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Saxophones What does Set-up mean?

HayleyLB

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Devon
Although i dont current have a saxophone, im searching and looking at makes models and listening to different ones and i understand they can all be different and some people prefer one to another. But what i do keep reading is how the instrument is "set-up" especially with a new one etc.

What does this mean? I know what i had my violin set up, new bridge, sound post and strings it was better when a good shop did it as opposed to a friend. but with a sax what does this include? every youtube video i have seen is just someone getting it out of the box and putting the neck and or mouthpiece on and not much else is mentioned.

Can a good instrument sound bad if not set up correctly (like a violin) or is the set-up something you do every time you get it out to play.

Many thanks
H
 

Colin the Bear

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On a saxophone your set up is the mouthpiece reed and ligature combination.

We're all made differently so this will be personal and may take a lifetime to find. After you get some chops (embouchure develops) that is.
 

jimmylh

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Sometimes a setup can mean the horn has been gone over by a tech to make sure everything is properly adjusted and leak free prior to purchase from a seller. Even brand new horns out of the box can have leaks due to shipping or not being caught at the factory. A leak, if you aren't familiar with the term, means a pad is not sealing correctly. A leaky sax will not play well.
 
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jbtsax

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A "set-up" can also mean that a saxophone is adjusted to suit the tastes of an advanced player. This often includes adjusting key heights, resetting spring tensions, and such modifications as adding key risers to the palm keys. In saxophone "lore" there is a lot of mystique surrounding having your horn "set-up" by one of the "big name" techs or shops, but in reality it involves simple techniques that any new tech fresh out of repair school knows how to do.
 

kevgermany

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Yes, it's a term used in different ways.
To assemble.
Which sax/mouthpiece/reed/ligature...
Technical check/adjust.

On the leaks, small ones usually affect playability and may mean that you have to press too hard on the keys to get them to seal. Bigger ones stop some/all notes below the leak from playing. It's the small ones that give most problems as they can go undetected. Smaller leaks affect sound, note production, playability.

Ideally a pad should seal all around with light finger pressure. On cheaper saxes soft pads are used which can seal against uneven tone holes if the player presses firmly. But it gives a terrible feel, gets the player into bad habits which cause sore joints/fingers/wrists.
 

kevgermany

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There's also quite a variation in how well techs set saxes up. Sometimes it's a quick and dirty due to time pressure. Others may do a really thorough and good job. Depends on the tech, and how much people want to pay. It's not worth spending a lot on a cheap instrument.
 

Tezmanian Devil

New Member
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19
Advice is often given to have your sax set up by a tech as the quality control on massed produced instruments can be varied.
Buying a new sax from a reputable dealer often means that the sax will be set up for you....you could request this at the store.
Buying from the internet is more of a gamble, however I bought a Jericho sax mail order and it played great!!
2nd hand market means saving a few quid and you should always factor in 40 pounds for a good check over from a decent tech.
If you know anyone who plays, get them to try out your sax and they should be able to spot any flaws in production.
Most problems are fairly inexpensive to fix.
 

Jeanette

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If you know anyone who plays, get them to try out your sax and they should be able to spot any flaws in production..

But just be aware very experienced players can blow through a problem that you may find difficult :)

Jx
 

HayleyLB

Member
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Devon
Gee, Thanks, interesting stuff. I had no idea there was so much to them, although they look like i mine field, beautiful but complicated. Im guessing set-up or tech checks are something you have checked yearly? or just if you think there is an issue? or is it a case of once its been given a going over its pretty much set up for some time?

Im sure my tutor/instructor will tell me, but some people tend to not give all the information all of the time and i like to know as much as i can from many different sources... Gives a good varied knowledge base that way;)
 

Colin the Bear

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The saxophone looks complicated but it isn't. All those levers and buttons are in just the right place to give extensions to your hands and fingers. It's very simple to play. Not easy, but simple.

There's a lot of interconnecting parts on a saxophone. Springs working against each other, buttons doing different things depending what else is pressed. A bump in the case, a little rough handling, over exuberance when cleaning can move things and make an instrument unplayable. The pads closing the tone holes are leather. They wear, shrink, expand, perish. A lot of the adjustments on a modern saxophone are done by screws but a many are shims of cork, which wear or go awol.

It's a wonder they play at all. They do though and if handled with care have few problems.
 
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