support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

First overhaul out!

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Café Supporter
Messages
5,000
Locality
France
Today I sold my first completely overhauled saxophone. It's just the third one I do. Complete dis-assembly, deep clean, full repad, complete corks and felts replacements (I didn't like the green felts), repositioned some of the posts and key cups that where not properly covering the tone holes and oiling where required.

Since it was a vintage soprano sax, it proved a bit of a challenge to bring it all back into leak free status due to linkage and corks rather than screws!

As soon as it was done, based on play testing it regularly to find out what could still be wrong or improved, I put it on sale and was amazed to see over a hundred views in the first afternoon it's been posted, including a buyer who wanted to see it.

That was yesterday and it's already gone!

I have 4 sets of pads that are waiting for their horns. My next victim might be my Indiana alto...

It's been fun fixing this horn. It took me roughly 2 weeks to complete the job, not full time of course, but it's a recursive process.

Most of the supplies I used came from China, but were OK.

Two things I'd like to point out:

- Avoid resonators on small pads, anything less than 25mm, at least on cheap Chinese pads. Is it worth having a rivet only that can be off center or add unnecessary thickness to a pad?
- Make sure you measure each and every key cup well. I didn't have any pads that were too large, only some that were a bit small and on a vintage soprano it sometimes means they just cover the tone hole...

Now, I guess as amateurs we will always have to suffer from not stocking many sizes of pads. What you order comes close but never on the spot. Two identical sizes can feel differently, one being snug while the other floats a bit.
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Café Supporter
Messages
5,000
Locality
France
I find it interesting to see and compare how various saxophone types, soprano, alto and tenor compare on a selling website like 'leboncoin' in France. I'm not sure what's the equivalent in the UK but it's like Craigslist in the US.

I posted an add for a tenor in September and it took about 10 days to get 100 views. Then I posted an add for a soprano and got over 100 in the first day, not even 12 hours! And the sax has been sold within 27 hours!

Then I posted an add for an alto and I'm only at 25 views after 6 hours.

That's better than tenor, but still, it's disappointing!

Price must be a factor though as my soprano was under 400€.

The reason I'm curious is that when I retire, I'm considering a small side business restoring horns and I'll need to target the right market... If there is one. No pressure as I've got to get busy a few more years before I can actually retire. But I'd like to build expertise until then. One horn at a time...
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
9,156
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
It sounds as if you enjoy doing that. Welcome to the club. I got hooked at age 16 when my band teacher gave me a C-melody and I tried to do my first re-pad. It was a total disaster, but I discovered two things: 1) I had a lot to learn, 2) I really liked working on saxophones. As a band teacher for 32 years I did a lot of "classroom repairs" and always maintained and adjusted my own instruments. After I retired from teaching it was an easy transition to study repair as an apprentice in a music store, and then later open a shop of my own.

It sounds like you are now ready to take your skills to the next level by adding key fitting tools to your kit, and when you can afford it, tonehole leveling files.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,472
Locality
New Mexico, US
Congrats. Besides displaying facility, you also displayed some bravery.

I didn't dare sell my first refurbished sax until I had completed about 10 of them.

I certainly never attempted a Soprano until around # 25 at least.....

What kind of Soprano is it ?

FWIW..I wouldn't get too hung up on 'views' of your ads. The #'s don't mean a whole lot. Plenty of people who really have zero intention of buying but are just curious to see some photos. As a Sopran is less common than A or T, doesn't surprise me all that much that it garnered more interest.

Good luck, keep it up.
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Café Supporter
Messages
5,000
Locality
France
What kind of Soprano is it ?

It a Dolnet Paris serial in the 60k range, but I don't find the available infos precise enough to guess a date...

It didn't represent a serious challenge from a mechanical point if view. The only tricky thing I had to do was to remove a broken point screw to switch it with the non broken one on the other side to make it easy to take that section out.

I have another soprano waiting that's going to be interesting. An Hawkes & son "XX Century" with roles tone holes. It must have been relaquered as there are traces of lacquer on the keys and rollers.

Not sure when I'll have time to deal with it. But if I can't improve my financials quickly, I'll have to make the time... And try to sell it. But I'd prefer to keep it even if the ergos are challenging, I have a liking for this horn.
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Café Supporter
Messages
5,000
Locality
France
It sounds as if you enjoy doing that. Welcome to the club. I got hooked at age 16 when my band teacher gave me a C-melody and I tried to do my first re-pad. It was a total disaster, but I discovered two things: 1) I had a lot to learn, 2) I really liked working on saxophones. As a band teacher for 32 years I did a lot of "classroom repairs" and always maintained and adjusted my own instruments. After I retired from teaching it was an easy transition to study repair as an apprentice in a music store, and then later open a shop of my own.

It sounds like you are now ready to take your skills to the next level by adding key fitting tools to your kit, and when you can afford it, tonehole leveling files.

I love doing it. I discovered that when I bought my second alto as an accident, if I can call it that. I was looking for a method on Amazon and was presented with an add for a used 'Martin Handcraft' that wasn't a Martin at all but it had the word "handcraft" written on the bell among others. Anyways, I bought it and took it apart to clean it and try to make it work... I loved it and started my GAS spree, leading me to own up to 18 saxophones...

I still have a lot to learn and I'm sure I'll make many mistakes before I start mastering the art. But I'll certainly envisage spending time with a pro to learn the trade. I regret not doing it a couple of years ago, when I could.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,472
Locality
New Mexico, US
Over time, as JBT says, you can and probably will add more tooling to your arsenal, which will make you gradually learn how to do more.
When I started, I did just padwork, cleaning, and simple mechanical stuff - but took it to a couple of local techs to have them do body work, soldering, swedging, and tonehole leveling. They were glad to do it and gave me a really good deal because the horns would come to them already disassembled and cleaned....and they didn't have to do the repadding and reassembly.


Then after a while...I realized that the $40 a pop or so they charged for dent removal, while incredibly fair....was adding up to $200/month...and if I actually purchased some basic dent rods and balls they would pay for themselves in around 3-4 months.

Likewise tonehole files.

Likewise learning how to soft-solder.

Likewise neck repair tools. And so on....

So these things come in steps.

Fun as all heck :cool: ...ain't it ?????
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Café Supporter
Messages
5,000
Locality
France
You're right, I should take the oiple of horns that need resolder jobs to a pro for now. I don't have the skills nor the tools and I don't want to make a mess.

My last experiences soldering pipes were not brilliant and there aesthetics didn't matter.

I have every intention to continue and perfect my repair abilities. But I'm sure that it'll be a slow process. For now I'm focussing on repads and tuning. Then of course there are all the small things that come along and we're not expected...
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Café Supporter
Messages
1,884
Locality
Oneonta, NY
Congrats! It must be a great feeling. I find the topic of saxophone repair and maintenance fascinating,’but the most ambitious thing I’ve done is adjust the spring on an Eb palm key. I did recently purchase the Haynes Saxophone Manual.

Very nice soprano. I’m sure you have many more successful projects in the future.
 
Top Bottom