Overhaul

A complete service for an instrument that is significantly worn and in need of a new lease on life.

We address any and all issues and return your instrument to you set up to play its absolute best and stay that way for a long time.

  1. Your instrument is completely disassembled and all of the pads, corks, and felts are removed.
  2. The instrument body and keys are bathed in a mild soap solution and allowed to dry. 
  3. Any minor dents are repaired (saxophones), and the body of the instrument is checked for straightness and corrected.  Plated instruments are hand-polished at this stage.
  4. Tone holes are checked and leveled. 
  5. Key cups are checked for flatness on an anvil and leveled as needed.
  6. Springs are replaced as needed.
  7. Key fitting.  Hinge tubes are swedged to remove play caused by wear.  Posts and hinge tubes are aligned and then faced perfectly square to ensure they can move freely without binding.  Point screws are countersunk to the proper depth in their posts to remove play.  Worn posts are fit snug and aligned to their rods again.    
  8. The neck tenon is carefully fit to its socket using a drawer full of specialized tools.
  9. New high quality pads are installed with your choice of plastic or metal resonators. Custom handmade metal resonators are available at an additional cost.
  10. All corks and felts are replaced.  High quality synthetic materials such as teflon and ultrasuede are used as needed to reduce friction in the keywork.  The neck cork is also replaced at this stage.
  11. The instrument is assembled using high quality synthetic lubricants and is set up and fine tuned over a period of days to allow for everything to settle in.
  12.  When the instrument is ready, we go through the final setup together; dialling in the key heights and spring tension to right where you like them. 

Add-ons:

Complete spring replacement  

Stop worrying about one of those old rusty springs breaking on stage at a gig or on the road.  All existing springs are removed and replaced with new, top-quality blued steel needle springs, which are then tensioned to your preference.  Stainless steel springs available upon request. 

Body-bow solder

This is a modification for saxophones with a clamping band (usually with 2 small screws providing the force) just below the low D tone hole.  In the forties, Selmer came up with the idea to have this joint as a friction-fit with a clamp, rather than the more traditional soldered joint used on saxophones up to that point.  While it does make the bell easier to remove, this friction-fit joint often shifts and begins to leak if the bell of the horn is bumped or twisted.  Some techs will use a silicone sealant or epoxy here to tighten everything up, but I have seen real improvement in horns after soldering this joint up tight and proper so the bell and body behave as one piece of metal.  The low end seems to speak easier and bigger, and the whole horn plays more balanced from note to note.  The bell remains completely removable for repair.

Depending on how fragile your horn’s finish is, there may be a small amount of lacquer removed during the soldering process.  This is unfortunately unavoidable, although of course not a problem with plated, stripped, or mostly bare brass horns.

This type of work is also very effective for friction-fit joints in the “paperclip” area of some baritone saxes.  

HANDMADE RESONATORS

Finish off your re-pad or overhaul with a set of beautiful hand-made brass resonators.  These resonators are turned in-house to fit your specific instrument from a bar of solid brass and are a screw-back design which can be re-polished and re-used as pads are changed, for the life of your horn.  These really set off the look of an instrument and they age with the horn to a beautiful dark golden colour.  Sonically you can expect some additional 'crispness' to the attack of your instrument, and further weight added to the sound.  

Custom Palm key Risers / thumbrest

Bring those low palm keys up into your palm where they belong.  Shaped to your hands and mirroring the shape of they key they are attached to, custom palm key risers are a common way to improve facility and speed in this tricky area of the saxophone. 

We also make a nice domed rosewood thumb rest in-house that looks and feels great on a fresh overhaul. 

Complete Lacquer strip and hand polish

Whether you just like the bare brass look, or just want to even out the look of an older horn with failing and spotty lacquer, we remove all of the keys and springs from the horn, remove the lacquer, and hand polish everything to a nice matte or gloss finish (up to you).  From here, wax can be applied to preserve this look, or the horn can be allowed to age naturally.  Each brand of horn takes on its own unique shade of gold/brown/red, depending on the brass used and the environment in which it lives.  

This work is also available as an add-on to an oil change / tune up.  In this case, the body and neck are stripped, and the keys remain lacquered.  A striking unique look results from the contrast in finishes.

Keywork modifications

Add firm feet to floppy feeling keys, adjustment screws in the mechanism for easy maintenance, re-locate key touches / strap hooks / thumb rests for improved balance and player comfort, or anything else you can think of.  Bring us your ideas!   

re-engraving / Custom engraving

We remove the bell from your horn for easy shipping and send it away to be engraved by either one of the two best engravers on the planet, depending on whether you want accurate re-engraving on a relacquered vintage instrument, or beautiful custom artwork artwork added to augment your existing engraving.