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dangers of taking apart a sax

sdegraw

New Member
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18
I am thinking of doing my own repairs but I am worried that I might ruin it when I take it apart and put it back together so is it safe to take it apart?
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Before you start, there are some tools you should have:

1. good quality screwdrivers that fit the rods and screws perfectly
2. a pair of smooth flat jaw pliers
3. a spring hook with both a hook and a notch end to pull or push springs
4. some quality key oil made for saxophones
5. some cotton pipe cleaners
6. some cotton buds (Q-Tips)
7. some paper towels

A good way to start would be to practice removing the single independent keys one at a time, cleaning and oiling them and putting them back on the sax. These are the palm keys, the side keys, and the fork F#. When you take off keys that have pivot screws on both ends, completely back one screw out and partially back out the other to prevent accidentally bending one. Keep these screws in the posts so they don't get mixed up. I always unhook the springs before removing keys to release the pressure on the rod so that it will slide out more easily.

When you are comfortable removing and installing the independent keys, you may want to try the upper stack. First unhook all of the springs with your spring hook. Back the rod out with the screw driver till it clicks on each turn. Grip the end with your fingertips and slowly pull it out. If you need to, use the smooth flat nose pliers to get it started. As each key is freed as the rod is removed, place it on a paper towel in the order it came off. This will be the reverse of the assembly order when you put them back on the sax. To oil keys, I like to put a drop or two inside the hinge tube at the end the rod will be inserted into. For pivot screws I like Music Medic Ultimax Lubricant.

A few general rules:

1. Never force a key on or off. Something will get bent. Figure out why it is not responding.
2. Always have a back up person you can take it to, if you get in over your head.
3. Have enough sense to know when you are getting in over your head and STOP.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
If you think you can't do it, then you shoudn't.

I tend to agree with this, but... If you start by removing one key (such as a LH palm key) and put it back, you can gradually work up to a full dismantle re-assembly. They're not that difficult. But don't force and be careful for cross threading the screws, it's rather easy as they go into brass, not steel.

Watch the springs, they're really sharp.
 

Koen88

Sax Drinker / Beer player
Messages
426
Locality
Netherlands
if you would want to do some repair, you could get the musicmedic repair kit, it holds all the essential saxophone repair stuff.. including the right pliers and screwdrivers etc.

its what I used for fixing up some saxophones to postpone a full service or make it playable for resale..

and indeed, the springs can get pretty deep in your finger if your not carefull!
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
"In over your head" issues generally happen on older vintage saxes, but can also take place on newer ones as well. These include:

- A pivot screw that is frozen in the post
- A rod that is frozen
- A broken spring
- A broken key
- A bent rod
- A bent hinge tube
- A misaligned post
- A post with stripped threads

All of these are repairable with the right tools and know how, but can easily be made worse without.
 

DavidUK

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Near Lutterworth, Leics.
Get Steve Howard's Haynes Saxophone Manual.

;}
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
Locality
Sydney, Australia
Get a tin of lighter fluid for cleaning screws and rods.
Get your Tetanus shots up to date.

V
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
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KIC 8462852
"In over your head" issues generally happen on older vintage saxes, but can also take place on newer ones as well. These include:

- A pivot screw that is frozen in the post
- A rod that is frozen
- A broken spring
- A broken key
- A bent rod
- A bent hinge tube
- A misaligned post
- A post with stripped threads

All of these are repairable with the right tools and know how, but can easily be made worse without.

Are those your new lyrics for 'These are a few of my favourite things'?
 

Melissa

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,021
Locality
Northamptonshire UK
All of the above, and you must be really confident, springs do hurt when they stab you! I would not have said it is for the faint hearted, it may look simple but it is not, I have tried once and I did make a mess of it, not that it did not dismantle easily enough, but when it was back together- well, it was certainly unplayable, I even ruined the pads, not entirely my fault though.

Those whom do it professionally like Griff and the others know them inside out, I personally would never try again unless I went and studied it in it's entirety. I am happy to study playing and let them do it correctly-and first time!:)
 

arock

Member
Messages
110
Locality
Northern California
One year ago I did my first re-pad and clean up on a saxophone. I bought it for $70. If I failed, it was no great loss. I would not recommend you start on a good horn.
I have now completed 10 horns this year and feel confident I can do it. It is a learned skill. Read a lot and ask questions.
Don't let others discourage you.
I take a bread board covered with plain paper. I draw a simple silhouette of the back side of a sax. Every part that comes off, is laid near the drawing. Every pivot rod is tapes to the paper, in the closest location. This method, with photos before you start will make life easier. The pro techs might laugh, but it worked for me. Just sharing my thoughts.
 

Rodzart

New Member
Messages
24
Locality
Hakatere,Nr Ashburton, South Island, New Zealand
I agree, photos are a great help. Also making notes on the dismantle sequence is important.
I have completed two saxophones, both are still playing well,
 

majordennis

Senior Member
Messages
485
Locality
Gone West
Definately beware of the springs, the first one I did was already dismantled and came in a plastic shopping bag, most of the re-assembly is fairly logical as the tone holes will have left an impression on the pads, I usually sit the top and bottom stack keys in turn on the body loosely and then add the rods. As this is your first attempt don't do it with your main horn, find a "beater" to practise on, it's not just reassembly the set-up is more important. Oddly enough after doing 3 or 4 altos that pile of bits in the plastic bag is still the one I use.
 

llamedos

Senior Member
Messages
429
Locality
Lincolnshire England
The point regarding springs and their potential for harm cannot be over-emphasised. They are vicious little devils even on a clarinet and a stab from one can easily lead to infection if you are not careful.

I can't help wondering how easy it would be to work on an instrument wearing a pair of those chain-mail gloves that I have seen used in, for example, meat cutting plants and on fish-filleting lines!

Dave
 

Ads

Well-Known Member
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4,314
Locality
North West UK
I never understood why the springs have to be needle sharp at the loose end , I`m convinced it`s to ward off unauthorized sax repairing
:headscratch:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
tapered springs work better than parallel ones.

And anyway, you quickly learn to be careful with them. I haven't been assaulted by one in months.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I never understood why the springs have to be needle sharp at the loose end , I`m convinced it`s to ward off unauthorized sax repairing

That may very well be true. Or it may be to punish those of us who choose to work on saxophones. :) The real answer is that the smaller diameter of the end of the pointed spring makes less contact with the spring "cradle", hence there is less friction created. See the illustration below.

In reality the straight stainless steel springs sold by Ed Kraus are superior to most of the pointed blue steel springs on the market, but to use those one has to either put a point on the spring or enlarge the groove in the spring cradle to make them fit. The other downside is that blued steel springs are associated in player's minds with pro saxes, and the straight stainless steel springs are associated with student horns, even though in the case of Ed's springs they are the superior product.

 

Ads

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,314
Locality
North West UK
Thanks John , though I somewhat doubt the increased friction would make much difference (especially after the action has gunked up and not been serviced for years)
 

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