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Tone hole levelling, any tips ?

Ive been asked by a friend to try and sort out an old Arbiter Alto Sax he has bought, every seemes ok except for the low "c" tone hole , which is warped. Would it be ok to file down and dress the edges as its only warped by a small amount but enough to stop the note speaking ? Or will filing it down alter the pitch of the note?

cheers
Flipp
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,045
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
filing toneholes is an accepted practice however you will do a better job with the specialist files needed to get the tonehole level and without any burrs or a sharp rim.

firstly you could try removintg the bell/bow section and try pushing up underneath the tonehole chimney to bring the low spot/spots up, you will still need to "dress" the tonehole rim with a file/files but at least method means you will mor than likely have to remove less material.

you could also try a large flat surface ( larger than the tonehole) such as a piece of glass or ground metal and attach emery paper and work in a rotary motion and once level change through the different grades of emery paper taking off less each time and getting a nice flat surface.

you could also try using an older more forgiving pad that is not so firm.

you need to be super careful as once the material is removed you cant get it back! and it is a lot of work to try and make a chimney and solder it inside the existing one


let us know how you get on.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Location
Leeds
To answer your questions, yes, it can be done, and yes, it will alter the pitch (but typically not enough to notice). It sounds like you don't have a tonehole file and haven't done this before. I would strongly recommend taking it to a tech. It's a relatively straightforward job but if you screw it up it can get pretty complicated to fix. But if you must DIY, Griff's advice about emery paper and rotary motion is the way I would do it if you don't have a very fine flat file bigger than the hole.
 
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