Saxophone Forum


by johnsonfromwisconsin
(767 posts)
9 years ago

The fun of soldered toneholes

I now have an Truetone bari with soldered toneholes. I'll just say how surprised I was at how well this thing played with some significant leaking in the upper stack and a definate split under the C tonehole. It played down to Bb rather easily! Now, I've never soldered in my life. I have this bari that I'm intent on repairing myself (not to worry too much, some of the other toneholes have been resoldered very, very sloppily, so there's no risk of ruining a horn that's pristine in any way.) Does anyone have any resources or experiences in doing this sort of thing? I could do what other people have done to this horn, just spread random solder around the base, or I could attempt to do this properly. Any help would be appriciated.

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  1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: The fun of soldered toneholes

    Also, some other things I'm planning for this horn in the short and long term: 1) When playing the middle register from D to A, it's quite stuffy compared to the rest of the range (which is really nice!). I'm thinking it's the leak under the C Tonehole causing this issue. 2) This horn is a few years too early to have the snaps, otherwise it's resonators are a mix of flat metal and single rivet types. I want to standardize the pad/resonator set with either flat metal or metal domed. 3) There is a few dents in the neck assembly that need to be worked out. Hmm, I should get dent balls. Hurrah! 4) the bow brace is completely insufficient. I'll see if I can get cute enough to fix that too. Dent and solder work is all beyond anything I've done so far. 5) I hate how the left hand rods press against one's leg. It makes the bell keys not want to work. I want to find some parts to make a removable gaurd for this. I figure if I can cut and bend brass sheet into one portion to solder to the body and another that screws into that to curl over the keys, I should be good. 6) Eventually, I was considering Silver plating the keywork again AND Gold plate over a new silver plate on the body. THEN i'd have an expert engraver restore the original engraving and then add too it. That is waaaay down the road, and I'd have to do a lot before that happens.

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  2. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: The fun of soldered toneholes

    When soldering, cleanliness is the most important thing. slightly sand the areas needing resoldering - particularly if the solder has been exposed and is tarnished. You don't necessarily have to remove all the old solder, though you want the parts fitting together very well. Then make sure you've got flux in there if you are introducing new solder. Other than that, it's all about developing a knack for it. Ideally, all the solder disappears between the two parts you are connecting, but it doesn't always work out that way. Have patience.

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    1. by saxHog
      (28 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: The fun of soldered toneholes

      Sorry, I'm new to this site hopefully you still will be reading responses. I've done a few Martins, bari's and teonrs, they have soldered on tone holes. Before going on I will caution you that it is a good idea to "wire-down" the tone hole in the event of over heating, this will melt the existing solder and dislodge the tone hole from its current resting place and then you have to do the whole thing. Not fun if you have little or no experience. Careful with the wire so you don't scratch the surface of the horn. The key, is as mentioned prep work, make sure the pieces to be soldered are cleaned. Either with emory cloth or, depending on the application, a sharpened pick of some sort. I have made one especially for tone hole soldering. Scrape the joint, using care and be precise as to not skate across the body and create more problems. Also when fluxing the joint to be soldered use just enough to cover the joint. Solder will follow flux. It sounds like this is the situation at your other tone holes, bad prep work, too little heat, impatience. You have to make sure you've heated the area hot enough, which can only come with practice. Dip the tip onto the metal, not the flame, and see if it readily melts and flows. If it does you're laughing. Hold the heat there till you see it flow to where you want it, where you cleaned and applied flux. I'd practice on something else so you get a feel for the solder and heat. I remodelled for some time and did extensive plumbing. You might want to get some 1/2 copper pipe and a couple of elbows and try soldering them together. All the same principles apply except for the scraping. These joints need less precision. Good luck

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