Your instrument should be serviced regularly. Saxophones actually have a terrible design. No matter if you play it a lot or not at all, the valves will start leaking, and the whole instrument will start withering. It’s like a finger-driven engine with tens of rotating metal parts, and eventually the wear and tear will unavoidably create slack. Regular maintenance will allow you to continue to enjoy playing all the way down to the lowest register, without the percussion of a clanking mechanism.
Normal service can be anything between small repair and major service. Together with the customer, we take a look at the condition of the instrument and offer our recommendations – without any obligations.
If normal service is no longer sufficient, we put the instrument on our table for a complete overhaul. The saxophone gets stripped completely, the tone holes levelled, the body straightened and dents removed, after which it is cleansed in a bath, together with the key cups. Posts are aligned, shafts and bushings are cleaned, polished and aligned. Mechanical play is eliminated and the cork is replaced. Each key cup gets first class, water-repellant impregnated leather pads.
Everything is fine tuned in such a way that what should close simultaneously, will close simultaneously. Each valve’s spring pressure is adjusted to the wishes of the customer, making all valves have an equally light or heavy feel. Each individual valve opening is chosen in such a way that the instrument will eventually sound and intonate optimally.
Generally, the rule applies: sometimes it is right, but it sounds wrong, and sometimes it is wrong, but it sounds right. Obviously, it is all about the sound. To find out about this, you should of course play the instrument extensively after the refurbishment: some saxes only sound right if the valves are open wide, others just need them to be tighter. Sometimes, some valves need to be opened wider than the rest, in order for that note to sound right or intonate correctly. Marijn and I are both music conservatory saxophone graduates: you are in good hands.
The art of refurbishing
It is not surprising that our customers are interested in the way we do an overhaul. After all, everybody want to know what happened to his (future) horn. So we are often bombarded with questions like: “What does refurbishment actually entail? What kind of tools do you use to refurbish?”, and “Do you always take them apart completely?”.
A series of photos and specs of what a refurbishment entails will be posted here shortly.
A service contract takes care of the annual maintenance of your saxophone. You pay between €100 and €150 annually, depending on the kind of instrument, its age, and its general condition. In return, you get a one year warranty on the correct performance of your instrument, barring damage by fall and other accidents. If necessary, the contract starts with repair. At the end of the year, you will receive notice that your instrument is due for service, and an invoice for the next year. Materials used for the annual service are included in the contract, of course. The service contract can be revoked annually. The contract further expires with the sale of the instrument, unless the new owner wishes to continue the contract.