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Thread: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

  1. #1

    Default Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Hi SOTWers.. I want to share my experience with you and ask for some help of SDA owners...
    I bought an early SDA Tenor last year (Serial 98XX, which puts it 'round 1963), it was a relacq (well done) in non playable condition but at a very good price ($750), specially here in Chile where a late mark VI in non playable condition sells for $8000 or so.
    I overhauled it. First thing it was a pale yellow lacquer like Yamahas with nickel keys. Weird. Second thing we found with my repair-tech was it has snap in pads, like bueschers. Weird too.
    He straightened the body tube, leveled tone holes and key weights, put it leak free and repadded it completely.
    Now I have a beautiful horn with a lovely sound on the octave register but which CAN'T SUBTONE!! no matter what we do with it in the repairman's shop, it's not subtonable!! I tried the same setup in 6 other horns far yet, and i can, so it is not me (EB OL 7 with SAXXAS lig, vandoren V16 #3 reeds). Also it has an unstable tone from low E to low Bb when pushed.
    My big surprise came when I tried another SDA (late one) neck on my horn and it played beautifully! with a R&B big tone! and subtoned perfectly... comparing both necks, the other one was shorter and had another curve.

    So...

    What can I do? I've seen a lot of you commenting about using Barone, Ref 36 and other necks in SDAs..is that the answer? Can you tell me your experiences using other necks on SDAs, please? I'm lost and don't know if I must sell it or try to fix the problem somehow...

    If you have another idea, it'll be welcome...

    Thanks for reading this ultra loooooooong post....

    Javier S.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Something is leaking somewhere.
    "The key to improvising is being able to play and listen at the same time."

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    Distinguished SOTW Member rsclosson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    How well does the neck fit? Sometimes the leak can be where the neck goes in to the horn. Very hard to detect.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    The neck fits perfectly and it has been checked and re-checked for leaks and nothing...

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 jicaino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    check the tenon solder and the octave pip solder joints
    Juan Ignacio Caino
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Is the spring tension on the keys on the back of the sax too light to where they "Blow" open? That would not show as a leak but when playing creates a big one.
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    Distinguished SOTW Member. eugeneherman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    I made a discovery swapping necks from my 1974 SDA & my 60's Vito Beaugnier tenor necks... Same tenon size fine and the Buffet neck is much darker (great!) while the Beaugnier neck is brighter (great!)... Then I bought a NOS Leblanc tenor neck blank as a base for my 2nd SDA neck! BTW, the SDA neck sounds good on my Vito... conclusion here... SDA tenor horns can sound a 'lot' different w/ neck & mpc changes... But your leak problems are another issue.
    'It's ain't about the notes on the page, it's about the notes on the stage!'

  8. #8

    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Neck receiver, octave pip(S), bell-body-bow joints. If it is not a pad leak it is one of those things. It can be simply tiny but it will mess up the whole thing.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Hey people, you really are a great community. I didn't expect to get 6 responses in 1 day!
    Well, you have give me a lot of ideas. My problem now is that the tech i'm seeing is the best in my country, certified by yamaha and selmer paris and he keeps saying that there's nothing else to seal there...
    For Phil: the spring tension is OK, it's even a little hard, so no problem with that.
    I made a test I learned with clarinets: taking the neck, cover the sido that goes into the sax with my palm and blowing from the other side, trying to see if there's some air leaking somewhere but I didn't notice any leaking with that test...
    Is there any other way I can notice a leak? With my tech we made the leak light test and it was also negative in all the sax parts...
    In the other hand, I was searching here and in other forums about subtone as an absolute prove of a leak free sax and the comments sax players/techs were not so obvious as I thought.
    And as a last pont: why when I try with a neck from other SDA I don't have any problem?

    I really appreciate your answers! and I'll be waiting for more to appear...

    Javier S.

  10. #10
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 jicaino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    If swapping necks cures the problem, the problem is the neck. These are common neck maladities: porous soft solder on octave pip and or neck tenon. Porous braze (seam) of the neck. Something stuck inside, something small and hollow that would allow the air to pass thru. Lots and lots of gunk.

    Also some tenons have poorly matched surfaces that causes odd issues. I have a Ref36 that would play like crap on the original neck, and what happened was that the tenon has a little loose. It allowed the scew to tighten more, and the threads on the collar weren't cut all the way thru, so the more you adjusted the screw, it tightened the neck to some extent but developed a major air leak at the socket.

    If you travel to Buenos Aires some time I'll be happy to look at your neck for free, and even solder the tenon and or pip if, like I believe, it's a soft solder issue.
    Juan Ignacio Caino
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Off topic, but how exactly do you check for leaking octave pips (neck and body)?
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    The test I made of blowing the neck alone from one side covering the other should have showed the leak or not? ... very good question buddy lee ...
    There's a chance that I will travel to Bs. As. next June or July! I will contact you through this site if I do! thanks!

    I think i'm gonna buy a Barone neck a SOTW member is selling me for $190...let's see what happens...

    Thanks everybody for your answers

  13. #13
    Distinguished SOTW Member rleitch's Avatar
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Very frustrating! We feel your pain...good luck!
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    Buffets have different tenor diameters to the Selmers, and Selmer clones. I would suspect that a Barone neck diameter will not fit!
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    Distinguished SOTW Member bfoster64's Avatar
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    Default

    Fitting a Barone neck to an SDA should be easy for a competent tech. A little expansion and presto, you are good to go. There's little reason to stress over the original neck when a Barone plays on an SDA like a match made in heaven.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    You could always try the mouthpiece cap trick...
    "Nothing is worse for a musician than getting an opportunity you aren't prepared for." - Quincy Jones

  17. #17

    Default Re: Early SDA: a lot of problems!!

    this is a great question, I am having a problem with my D going to harmonic without the octave key. I recently built up the palm keys and the added weight and light spring tention may be allowing one of the keys to open slightly.Thanks....
    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
    Is the spring tension on the keys on the back of the sax too light to where they "Blow" open? That would not show as a leak but when playing creates a big one.

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