would seem to be the same amount of pressure applied by your fingers and wrist, thus lessening what little air leakage their may be around the receiver.

So, one of the less used (by others) techniques I use when corking instruments is to make small punches out of tool steel to punch out cork/ felt discs. Instead of covering the entire key touch bottom as been tradition on some instrument keys, I cut a disk that is large enough to cover the metal to Meta/plastic/wood contact point, but small enough that it looks neat and doesn't require me to trim the cork to the edge of the key with a blade. It is a similar technique as buying the pre punched corks that some of the suppliers sell only considerably cheaper. I can always tell a piccolo I've worked on because of this. I've never seen anyone else do this on pic. It is also usefull for many clarinet and sax keys.

Another technique I use on flute is to use my Ferree's dent machine to not only remove dents from flute heads and bodies, but to resizes the HJ tenon. I made a roller that is only slightly larger than the diameter of flute tubing for this. I can take the nastiest dents out of flute heads and bodies with this roller and aside from the scratched finish from the original denting you can't tell it was ever dented in most cases.

Matt (Slauson)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2010
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I have read the first post several times trying to find the relationship between that receiver screw advise and the sandpaper one and I still fail to grasp it but that must be me.......
I think Matt's point is simply that they are both examples of unconventional ways to improve how an instrument plays. On they face of it, they both might 'sound crazy': cleaning a neck screw and receiver seems too trivial a change to make any difference, but Matt finds that it does; likewise, gluing in sandpaper seems a bizarre way to improve the sound of a note, but again it apparently works.

I fear this thread may peter out because ideas which work don't seem crazy for very long (because we usually work out why they work), and because craftsmen often prefer to keep their trade secrets to themselves.
 

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I fear this thread may peter out because ideas which work don't seem crazy for very long (because we usually work out why they work),....
Good point.

Here's a crazy idea I had that works.

Put steel balls (BB's or any small steel parts) in the bell or neck. "Grab" them from the outside of the neck or body with a small magnet wrapped in cloth. Move the balls around to the location you think the bore is messed up. If the Balll 'liner' makes things better maybe the bore is too small there. If it makes things worse, maybe the bore is too large there. I've found this to be a great diagnostic tool.
 

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Isn't that bass acwards? Putting the balls in the bore and having an improvement would mean the bore is too big, as the ball bearings would make the bore smaller.

Am I mixed up? So the next question is how do YOU correct a bore size problem?

Matt

...If the Balll 'liner' makes things better maybe the bore is too small there. If it makes things worse, maybe the bore is too large there. I've found this to be a great diagnostic tool.
 

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Not crazy, but I keep a lighter, pocket knife, electricians tape and some cork in a small bag in my case for emergency use. It's amazing how many times I've been able to keep going after a minor "accident" by using these items.


K
43 yrs of sax and going strong
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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McGyver plays the sax....
 

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