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Saxophones Sax tech quandry

DavidUK

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Took my vintage Beaugnier Vito to the sax tech my tutor uses and recommends end of Feb for a service. He charged £62 to service it, changed a few pads, regulated it.

When I collected it my tutor said the D# was still leaking, so I took it back and the tech replaced the pad FOC.

I test played it once after this (I use my Buffet 400 all the time now), and all seemed OK to me. Checked it over a few weeks ago after deciding to sell it and noticed the top r/h side key was undersprung and one of the palm key feet had no cork on it and was clanking on the body.
With my Haynes manual having arrived I fixed both these issues, thinking why hadn't the tech done this?

Yesterday I took the sax to Windblowers in Nottingham and asked Peter if he'd p/ex it against a new Tenor. He took it away while I played the Tenors and when he returned he said he wouldn't be interested as the Beaugnier was leaking. He took me upstairs and put a leak light down the sax, showing me the gaps in 3-4 pads, then demonstrating how they should be on a new sax. I noticed he closed the pads very gingerly with little pressure when testing for leaks.

I've just played it tonight and can't find a fault. Finger pressure when playing is sufficient to close the pads.

Should I go "mad" at my tech? Should I be expecting perfectly closing pads under the lightest pressure? Do I give him a third chance?

I'm thinking Fraser here was right and maybe I should just put it down to experience and go to the next nearest, Paul Carrrington, with the sax. I met Paul yesterday when I took in a YAS-275 needing an octave key adjustment, which I'll pick up next Thurs.

Comments and suggestions welcome. Fraser, I already know your view. Trouble is the sax was already there when you warned me!

:confused:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Windblowers are right in the way they tested it. If pads don't seat in one go under very light finger pressure, you'll get all sorts of squeaks and poor tone, especially when you're playing fast - unless you use a lot of finger pressure when playing to compensate, and this means a sax that's not as pleasant to play, pain in the hands.... So it comes down to what you're happy with, and how high the standards are of the tech.

However... Assuming it's just adjustment and not more like swedging keys, levelling tone holes, Windblower's cost to adjust the leaking pads is negligible. To me they're using it as an excuse because they don't want the sax. So even if you could get them to take it in part-ex, they'll give you next to nothing for it.
 

Fraser Jarvis

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David I know you blasted me when I told you about that guy, but there you go, I'm not sure and I may be wrong here but I think Wind blowers and Sheehans in Leicester both use Paul Carrington as their tech, and as I said before really great guy "who knows what he's doing". I know Kev wasn't to happy about me warning you about that guy, but you know, in saxophone land we all need to stick together and warn one another of the bad guy's.
 

kevgermany

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I know Kev wasn't to happy about me warning you about that guy, but you know, in saxophone land we all need to stick together and warn one another of the bad guy's.

It wasn't the warning, more the way you did/said it.
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
Windblowers are right in the way they tested it. If pads don't seat in one go under very light finger pressure, you'll get all sorts of squeaks and poor tone, especially when you're playing fast - unless you use a lot of finger pressure when playing to compensate, and this means a sax that's not as pleasant to play, pain in the hands.... So it comes down to what you're happy with, and how high the standards are of the tech.

However... Assuming it's just adjustment and not more like swedging keys, levelling tone holes, Windblower's cost to adjust the leaking pads is negligible. To me they're using it as an excuse because they don't want the sax. So even if you could get them to take it in part-ex, they'll give you next to nothing for it.

I think Kev's absolutely right in all of this.

I wouldn't suggest you go mad with the tech, at all. Firstly, the two minor issues you fixed yourself are things that improve the way the sax plays, rather than fixing things which prevent the sax playing. Unless you told the tech to go through and put everything conceivable right, I wouldn't criticise him for this.

Sounds like there are some very minor leaks. It would be perfectly reasonable to ask the original tech to take a look at them and see what he thinks. He'll probably set them right for less than another tech would charge if they're not related to the pads he changed, or for nothing if they are leaks on the ones he changed. If you go to someone new to the sax, they'll just charge their normal rates for the work.

Given how little you payed for the sax in the first place, I think you're still quids-in with any restorative work, and I think you should expect to have to toil a bit to get any fifty quid sax up to top playing standard.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
Temperature and humidity ie the weather and the amount of play time or lack of it amongst many other things can affect the saxophones playability and efficiency. It's an imperfect instrument. This accounts for the many moods a saxophone will have and how they warm up , play in, have good days and bad. Regulation and replacing the odd bit of cork is something that should be in the players repertoire.

If you're going to need a tech every time the weather changes or a bit of cork makes a bid for freedom there will be little time for playing and a big bill at the end of each month. I suppose if you're playing on the concert tour and the orchestra travels with a technician then it's a different story.


Having said that, I know people who expect the mechanic to check their tyre pressures and empty the ash trays.
 

ProfJames

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Berkshire, UK
There is no reason to put up with shoddy work or service. Take it back to the techie and tell him to put it right. In addition to the comment above "If you're going to need a tech every time the weather changes"..........it is each person's prerogative to use a techie or do the fixes themselves. Choice is always within a budget
 

jazzdoh

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David i don't see what your problem is as Kev as said Windblowers dont want your sax and have used a minor excuse to tell you that,most saxes that shops buy have to have some work on them,as jonf says take sax back to oirginal tech explain what Windblowers has said about the leaks and let him/her fix them.
Next time you need a service take it or any other horns to someone else,problems solved.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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manchester
I'm sorry to have to tell you this but yous gets what's yous pays for, if you pay bargain basement prices expect bargain basement goods, I would not start knocking your tech for one minute because I know nothing of his work but how much of his time do you expect to get for 60 odd quid, and these old horns can be very tricky to set up prefect and this takes time and patience,I have just had my 62 serviced by a tech used by RNCM with a good reputation I had to wait four or five weeks in the queue before he it was my turn the basic price was £135 plus extras, when I dropped it of I told him to do everything needed to make it perfect it had been leaking like a sieve all over the bottom end, when I picked it up a couple of days later he told me he had had terrible problems with the bottom pads trying to make them seal and had took them apart and re built them but to no avail and had to replace them,he had done this because he was trying to save me the cost of new pads ie £8 per pad renewed , I told him when I picked it up he shouldn't have wasted his time and should have just changed them straight off as I had told him to do everything needed, he had replaced 6 pads and the total bill was £175, the horn has been totally transformed and I cannot believe the difference,worth every penny, and I am having my Selmer looked at by him when it gets to the front of the queue, from my experience in life trying to do things on the cheap is a waste of money .....John
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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manchester
I think Kev's absolutely right in all of this.

I wouldn't suggest you go mad with the tech, at all. Firstly, the two minor issues you fixed yourself are things that improve the way the sax plays, rather than fixing things which prevent the sax playing. Unless you told the tech to go through and put everything conceivable right, I wouldn't criticise him for this.

Sounds like there are some very minor leaks. It would be perfectly reasonable to ask the original tech to take a look at them and see what he thinks. He'll probably set them right for less than another tech would charge if they're not related to the pads he changed, or for nothing if they are leaks on the ones he changed. If you go to someone new to the sax, they'll just charge their normal rates for the work.

Given how little you payed for the sax in the first place, I think you're still quids-in with any restorative work, and I think you should expect to have to toil a bit to get any fifty quid sax up to top playing standard.

I couldn't agree more given more leeway and a bigger budget it might have been a totally different story, at the prices this tech is charging it's obvious he's not trying to rip people off ,some people try to do things too cheaply for their customers but it isn't always the best thing to do .....John
 

Fraser Jarvis

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It wasn't the warning, more the way you did/said it.
Well that's just me and the way I felt about my treatment there, how would you have reacted as a beginner having just spending £3000+ on your dream saxophone only to have it buggered up like that by someone who "should" know what they are/were doing? guess you wouldn't have been to impressed either...>:)

There is no reason to put up with shoddy work or service. Take it back to the techie and tell him to put it right.
Like I did......only to pick it up the second time to find it was even worse!:shocked:

Next time you need a service take it or any other horns to someone else,problems solved.
Absolutely! you know Paul's phone number I sent it in a pm, if you want it again feel free to just ask me OK.:thumb:
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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manchester
Expensive does not always mean "good" work is done.


That's the other problem but if you are paying top dollar you really do have the right to complain about the outcome, as I said before if you pay bargain basement prices it would be silly to expect more than bargain basement goods ,though I would never deny there are some bargains to be had in life, it's finding them that's the difficult bit ......John
 
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jazzdoh

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Locality
West Midlands
I'm sorry to have to tell you this but yous gets what's yous pays for, if you pay bargain basement prices expect bargain basement goods, I would not start knocking your tech for one minute because I know nothing of his work but how much of his time do you expect to get for 60 odd quid, and these old horns can be very tricky to set up prefect and this takes time and patience,I have just had my 62 serviced by a tech used by RNCM with a good reputation I had to wait four or five weeks in the queue before he it was my turn the basic price was £135 plus extras, when I dropped it of I told him to do everything needed to make it perfect it had been leaking like a sieve all over the bottom end, when I picked it up a couple of days later he told me he had had terrible problems with the bottom pads trying to make them seal and had took them apart and re built them but to no avail and had to replace them,he had done this because he was trying to save me the cost of new pads ie £8 per pad renewed , I told him when I picked it up he shouldn't have wasted his time and should have just changed them straight off as I had told him to do everything needed, he had replaced 6 pads and the total bill was £175, the horn has been totally transformed and I cannot believe the difference,worth every penny, and I am having my Selmer looked at by him when it gets to the front of the queue, from my experience in life trying to do things on the cheap is a waste of money .....John

I think here John you are taking about 2 different levels of service,a service should cost between £60-£80 pounds and a full service which will cost a lot dearer depending on what you have done.
The full service is where your horn is taken apart and cleaned and some pads replaced and a service is more of a setup and regulation,i would not expect leaks to be there with any service and would always take a horn back if i found leaks.
But in David's case it probably wouldn't be worth putting the horn through a full service,its just not cost effective.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
Someone has already suggested in previous posts that there should be an area on this forum for technical repair guys to advertise/list their services and prices. Then they could be rated. Is this possible to make happen?
 

Musicrocks

Member
Messages
44
Someone has already suggested in previous posts that there should be an area on this forum for technical repair guys to advertise/list their services and prices. Then they could be rated. Is this possible to make happen?

Rating could cause a lot more problems especially from any disgruntled people or if there any misunderstandings, any ratings put in would affect the techs business even if only a few people rate. From what I've seen, more people are likely to rate if they have had bad experiences rather than rate any good ones as they most probably expected a good one. These forums are also available to all on the internet, even the breakfast room is available to non members (if you know how to use google cache well). Advertising is a good idea and then asking publicly for the best available rather than rating anyone down. Just trying to see the other side as their reputation is what gets them through
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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Berkshire, UK
Anything would be better than nothing! I had to go out and find a techie which wasn't that easy when I was asking for recommendations. A list on this forum would be a good start. Also it would be good to know what saxophones they have had experience with or in which they specialise.
 

altissimo

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3,348
Locality
leicester
a number of issues here -
1. If you're selling/part exchanging the Vito, then there's not much point spending more on getting it fixed up, it won't increase the value much. It's playable as it is and only needs a few minor tweaks
2. As Kev said, they're just using the slight leaks as an excuse. Some shops don't care so much about leaks on instruments they're selling and will use more finger pressure when showing you that 'it's not really leaking'
3. If you did part ex it, you'd probably only get ~£100 for it, better to sell it for nearer what it's worth and put the money towards a tenor
4. If the tech who did this less than exemplary work is Paul Windridge, don't bother with him again. He might be good at flutes, but saxes aren't his speciality.
5. I've yet to hear of any complaints about Paul Carrrington. If he was more accessible by public transport, I'd take my saxes to him. If it's true that he does repairs for Sheehan's then I'll take my Martin there.
6. I've said it before, but we should have a thread on recommended sax techs, perhaps it'd be best not to get too far into slagging off the bad ones, or things could turn ugly or potentially libellous...
 

ProfJames

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Absolutely agree on the "libel" issue but there is always an opportunity to comment. Tripadvisor and eBay are just two sites where people get rated for sales and service. Why not here?
 

jbtsax

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As a repair tech who, while working for a music store, has had the experience of telling the customer that the saxophone really needs a repad and be instructed to just "make it play" for the least amount of money, I think I can add a few thoughts to this discussion.

Saxophone pads as they age harden as a result of repeated exposure to water and other elements inside the horn. The leather covering becomes more hard and brittle, and the felt backing underneath loses its flexibility. As a result, these pads can no longer be made to seal perfectly with the lightest amount of pressure on the key. On the stack keys especially this effects the timing and regulation of the keys as well.

In cases like the one I described, the tech replaces the "worst of the worst" pads and does his best to get the rest of the pads to seat as well as humanly possible considering their age and condition. In other words the work is a series of compromises at the customer's request. Techs like myself don't like to work under these conditions for the fact that if the sax is taken to another tech to judge the work, that tech will certainly find issues to be critical of when compared to a standard of perfection.

Now that I have my own independent shop I can turn down work where I am requested to do substandard work to "just make it play". My reputation is worth far more than the $40 I would make for a quick "play condition".
 

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