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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Discussion Starter #1
I really dislike playing at my techs place. Not exactly sure why but I'd rather take the horn home and give it a couple hours of practice before asking for further adjustments. My tech use to work on Sonny Rollins horn and has told me that Sonny also hated playing in the shop. In any case, what do other SOTW members play at the shop?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009-
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Major 7th arpeggios on each note of the scale works for me. Also testing alternative fingerings — how closely do the different Bb's sound? Maybe a little overtone work. Nothing expressive.
 

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I also dislike playing in the shop.

It's only after playing a couple of hours that start noticing the little things....

I had some major work done on my tenor this week and now I need to go back for a couple of things. My new tech is bit farther away than my previous one, so it's a bit of a hassle.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012
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The last time I got my tenor back from a major overhaul, I met with the tech in a shopping center parking. Great place to play some scales and arpeggios. I don't like the shop neither.
 

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Humm, I guess I have no issues with this. I play whatever comes to mind- scales, patterns, tunes,... I have Tim at Sax Alley do much of the work on my horns. While he's working on them I not only play mine but whatever else he has in the shop. I rarely leave there having not played at least 3 or 4 horns and 1/2 a dozen mouthpieces. Always make sure I buy a few boxes of reeds in addition to the service work to cover being a PITA fingering everything in the shop. Several years ago I picked one of my tenors up from another shop, didn't test it only to get home and find out they left most of the bell key springs unset. If you aren't going to play your horn when you pick it up you'd better be sure you hear your tech or someone in the shop play it or you may get an unpleasent surprise when you get home.
 

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I usually just play some low notes, high notes, some scales and some licks to make sure that I don't notice anything glaringly wrong then take it home to give it a more thorough workout...
 

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I have a "who cares attitude" of what people think. Doesn't matter to me if there are people in the shop. When I get my horns back I just play some high notes, low notes, and of course about 4-5 minutes of Pink Panther in one of the side rooms in the shop.
 

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Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
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A slow chromatic scale from bottom to top followed by the basic alternate fingerings.
Then I play something a little faster to make sure everything 'feels' about right.
My shop sends you to a practice room that they use for lessons for post repair testing and I don't like taking up a room that may have a student waiting on it. :)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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I play whatever comes to mind making sure to use all the keys. I pay particular attention to tuning between notes and the problem areas that caused me to bring it in.
 

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SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
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i actually can't wait to play the horn after my tech works on it. So in that respect I enjoy playing it in the shop. I don't spend time in the shop playing any longer than I have to in order to test out the notes from top to bottom. Like Fader says, I first check out whatever wasn't working properly before the horn was worked on--usually the lowest notes. So I'll play them at normal volume and then subtone them. I don't usually play scales or exercises, except I will do some chromatic runs & chord arpeggios, making sure to hit all the notes in each register and a few altissimo notes. Then I rip away some blues for a minute or so and I'm done. It's pretty easy to know by that time if the horn is fixed. I've been using Lee Kramka for the past few years and every time he touches the horn, it comes out playing great. I think he likes seeing my face light up when I play it for the first time after a repair.

Just as an aside, one thing I have noticed over the years about horn repair. If you get several pads replaced or a complete overhaul, you'll often need a return visit to the tech after playing the horn for a couple of weeks. I guess the new pads have to 'settle in' or something and sometimes a leak or two will develop. Every time this has happened to me, it's only taken a couple of minutes for Lee to fix it and then the horn is good to go for a long time. Be sure to pay close attention to how your horn is playing for several weeks after it's been worked on, especially if pads were changed.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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I AM the shop so it is a bit different. I like to check to see if the adjustments are proper. Go B>Bb (1+1), G>F, G>F#, etc. Then I play D1 and lift the F key and close it lightly to make sure it is not overadjusted, lift the E, then D the same way. This makes sure that the F and F# are closing properly but not keeping the lower stack keys to seat well. Play G#1 and then F, E, D with the G# lever down. This checks the closing of the articulated G# which is very important for the low bell keys.
For the left hand, I go C#>C and C#>B to check the small pad above the B pad. The A key should also close the Bb pad properly. The octave changeover nees to be checked by playing A2>G2>A2, A2>A1>A2, A1>D2, etc.
All of this takes about15 seconds and is basically a final test drive.
Beyond this, I would say that the key venting is important but usually not covered during an adjustment as it is more of a re-setting of the scale.
I hear players testing a horn by scratching out altissimo notes but that really doesn't test the basic adjustments.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
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Chromatic scale...and usually whatever I am working on at the moment, which means it's not all that polished.
 

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I usually check out how he, or in my case, she addressed the main issue or issues I brought the horn in for in the first place. Then I'll do some scales covering the horn from top to bottom and usually some jumping intervals from the lower octaves to upper octaves and down to make sure those are well coordinated. Then I'll play whatever comes into my mind.
 

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Chromatics through the range. Long tones on the low notes at various volumes. Special attention to low B. Some "licks" in various ranges to see if any spring tensions feel weird while I'm not thinking about technique. I might blow through a chorus or two on a tune if there's a big before/after difference from the regulation, but that's just inspiration. LOL. I generally try to check everything and get out as fast as possible to not waste my tech's time unless we're chatting about something. I find that people are more likely to go the extra mile for me if I don't put too much time strain on them!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Major 7th arpeggios on each note of the scale works for me. Also testing alternative fingerings — how closely do the different Bb's sound? Maybe a little overtone work. Nothing expressive.
Overtones? man... [rolleyes]
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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Just enough to see if any leaks remain or if a mechanical issue-if that, in particular is solved. I have had several techs mention in casual conversation how sick they get hearing players blow on and on. It ain't an audition. I hate my time wasted and I hate wasting that of others and as others here have mentioned-you can't really tell much about improvements without blowing for a while. I've found that if something isn't right it's because I either forgot to mention it or explained the problem poorly.
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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I don't play anything at first. I spend a solid 10 minutes or so feeling the horn, testing the spring tension, running through licks without blowing through the horn.

After I'm satisfied with the spring tension, I blow through all major and minor scales as a matter of habit. After that, arpeggios, descending thirds, ascending fourths, and usually octaves to check pitch. After that I'll blow through a few choruses of a tune to make sure I feel comfortable.

I do spend quite a bit of time testing, just to make sure things are perfect.

- Saxaholic
 

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Chromatic scale (I can't imagine anyone NOT playing this after their horn had just been worked on...) & overtones to make sure the horn is in tune with itself. I also bring along a tuner to make sure everything is still in the ball-park intonation wise (and hopefully has improved)
 

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I've been playing in loud bands all my life and I play loud. Once I was trying out a sax in a closed, sound-proof rehearsal/lesson room just off the sales floor of the music store. What's the point in messing around? You try out a horn like you would play it on a gig, right? I had to stop. It was so loud they couldn't do business.:) Unfortunately, we in the Richmond area pretty much have to do our own repairs now or take the horns 100 miles away. We had one guy who was a real tech but he had to retire early for health reasons. After I work on my horn, I basically just run through the low register to make sure it's not leaking too bad.
 
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