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Finger gets traped in between B and BIS key!

Discussion in 'Beginners questions' started by BeBopSop, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. BeBopSop

    BeBopSop Member

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    Hi all,dont laugh but,......since I have had my alto I am getting along fine,but I have a problem, I get my finger pinched in between the B key and the alternative Bflat key (bis) when I play Bflat, I have always used this way of playing Bflat, it seems so much quicker and I have not had trouble with other saxes I have owned? I do have smallish fingers I suppose and I would like to stay with this way of playing Bflat (but without the 'pinch') and ideas to sort it please.
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  2. BigMartin

    BigMartin Well-Known Member

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    My tenor and sop both have quite a big gap between B and bis keys. Makes it tricky to roll from B to Bb. My teacher suggested I consider getting the keytouch on the B keys moved down a bit on the key cups to narrow the gap. Haven't got round to looking into this yet. Any of the techies out there know if this is feasible/desirable?
  3. Taz

    Taz Busking Oracle

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    Someone, possibly Stephen Howard or Griff, mentioned a moldable plastic that you can mold to any shape you want and then it sets hard. It is apparently/allegedly non damaging to your sax and very easy to remove. You could make a custom key riser to do the job!
  4. tenorviol

    tenorviol Well-Known Member

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    My teacher recommends putting your finger across both the b & bis key
  5. BeBopSop

    BeBopSop Member

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    If you go from B to Bflat, it is then that it happens, its when the finger rolls onto the bis key while staying on the B key at the same time.Yes any other time (other than B to Bflat) I can put my finger on both at the same time.
  6. saxplorer

    saxplorer Senior Member

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    Product name is "sugru" - readily google-able. I've used it successfully to make a key riser - not yet tried removing though! Have also used for several other non-sax related repairs/improvements, and I'd definitely recommend as a good thing to know about.
  7. saxyman

    saxyman Member

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    I am a bit worried when you say you "always" use the Biss key for BFlat. This I believe will hold you back in your playing, you should really be able to use the other options in particular the side key played with Right hand. Some music I found could not be easily played using the biss key. As soon as I started using the option things came together. Perhaps some more experienced players will tell me otherwise/or confirm what I believe.
  8. Nick Wyver

    Nick Wyver noisy

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    Definitely worth practising all options for Bb.

    I had a 1927 Conn alto that originally had the bis key too far from the B key. Tech (Rupert Noble) moved it closer. A pretty straightforward job.
  9. Justin Chune

    Justin Chune Senior Member

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    I wouldn't use the B to bis Bb slide at all. It seems to me that any of the right hand fingers going down, or the side key will be quicker and more secure. All of the Bbs have their uses depending on the key we are in and the passage being played. It's best to know them all.

    Jim.
  10. saxnik

    saxnik Member

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    I tend to teach Bis for Bb if there's a flat in the key signature, Side Key for A#! This is so students don't get stuck in the same way you've found is possible. All variants of Bb do have their uses, and it is best to use them all within study pieces (read or improvised) so you're familiar with interchanging them as necessary.
    I saw Alan Skidmore a few years ago doing his John Coltrane concert and he does roll from B to Bis all the time. I'm sure there are other professionals who do the same, but especially for clarinet doublers the side key thing comes naturally anyway, and I prefer it for that reason in a sharp key.


    Nick
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2011
  11. BeBopSop

    BeBopSop Member

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    Thanks all, yes I will start using the side key played with Right hand.I might have to scrap the bis key unless I have it moved though.
  12. Justin Chune

    Justin Chune Senior Member

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    CASS member, the late Max Holgate, had a big collection of instruments and he had one old sax that he couldn't play because most of the keys were out of reach. His solution was to make key extensions out of strong perspex and glue them over the originals.

    I was guiding a friend through "Learn As You Play" and he was getting ahead of himself. He came one day and opened the book ahead of where we were at and explained that he had been trying a phrase and finding it impossible. When I showed him the Bb fingering he should have used he played it through once and exclaimed "This is easy". That's why we need to know all of the Bb fingerings and when to use them.

    Jim.
  13. ArtyLady

    ArtyLady Senior Member

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    As flautist of many many years I use the long Bb (B and F key) and only use the others if a phrase is impossible using my usual one! :thumb:
  14. Stephen Howard

    Stephen Howard Senior Member

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    Your best bet would be to take the horn to a repairer and have either the top B or the Bis key cup moved. This is a simple key bending job, but it will mean a new pad is required in whichever key cup gets shifted as the original pad seal will no longer line up with the tone hole.

    There are some other options though.
    The aforementioned Sugru is an easy an effective means of customising keywork - and you can experiment with blue-tack to find out how much you'll need and where to put it.
    I would suggest a sort of 'sock' built around the Bis key pearl that extends its reach and increases its height.

    http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/key_risers.htm

    Regards,
  15. spike

    spike Member

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    Oleg does a bis key extension - enhancer - olegproducts.com
  16. Stephen Howard

    Stephen Howard Senior Member

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    The Oleg is more for a specific horn (a Conn), and corrects a poor design rather than an alignment issue. It's pricey too - $60 - which is easily three times what it would cost to have a repairer move the Bis key and pop a new pad on.

    Regards,
  17. spike

    spike Member

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    Thanks for the clarification Stephen - wasn't aware that the Oleg was Horn specific. I'm sure I've seen a similar one that is universal. The Oleg extension does look like a piece of old millionairess clunker.
  18. BeBopSop

    BeBopSop Member

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    Thanks Steve, I have worked out the B key pearl needs to be 4mm higher,I have tested it with bllue-tack 4mm thick and it works perfect, when B is held down and I need Bflat, my finger rolls down onto the bis key. (rather than the bis key being higher) being higher and the rolling motion causes the trapped finger! So just need something better than the Blue-tack.
  19. Dave McLaughlin

    Dave McLaughlin Sesquipedalian

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    I too came to sax from flute, and that habit is so deeply ingrained I find it hard to play any other fingering, but I'm working on it!
  20. jazzdoh

    jazzdoh Senior Member

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    John
    Although this might solve your problem,it is best as the others have said to practice all of the other fingerings.
    I use the bis key a lot but not for B to Bb,i find either the side key or the long B and F key works best.

    Brian
  21. kevgermany

    kevgermany Landrover Nut Cafe Moderator

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    Sugru, already recommended above, is perfect for this.

    ( Perhaps in nice bright Orange :D )
  22. Stephen Howard

    Stephen Howard Senior Member

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    I don't think Sugru will work in this instance. It's not very 'grippy', and needs to be fashioned into a sort of 'sock' in order for it to hold...so sticking a lump of it on top of a key pearl probably isnt going to work.

    The best options are going to be sticking something to the pearl - such as another pearl or even a button, or building up the pearl with epoxy resin.
    To do the latter you'll need to stick a 'tube' of masking tape around the pearl and the pour in the epoxy. If you do it in a cool place it will help to prevent the resin from seeping out past the tape, but it will mean a longer curing time.

    You'll still be better off having the Bis key modified. A slight angle on the touchpiece will probably do the job.

    Regards,
  23. BeBopSop

    BeBopSop Member

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    You'll still be better off having the Bis key modified. A slight angle on the touchpiece will probably do the job.


    Yes, just had a look and if the bis key could be bent over slightly toward the B key that would do the trick,it is fitted to the A pad though and could distort or break off? not a job for the feint hearted!
  24. Stephen Howard

    Stephen Howard Senior Member

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    Yep, it could be bent over or angled slightly - but either way there's a risk that it will break, and in any event it will probably mean the regulation will have to be adjusted afterwards at least. It's a job for a repairer really - one that could probably be done while you wait.

    Regards,

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