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The delights of a newly tweaked sax...

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,093
Yesterday I had the pleasure of a drive over to Exmouth, Sat Nav got me through the last tricky bit, or it chose a slightly convoluted route as it’s been know to do, and to my surprise got me there only a couple minutes late, I blame the two tractors the other side or Dorchester! With eager anticipation I took my tenor and alto out of the boot and was greeted by a friendly and well tanned Griff. It was only that morning that I had arranged to take my tenor over, and rather cheekily brought the alto along as well.

Over the last fortnight my tenor was getting harder and harder to play, to the extent that I even got the screwdrivers out and tweaked a few of adjustment screws. This was after extended analysis of the action and likely regulation problems I might cause. In so doing I was able to keep it limping along for a few more days, but it needed more than that to make it right.

While Griff started his inspection of my tenor, I propped myself up on his stool, and looked at the interesting array of tools in his workshop. I was just pondering what the steel balls of increasing size were for when Griff called me over and showed me the numerous leaks I had. With a long slender light suspended inside the sax they were clearly visible as crescent shaped slivers of light where the pad should meet the tone hole. I had suspected as much having gone over it doing the cigarette paper test.

With all the signs of a true craftsman, Griff was able to answer all my questions and explain what he was doing, whilst his deft hands made the procedure of reseating the pads look as easy as anything. With a small flamethrower (butane gas torch), Griff heated the cup so that the shellac holding the pad in place would melt and then he could ‘float’ it into the right position.

Within a short time my tenor was being transformed, with methodical thoroughness Griff was adjusting this and that ensuring that it would soon be back to its former glory.

Towards the end Griff sat there with his fingers riding the keys obviously listening for something, ‘If you hold down all the keys for a low Bb and open and close the F# key you should get a slight popping sound’ (memory is a little hazy, but it was something like that) and sure enough there it was. We both played it and wow what a transformation, a culmination of all those leaks had really limited the horns potential.

Then came the turn of the alto, the guilt of not even knowing when I last played it spread over me. Within moments Griff had found a monster of a leak, this one would have been easy to see even without the light pouring out of it. Again Griff worked his way around the sax and reseated several of the pads before being satisfied, and again we both played it. I had forgotten how much I like the alto, all of a sudden it was alive in my hands. I should point out that it is at this point that my mind usually goes blank, Griff rips into some great jazz phrasing and I fall back on arpeggios and scales!

So with that I now have two fully serviced and great playing saxophones. It is always fun seeing Griff and I am so grateful to him for helping me out at such short notice.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Very interesting write up even for a beginner like me however I am an engineer so can truly appreciate a craftsmans work. Griffin sounds like a man that knows what he's doing!

Lee.
 

fibracell

Senior Member
Messages
605
I was recently having many problems with my tenor and was thinking about switching to just playing alto!!
The tuning was way off.
But then I took it to an expert tech and he did a fantastic job - cleaned it all up, replaced some pads and altered some keys heights. It now plays like a new sax.
So the lesson is, if you have some niggly problems and it seems hard work to play it, do yourself a huge favour and get it overhauled by a good tech!!

cheers = Rob
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,048
Thank you Chris for your kind words. I enjoy my work and am more than happy to have customers watch me "in action".It's always nice to have customers come back - which means must be doing something right!
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,365
Thank you Chris for your kind words. I enjoy my work and am more than happy to have customers watch me "in action".It's always nice to have customers come back - which means must be doing something right!
That's great. Does this mean you are back in circulation full time, or on a sporadic basis ?

Rhys
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,048
Hi Rhys,

I'm back repairing for around a month. I tend to work away for 6-8 weeks then home for 3-5 weeks. I only intend to keep doing this working abroad lark long enough to pay off the remainder of our mortgage and move to a larger house - well house with a larger garage I can convert to a good sized workshop;} or somewhere where I can build one in the garden or extend on the side of the house.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Many happy hours spent talking and watching Griff and Ian in action.

Croydon is definitely missing his easy way with instruments. In a slight change, the final scene of "Shane" is supplanted by fans calling, "Griff. Come back Griff."
 
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