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Leaking Bell to Body joint

koumou

Member
Messages
168
Hello all,

I recently bought a brand new alto sax from a reputable dealer in the States.
When I first played it the bell notes C,B and Bb did not play with ease and when they did play they were very warbly/unstable.

I leave on a Greek Island, and the nearest tech is 18 hours away by boat or 1 hour away by plane. So sending the horn to a tech is not the simplest solution.

Under the circumstances I am forced to do all minor repairs and adjustments myself.
I have Stephen Howards Saxophone Manual which helps.

With the use of Rizzla papers and a light I found a leak on the B pad which I fixed.

The low notes situation got better but still was not perfect.

While playing yesterday I noticed that saliva was dripping from the joint of the brace that holds the bell to the body.

Can someone please suggest a sealant that I can apply round the joint and under the brace to cure the problem?

Thank You
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,913
You can try ....

.... to seal the leak with clear silicone paste (harmless to yourself , the sax and environment). This helps if the bell is not rotating.

.... to seal the leak, and avoid the bell to rotate , you can solder the bow-bell joint (the best Selmer Mk VIs I've tried had the bell soldered. This was a quite common problem on old Selmers)

But first I think you should try to get a new sax from the dealer/manufactor.

Thomas
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
Thanks for the reply Thomas. Soldering the bell has to be done by a pro tech, it is something beond my capabilities. Clear silicone I know is a good sealant but is messy to work with especially in places with inadequate space around.

I've spoken to the dealer, he said he can replace it. The thing is it's time consuming and I have customs to deal with as well.

Thanks
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Sorry to hear this. Which sax is it?

Does the poblem go away if you seal around the leak with masking tape or modelling clay?

If you do try to solder it and the sax is lacquered, any laquer will be wrecked, and if the bell moves, the keys/toneholes may not line up properly, this really means new pads as well as adjustments... I don't think you want to go down this route.

If it was an old sax and there was a reasonable gap, I'd try cleaning the join with lighter fluid or isopropyl alcohol, get it really dry and then mix up some slow setting epoxy and force it into the gap, keeping the sax really wam so the epoxy starts to flow, may work if the cleaning has been thorough as capilliary action would draw the warm runny epoxy into the crack. Clean up well before it sets and it should be unnoticable. Trouble with this si that the epoxy needs clean bare metal to stick to - and there's likely to be corrosion from your saliva, as well as old soldering flux that'll stop it from sticking, and the only way to remove them would be to make the hole big enough to get a file/sandpaper in.

Must be very frustrating and disappointing. You don't want to pay all this money out for a faulty instrument. And repairs are going to devalue it significantly - or cost a fortune for a re-lacquer. I don't think silicone is a good solution. It'll maybe fix the leak for now, but it'll come off, look bad and won't penetrate into the seam, which is where you need it.

Overall, as Thom said, I think you need to get a replacement from the dealer. He should cover the costs, but I guess customs is going to be your poblem. Probably also worth getting the dealer to test the replacement properly - this is going to be an expensive exercise and you don't want to be doing it a second time...
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
I am going to apply blue tac round the brace and see if that changes the behavior of the low notes, to make sure the leak is there, cause someone sugested that the moisture could be running into the brace from somewhere from above above.

I'll do this in the afternoon when I get home from work.

Thank you
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,045
Seam sealers as used in the auto repair trade should fix your problem. Windshield sealer, or seam sealer. Your local car bodyshop might give you some, and I think you should apply it on the inside of the joint. These sealants are not messy to work with and are designed for this purpose. Find the leak, apply a little and smooth it out with a moist finger.

Jim.
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
Seam sealers as used in the auto repair trade should fix your problem. Windshield sealer, or seam sealer. Your local car bodyshop might give you some, and I think you should apply it on the inside of the joint. These sealants are not messy to work with and are designed for this purpose. Find the leak, apply a little and smooth it out with a moist finger.

Jim.

Thanks, that's a good suggestion.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
I understand the amount of time and that there are cost concerns ... But

In my opinion it may be in your longer term interest to get your sax back to the retailer and have it replaced for a fit for purpose New Saxophone .... ;}

Cheers mate ... and good luck whatever you decide ...
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Just be sure that you can fix it properly before you try. If you try, can't and then send it back, the dealer may argue that you messed it up.... No harm in Blu tac for diagnosis, but don't mess the instrument up....
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
I would like to offer you people my apologies for taking up your time unnecessary. As it turned out it was not a leak from the joint. I was trying different mouthpieces and reeds, and every time I did the the change, I rested the horn on my knees. As it turned out moisture creeped under the bow brace and eventually started dripping at the joint. This led me to believe that there was a leak at that point.

My teacher play tested the sax yesterday (she plays on a Selmer BA alto) and the only negative she could find was that the low
D was not as resonant as the other notes.

Thank you for your willingness to help out.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Hi koumou,

Don't attempt a solder repair!
Getting the instrument to the required temperature for the "Soft" solder to flow, would be impossible without damage (the heat is absorbed by the main body of the sax).
Perhaps a more qualified response from a tech. on the subject?

John.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
I would like to offer you people my apologies for taking up your time unnecessary. As it turned out it was not a leak from the joint. I was trying different mouthpieces and reeds, and every time I did the the change, I rested the horn on my knees. As it turned out moisture creeped under the bow brace and eventually started dripping at the joint. This led me to believe that there was a leak at that point.

My teacher play tested the sax yesterday (she plays on a Selmer BA alto) and the only negative she could find was that the low
D was not as resonant as the other notes.

Thank you for your willingness to help out.

Sorry koumou,

I was typing when you replied, so didn't see above.
No need for apologies from you. It's what the forum is about!

Good luck,
John.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Am really glad to see that the problem is not the sax. A lot less hassle for you. Not to worry about the lack of a problem, it's been a good discussion and may help someone in the future.

Good luck with your playing - you'll be blwoing those low motes better than the rest of us soon!
 
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