My Sax repair day

Millicent Stephenson Sax repair at Cambridge Woodwind Makers

I left home at 4.30am this morning to catch the 5:22am train to Cambridge. Yep! A pretty early start for a long but rewarding day.

I attended a saxophone repair refresher day at Cambridge Woodwind Makers in Linton, Cambridgeshire. The aim? To repair my damage octave key and also strip down my Alto Sax (the silver one), clean the bore and put all the pieces back together in working order. 🙂

I arrived. So excited for my sax repair day! When the Class got cracking I carefully removed keys and screws and placed them in relevant groups for each section of the instrument on the workbench. When finally stripped I cleaned the body and even gave the bore a little wash. 🙂

When all the pieces were on the table Daniel (our tutor) said ‘OK, now put it back together’ I have to admit I had a little groan as the fun left my sax repair day. I eyed my precious Dilver which was looking rather menancing all spread out. Where do I start? Will I get it totally wrong? Will I return home with it all still in pieces and a career in tatters? I wished I had placed each key in the order and sequence I had removed them in, from which I could reverse engineer! oh well lesson learnt. I sighed and got on with it.

Now, I’m not handy with a screw driver but my basic knowledge served well. A few pin pricks later from the tame looking but very spikey springs; Oily fingers; Glasses off, glasses on, the fun returned to my sax repair day. I managed to complete 90% of the instrument by 4pm. I had to work over to finish but I cannot take all the credit for the finished masterpiece. Daniel straightened out my octave key – yippee! And also assembled the very fiddly lower stack (G#, B, C#, Bb group of keys on the lower left of the instrument) for me. Watching a Master at work is facinating. He explained what he was doing and why. He’s a really good teacher.

It was a great feeling blowing my Sax to test that everything was in place. (I’m glad it’s in good shape for my Not Just Jazz Show 5 on Fri 26th July, by the way you’re invited. 🙂 l

Today has given me so much insight into the workings of my instrument and how to keep it in tip-top condition. I think I will now play it with a new level of expression and understanding. Also I gained a deeper respect for sax repairers and the amount of time and patience it takes to get things into working order. Well done guys and gals!

As I write to you it’s 8.30pm. I’m on my way home, another hour to go. The Train carriage is cold!!!! Why is the AC on? It was cold and rainy today and the evening colder, so why??? Where’s a hot flush when you need one. Brrrrr! (Teeth chattering) I dunno!


Speak soon

Bye for now.

Almost stripped down. Millicent Stephenson’s Alto Sax.
Millicent Stephenson Sax repair day completed sax Cambridge Woodwind Makers
Finished work! Millicent Stephenson’s completed Alto Sax

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