Saxophone overhauls are a very misunderstood repair job. Just like playing a saxophone, where not all players are the same caliber, the same is true for saxophone technicians. Most technicians can do a perfectly fine job banging out a dent, replacing a neck cork or doing any of the traditional run of the mill repairs on a saxophone. But completely rebuilding and restoring a saxophone to new condition, a true OVERHAUL of the sax, is no simple task. Most technicians simply do not have the training, tooling or the sheer number of overhauls needed to stay well practiced at overhauling saxophones.
Our "ProShop" Overhaul service is the answer to this question. We have developed a process that will bring your saxophone in to a performance standard that is BETTER than when your saxophone was new! We address the most common issues that sap away your saxophone's performance and will leave you in awe of the final outcome. You will find the saxophone sound that you have known and loved will have been melded with the mechanical perfection, adjustment stability and tonal responsiveness of the best new saxophones made today.
Our ProShop Overhaul service is one of the main reasons that we have been recognized by Selmer Paris as one of only a handful of Official Selmer Paris Pro Shops.
We use only the best tooling, materials, pads & techniques so that your sax can play to the best of its ability - and in most cases, better than it was when it was brand new!
Most saxophones have tone holes that are not level. This is due to a variety of reasons ranging from poor crafstmanship at the factory, lazy technicians, previous drops that were not repaired well, etc... Whatever the reason, the problem remains that most saxophone tone holes are not level.
This means that your pads have to accommodate these tone holes by using their pad "seat" (the indented area of the pad where the leather and felt is compressed to match the contour of the tone hole) to seal your tone hole. However, this means that the compression of your pad seat is not going to be even around the circumference of the pad. Areas where the tone hole is taller, the pad's seat compression will be deeper than areas where the tone hole is shorter and the compression of the pad is less drastic. While this will seal the tone hole in the short term, it leads to 2 problems for your saxophone.
First, compressed materials tend to decompress as time goes on. Since the compression around each pad is not even with itself, it means that they will decompress at a different rate. This is where many "leaks" develop from meaning that you have to go back to your tech to get the leak fixed.
Second, the pads used as a result of the poor tone hole have to be softer and puffier in order to allow for the varied levels of pad compression. This actually degrade the acoustics of your horn! Even if your horn is regulated well, these softer pads (consisting of woven felt and softer leather) will act as an acoustic dampener, absorbing vibration out of your horn.
The Fix - Diamond Tone Hole Leveling
After we disassemble and clean the sax, we then spend hours using advanced Diamond Tone Hole Files to make your tone holes perfect. They are a rotating disc that uses the rotation to slowly level the high spots of your tone hole down to match the low spots. This takes a different file for every tone hole and is not only time consuming, but the files themselves are VERY expensive to purchase and maintain - after all, they are actually using Diamonds and the replacement parts aren't cheap!
The Benefit of Diamond Tone Hole Leveling
Once this process has been completed, this provides several benefits to your horn. For starters, your pads no longer have to compensate but rather just seal. This means that the pad seat uses a more uniform compression to the leather and the felt leading to better adjustment stability over the life of the saxophone.
This also allows us to upgrade to a higher quality pad on the instrument. Once the tone holes are level, we are able to fit the saxophone with a firmer pad such as the Pisoni Pro Pads or the various Kangaroo Pads on the market. These harder pads cannot take a deep pad impression and require better tone holes in order to seal properly. The benefit of the pads are improved tonal reflection as they do not absorb as much acoustically coming out of the horn thus improving your saxophone's resonance, responsiveness and projection.
These pads also give you a more secure FEEL to your horn as they eliminate the "squish" of standard saxophone pads. This improves your saxophone's mechanical speed - and when combined with the next step of our overhaul, this makes a HUGE difference...
Over time, your key fit will degrade. This is a natural occurrence due to the simple use of your saxophone's mechanism as the different pieces rotate against and upon each other. Most technicians will attempt to improve your key's fit between the posts using a process called "swedging". While this process will improve the movement of the key between the posts, what about the fit of the key's hinge tube to the rod that they pivot on? What if your key rods aren't straight? Can your shop fix them or if necessary, can they replace them?
After the tone holes on your horn are perfect, we then spend another 2-3 hours just in key fitting. We of course address the traditional swedging issues but we go much further than that. We check all of the steel key rods and we make sure they are straight and true as well as ensure that they fit your horn properly. On top of that, we cut and fabricate new rods for your horn whenever necessary.
We then also refit all of the hinge tubes on the saxophone to the rods that they pivot on. This way your key is tight both against the posts as well as on the rods. This gives your keywork the feel of the best modern Japanese saxophones!
When combined with the perfectly level tone holes and our final step, this gives you a modern feel, stability and action to your vintage sax!
As mentioned above, pads make a HUGE impact on your saxophone's performance - far more than simply covering and sealing the tone hole. The type of pad used will impact the resonance & performance of your saxophone as well as the stability of the adjustments and the FEEL of the saxophone.
By default, our ProShop Overhaul service features Pisoni Pro pads with your choice of either nylon or metal resonantors. We feel that these are the best hyde leather pad on the market today!
Customer's can also choose from various Kangaroo Leather Pads (in either white, black or tan from various makers of pads) as well as choose which resonator style they would like. We want to give you YOUR SAX the way that YOU Want It!
Every overhaul done in our shop carries a 1 year pads & adjustments warranty. We are here to ensure that your sax ALWAYS remains in AMAZING playing condition.
We can further optimize your saxes performance with optional necks, mouthpieces, ligatures and other accessories. Give us a call and we will gladly walk you through all of the options on your horn to get your ideal sound!