338xxx King Super 20 Alto Repad

This was one of those jobs where everything went my way.  There is an awful lot in the job of saxophone repair- and probably any job that requires working with aged mechanisms and variable materials- where a certain amount of it just depends on which way the wind blows.  You could get a pad seated perfectly on the first try, or you could just as easily need to try 3 different pads and spend an hour before it came out right.  Sometimes you can get an octave mechanism sorted out in an hour, sometimes it takes all morning.

This horn was what I think of as a saxophone that wanted to play, where I felt as if I had outside help.  Kind of like flipping a coin and coming up heads 100 times in a row, its not impossible but it is improbable to have simply every single thing on a horn go the way you want.  And that is what happened with this horn.  It was immensely satisfying and I was quite pleased with the result.

I used flat metal resonators as is my habit on Kings, with moderately open key heights.  I had to fit the double socket neck, which is never easy, but this one went about as well as it possibly could have.  Double socket necks on Kings and Conns are difficult because the airtight joint is the connection between the inner surface of the body tenon and the outer surface of the inner sleeve of the neck tenon- a surface that is not accessible without unsoldering the outer sleeve, which is not something you want to do on a horn in good physical condition otherwise due to lacquer burn.  So its a touch and go operation to get it done without direct access to half of the important bits of the connection, and you must go slow in the expansion and rounding of the inner sleeve because if you go to far, you have to take off the outer sleeve to shrink it back down.  This one went quite well.

You may also notice in the photos some natural cork, something I have been using lately.  I was never pleased with the behavior of natural cork as bought from suppliers in modern times, but I also noticed that cork adjustments on horns that still had their factory jobs on them from 1920s-1950s were often still holding strong.  What gives?  Well, assuming good quality cork, the answer is just the way the cork is cut, it turns out.  If you cut with grain rather than across it like in normal sheet cork, cork is much more resilient and does a fantastic job of what it is supposed to do as an adjustment material.  So I have begun buying thicker sheets of cork and cutting my adjustment materials out of them sideways.  I’ll add this to my now-outdated adjustment materials article later on.

All in all, a very pleasing experience that ended up with a horn that just absolutely smokes.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

These pinky tables are a little oddly designed, but they are quite light and slick when put together right.

These pinky tables are a little oddly designed, but they are quite light and slick when put together right.

Underside of left hand pinky table showing some of my materials choices: leather for the B-to-G# connection, synthetic felt for the C#-to-G# connection, tech-cork for the Bb to B connection.  All of these connections must be contacting but NOT under load at rest.

Underside of left hand pinky table showing some of my materials choices: leather for the B-to-G# connection, synthetic felt for the C#-to-G# connection, tech-cork for the Bb to B connection, synthetic felt for the G# key foot. All of these connections must be contacting but NOT under load at rest.

Back side of the right hand stack showing some materials choices.  Tech cork as the force transmission material between the top of the F-E-D key feet and the bar, and natural cork (I know!) cut across the grain for the bottom of the key feet.

Back side of the right hand stack showing some materials choices. Tech cork as the force transmission material between the top of the F-E-D key feet and the bar, and natural cork (I know!) cut across the grain for the bottom of the key feet.

I like doing a synthetic felt wrap for side key arm connections like this.

I like doing a synthetic felt wrap for side key arm connections like this.

Neck cork overlap joint.  Some guy on a forum recently was saying a clean overlap joint was impossible, which is funny since its literally the first thing you learn how to do on this job.

Neck cork overlap joint. Some guy on a forum recently was saying a clean overlap joint was impossible for him and demanded photographic evidence of anyone who said otherwise, which is funny since its literally the first thing you learn how to do on this job.  This is just a regular run of the mill neck cork job, but I was thinking of that topic today so I snapped a photo of the overlap joint.

The Super 20 (L) compared quite favorably with my personal horn, a King Zephyr Special (R)

The Super 20 (L) compared quite favorably with my personal horn, a King Zephyr Special (R)



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On The Forked Eb (aka Eb trill) On Vintage Saxophones
Low C# Stiff on a Conn 10M
Saxophone Adjustment Materials: The Stohrer Method