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list                           Thu, 19 Nov 1998           Volume 1 : Number 30

In this issue:


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 07:51:05 EST
Subject: Home repairs (was What do I do??????)

Frank Diaz wrote,

>>Don't try to fix the horns yourself. Home fixer uppers come to the shops I
know frequently and ask the repair staff to check their work. This is bogus !
The shops say either we repad the horn, or you take it somewhere else. >>

I agree in principle.  There's something fundamentally rude about a customer
waltzing into a repair shop and, in essence, asking, "Please help me to avoid
having to pay you for your expertise."  I also think that good repair
technicians deserve what they charge and then some.  Customers may not
understand how meticulous and time-consuming this type of work is.  In my
stained glass studio, where I did a mixture of custom design and restoration
work, I cleaned up some awful Bubba Fixit messes and finally hung a sign that


Nonetheless, I'm now foolish enough to try to learn instrument repairs, with
the help of the Erick Brand repair manual reprinted by Ferree's Tools, where I
also buy parts (go to for info).  I decided not to
approach local technicians for help.  I like my favorite repariman, I don't
want to insult him, I'm sure I'll want to go back to him for work that's out
of my league...and what he doesn't know won't hurt him....

Much as I value professional labor, my fondness for old horns has collapsed my
piggy bank flat on its back with its little trotters quivering in the air.  It
needs some time to recover before I bleed it again.  Besides, many of the
interesting instruments I see for sale would cost more in pro repairs than
they're worth.  Fixing them myself seems better than continuing to pass them
up.  Finally (hope this isn't the pride that goeth before a fall!) I think
I've had enough general workshop experience to learn some new tools without
cutting off a finger or destroying a good musical instrument.  At least I know
enough to know what I don't know, if you know what I mean.

For my first experiments, I overhauled a silver-plated H. Bettoney Bb clarinet
($20 at a yard sale), then a rubber "Carl Fischer" stencil Bb clarinet ($30 at
a flea market).  They needed everything: corks, pads, bumpers, etc.  Now I've
got a stencil (probably Conn) "Grand Opera" C Melody sax ($15 at another yard
sale) taken apart.  All three of these are salvage jobs on long-neglected
"garage horns" that aren't valuable or historically important instruments.
It's too early to tell whether I'll ever progress to the point where I'd feel
confident about overhauling anything significant.  However, the work on the
clarinets only took me maybe twenty times longer than it would have taken
somebody competent, and turned out well enough to encourage me to move on to
the more ambitious job on the sax.  So far, I haven't bothered the local
shops. The rubber clarinet is a student instrument, but the metal one sounds
better than I expected and would do rather well for playing outdoors.  Along
the way, I learned enough about how clarinets work to enable me to make minor
adjustments in the key heights to improve the intonation of my "good"

If I had it to decide all over again, of course I would still take my 1926
Conn bass sax to the professional who restored it for me.  The previous owner
had dropped it and seriously damaged it.  I don't delude myself that I've got
any business messing with such a complex job.  "I may be dumb but I ain't
stooopid."  (Who'd I steal that line from?  Groucho?)

Of course a little knowlege is a dangerous thing.  A couple of days ago, I
couldn't resist replacing the rotted neck cork and octave key pads on my "new"
1922 King Saxello so I could get some idea of how it sounds, even though I'd
already decided I shouldn't monkey with an instrument that good.  I don't seem
to have hurt anything, so maybe I'll move right along to more daring acts of
folly until I teach myself humility with some big, irreversible mistake.  But
I think it's feasible for musicians to learn to do basic work on their own
horns.  At least people can learn to pop a spring back into place, re-seat a
loose pad or cork a neck.

(not content without a modicum of dirt under the fingernails)


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:09:52 -0500
From: Farfl <>
Subject: Re: Home repairs (was What do I do??????)

I read Lelia's post with interest, as I have a different situation where I get my
instruments repaired! My technician is in such demand that it actually HELPS him
(and helps me to get my instrument back faster) for me to do the preliminary
work!  He loves working on all of the strange instruments I bring him; bass sax,
contrabass sarrusophone, Albert System this 'n' that, etc. etc., but he often goes
to Europe to teach about instrument repair and manufacture, and his time is at a
premium. I bought the Ronald Saska book, and my technician has taught me all of
the time-consuming "chores" that I can do myself to make his job easier! I also
have Lelia's "disease" (buying old interesting items to restore), although they
sometimes get re-sold by myself when an item of greater desirability comes along!
I clean the instruments, depad and cork the old stuff, remove all keys, put new
corks and pads in (there's usually a session in between some of these procedures
during which my technician helps me select a pad set and some materials I might
need for whatever job it is.) Then I'll repad and cork the horn, and sometimes try
some reseating of the pads. If I feel there's leaks, or other such problems, my
technician will do the final "tweaking". All dent work is done by him, as is the
more mechanically-deficient stuff.
I enjoy doing this work, and I don't have to feel guilty about doing my own
repairs behing my technician's back. I think I'll move to Lelia's area.....sounds
like the lawn sale pickings are good! But can you actually "pick" a wind
instrument?  :(
Steven (won't sign my last name "Lederman" due to my bad joke.)


Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 19:44:34 -0600 (CST)
From: Jean Adler <>
Subject: Re: thanks

Now there's an interesting idea.  Not today however.  I am in the ISP
business in Minnesota and today a backhoe driver cut through several fiber
optic cables.  OOOPS..wonder if he still has a job.  It not only brought
the net to a crashing halt but long distance and cellular service as well.
Seriously, it would be fun to play with others who obviously enjoy playing
the BIG horns as much as I do.

On Tue, 17 Nov 1998, Steve Rea wrote:

> Maybe a conference call concert?!
> Stephen Rea <>
> Oracle Certified Professional in Database Administration
> University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
> >>> Jean Adler <> 11/16 4:11 PM >>>
> Now if we could only all get together and play sometime.
> That would be quite the eclectic bunch.  Anybody out there want to
>  commmission a work for "low" fanatics?

Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 19:40:47 -0600 (CST)
From: Jean Adler <>
Subject: Re: Underachievers Unite!

I have to admit playing the bass clarinet has given me the opportunity to
play all over the place.  That and sit first chair at nearly every
competition and camp I ever attended.  Guess if I had stayed on the
clarinet I would be just one of dozens...instead of being numero uno.

On Tue, 17 Nov 1998, Edward Branham wrote:
> I started playing contra-bass clarinet in high school at the request of my
> band instructor.   Not that I was an under-achiever, but the girl who was
> first chair was way ahead of me, and I was losing motivation to even try and
> challenge her (I had been playing second to her for 3 years).  I had made it
> into several honors bands, but usually in the second tier.
> He appealed to my baser motives --  less competition for honors bands and
> scholarships!   And he was right!  I made the transition, and spent my last
> two years playing all over the country in various competitions and
> invitational bands.  He was right about scholarships too.  I recieved offers
> from several schools I was interested in, and even from two schools that I
> hadn't even looked at!


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 11:06:22 -0800
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Sarrusophones for sale!


The German collector I've been corresponding with (by fax) just sent me a
series of photographs of two sarrusophones he has for sale.  Both are
absolutely *beautiful* instruments.  Of course, I haven't played either of
them, as they're in Germany...

ANYWAY, there is a Gautrot Marquet that appears to be a Bb bass (possibly
C), and a Couesnon & Cie Eb contra.  I've posted a web page (unlinked) at, with all the details and
pictures that I have.  I'll not post his telephone number, but if you're
*seriously interested* (for example, not expecting to offer him a few
hundred dollars - he is a serious collector, and knows what they're worth),
I'll pass on his contact information to the first several people who are



Grant Green              
sarrusophones and other seismic devices   


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 11:25:21 -0800
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Sarrusophones FS Correction...

I spoke too soon: I'm having trouble uploading the page of images right
now, but managed to post it at a different address.  See for the current page.



Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:56:10 -0800
From: Peter Koval <>
Subject: Sarrusophones for sale

Hi, Grant.
The smaller sarrusophone that you refer to is a baritone, not a bass.
The small loop is characteristic of the smaller size, and corresponds
exactly with the shape of my Evette & Schaeffer baritone. This shape is
also illustrated for the baritone in the Encyclopedie de la Musique et
Dictionnaire du Conservatoire (article by Leruste). The bass
sarrusophone has a much longer loop that  is about half the length of
the overall height, and several tone holes are situated on it --see the
New Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments for an illustration of a
Gautrot-Marquet bass sarrusophone, incorrectly termed a baritone!
Perhaps that is what misled you. The very same instrument, from the
Brighton Museum, was illustrated as a baritone in the Galpin Society
European Musical Instruments Edinburgh International Festival 1968
catalogue, but the description was corrected to bass sarrusophone in the
Corrigenda. I have visited the Museum, handled the instrument, and can
confirm that it is a Bb Bass. Furthermore, the body shape of this
instrument corresponds with that of my Rampone Bb Bass Sarrusophone. I
hope that this clarifies the matter.
Regards, Peter Koval


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 15:12:45 -0800
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Re: Sarrusophones for sale

>Hi, Grant.
>The smaller sarrusophone that you refer to is a baritone, not a bass.
>The small loop is characteristic of the smaller size, and corresponds
>exactly with the shape of my Evette & Schaeffer baritone. This shape is
>also illustrated for the baritone in the Encyclopedie de la Musique et
>Dictionnaire du Conservatoire (article by Leruste). The bass
>sarrusophone has a much longer loop that  is about half the length of

Believe it or not, I just reached the same conclusion.  I hesitate to
identify sarrusophones just by the wrap, as I have seen several models of
Eb contrabass that vary greatly.  A similar difference exists in altos:
some altos are folded with a "false loop" that extends the instrument (but
does not contain an air passage), whereas other don't.

However, the one bit of size information that the owner *did* provide in
this case is the "total length", which I take to mean the length of the
bore if unwrapped.  At 253 cm, the instrument should be about 8 feet long.
When I read that (late last night), I thought "Oh, 8' - this must be in C."
What I should have thought, though, was that the lowest note on a
sarrusophone is (written) Bb, so even a "C" bass should be at least about
9' long.  More likely, the instrument is an Eb bari, with lowest note
concert Db (almost C).

Thanks Peter,


Grant Green  


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 20:30:20 EST
Subject: Re: Sarrusophones for sale!

In a message dated 11/18/98 2:07:08 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< >>

Hi Grant,  this link doesn't seem to be working.
is it correct??  thanks,   jeff brody


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 17:45:15 -0800
From: Grant Green <>
Subject: Re: Sarrusophones for sale!

><< >>
>Hi Grant,  this link doesn't seem to be working.
>is it correct??  thanks,   jeff brody

Hi Jeff,

You missed the "correction" notice.  I haven't been able to upload the page to the contrabass site, but it *is* available at



Grant Green              
sarrusophones and other seismic devices   


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 21:55:03 -0800 (PST)
From: (John Micheal Bush)
Subject: software

Is there any sort of OCR prorgram out there for musical notation,
something that can a graphics file of sheet music and interpret it, do
stuff like transpose?  I am really sick of transposing by hand, because
mistakes happen (most embarassing; stopping in the middle of a rehearsal
of Take Five to try to figure out what a A#Maj chord is.  Stupid, Iknow,
but just the sort of obvious thing to get you when the caffeine wears off),
and it just takes a long time, as I have to do a lot of it (we are
getting music from one book in concert key).  Somewhen must have put some
sort of share ware out by now, right?  Thanks for the help...

Imperial Space Cowboy, Beat Reader, and Aspiring Vegetarian.
"I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable.  There
is something unfair about its use.  It is hitting below the intellect."
   -Oscar Wilde,  The Picture of Dorian Gray


End of list V1 #30

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