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"Minimum" tools a technician may use

Ne0Wolf7

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All these tools come to quite a sum, not individually but because there's so much stuff...
What I think I'll do is buy what I need for a particular part of my task and once that's completed buy tools for the next round of stuff to do.
 

saxyjt

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I can relate to your want to learn how to repair a saxophone. Soon after I bought my first sax, I bought a vintage horn and tried to make it shine again, making a number of mistakes and learning along the way. I bought a number of other horns in need of attention and learned something new every time.

But, if you start with a really beat horn, you may never be able to bring it back to playing condition. Soldering for example is a risky exercise when it comes to pillars for example and you may end up with other pillars falling off! So beware of that when purchasing your guinea pig horn.

Your grandfathers alto may be a good place to start, if the toneholes are not too badly separating from the body! You can dis-assemble it, clean it, check the toneholes and fix them where possible. Then re-assemble, oil and see if you can make it play. Along the way, you may find that some pads need replacing, some springs are missing or broken, etc... By the way, what is that horn? A Martin by any chance?

As for tools and supplies, you may source some of them here. Specialists have all you need, but sometime at a premium price.

Finally, it's up to you, but I personally don't like using flames around pads and lacquer. I prefer using an Hot Air soldering station like this.

Good luck and have fun.
 

thomsax

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All these tools come to quite a sum, not individually but because there's so much stuff...
What I think I'll do is buy what I need for a particular part of my task and once that's completed buy tools for the next round of stuff to do.
Yes that's what I did. My first "repair job" was to replace a neck cork. So I bought the stuff for re.corking a sax neck (shellack/glue, alcohol lamp, cork tube/sheet cork, sandpaper, flat file ....). Next job was replacing a pad on a palm key. I discovered that repairing saxes would never pay my bills. So it's just a hobby and I just work on my own saxes..
 

Tomasz

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Digital ones are perfect. Main use is measuring pads and cups to half millimetre accuracy.

I use digital callipers, too. They're pretty much essential when you're fitting (shudder!) Conn Res-O-pads which are sized in 32nds of an inch. Sizing Res-O-pads (particularly where non-Conn saxophones such as Kohlerts or Dorfler & Jorkas are concerned) can be a fairly joyless affair because you often struggle to get anything that approaches a decent size-match. Often, the only option is to fit an undersized pad, which is hardly ideal. I've sized Res-O-Pads on quite a few occasions, but suffice to say I'm not a big fan. Frankly, standard pads (sized in 0.5mm steps) are so much much easier to work with. With that said, sizing "real" Conn Res-O-Pads on an actual C.G.Conn horn is fairly straightforward.

You can buy spare batteries for a digital calliper very cheaply at Poundland.
 
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Ne0Wolf7

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The horn is not a Martin, saxyjt, when I brought to a shop (where I decided against getting it repaired because if the cost), the tech did me the favour of figuring it's an Elkhart.
I can tell by looking and smelling that all pads have ought to be replaced and some springs are missing.
There are so many things wrong with it (and things I can't tell are wrong just by looking) I havnt decided how to start yet!
Addendum: The sax is engraved with : Made by- [illegible]- Elkhart- New York
 
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Ne0Wolf7

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I can also move rods back and forth between posts... is this what swedging is for?
 

saxyjt

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So that's a Conn! Can you see the serial number and perhaps post a few pictures to try and identify the model.

Elkhart is in Indiana, isn't it? Not New York? And Conn factory was there.
 

Ne0Wolf7

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So that's a Conn! Can you see the serial number and perhaps post a few pictures to try and identify the model.

Elkhart is in Indiana, isn't it? Not New York? And Conn factory was there.
Ah, you're right, the engraving is so shallow I missed that it says Elkhart, Ind. with New York below it.
The serial number is 4246, the tech I mentioned earlier said the sax must've come from before the 20's because the now automatic secondary octave vent is not automatic on this horn.
There really aren't any identifying features (to my uneducated eye).
The horn is (now only half) lacquered.
The touches are brass.
Low B and Bb keys are on opposite sides of the bell.
Second octave vent is manual with a second right hand thumb key.
No articulated G#.
No bis/G#adjustment screws- all up to material.
No high F#.
Ribbed construction.
Neck appears to be made from 4 pieces of brass wrapped around a tube a soldered together, yet seem to merge at some point beneath the cork, may be some sort of repair.
Octaves.jpg
RHPalm.jpg
RHStack.jpg
PinkyCluster.jpg
 

saxyjt

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I knew someone would identify it.

That's seriously old! My oldest 'lady' is a Martin from 1923.

If you're patient, that could be a very interesting project to learn and be gentle with such an old lady. It's easy to break them at this age...
 

Stephen Howard

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I can also move rods back and forth between posts... is this what swedging is for?

Generally, yes - though loose keywork can be due to a variety of possible problems.

From looking at the photos I'd say that this horn will require some rather advanced work - and at the end of it all it still won't be particularly wonderful. The double octave mech is a bit of a killjoy, I'm afraid - and the crook/neck looks to be very seriously damaged.
I would very strongly advise you to look around for something just a little more modern (with no damage to the crook).
 

Ne0Wolf7

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I was expecting that news... I might go for it down the road for the sentimental value it holds for my grandfather.
I've got another alto from school, a semi working yas-23 that I'll go for (don't worry I have permission).
I can tell it needs pads, swedging, maybe leveling... we'll see. Still not sure where to start though :p
 

kevgermany

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Not sure I agree with all Steve said, especially about how long it takes to become proficient at hand filing tone holes flat, or the top dressing on rolled ones, but it's a big world and he's a professional, not a self taught amateur like me.

One thing about soldered tone holes. Never done it myself, but if you search around, you'll find there's a good chance of other bits falling off as you solder one on. So be careful.
 
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saxyjt

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Where did I read about fixing minor gaps in soldered tone holes with super glue?

:headscratch:
 

Ne0Wolf7

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Mr. Howard actually mentioned it, but only advised it for a quarter of the circumference or less. Mine is around a third gone
 

Phil

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Wow...you are brave. Make mouthpieces. Its much easier. No moving parts!
 

jbtsax

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In the past on various forums I have taken the time to give my best advice in detail based upon years of study, practice, and experience only to have the person asking the question announce he is going to do what he was going to do in the first place. I'm not suggesting this is one of those cases, but I am offering that background as an explanation for the terse way I am going to respond.

1. Get a used YAS-23 in fair to good mechanical condition to learn on. PERIOD. If you can't or won't do that, read no further.
2. The most important tools are a couple of good quality screwdrivers, smooth flat jaw pliers, spring hook, leak light, and Blazer ES-1000 torch.
3. Take the Yamaha completely apart except for springs and pivot screws and reassemble 4 times.
4. Once you are thoroughly familiar with every key and a logical disassembly/assembly order of your own choosing, disassemble a 5th time.
5. Read every sax repair article on Music Medic website.
6. When ordering pads get the Ultimax oiler and pivot screw grease.
7. Replace palm key, side key, low Eb and C key pads for practice before tackling stack keys, then take them off when you start on the stacks.

A novice has no business:
  • Leveling toneholes - take it to a tech
  • Swedging keys - on your first repair attempt it is not that important on a YAS-23
  • Straightening rods, straightening bent hinge tubes - take to a tech.
This website is useful for replacement parts for those lost, broken, or fubar by inexperience.
 
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