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New Saxophones vs. the MANTRA

For Years Saxophone manufacturers have evolved closer and closer toward a strange Idea. Most seem to believe that it's important to try and make parts the proper size, and solder them together cleanly. They don't want to stress the metals or have any undue pressure on the keys and parts when they are joined. They all seem to want to have a nice instrument that plays well.

DSC_0717Oddly, I don't know of any manufacturer that has taken the time and energy to produce an instrument that can stay like this. In fact, most manufacturers add stress and damage the instrument at the factory.

You see, the parts are all made with some tolerance. In instrument work, that tolerance seems to be pretty large. When the instruments are put together, sometimes the cumulative tolerance causes certain problems that have to be corrected. And they are bent. That's the first time stress and problems are introduced and it's not the worst.

Later in assembly, an instrument has it's pads put in. The pads are put into the cups with shellac or some glue, but very-very little of it. Then, the pad cup is bent at the factory in an effort to position the pad so it will seal on the tone hole and produce sound. The end result is an instrument that is already damaged and, to have leak work done further, must be damaged further.

For a technician working in the field, a new instrument is harder to work on than one that was properly overhauled. That's because a new instrument has no glue behind the pads and an overhauled instrument has a bed of shellac.

Shellac is a hot melt, like hot glue. A thick layer of it goes behind the pad. To level the pad to the tone hole or adjust it after years of playing is simple. You heat the shellac, it melts, float the pad around until the leak is gone and keep playing. No metal was bent, no tone holes damaged etc.. Now, if you heat the cup and there is not sufficient  shellac behind the pad, it will not float. If you can't float the pad you either have to bend the pad cup and risk damaging more, or replace the pad. whitetw

The Sax ProShop assembles all of the TheoWanne MANTRA Tenors. One tiny part of what we do is use enough shellac. Maybe the MANTRA is the only brand new serviceable saxophone on the market today. Try one.