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Since there are several professional repair techs on this forum and an even greater number of amateur DYI folks, I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread where everyone can share their "tips and tricks" in other words things that work for them. Something one person takes for granted may be an idea that someone else has never heard of. Techniques from simple to complex are welcome. Keep in mind that there may be several different approaches to any given task that work, and be respectful when someone shares an idea different than your own. Of course it is ok to explain why you have chosen the technique that you find works the best for you or why you like your technique more than others, but please refrain from criticizing or putting down others whose ideas differ from your own.

I'll start with a simple one. That is to apply oil to the inside of the hinge tube rather than the rod itself. I believe that the oil is more evenly distributed and oil is not pushed off when the rod is inserted into the post. An idea that goes along with this is to keep a Q-tip or cotton bud handy to collect the excess oil that inevitably runs out at the post the rod screws into. This keeps the oil from running down the post and onto the body where it sits and collects dirt and grime.

Ok who's next?
 

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Here is another simple trick I learned a while back. That is to put a dab of pivot screw grease on the threads of the neck tightening screw. It gives it a nice smooth feel. I like the Music Medic Ultimax pivot and roller grease. On the subject of neck tightening, my standard for a well fit neck is to turn the screw until the first bit of resistance, and then give it another quarter turn. If it locks in place and doesn't turn from side to side, then the neck is fit the way I like it.

I'm sure I am not the only one who has a tip that can be shared.
 

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Here is another simple trick I learned a while back. That is to put a dab of pivot screw grease on the threads of the neck tightening screw. It gives it a nice smooth feel. I like the Music Medic Ultimax pivot and roller grease. On the subject of neck tightening, my standard for a well fit neck is to turn the screw until the first bit of resistance, and then give it another quarter turn. If it locks in place and doesn't turn from side to side, then the neck is fit the way I like it.

I'm sure I am not the only one who has a tip that can be shared.
I'll add that I like to use the same Ultimax pivot and roller grease on the neck tenon itself (obviously, where it goes into the body of the horn!). As the old saying goes, "just a little dab'll do ya". I actually don't like using the Ultimax for rollers as I find it gums them up more than I like. I like the rollers to obviously be very free moving. I'll either leave them "naked", just making sure all of the gunk is out of the roller and screw, or use the *slightest* amount of Music Medic medium viscosity key oil, which makes them move/roll silky smooth.
 

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.... I like the rollers to obviously be very free moving. I'll either leave them "naked", just making sure all of the gunk is out of the roller and screw, or use the *slightest* amount of Music Medic medium viscosity key oil, which makes them move/roll silky smooth.
I always oil them because they rust so easily, possibly from easy access to finger sweat.
 

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...

I'll start with a simple one. That is to apply oil to the inside of the hinge tube rather than the rod itself. I believe that the oil is more evenly distributed and oil is not pushed off when the rod is inserted into the post. ...
I put a drop into the hole, then partly insert the rod, then add another drop to the rod, then complete insertion, cleaning off excess if necessary, imagining that this is the best way to ensure the entire bearing surfaces are coated.

i have 1000 tips but a lack of writing time. I happily offer them when a relevant thread appears.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'll add that I like to use the same Ultimax pivot and roller grease on the neck tenon itself (obviously, where it goes into the body of the horn!). As the old saying goes, "just a little dab'll do ya". I actually don't like using the Ultimax for rollers as I find it gums them up more than I like. I like the rollers to obviously be very free moving. I'll either leave them "naked", just making sure all of the gunk is out of the roller and screw, or use the *slightest* amount of Music Medic medium viscosity key oil, which makes them move/roll silky smooth.
I would urge a bit of caution putting any type of lubricant on a sax neck tenon, because it can attract and hold small bits of grit than can "score" the inside surface. The same applies to flute headjoints. Brass slides are an exception because they don't go completely in and out on a regular basis, but rather stay mostly pushed in for the most part.

Sometimes I will thin the viscosity of the Ultimax grease with Ultimax oil when necessary. A common application is when quieting side key "ball pin" connectors using the Ultimax grease. Sometimes the movement is too sluggish with just the straight grease so I try to find the best compromise of both quieting and freedom of movement
 

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I agree with saxoclese - risky using grease on a tenon.
Why exactly do you do it? Does the tenon leak (hence need adjusting)? Is it too tight (hence needing adjusting)? Or do you just like playing with grease?
 

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This thread has been quiet for a while so I am going to share a "diagnostic" tip I learned not from a repair tech but from a local pro player. It has to do with how to quickly diagnose if a saxophone has significant leaks without the use of tools or having to play the instrument. The acoustic principle involved is that the column of air an "airtight" tube will have greater resonance when set into vibration. The technique is simple. Remove the mouthpiece and put the end of the neck up to your ear like a "stethoscope". Next finger low Bb and "pop" one of the lower stack keys open and closed a few times and listen to the sound. In the recorded examples the F and D keys were "popped". As you can hear in the recording, an airtight body tube will allow the sound to "ring" similar to the sound of a tom tom when struck. When a leak is present disturbing the "integrity" of the air column, the resultant sound is more like a dull "thud".

Fingering low Bb popping F key and D key airtight sax

Fingering low Bb popping F key with small then larger leak in D palm key

Fingering low Bb popping F key with small then larger leak in Bb side key
 

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Cool trick. I think I saw something about this in another video but the guy didn't explain it very well. Your examples make it clear even on a laptop speaker.
 

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I would urge a bit of caution putting any type of lubricant on a sax neck tenon, because it can attract and hold small bits of grit than can "score" the inside surface. The same applies to flute headjoints. Brass slides are an exception because they don't go completely in and out on a regular basis, but rather stay mostly pushed in for the most part.

Sometimes I will thin the viscosity of the Ultimax grease with Ultimax oil when necessary. A common application is when quieting side key "ball pin" connectors using the Ultimax grease. Sometimes the movement is too sluggish with just the straight grease so I try to find the best compromise of both quieting and freedom of movement
I agree with saxoclese - risky using grease on a tenon.
Why exactly do you do it? Does the tenon leak (hence need adjusting)? Is it too tight (hence needing adjusting)? Or do you just like playing with grease?
Guys, I don't slobber the damn grease all over the tenon for crying out loud. Just the smallest amount to ease putting together and taking apart. I'm fully aware of attracting grit, etc. but with the amount I use, I assure you it's absolutely minimal. I'd rather have the slightest amount of lubricant on my neck tenon than to simply go bare brass against bare brass, which over time, will wear the tenon a hell of a lot more than without any kind of lubrication. I had Brian Russell fabricate a new, solid un-soldered neck tenon for my '33 Selmer Super tenor after the original finally got so thin at the solder joint, it developed a hairline crack. He fitted it nice and snug and it doesn't *need* any kind of lubrication but again, to simply ease it going on and off, I use about a millidrop of Ultimax roller grease. Doesn't make it loose or make me feel like I'm "playing with grease". Sheesch.......
 

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The caution is valid for anybody who may not have appreciated the importance that if you do this, you use so little that it is not even detectable by the fingers. If it is at all detectably sticky or greasy then it is much more able to retain the microscopic abrasive dust that is in air a lot of the time. If grease is used, then I would recommend wiping it "all" off. (A trace remains.)

So no "sheesch"ing is necessary. :)
 

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Guys, I don't slobber the damn grease all over the tenon for crying out loud. Just the smallest amount to ease putting together and taking apart. I'm fully aware of attracting grit, etc. but with the amount I use, I assure you it's absolutely minimal. I'd rather have the slightest amount of lubricant on my neck tenon than to simply go bare brass against bare brass, which over time, will wear the tenon a hell of a lot more than without any kind of lubrication. I had Brian Russell fabricate a new, solid un-soldered neck tenon for my '33 Selmer Super tenor after the original finally got so thin at the solder joint, it developed a hairline crack. He fitted it nice and snug and it doesn't *need* any kind of lubrication but again, to simply ease it going on and off, I use about a millidrop of Ultimax roller grease. Doesn't make it loose or make me feel like I'm "playing with grease". Sheesch.......
The accepted method of insuring a neck tenon goes in and out smoothly is to keep both parts spotlessly clean. I tell my students and repair customers to use a bit of Windex on a soft paper towel---nothing more. Here is a test to try: Put the amount of grease you normally use on the male tenon and spread it about and then shake a salt shaker above it as you rotate. Look closely at the surface, or better yet feel it with your fingertip. This should provide proof one way or another.
 

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Since there are several professional repair techs on this forum and an even greater number of amateur DYI folks, I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread where everyone can share their "tips and tricks" in other words things that work for them. Something one person takes for granted may be an idea that someone else has never heard of. Techniques from simple to complex are welcome. Keep in mind that there may be several different approaches to any given task that work, and be respectful when someone shares an idea different than your own. Of course it is ok to explain why you have chosen the technique that you find works the best for you or why you like your technique more than others, but please refrain from criticizing or putting down others whose ideas differ from your own.

I'll start with a simple one. That is to apply oil to the inside of the hinge tube rather than the rod itself. I believe that the oil is more evenly distributed and oil is not pushed off when the rod is inserted into the post. An idea that goes along with this is to keep a Q-tip or cotton bud handy to collect the excess oil that inevitably runs out at the post the rod screws into. This keeps the oil from running down the post and onto the body where it sits and collects dirt and grime.

Ok who's next?
If you ever assembled model planes etc. that's the first thing you are taught: "Always apply the glue to the hole, not the rod because on the latter it will make every possible attempt to escape" (quote from: "Model Cars A Guide with Love and Understanding" - ca. 1970 or so). And with plastic cement, this can easily ruin a project. I don't know why I even remember this - guess there must have been some deep truth to it and like you said, it applies verbatim to the hinge tube or any other similar structure/assembly.
 

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I would urge a bit of caution putting any type of lubricant on a sax neck tenon, because it can attract and hold small bits of grit than can "score" the inside surface. The same applies to flute headjoints. Brass slides are an exception because they don't go completely in and out on a regular basis, but rather stay mostly pushed in for the most part.

Sometimes I will thin the viscosity of the Ultimax grease with Ultimax oil when necessary. A common application is when quieting side key "ball pin" connectors using the Ultimax grease. Sometimes the movement is too sluggish with just the straight grease so I try to find the best compromise of both quieting and freedom of movement
The accepted method of insuring a neck tenon goes in and out smoothly is to keep both parts spotlessly clean. I tell my students and repair customers to use a bit of Windex on a soft paper towel---nothing more. Here is a test to try: Put the amount of grease you normally use on the male tenon and spread it about and then shake a salt shaker above it as you rotate. Look closely at the surface, or better yet feel it with your fingertip. This should provide proof one way or another.
So I'll have a salty tenon? Yeah I get what you're saying and if you care to read my post again, what I use is so minimal, I highly doubt any salt would stick to it. Different strokes for different folks....
 

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So I'll have a salty tenon? Yeah I get what you're saying and if you care to read my post again, what I use is so minimal, I highly doubt any salt would stick to it. Different strokes for different folks....
So you don't want to find out for sure? :)
 

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What’s the trick on Repairing a scratch in the lacquer. Something like a deep to the metal? Toothpick and clear fingernail polish?
 

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I would urge a bit of caution putting any type of lubricant on a sax neck tenon, because it can attract and hold small bits of grit than can "score" the inside surface. The same applies to flute headjoints. Brass slides are an exception because they don't go completely in and out on a regular basis, but rather stay mostly pushed in for the most part.

Sometimes I will thin the viscosity of the Ultimax grease with Ultimax oil when necessary. A common application is when quieting side key "ball pin" connectors using the Ultimax grease. Sometimes the movement is too sluggish with just the straight grease so I try to find the best compromise of both quieting and freedom of movement
So you don't want to find out for sure? :)
Next time I carry a salt shaker in my case, I'll let you know. :walk:
 

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What’s the trick on Repairing a scratch in the lacquer. Something like a deep to the metal? Toothpick and clear fingernail polish?
I have been searching for a cosmetic fix for this for years. Almost everything I have tried makes it look worse. Even products that are advertised to make automotive scratches disappear come up short. If the scratch is just on the surface of the lacquer, it can sometimes be gently polished out using a fine metal polish. When the scratch goes all the way to the brass as most do I have not found a solution. Covering the scratch with a clear coating can protect the exposed brass from discoloring, but it doesn't hide it in my experience.
 

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That’s a hard one on clear over polished metal. Feathering the hard edge off at 90° buffing then fine spray clear with airbrush. Burnish to blend. If you sneeze, wink or change the radio you’ll see the shade difference. Not to mention guessing the hue of clear mixed with color of brass.
 
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