You know what I think? I think Stephen is hoping we are all going to take our horns apart and then not be able to put them back together again so then we have to send him all the bits in a box for him to re assemble.
I can see him now in his sax repair lair deep inside a mountain stroking a white cat.
As a belated Birthday present I eventually got a copy of the Haynes Saxophone Manual. Here are my thought on it for any one who’s interested:
Stephen’s gentle guiding voice draws you in to appreciate the instrument in all its complexity and goes some way to expel the initial intimidation of trying to work out how it all works.
Did the manual make me want to take either of my prized saxophones apart? No, I think I’ll still leave that to the pros, but I did hit ebay to see if there was a project sax that would be entertaining to put back into working order. In all seriousness I have long marveled at the action of my saxophones and developed a cursory understanding of what links to what and how in general terms it works.
With the help of the manual I’m more confident to tackle some of the smaller jobs such as re-corking the neck, keeping the action oiled and even adjusting the odd spring or maybe, with care, the regulation on a couple of keys if necessary. But where I feel this book is going to be most beneficial to me is spotting problems before they become too much of an issue or tracking down the likely culprit to a problem that’s developed.
It’s an enlightening book that I’m pleased to own, the touches of humour and considered guidance along with detailed photographs makes it clear and informative.
It's a great book Steven, and I notice you’ve rightly put author next to your name on your signature strip of this forum, but judging by the photographs I’d say ‘Photographer’ deserves to be there also.
So what’s first on my shopping list? A spring hook, I’ve already got my oil and yes that’s a job for the weekend, I can’t remember the last time I gave my alto a drop of oil!
Thanks again guys, for the feedback and the compliments!!
I've been getting quite a few comments on the photos, but I have to say that most of the credit has to go to the camera.
I bought myself a Canon 450D for the job, and it's an incredible piece of kit.
It's got this 'live view' feature' - slightly unusual for a digital SLR - and you can connect it up to a computer to see what the camera sees in real time. Being entirely digitital there's no film, so every shot is free - so I took hundreds and hundreds of them. Some shots took 50 or 60 goes to get right, but when it's all there on the compy screen in front of you it's pretty easy to get it right.
I too was impressed with the photography Stephen and can appreciate how difficult it must be with all that reflective metal.
I moved from film to digital a couple of years back and the freedom of not having to worry about the cost of film was so liberating
I should also say that I will enjoy reading the manual having only dipped in to it so far.
My "signed" copy came today, Stephen it's brilliant, and the autograph was a nice touch too.:welldone It made my day. I have hardly put it down today and being an engineer myself you can bet it will be put to full use.
I bought a TJ "horn revolution" a few days ago with a bit of bell damage and today its playing the bottom notes again, it a few days it'll be up scratch.
Again Steve, great book, great idea, well done, and thanks. :welldone
Just a little feedback. I bought a fixer upper alto to practice repairing on. Didn't have much to go on, except it was clearly a cheapo chinese model and had been dropped by the owner, a girl.
Reading between the lines I guessed that they'd gone for a repair quote and decided it wasn't worth it. But the pics on ebay didn't show much - if any damage. And it looked reasonably new. Beautiful blue laquer, and gold lacquered keywork.
It arrived and based on what I'd read from the manual, I did a damage assessment. A couple of dings (which I decided to leave), some bent keywork in the lower stack - and an octave key stuck open. It was also clear that someone (daddy?) had hada go at it and had made things worse.
Well based on what I'd read I could see what needed doing, what was working well. Good on you Stephen. Clear, but not as mud!
To cut a short story short, an hours judicious bending to put things back to where they should be had a horn that would play properly down to about D, functioning octave key. And a couple of leaks resulting from not being able to bend the keywork back precisely enough to seal the pads. So as soon as there's a free moment over the weekend, I'm going to be adjusting the pads to get the leaks out. Then I'll play it for a little while and put it back on Ebay, but this time advertised as having a couple of dings and some damagfe to the laquer - but otherwise playable.
Thanks Stephen - it's been fun and the book's really helped. Am going to be giving you some suggestions as well. Need to write them down first... And only a moderate profit on this one and the book's paid for itself. (Even if it was a pressie).
I'm really pleased to see feedback like this - I've had a number of emails from readers who've detailed their experience of using the book to fix or diagnose their horns, and it's universally positive.
I'd welcome any suggestions for tweaks to the manual, it would be really useful to see how much readers understand the techniques described, and how they put them into practice.
I haven't had any negative response from any repairers as yet - and to be honest I'm not really expecting any. I've already had a number of emails from readers who have used the manual to diagnose faults, and have booked their horns with techs for servicing.
This is pretty much the way I use a manual with my car these days. I like to know what's wrong with it, but can't be doing with fixing more than a busted fuse or bulb myself.
If anything the manual will lead to more work for tech as players become aware that their horns aren't working as well as they ought to.
That said, bad repair techs might find their workmanship being analysed later...and that's no bad thing either!
It has to be said - the spoof Haynes page is pretty much bang on the nail. I've lost count of the number of times I've read "Gently prise..." and reached for a club hammer.
I did include one classic 'Haynesism' in the manual...the dreaded "Reassembly is a reversal of the ( dismantling ) procedure".
It had to be done.