This saxophone came in for a playing condition repair. It will get new pads eventually but, for now I was asked to just put everything in adjustment so that it can play. It required the replacement of a few pads that were too warped to guide back into place and a partial freshening in the palm keys and low E-flat. The job became a bit more complex when the pearl holder snapped off during adjustment and when, despite near perfect pad covering, the middle/low E and D would play very stuffy.
For the broken key: I removed the pearl from the broken key touch and soft soldered it back on. It’s strength is good for normal playing (and even dropping), but not for bending, a harder solder may have been a stronger fix, but the soft solder is no less long-term as long as the player isn’t twisting and yanking on the key touch.
For the tuning/stuffy issues: this required the following of Curt Altarac’s Balanced Venting Method and reading some additional theory on saxophone tone production to be sure of how much improvement I could make. Using Curt’s method, I was able to quickly cure the stuffiness in the E and improve things in the D by opening low C as far as I could. The D is not completely curable however, it lives in a sweet spot of design compromise on the saxophone, which is best solved by playing with the low C# (for Low D) or with palm D engaged.