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I have a yamaha yas-23 alto. Two of the four lugs holding the lower key guard have come unstuck. (What is the build quality of these like? Is this commmon?). Anyway I'm keen to reattach them. I understand that these are soldered to the body of the horn. Is it possible to do with an electric soldering iron? Or do I need to use a propane torch (or similar)? I have both - but am concerned about burning the lacquer (or generally making a mess of it). All advice welcome.
 

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Build quality on yamahas are good, not exceptional but above average,

If the guard feet are off, odds are the instrument has suffereed a minor trauma

If youve never done it, you will burn the lacquer, even if youve done this you will probably burn the lacquer as well

There not soldered in the sense like with a soldering iron, but soft soldered onto the body, you really are better of with a butane torch.

When in doubt, bring the cash out.. and see a tech
 

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Any decent repairer will be able to resolder the keyguard tabs back on without doing much lacquer damage as Yamaha do use a pretty tough lacquer. It may discolour slightly, but the risk of it scorching is low provided they don't use too much heat for too long.
 

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....but am concerned about burning the lacquer (or generally making a mess of it). All advice welcome.
The Cardinal Rule of beginner DIY instrument repairs is to never work on your gigging horn. Find some cheap, ratty, pawn shop special and go nuts on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the replies. perhaps I should have explained- this IS a "cheap, ratty, pawn shop special" ($100) sort of thing, not my only alto, and bought with the intention of learning to do some repairs. (I'm an engineer, have a pretty good home workshop, and know that I have lots to learn regarding sax repair).

So... looks like I need to get my butane torch out... and what sort of solder/brazing do you recommend? When you (simso) say soft solder- is that a 60/40 lead based solder (same as electricians & plumbers use)?
 

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If you are the occasional "solder...er", a small spool of rosin core electrical solder from radio shack or the like will work fine. I use solid wire solder with a liquid flux. Clean/ scrape the old solder away and use a propane, butane, acetylene torch to heat the joint and add solder. I use acetylene/ air. A pencil soldering Iron will not likely generate enough heat, but a "gun" type Iron might. Some type of torch is best IMHO. Cleanliness, appropriate heat source, flux and control of heat is the key to good solder joints
 

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I agree with Simso & Chris.

And a soldering iron is definitely not the way to go about it. You will finish up with an unholy mess. The heat will be conducted away from the work area (by the heat sink which is the body) faster than you can supply the heat from the iron, unless you use a puddle of solder between the iron and the metal)
 

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I have seen some people use those ties and wrap it around the horn.
 

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I find the iron tying wire used by florists to be useful.
 

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I am surprised.
Why? Rosin core will solder together brass parts just fine. This is not my solder of choice for regular repair, but for a diy repair it will work fine. It eliminates the need to purchase a flux and will likely do a neater job for the novice solderer who won't get flux all over the instrument. The rosin can be cleaned off with no problem. Like any solder job, appropriate amunts of heat in the right places and cleaning the parts is crucial.
Matt
 

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I find the iron tying wire used by florists to be useful.
The wire in a garbage bag wire ties is similar in guage to the florist wire, and I always seem to have these around. The nice thing about this fine guage wire is that it keeps the repairer from over tightening. Heavy binding wire can dent/bend parts if over tightened. Florist wire is an excellent choice.
 

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Florist wire comes in several diameters.

Sometimes I use quite a thick wire, and use pliers to put a few zig-zags in it, away from the soldering location. This gives it just a little springiness when the wire is tightened.
 
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