Saxophone repair


My main goal with woodwind instruments is precision key-work, and I will do whatever is needed to attain that, up to and including creating custom keys.For high-range instruments, I use hand-made pads of the highest quality – Chedeville Lelandais.
Essential parts of my process include adjusting the tenon or head joint, dent removal, cosmetic restoration and repairing cracked wood.* First service in the 6 months following overhaul free
* Warranty does not include accidental damage“Good repair work is repair work that does not need repeating…”Saxophone overhaul – requires approx. 20 – 30 hours of work incl. testing and tuning. For best results, this process cannot be rushed. This is not necessarily the easiest option, and may not be requested by the musician, but I always strive for perfection. It is an investment that I make so that the instrument can last 5-10 years before its next overhaul.

My process:

Each overhaul is individual and unique to each instrument, as you will see below.

* Disassembly and cleaning

Complete disassembly, degreasing, key-work and instrument cleaning. Silver-plated or solid silver instruments are cleaned in a special bath and hand polished (requires 2 extra hours). Pivot screws are dismantled individually and cleaned with the posts, and properly re-assembled.

* Dent removal

The instrument is inspected for any deformation, and for airtightness between the body and the bell, especially with older instruments like Balanced Action. Tone hole reshaping and re-leveling. Any specific damage will be treated individually, and can take more time.

* Tone hole leveling

Careful leveling of tone holes, which helps long-term airtightness. It is rare for a new instrument to have level tone holes – a consequence of how the key-work is adjusted in the factory (using a method to avoid scratching the varnish). My method uses special diamond files (800 grids) and burnishers. I try to keep tone hole height as close to its original height as possible so as not to damage the instrument’s harmonic properties. (This process is part of saxophone overhaul only.)

* Post alignment

Posts are aligned to their optimal position, relative to keys and rods. Alignment will depend on instrument quality – re-soldering may be required.

* Rod straightening

Each rod is straightened and polished to a sheen. Can be re-made or replaced if necessary.

* Pivot screws

Pivot screws, after being cleaned with the keys, are re-adjusted so as to remove any play between pivot screw, key and post. This may require screw replacement, re-construction or rethreading.

* Key alignment

Cups are leveled and centered to the tone hole, which is crucial for pad airtightness.

* Springs

Springs are wound for smooth key-work action. Damaged or oxidized springs are replaced.

* Re-padding

Each customer can choose which pads and resonators are used. Resonator diameter is chosen according to tone holes. Pads are installed into keys, leveled and adjusted to ensure against leaks. They are then tested using light and pressure. In this way, pad imprints are no longer necessary – imprints are caused naturally when the instrument is played. With regular maintenance, pads can last 5-10 years without leaking, even with frequent playing. (Rick Margitza is an exception to this rule).

* Cork replacement

All cork and bumpers are replaced, using a combination of different materials to obtain silent key action.

* Neck adjustment

Theoretically, the neck and receiver are designed to fit perfectly. Even the slightest deformation damages airtightness and can cause condensation to leak through, having a negative effect on tone and sound projection. Resulting notes sound muted and uneven, with varying attack times.

* Instrument testing

I test each instrument personally, to make final adjustments, such as key vibration, spring winding, key action and interaction, and neck adjustment to resolve all issues, such as anti-nodes on the tenon.

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