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About Aronson Saxophones

I opened a shop in 1980 and specialized in saxophone repair as a result of the inability to locate a repair technician who could repair my own professional instruments. Traditional repair training did not provide technicians with the knowledge and playing experience to recognize, understand and repair difficult problems encountered on saxophones....particularly, Intonation, custom key work, and restoration techniques.   
Many musicians, today, seek out artist/technicians to work on their beloved instruments for obvious reasons.  When you are an accomplished player, you can understand the needs of  musicians. Often, this requires the innovoative creation of new techniques and materials.  My goal, over three decades ago, was to develop and provide services that were not available before.  I have been told by many technicians that my work has changed how they approach the repair of saxophones.
 You will find that many of the services and products I offer are found at no other shop in the world.  Please check our services and products will find a unique and exciting approach to the repair and playing of the instrument we all love....the saxophone.   
Best Wishes,
Mark Aronson, owner
Aronson Saxophones
sax repair
Mark Aronson

Mark Aronson studied saxophone performance at the University of Iowa with Dr. Ronald Tyree.  He performed and recorded with the Iowa Saxophone Quartet and completed his B.A. in Music Performance in 1977 and a  B.A. in Zoology and General Science.  He received an M.A. from the University of Montana in 1985.  He studied privately with the famous concert saxophonist, Sigurd Rascher and performed at many of his workshops.  Aronson's study with Mr. Rascher was influential in his development of new repair techniques.  The understanding of Adolphe Sax's design principles and philosophy formed the basis for his unique approach to the repair process.


He has performed professionally in many venues:   saxophone quartet, solo recitals, saxophone ensembles, and in symphony orchestras.  Aronson studied physics in college and is a long-time student of musical acoustics.  In 1980 he began to apply his knowledge of musical acoustics  to solve the intonation problems encountered by saxophonists playing vintage and modern instruments.  He realized that almost every saxophone , even most modern ones, could benefit from a careful analysis of their intonation.  He evolved simple and efficient techniques to improve the intonation and response of the instrument. He also  developed a new and comprehensive system of restoration that eliminated damage to the instrument caused by traditional restoration techniques.   One competent musician, called him, "a modern day Adolphe Sax" as a result of his innovative approaches to saxophone repair and design of acoutically superior saxophone necks that retained the original design characteristics of Adolphe Sax.


Mark grew up working with metal in the midst of family members and friends who were machinists, mechanics, welders, and metal workers. This background became an essential component of the new repair  techniques he developed as part of the repair/restoration process.   In 1980 he opened Aronson Instrument Sevice to provide saxphone and band instrument repair in Missoula, Montana.  In 1985 he relocated his business to the Quad Cities in Iowa where he continues to work today, specializing in saxophone repair.  His innovations in  saxophone restoration techniques, saxophone intonation, neck design and custom sax products are used by some of the leading artists in concert venues internationally.  


Fundamental to understanding Aronson's work is his unique perspective.  He is highly influenced by the teaching of the great concert saxophonist, Sigurd Rascher.  Rascher introduced him to Adolphe Sax's design and  vision for the saxophone.  The understanding of Sax's vision for the instrument is the guiding force in Aronson's repair ethic.    Just as Adolphe Sax was in a contant process improving  his  invention, the saxophone, by modifications to improve intonation and ease of playing...Aronson continued this goal on vintage and modern saxes.  Aronson observed that traditional restoration techniques often damaged the instrument.  The metal was often thinned by too much sanding and buffing of the body and neck..  He often observed extensive key damage by the bent hinge tubing and misaligned  posts caused by improper buffing techniques in the preparation process. He saw restorations that stripped the original plated finish....and replaced it with lacquer resulting in acoustical damage to the instrument.    Aronson was one of the first technicians to prevent removal of metal by using the original finishes.....sand blasting and minimizing buffing in the restoration process.  Careful electroplating  is used to install a long-lasting finish that would protect the metal against wear and damage, preserving the instrument for future generations.


Aronson proceeded with two ethical goals for his restoration work: (1) Preserve and improve the integrity of the metal in  the instrument, even at the cost of cosmetics.  Traditional repair techniquest emphasize cosmetic perfection as the goal.  This was done by using some of the original finishes on vintage bead blasting (like sand blasting) does not remove significant metal from the instrument.  Careful key buffing techniques can prevent key damage.   Secondly, he believes the restoration process should be holistic and include intonation evaluation...something never attempted by most technicians.  Intonation work requires a keen understanding of Adolphe Sax's design of the saxophone and modern musical acoustics.


 Aronson was  a pioneer in the field of intonation improvement on the saxophone.  He was the first saxophone technician to apply the principle of "resonance tuning" to this work.  Resonance tuning is based on the acoustic priniciple that the bore dimensions of an instrument effect the frequencies and tuning of upper register partials.  Small adjustments in the bore dimensions can be made to adjust individual pitches tuning in different registers  without effecting the tone quality and actually improve the intonation and response of an instrument.  Adolphe Sax  used this acoutstical principle in the unique design of the saxophone bore and mouthpiece.  The saxophone was a "new voice", a new woodwind that was  fundamentally different, in tone quality and design,  from any other woodwind instrument.    Understanding the acoustic significance of the original bore design provide one of the few examples of where bore design was intentionally used to influence not only the tone quality of the instrument but  intonation.  Indeed,  the saxophone is the only truly modern woodwind instrument.  There are some individuals today, who deny that Adolphe Sax's design is unique and is responsible for the unique sound of saxophone's containing the original bore design.  Modern acoustics has clearly demonstrated those individuals are wrong....the dimensions and shape of the bore of any instrument determine it's playing characteristics, including tone quality and intonation.  


Aronson is musician who plays the saxophone...who understands the design priniciples of his instrument.  Many saxophonists today,are still not aware of  the unique characteristics of the original saxophone mouthpiece and bore design.  Some modern design changes have had significant, and often, deleterious results on the tone quality, intonation and response of modern saxophones.  Aronson understands these changes and uses this knowledge in the restoration process to improve your instrument.


Aronson Instrument Service became well know as a saxophone speciality shop providing unique services not available at other shops including: holistic restorations of vintage saxophones, extensive intonation work,  custom necks, custom keywork and handmade pads.  Mark Aronson's international reputation as the leading restorer of vintage saxes and intonation expert has make him one of the most sought after sax technicians in the world.  


“Please call and discuss your instrument with me. I look forward to meeting you and helping you with your goals. I love to talk about saxophones and enjoy working on all makes and models."   

Mark Aronson, owner of Aronson Saxophones

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