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Frustration

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,769
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I'd been dis satified with the alto for a while. A lack of volume when playing in groups and strange things happening around low Eb and D with poor intonation and tone but the bell notes were fine. The mouthpiece I'd been playing for decades was looking a little worse for wear and getting sensitive to reeds. Maybe I'd outgrown it or it was worn out. I decided to to replace it.

After much experimenting and buying and selling on ebay I got my lelandais. I had one for tenor and liked it. The alto piece was a revelation. Fuller, richer, louder, easier to control. I was well pleased.

Yesterday I picked up the alto and it was a little stuffy. I exercised (twiddled) all the keys and washed out the mouthpiece, fitted a new reed and while I was putting on the mouthpiece something went clunk and shot across the floor in my periferal vision. I bent down to find a well worn pad. On closer inspection the pad had split right round the seat. It was the G pad. I rooted around in a drawer and found one the right size and was able to slip it in without any dis assembly, no problem. There's was no regulation required and it seated fine.

The upshot is it's a different instrument. Dark and full. I'm able to produce breathy gentle bell notes and much of the top end scream is gone, which I kind of liked. I'm having to re learn its character. I hadn't realised how much input I was using to control it.

The fault must have been developing slowly and I'd adapted to it without realising.

All that faffing about with mouthpieces because I had a dicky pad.

Man!... I should have bought a leak light lol
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,733
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I can relate. Several years before I got into professional repair I went through a time when I couldn't find a reed that played well. I tried different brands with different cuts and strengths, but none of them played with the response I like. I had gone through my sax with my leaklight a half a dozen times in a pitch dark room, and the pads were seating perfectly so I knew it wasn't the saxophone. In desperation I finally took it to a tech that I knew. He listened to my tale of woe and then said "Can I see your sax for a minute?" He put the neck in the receiver and pushed the end up and down. Seeing that it moved a bit, he took the neck to his can opener expander and expanded the tenon slightly. It fit to his satisfaction so he said, "Wet a reed and try it now". My sax played like it hadn't for months with a quick response and big clear sound. It wasn't the reeds after all.

In many cases the best players who bring their saxes in for me to repair have instruments with the most problems. They just "blow through" the leaks as they develop and make the instrument play. Often they will say it's playing fine, I just want a check up. When I show them the problems exposed by the leak light they have a look of disbelief on their faces. Ironically the student in junior high who is just learning to play is more "sensitive" to leaks than the accomplished player, it's just that the student doesn't know whether it is him or the horn.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,912
Locality
Just north of Munich
Friend of mine had an old Chu Berry that leaked really badly. He decided to sell and a buyer came round, blew through the leaks and went away with the horn, well pleased.

I picked up an alto on ebay a while ago. It came with stock and S80 C* mouthpieces. On stock it was nearly unplayable. On the S80 it was playable, but difficult. Same fault JBT mentioned - leaky neck socket. Oh, needed a couple of pads as well.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,056
Locality
I live in Exmouth Devon.
...

In many cases the best players who bring their saxes in for me to repair have instruments with the most problems. They just "blow through" the leaks as they develop and make the instrument play. Often they will say it's playing fine, I just want a check up. When I show them the problems exposed by the leak light they have a look of disbelief on their faces. Ironically the student in junior high who is just learning to play is more "sensitive" to leaks than the accomplished player, it's just that the student doesn't know whether it is him or the horn.

+ 1 on the above .
 

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