Repair, Saxophones, Vintage Saxophone

Frozen Mark VI Rollers

A common problem with vintage saxophones is stuck rollers.

Unfortunately these rollers cannot always be saved, especially if they are real pearl rollers.

Vintage Selmer saxophone rollers, however, are not pearl and are often times salvable.


This beautiful horn came into the shop to be adjusted and put up on consignment. The bloated low Eb/C rollers were immediately noticeable. Naturally, neither the screw nor the roller itself would turn.

After soaking in penetrating oil (I used Croil) and heating the key touches with my hot air torch, I was able to advance one of the screws a couple turns. This was great progress, as I could now turn the screw back in and out to get the oil to soak along the entire length of the roller and break the screw free.

Once the roller is free, I use a bristled pipe cleaner to clean the rust out from the inside of the roller. I use high grit sandpaper to work the rust off of the rod.

Often times the roller is bloated, so I use the same high grit sandpaper to round and smooth out the roller. I’ll put the roller back on and observe where it still catches on the end of the key, and smooth out the high spots.

Original rollers saved!

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This is where I will post photos of my work, updates of ongoing projects, and photos of cool horns that have been through my hands.

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Frozen Mark VI Rollers