Saxophone Forum


by Kittenslayer87
(6 posts)
5 years ago

How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

I really like vintage horns and I think restoring them would be a fun hobby and it would be neat to learn how to repair and repad my own sax. Whats the best way to do this? MusicMedic.com has sax repair kits, but is this too gimmicky?

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  1. by dgallego
    (27 posts)

    3 years ago

    Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

    Get the repair manuals that are out there. Years ago a company (now gone) Eric brand had a good but date general manual. get others as well. A library of about a dozen is a start. Vids are good to. And buy the right tools. I use to buy and fix up clarinets as a hobby. Not hard but not in the same class as Saxes. Try that first too. BUT Juck horns are the way to go. It does not hurt to screw up a chinese knockoff and if you play it you can keep doing the repairs over and over. See if you can work part time at a repair shop too even it is cleaning up. You can learn a lot by watching. Good luck

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  2. by GFC
    (359 posts)

    3 years ago

    Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

    Speaking as an untrained veteran of DIY maintenance and light repair projects and an occasional repair customer...... With a little basic knowledge, the right attitude (patience!), and a few inexpensive tools, it's not difficult to do a better job than most garden variety music store techs on routine maintenance and adjustment tasks. I've had three overhauls done. One was good, one was ok but flawed, and one was a complete waste because of the tech's negligence. The good one was done by a self-taught tech. That tech was a player who got sick of having to clean up the work of mediocre techs. Do not trust a tech to do work to a standard for serious playing unless they are a woodwind specialist and at least a semi-serious player who can discern the difference between good work and get-by work by testing the horn. Most local techs are not woodwind specialists and are used to cutting corners because their main customers, students, parents and school districts, are more concerned with simply getting something playable for the least amount of time and money rather than something that really plays well. Unless you have a complete lack of mechanical aptitude, you're better off investing in learning basic maintenance and adjustment skills than trusting some sclool-standard tech. Considering the time and logistics of dealing with music store techs, the time invested in learning (and you WILL make some mistakes that you have to redo) isn't completely lost. Start basic, start safe, and start slow. MusicMedic's kit or equivalent and their online articles are a good place to start for cork, felt, spring, and pad work. Follow some simple rules. Do not force or bend anything. If you encounter a problem, get the information and equipment you need to deal with it properly. Repairing issues related to advanced mechanical wear or traumatic damage - soldering, swedging, straightening, aligning, tonehole leveling and such - is the advanced course that you can embark on with cheap project horns.

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  3. by MusicMedic
    (5 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

    I don't think so. : )

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    1. by kelsey
      (802 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

      I would like to start a new hobby too!! Where could I learn brain surgery. Is there a kit I can get?? I don't want to spend too much time with it. I want to keep it simple......Kelsey
      Barry Kelsey

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      1. by cuber
        (653 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

        well kelsey, you could watch every medical TV show ever created. you could probably learn it all from that... oh... right. anyway hm... ask people who know

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    2. by Kittenslayer87
      (6 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

      My bad, I thought a saxaphone forum dedicated to saxaphone repair would have people who know how to repair saxes and could offer decent advice, not just a bunch of crotchety douchebags.

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      1. by cuber
        (653 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

        silly you and i take offence to "chotchety douchebag" .... im a young douchebag.

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        1. by kelsey
          (802 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

          Someone who calls itself Kittenslayer called me a name??? I love all animals and I have ho sense of humor when it comes to joking around about hurting little kittens. Repairing a vintage horn requires special knowledge and talents that I feel is better left to regular instrument repair folks. If you could find a cheap old student model to work on, get some professional help in a few years you might be ready to tackle a vintage horn.........Just an opinion......Kelsey
          Barry Kelsey

          Reply To Post AIM


          1. by saxjunkie89
            (393 posts)

            5 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Any discussion board you ever find yourself on will have people like this, or as you say, "crotchety douchebags" (though I do appreciate your use of crotchety, your use of douchebag is unappealing to me, and curmudgeons would be a much better choice); it's a fact of life. And believe me, I'm one of those people. Keep it real. Actual advice time Get a junker sax and take it all the way apart. Then, put it back together. Further down the road, or if you have time to commit, find someone you can get an apprenticeship under, and go.

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          2. by cburton1
            (1 post)

            5 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Sax player here, playing for 9 years. I agree with saxjunkie's advice section. It takes many years and much practice to learn how to repair a sax properly. With my own vintage bari sax I have had the same question? I've decided that the horn is too valuable to make a mistake on repairs

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          3. by OldHornGuy
            (2 posts)

            4 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            If the drivellers are bored now I might take a chance and venture an answer. Just do it. I know that sounds simplistic but I just bought a Buescher Aristocrat complete except no neck for a hundert bucks. Yep, all there for a bill. Music Medic and/or Ferree's can set you up with a modest set of tools, mostly different pliers and turnscrews, and then you have at it. On eBay you can get videos on doing a pad job which are deadly boring but informative. WORK SLOW. Once you acquire the basic skills required to overhaul a saxophone, including aligning the hinge rods and leveling tone holes, and are reasonably competent at all the jobs involved, the only difference in you and most shop techs is speed. I can overhaul most horns although I am an amateur. I regularly buy garage sale horns or pawn shop dust collectors and tune them into nice, working instruments. But, I would be fired from almost any commercial shop the first week. I work slow and those wizards work fast. In fact, that's 90% of the game. Time is money and when you have a floor to ceiling pile of school horns to overhaul you gotta gitter done. So, my most humble recommendation lurk on eBay until you can grab a super cheap (

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          4. by chalazon
            (547 posts)

            4 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Sure, Just do it, Baby..question is...do you know what you're doing?

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          5. by adetenor
            (68 posts)

            4 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            First few posts on this....brilliant....m.m...."i dont think so"......yeah!.....a classic.

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          6. by chris750four
            (2 posts)

            4 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Don't waist your time on those who say you can't just follow the ones who say you can and in no time flat You Will.

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          7. by chalazon
            (547 posts)

            4 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Listen carefully..it ain't gonna happen..not the first time or the second. you are gonna have to get all the tools, and learn all the processes, and how to solve all the little problems, and how much time, practice and knowledge it takes to do a REALLY GOOD JOB. I've had any number of fellas bring me their little hobby projects over the years..so that I could take them apart and do it right..Don't fool yourselves..It ain't easy..but then, one can always dream on...

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          8. by OldHornGuy
            (2 posts)

            3 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Yeah, but it ain't rocket science either. I can do it and am doing it. Sure there are moments where you have to figure out how do do something or, more important, how to recover from a screw-up. But it's all doable and far from a dream. I understand the reasoning of a professional tech in perpetuating the myth of difficulty but this really is a skill that anyone with good mechanical empathy can acquire. Just Do It.

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          9. by tomdroe@gmail.com
            (7 posts)

            3 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Good topic, great question. Here is a site which includes tons of links to extensive readings on this. --- www.ebay.com/itm/250939259693?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649 ---Called "Your Sax Shop" really worked for me. It also features a fantastic product centering around woodwind repair and "Making Your Own Repair Tools". It's a simple process . Must have for those on a budget in saxophone repair. This is for you. Professional instructions explain in detail how to "Make and Use" this huge array of tools for woodwind repair. Tools you can create are tone hole files 20 sizes, pip buffer, swedging pliers, post swedger, pad spatulas, pad slicks, pad iron, key cup benders, magnetic dent removal, spring adjusters, leak lights, corks and felts, shop set up, cleaning, polishing. Including Links to 75 learning sites. If you have trouble locating it "You can also search Ebay for "Your Sax Shop" or Saxophone Repair Tools". or email me for the latest site location. This an amazing product to kick off your home shop . Let me know if this was helpful. tomdroe@gmail.com . Check it out: www.ebay.com/itm/250939259693?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649 Or See an image here; i1127.photobucket.com/albums/l639/tomdroessler/12ASDFASDF12main.jpg

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          10. by djpeterdee
            (1 post)

            2 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Remember this: The so called experts weren't born that way.  They went through a learning period, and if they're still worth their salt, they are still learning.  I have been a professional equipment technician my entire life, and still don't know everything.  Start at the beginning.  Learn how to do some minor adjustments.  Read all you can read on the subject.  In no time you will be able to make some complex repairs.  Good luck to you.

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          11. by uptickguru
            (1 post)

            2 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Thanks for the realistic answer.  It is much appreciated.  Can you reccomend a good reference for obtaining the needed tools and where you would get basic instruction that is worthwhile.   I have been collecting old sax's as I love the different sound qualities.  If I could do basic repairs I would bid on fixer uppers too.

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          12. by GFC
            (359 posts)

            2 years ago

            Re: How can one learn to repair and restore saxes?

            Musicmedic.com is a good place to start. The contents of their repair kit are a good guide as to the type of supplies you will need to get started. If you're going to be doing overhauls you'll definitely want some upgrades to some of the tools and more felt, cork, and such than come with the kit. Get individual screw drivers, and dental tools from your local hardware store for pad pricks. You might also want pad slicks with handles. Tonehole files are also a good idea, since level toneholes are an essential part a quality overhaul. It's tricky though - it's important to recognize when there's simply an unlevel tonehole and when there's a tonehole that's out of level because of a distorted body. Dealing with the latter is advanced work. MusicMedic has good online repair articles to get started with. The blog at Stohrermusic.com also has some interesting articles on repair and adjustment. MusicMedic carries insstructional books and videos. If you're going to start out with just one, The Saxophone Is My Voice is a good choice.

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