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Intl. Saxophone Symposium



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Curt Altarac

The Dream Machine: Transforming Your Saxophone


Most saxophonists are hands-on people and they greatly depend on the one tool that makes them their living. Some players are afraid to change or repair their instruments, as they have heard or experienced horror stories of a technician “fixing” their instrument, only to have it return without the magic it once had, the ultimate betrayal. They avoid any work except that which will keep the horn playing. However, some saxophonists embrace the exciting and transformative changes that modern repair philosophies and technology can offer. With the onset of the internet and knowledge-sharing, improvements to the saxophone are fast-paced and inevitable. With the help of 3D printing and CNC machining, the Sax ProShop does cutting edge work to improve response, technique, tone, posture, timbre, hand-position, functionality, aesthetic and anything else they can think of. In today’s world and with the tooling we have at the Sax ProShop, improvements are only limited by your budget and our collective imagination.

No matter what instrument you play, we welcome you to come join the discussion about the most modern and cutting-edge techniques for the saxophone today and where it might go in the future. Everyone is welcome to bring their saxophones and participate in a Question and Answer session about what improvements are possible for their particular instruments. A few of the modifications we’ll talk about: adding a low A to a soprano and baritone, adding and moving octave vents to improve response, pad choice and design to improve feel and playability, neck angles and custom necks, three octave keys, and double bell-to-body brace-modern set ups.


Biography


The Sax ProShop is known for its unique collaborative approach to saxophone repair, and it’s no surprise that the most demanding players from around the world choose the Sax ProShop to Uberhaul, modify and improve their saxophones. In the shop, Curt Altarac, Ryan Walker and Sara Sipes specialize in particular aspects of the repair process with end results being that every step along the way is completed with perfection as the goal. With this in mind, the Sax ProShop team decided that the best way to present this clinic is the same as they work: together. Altarac founded MusicMedic and the Sax ProShop in 2001 as a symbiotic relationship between supplies, tools, research and development, and practical application. Many of the tools and techniques he created are industry standard today, such as his methods of tuning and toning. He later founded a third branch of the business making woodwind pads, and his current projects include making saxophone necks, developing the tooling to make his own line of saxophones, and designing and importing the Wilmington series of affordable high quality woodwind instruments. Walker came from a background of working as a technician on all types of wind instruments, so he brings an excellent holistic approach to the Sax ProShop. This is evident in his mechanical aptitude and innovative modifications. He also refinishes instruments to an extraordinary level, having studied under some of the world’s finest engravers. Sipes is a world-class saxophonist who shines in the finishing work of an Uberhaul. Her finesse can be felt from the meticulous padding and set-up. Her highest standards for feel, intonation, tone and ergonomics allow the player to seamlessly translate their musicality into sound, uninhibited.