You can’t have a bass, and expect it to play well, if you don’t have a good repair technician who knows the peculiarities of bass saxophones. While living in Fredericton I managed to find one, but his shop was a five-hour drive from my home. Layne Francis is a great repair tech and a pro player from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He owned his own bass sax up until a few years ago, when he sold it to a player from Toronto.
Layne always seemed to really enjoy having my bass sax in his shop—perhaps a little too much, as you can see from this picture.
A few years ago Layne moved from the capital to a more relaxed, rural way of life. He is still doing horn repairs however, so if you’re looking for a great repair tech, give him a call.
Just an interesting side note, since Layne rebuilt my 1926 Martin Handcraft tenor in 2000, it has not had to go back to the shop. This horn has endured countless rehearsals, shows, road trips, and a trip across the country in a moving van. Yet the Martin is still playing like it did after its rebuild, and still subtones all the way down to low Bb. When I recently told Layne about this, he laughed and said: “I must have been having a good day”. Obviously not all saxophones can go this long between tweakings, but for some reason, this horn is definitely going the distance.