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Saxophone springs

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
I was reading through the sax manual today, when I suddenly realised that I had never had to replace a spring. S##s law dictates that it will now happen, HELP! I don't know where to get them.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,021
I bought a little repair kit from. musicmedic .com It was slightly expensive but pretty comprehensive so worth the cash as it includes springs and other hard to find bits and pieces.

re. springs. I have found the gauge of springs on modern instruments to be finer than the ones on my Old Conn however I don`t know if this is because the pillars have been re-drilled over the years.
I also keep a selection of sewing needles handy just in case I need to improvise a certain spring. The MusicMedic Kit comes complete with a handy little butane torch which is good for preparing a Flat Tang on the spring . This is all fully explained in Stephen Howards Manual.
 
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johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Clivey, I can't thank you enough, It just hit me that should a spring broke I would be in trouble.

johnboy.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
There are suppliers in the UK, listed in Stephen Howard's book. Music medic is a good US based supplier.

You can buy a mixed pack of springs. Should cover most things. But.... you need flat ones as well as needle. And it's a bit much to do it on a gig, I think. So carry some rubber bands, just in case, in your case. Sax case that is.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Personally I would take it to a REPUTABLE tech. I broke a spring and took it to a local chap who had all the right credentials. He initially tried to do the job in front of me, but then he started to struggle to remove the remains of the broken spring. He told me to leave it with him and he'd ring me when it was done. Well I'd only just got home when he rand to say that it was done. It only cost me £15 and I was quite pleased with the result. I had a quick look at the work at his shop and it all looked fine. Some months later I was giving the sax a thorough clean and I noticed two lumps, one on either side of the pillar where the spring had been. I realised that when he had been struggling to remove the offending spring stub, he'd actually bent the tube of the sax causing a lump on one side. when he straightened it up he caused the lump on the other side!!!!
The moral of this story is, It's all very well having a great sax manual, but some jobs need a good tech!
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Thanks, that's very good advice Taz. Unfortunately I am now back in Spain and there are no names I would trust! When I get some springs I will attempt the job myself. I don't expect to come up against anything I can't handle (5 year electrical fitter apprenticeship in Portsmouth Dockyard, working with hand tools to very close tolerances on very delicate electro/mechanical devices). The first thing I try will be some GENTLE heat on the pillar using a hair dryer. The brass will expand quicker than the steel spring and hopefully with some careful manipulation it will come out. If not I will devise something else - I love a challenge.
The springs on the Mk6 are only showing slight corrosion, so there is no rush. I will try out the above on my old Yamaha first.
When I attempt it I will reply with the results.

johnboy.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,947
Johnboy, there are special pliers for removing/inserting sax springs, there's a shot of them in Stephen's book. There's a slot through one half of the jaws to either take the spring as it comes out or go round the spring as you press it in from the othe side. You can order them through Feree's tools, one of the UK suppliers is an agent for them, can't remember which one. Or you can order from Feree's on line.

Normal technique is to cut the spring close (but not too close) to the pillar with sidecutters, then use the pliers carefully to press the remains out, the slot on the exit (uncut) side, once it's shifted a bit, you should be able to pull out from the exit side without causing the damage that Taz was talking about. There's also an article on removing really stubbornly corroded in/broken off springs on (I think) cybersax.com. They recommmend a strong/saturated alum solution, soak the pillar in that for a few days and the alum will dissolve the spring, but not the brass. Could be difficult, depending on where the pillar is. The alum mustn't get on to any other steel parts, just the spring.

The new spring isn't just a push fit, again Stephen's book gives good intructions on how to fit. You need a spring hook as well - a small crotchet hook (seriously) will do the job, but needs a small modification. .
 
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Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Kev, I think I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to things like this. I don't mind taking the sax apart and cleaning and lubricating it, but when it comes to jobs that are a little more specialised, then I like to take the easy way out! My Dearman is waiting for me to get a spring replaced before I can really get going on it. Then I'll pad it (can't say re-pad as that would infer that it has pads to start with!) And once that lots done, it'll be off to Griffs to make it playable :)))
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Personally I would take it to a REPUTABLE tech. I broke a spring and took it to a local chap who had all the right credentials. He initially tried to do the job in front of me, but then he started to struggle to remove the remains of the broken spring. He told me to leave it with him and he'd ring me when it was done. Well I'd only just got home when he rand to say that it was done. It only cost me £15 and I was quite pleased with the result. I had a quick look at the work at his shop and it all looked fine. Some months later I was giving the sax a thorough clean and I noticed two lumps, one on either side of the pillar where the spring had been. I realised that when he had been struggling to remove the offending spring stub, he'd actually bent the tube of the sax causing a lump on one side. when he straightened it up he caused the lump on the other side!!!!
The moral of this story is, It's all very well having a great sax manual, but some jobs need a good tech!
Good advice. I bought Stephens manual thinking I would patch up my cheap Amati alto for next to nowt. 20 minutes reading and I knew that stripping it down was one thing, mending it was a whole new set of skills which I don't have the time to achieve. The sax is now with a good repairer for a new pad and general setting up.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Good advice. I bought Stephens manual thinking I would patch up my cheap Amati alto for next to nowt. 20 minutes reading and I knew that stripping it down was one thing, mending it was a whole new set of skills which I don't have the time to achieve. The sax is now with a good repairer for a new pad and general setting up.
I'm the opposite. I've fixed quite a few problems (reseating pads, bent keys, key adjustment, spring tensioning) and am now in the process of a complete rebuild on an old Akustic - from the Amati factoy, just after the war... I'm not going to remove dents, but the book's given me the knowledge to know what my limits are. I even sorted the octave mechanism on 2 different saxes, despite Mr H saying don't.... What's realyl good about the book is that it gives you the knowledge to understand how things should be, so you can identify what's wrong when it doesn't play properly.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Kev, I think your right on the money there! The manual gives you the knowledge but not the skill to do the work. You've followed the path of many a player and bought yourself a cheep (I hope) doer upper! My Dearman cost me the princely sum of £50. It's taken me about 2 years to do so far and I haven't done that much yet (family issues got in the way) but now I'll be able to concentrate a bit more time on it. What I'm trying to say is that if I do something totally wrong and mess up the Dearman for good, what have I lost? Not a lot. However, if johnboy was to snap off a pillar,scratch the lacquer or warp a tone hole, he could be in for a very expensive repair bill.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,021
re. The spring pliers and also spring hook. The MusicMedic repair kit I referred to has them included amongst other essential tool and materials.

I can empathize about the lack of decent local Woodwind Techs. As they are in quite short supply in Scotland. This has made it necessary for me to be able to perform the odd repair.

I was quoted about £380 + V.A.T to give my Conn a re-pad and overhaul. “I always fancied white Roo-Pads” That would have been even more expensive.

I suppose if I was working with the Horn then it would be justifiable, but at the moment it`s too much for a broke hobbiest. :(
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Yes guys, I agree with all that's said. I bought the manual a few weeks ago along with two Fibracell reeds (1 med & 1 soft), a Rovnor 2R-ED 11 Lig, a box of Hemke 2.5 reeds (my favorite), all to try with my new PPT8*. Guess who's scraping reeds and having fun today?
By the way, a useful way to adjust spring tension, is to use the plastic coated wire used for wraping round cables, flowers etc. Just thread it between the spring and the sax body, bend it and slip it back on the other side of the spring and hey presto you can pull it and increase or decrease the spring tension. The sense of feel using this method enables accurate settings, and cheeper than a crochet hook!!

johnboy
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Kev, I think your right on the money there! The manual gives you the knowledge but not the skill to do the work. You've followed the path of many a player and bought yourself a cheep (I hope) doer upper! My Dearman cost me the princely sum of £50. It's taken me about 2 years to do so far and I haven't done that much yet (family issues got in the way) but now I'll be able to concentrate a bit more time on it. What I'm trying to say is that if I do something totally wrong and mess up the Dearman for good, what have I lost? Not a lot. However, if johnboy was to snap off a pillar,scratch the lacquer or warp a tone hole, he could be in for a very expensive repair bill.
Agreed. This is my third cheeep sax, and I haven't wrecked one yet, but I did come close on an expensive one.... Mea Culpa, and that meant one of the embarassing trips to the repairer that Steve mentions. lol
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Don't worry guys. Over years of overhaul/repairing things you get a feel for the material you are working with and you know how much pressure will cause damage. Preparation is everything, pillars can be supported and force never used.

johnboy.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
What's realyl good about the book is that it gives you the knowledge to understand how things should be, so you can identify what's wrong when it doesn't play properly.
Absolutely. The book gives a great insight into that, and maybe one day I'll have the time to develop some of the skills to put them right.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Absolutely. The book gives a great insight into that, and maybe one day I'll have the time to develop some of the skills to put them right.
But right now you'Re too busy playing, as I should be....
 

berniesax

Member
Messages
135
i have cut and impaled my fingers more times than i care to remember ! but why do they have to be pointedly sharp ? or perhaps its a older sax thing ?
ouch !
bernie
 
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