Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 04:28 PMWe just finished a few more videos for some of our products. I'm also hoping to do more detailed instructional videos on YouTube as we get better at this.
All the editing for these videos (the real work) is being done by our own Buck White who also answers the phone when you call. If you like any of these videos tell Buck next time you call. I'm sure he'll be glad to hear it!
Favorite us, friend us, like us, whatever, we're here to help you!
Check out our channel at YouTube.com/MusicMedicCom or just click the picture below.
Monday, July 5, 2010, 07:51 AMThe Sax ProShop has sent out a bunch of really beautiful horns lately. I've been so busy fixing these horns that I've barely had time to tell anyone about them.
So here's my quick Monday morning post about a horn that we finished up last Friday; A Series III Alto Saxophone. This one happened to be solid silver and purchased at the factory.
The first simple Mod, that I suggest anyone repairing a Series III Alto consider, is intended to give the side keys a good feel for a long time. The problem with the side key (lever-key) contact is in the small nub on the pad side of the mechanism. This little nub started life perfectly cylindrical, was buffed and polished and ends up slightly conical due to the buffing. It's the perfect shape if you don't want material to stay on it. But of course, we do want material to stay on it and worse, we want super slick, Teflon shrink tubing to stay on there.
The quick and super-easy fix we implemented in the shop was to thread the little nub with a 3.0x.5 die. We chose a 3.0 die because the little stem was 3.0 to begin with and threading with the 3.0 didn't make an already thin part weaker.
I didn't take a "before pic" but you can image this same key without the threaded post. Here you see it's threaded and ready to accept Teflon shrink tubing.
Here you can see the same key with the tubing on it. Without the threading the tubing WOULD NOT stay on. With it, the tubing stays great.
The second simple mod that we did to this alto was to add some contact points to the side C and Bb as well as the top stack G key. These contacts are hard to see in my pictures but they give the side keys and the G a much more firm feel and the whole horn is way more consistent in feel overall.
Here is a small pillar that we added. The G key will contact that pillar and will never again bend toward the body. This is a very common problem on many Altos including the SeriesIII.
Here are the side C and Bb contact points before the keys are put on the horn. These contacts will give the keys a much more solid feel and keep the correct position forever.
On the Horn these contacts are barely visible.
We did do some other mods to this horn but sadly I forgot the pictures. There are 4 other Series III's in the shop now, a beautiful Martin Bari (that's getting a way better low Bb) a Yanagisawa Bari (that's getting a new octave mechanism and relocated pip) A Conn Tenor (that gets a new strap ring, contact points, a new thumb rest etc...) a Buescher Tenor (that gets are new lease on life) and a BUNCH of other horns with cool mods. So, I'll make it up to you with good pictures of some of these other horns.
If you want to have your horn overhauled and/or improved, contact me and we'll set it up!
Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 07:23 AM
RooPad endorsing artists, the Mana Quartet are heading to Phoenix to play a series of concerts. If you're anywhere near Phoenix in mid July, don't miss these guys! I'm not sure if the RooPads they use are what make them sound so great or not but they certainly are a wonderful group!
For more info, check the Mana schedule.
Good luck with your trip guys!
Tuesday, June 22, 2010, 12:16 PM
Sometimes I have to admit I was wrong. Usually I that's not so easy, this time it's a piece of cake. I was wrong about the Vortex Air Torch that's for sale at MusicMedic.com. I've shown this tool around at various trade shows and to many-many technicians who were hoping to that this tool would replace the overly hot and dangerous gas torches at their benches.
I've been telling technicians that the Air Torch is great but it will not replace a torch. "It's a tool that complements the torch but you still need a torch..." I was wrong. I'm over the flame, I'm sick of the danger and the burnt felt and corks. As time has passed, I pushed the torch further and further to the back of my padding bench.
Today I realized that I haven't used my torch in weeks. I looked over at Kellie's padding bench and noticed she doesn't even have a torch, just the Air Torch. I asked her about it and she just looked at me like I'm old and old fashioned and said, “yeah Curt, why would I need a torch?” Good question really...
So, I'm trowing off the shackles and I'm only using the Air Torch from now on! No more burnt anything!
There is one problem... One of the things we like to do in the shop is slice a banana and sprinkle sugar on it. Then, we heat the sugar with the padding torch to make a little sweet banana treat. I'm going to have to let you know if the Air Torch can do this. If not, I may have a good place to store my padding torch. -In the break room!
Just thought I would share.
Friday, June 18, 2010, 09:02 AMShortly after I posted to this blog about my friend Wally West, he wrote me a letter. Remember I said Wally is a super-great guy? Check out this letter, I mean really folks, this is why I love my job. If you ask me, Wally's stories are best enjoyed over a good meal and libations...
Thanks Wally, I'm looking forward to y'alls next visit.
-unedited letter from Wally West with permission from the author.
I'm quite ashamed of myself for taking so long to get these pics to you. But here they are, in full MusicMedic.com love and glory. My horn is playing the best it's ever played right now, thanks to the genius of Matt and yourself. And the horn looks good too. I love telling these sax aficionados that approach me, "no, it's not a Selmer. It's a Yamaha. No, Y-A-M-A-H-A."
Interesting story behind this horn of mine. In early 1992, my family took a trip to Europe for a month, visiting our friends in Switzerland, who so kindly allowed us to stay in their lake house on the Lake of Constance. While we used the cottage as "home base," we travelled around Europe taking day trips and short 2 and 3 day trips to some of the larger cities. Our last big trip from "home base" was a 5 day stay in Paris. Before leaving home, I had arranged to tour the Selmer factory in Paris - I was able to do this because of my employment with the local music store, where I headed up the band department and did all of the purchasing for the store. We were a Selmer dealer, so naturally, this was an easy draw.
When I arrived in Paris, I took the metro to the Selmer factory and was greeted by none other than Jerome Selmer, grandson of Henri Selmer. I was so excited, as you can imagine. I decided right then and there that I was going to purchase a Selmer tenor directly from the Selmer factory and Jerome Selmer. That would be a real story to tell later. And it is, but not in the way that you think.
I tried out 25 tenors while I was there at Selmer. I chose this beautiful Series III in black lacquer - not because it was black, but because it played the best of the 25 I tried. Jerome released the horn to his local dealer (Le Menetrier) for me to buy (little did I know that one cannot purchase directly from the factory - but it didn't matter to me, as I picked it out there.)
So, this beautiful Selmer tenor was mine, and it made the trip back to the US in fine fashion. You can imagine the excitement as I returned to work at the music store, with my new tenor in tow, beaming with pride as I show off this beauty to all of my co-workers, customers, and anyone else who would listen! The next day, a shipment of horns came in from Yamaha - our big master order - that included a bevy of student, intermediate, and professional horns. Obviously, after checking n all of these horns, I go for the Yamaha YTS-875 Custom in black lacquer. I have to compare this Japanese beast of a horn to my newly acquired beauty from Paris. I carefully unpacked the Yamaha, taking time to remove all of the little shims that hold the keys down and keep the tone holes covered. I felt this process would take forever, and with the removal of each shim, I am telling myself that I am simply wasting my time - nothing can compare to my Selmer black beauty. Finally, the Yamaha is out of it's packaging - free and clear - and I remember admitting to myself just how beautiful the Yamaha was. But I immediately qualified the looks of the horn, confidently telling myself that it's not how a horn looks, it how it plays.
Then, the true test. Out comes my mouthpiece, and I go for my Selmer first. I play, and then I drool. How can anything compare to this French piece of artwork? I remove the mouthpiece from the Selmer and place it on the neck of the Yamaha YTS-875 Custom in black lacquer. I pick the horn up, place the hook of my neckstrap into the ring, wet my lips, and play. What??? Wait...dang. Let's try that again. Holy cow. This simply cannot be. This Yamaha plays circles around my hand-picked, freshly acquired Selmer Series III in black lacquer, procured from Jerome Selmer in Paris, France. Ain't that a bitch.
So, naturally, I take this Yamaha home (the perks of working at the music store), and explain to my wife that there's been a mistake made. I've bought the wrong horn. We agreed that I needed to buy the Yamaha and sell the Selmer (who needs three horns, as I already owned a Mark VI, too). So...the Selmer Series III in black lacquer, purchased in Paris, France, goes on the market. And fortunately, i was able to sell it at a nice profit, and very quickly.
Now, fast forward 18 years. Here we are today, and I've had some wonderful folks fix, repair, overhaul, and care for my Yamaha. But you, Curt, have made the biggest differences and improvements in the playability of the horn since that exciting day back in 1992. I think you and I met when you first moved to North Carolina, as I had found your website on the internet and found you to be very close to my in-laws. I remember my first visit to your home and shop, too. I was visiting my in-laws and I called you and asked for a visit. I drove over to your place. We met outside, and you invited my inside - your garage was serving as your shop, workbench, and shipping department. At this time, I don't believe you had any employees, but there was certainly a lot going on in that garage! We chatted for a short time, and then you popped the question (that is, the question that all eager saxo-phobes ask) - "Did you bring your horn?" Well, I had brought my horn, and your VERY eager hands gently, but hurriedly, took it from the case, and onto the workbench it went. The thing I remember most was that I asked you a question about something on the horn, and it took you about 20 minutes to respond, as you were SO into looking at my horn! Nonetheless, you took my horn completely apart and began working - I didn't know what you were doing to it - but you were intensely focused on that horn like I have never seen someone so focused before. This was around 11AM. By 6PM, we were still "visiting" (I use that term loosely - you were talking as little as possible, but at the same time, you were giving my horn some Curt TLC treatment like it had never before seen) - and all of a sudden, my cell phone rang. It was my mother in-law calling to let me know that dinner was at 7PM. I told her "OK!" and hung up. I then turned to you, Curt, and professed that things needed to wrap up pretty soon, as I had a 30-minute drive back to my in-laws for dinner, and that gave you about a half-hour to finish up whatever you were still dong. Your reply - and I remember this like it was yesterday - "YOU CANNOT TAKE THIS HORN UNTIL I AM DONE. AND I AM NOT DONE." Whoa, Nelly!
Anyway, since that initial meeting, we've become great friends, and you have been my sax savior in every way imaginable. From the complete overhaul, to the quick repairs that I've "forced" you into doing for me (twice from my own negligence - who drops their horn?!?!?), to the holiday hangs we've enjoyed for several years now, please know that I hold your friendship as something very dear to me, and I hold your profession in the highest regard. In no minced words, I unequivocally endorse the artisan craftwork that you do. You're a true friend and a true artist. For these two things, I am most thankful.