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50's Tenor - Lifting G# with the pinky keys, Low B, Bb, C#

DavidUK

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The Olds Parisian arrived yesterday and I'm sorting some issues. In total this is what I found:

Low C# cup misaligned - Fixed.
Octave mechanism doesn't actuate neck octave key - pending.
G# isn't quite held down when lower stack keys depressed - pending.
Small shallow dent in rear of main tube - not one for me, wait until it sees a tech.
Odd low Bb key touch, looks to be a replacement - this is also for a tech - wonder if I can find an original!?
Pearls seem to have been cleaned with a red cleaner... or is it previous players' blood?
G# cup not rising fully when bell keys depressed.

It's the last on the list I need help with...

The G# lifts the cup fine, to its maximum, as here (G# depressed with left pinky)...



But here's the G# opening when either the low C# or low B are depressed...



Pressing the low Bb opens the G# even less.

These three pinky keys should actuate the G#, as far as I know, fully when pressed. Same as if I were pressing just the G# touch piece.

Here's the obvious issue. The B and C# are about 2mm away from the corked G# plate running the width of the rear of the G# key...



So, it seems obvious that this cork strip needs to be thickened by 2mm so as to just touch the rear of the B and C# touches so the G# touch moves sooner and thus the G# key opens fully, yes?

But... here's a photo with me depressing the B and C# fully and also the G# enough to open the G# key cup fully...



What was a 2mm gap is now 5mm due to the greater distance of the G# touch's fulcrum point. I could try a 2mm cork strip, so as not to alter the "at rest" relationship of the pinky table, but I don't think it's going to open the G# fully?

Any suggestions please?

:confused2:
 
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DavidUK

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What also side-tracked me, a red herring I think, are the two springs acting against each other to open/close the G# cup. There's this one which wants to close it...



...and this one which wants to open it...



... am I correct in think neither of these springs have any effect on what I'm trying to achieve, i.e. for the G# cup to open fully when any of the l/h pinky keys are depressed.
 
DavidUK

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Actually, thinking about this... why does the G# cup have to lift when pressing the other l/h pinky keys?

Simple question, just need a simple answer. :doh:



Oh... and for our American techs, would you say these are the original pads? Very clean, and a light brown colour...



:)
 
Stephen Howard

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The springs are of no consequence to what you're trying to achieve.

And what you're seeking to achieve may not be possible. As the photos show, you're dealing with two differing amounts of throw (travel) on the touchpieces.
You could adjust the G# touchpiece so that its throw matches that of the bell keys...but then the G# key cup wouldn't open fully. Or you could adjust the bell keys to match the throw of the G# touchpiece - but that would mean have the B/Bb key cups quite some distance from the toneholes...and I doubt the bell key guards would even be able to accommodate that.
It's simply down to the designed geometry of the keywork.

In such instances the best that you can do is to ensure the G# touchpiece moves almost immediately when the bell keys are pressed and live with the fact that the G# will not fully open when using that function.
This all assumes that the geometry is original and correct. If keys have been bent at some point it may well have a bearing on the relationship(s).

As for why the G# is connected to the low C# and B - it's all to do with the key signature of those keys that have a sharpened G. In A Major you may need to jump from C# to G# and in B Major from B to G#. It may be handy not to have to move your little finger when playing those intervals at speed. A less than full opening of the G# tends not to be a big concern in such cases, because if you're playing any slower (and thus need the note to be full-toned) you'll have time to move your finger.
As the Bb is connected to the B, the opening of the G# is incidental.
 
Vetinari

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Is the link between bell keys and #G relatively new, as my old conn c-mel does not have this? Also, in normal playing you can hold #G key down and playing any note below and including #F automatically closes #G.
 
DavidUK

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Thanks Steve. I'll replace the G# touch piece cork strip with a 2mm thicker strip and leave it at that.

I may need your help with the octave mechanism next...

Looks like it's had a bash downwards...



This next photo is with octave key pressed with my thumb... octave mech top rod not making contact with neck octave key wire...



If I press on the octave key top rod, as if it WAS being sprung by the neck key wire, the body pip opens (G key depressed to allow pip to open)...



So... looks like I need to straighten the octave mech top actuating rod where it's been perhaps bashed down in transit, then bend the neck octave wire to interact with the same plastic tubed rod.

Anything I'm missing... or just give it a go?

Thanks for your help! :)
 
DavidUK

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... in normal playing you can hold #G key down and playing any note below and including #F automatically closes #G.
Yes, this tenor does that too, bar not quite closing the G# as the Aux F key corked "hold downer" needs a small fettle, but I can manage that one!
 
nigeld

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the Aux F key corked "hold downer" needs a small fettle, but I can manage that one!
As fart as I remember there is an adjustment screw that should do the necessary.
 
DavidUK

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Not quite sure how this tenor's adjusts? It's a bitsa...



:confused2:
 
Stephen Howard

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Thanks Steve. I'll replace the G# touch piece cork strip with a 2mm thicker strip and leave it at that.

I may need your help with the octave mechanism next...

Looks like it's had a bash downwards...




So... looks like I need to straighten the octave mech top actuating rod where it's been perhaps bashed down in transit, then bend the neck octave wire to interact with the same plastic tubed rod.

Anything I'm missing... or just give it a go?
Sounds about right.
You have to be careful that you don't crack the key - and that you don't twist the key barrel where the pin key (the sticky up bit) arm meets it.
Looks like someone's had a go at it in the past, and you only get to bend that key so many times...
 
Stephen Howard

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Not quite sure how this tenor's adjusts? It's a bitsa...



:confused2:
The principle behind those kind of adjusters is that a strip of felt would be glued to the underside of the arm (where the cork now sits) and as you tighten down the screws they'd cause the felt to bulge.
It's a pretty crappy design, and what tends to happen is that people file or cut the screws short and regulate by cutting/sanding the felt/cork.
New screws might be needed if you want to restore the functionality.
 
Colin the Bear

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Is the link between bell keys and #G relatively new, as my old conn c-mel does not have this? Also, in normal playing you can hold #G key down and playing any note below and including #F automatically closes #G.
It is common with a tilting table. Most modern saxes have it. Blessing and a curse really. Great till it gets a whack and needs adjusting.
@DavidUK I've been looking at the bell key G# relationship on the old G4M alto and it also lifts the G# less with the bell keys. Plays great though. No problems. I wouldn't try to fix something just for the look of it if it plays right. If it plays, it's good.
 
Stephen Howard

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@DavidUK I've been looking at the bell key G# relationship on the old G4M alto and it also lifts the G# less with the bell keys. Plays great though. No problems. I wouldn't try to fix something just for the look of it if it plays right. If it plays, it's good.
On a modern horn you often have a little more scope for tweaking the geometry of the G# mech - by way of having an adjustable stub on the cup key. By moving the stub up or down you can change the point where it contacts the G# lever key (AKA the touchpiece). This alters the relationship between the two keys, and thus the amount of throw in the mech.
It won't be by much, mind you - and positioning the stub for maximum throw may mean sacrificing some of the mech's efficiency.
 
DavidUK

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As a reference I checked the action on my 1958 SDA and the bell keys lift the G# all the way, hence my thinking this is the ideal. But I've not lost any sleep over it.
 
DavidUK

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I was just thinking about that odd low Bb key touch...



Looks like another horn's B or C# touch has been stuck on. Guess the original Bb had a mishap?
(Why the fat roller on the B key also? I've yet to take it apart but looks like the key touch has been filed to accommodate it).

Anyhow... it should look like this...



To find an original (maybe a B too), I've emailed F E Olds but failing that I wondered what the chances were of a US member having one in a drawer somewhere? So, @jbtsax @JayeNM any ideas?

Many thanks for rummaging through your drawers for me! :thumb:

Failing all I can have a key made by my tech (as he did for an old Conn, here: Low C "hanging by a thread" vintage Conn- Help!? ) but the double taper roller may be more of a challenge to find perhaps?
 
DavidUK

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Sounds about right.
You have to be careful that you don't crack the key - and that you don't twist the key barrel where the pin key (the sticky up bit) arm meets it.
Looks like someone's had a go at it in the past, and you only get to bend that key so many times...
OK, that's the octave mech/key all sorted and working fine. Bit of careful bending, no issues. No wonder the seller wasn't getting on with it! :rolleyes:
 
JayeNM

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Seems like Stephen answered all your questions so you are in good hands....quite a few minor bits of damage going on there.

You are right, actually, the current low Bb touch is in fact a C#/B touch from another instrument.

Olds will be of no help in findinga replacement part, current Olds saxes are Taiwanese (not bad student horns either) and they have a modern table.

Other than finding a donor Parisian, I would actually say your best bet is just to have your tech fabricate a new touch and silver-solder it on. Or perhaps he/she has a donor key which would work.

For the F# to G# arm, in cases like these I actually put the regulating material (cork) on the G# keycup and the Bis key arm (then cover with a layer of sheet teflon). This way you can use the adjusting screws without fear that they are gonnna knock the cork off of the F# arm.
The teflon is just to prevent the screws from puncturing the cork, if the screws are not rounded at their ends.
 
Colin the Bear

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Having a look see and regulate of a friends Trevor James, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many adjustment screws there were in places mine doesn't have them.
The difference between a G4M cheapie and a proper instrument. So much easier and quicker than faffing about with cork shims.
I suppose the money is in the detail. There's nothing to adjust on mine.
 
DavidUK

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Good idea @JayeNM but too late...

What I've done, not really wanting to take the lower stack apart at this stage, is to take off the F# to G# cork, swap the sawn off adjustment screws around, then replace the cork with two separate pieces of felt (matching the red felt elsewhere). Then adjusted the now longer G# screw to press into the felt (as per Steve's advice), applied liquid thread lock, and all is well...



...Ah... OK, I need to clean that excess contact adhesive off! :blush:

...And, as a result my Alt F was just a smidgen open when F, E, D depressed. So I looked at each of their rear levers, corked, no screw asjusters here, and have thin-shimmed each of them to get perfect closure of all keys.

OK, so let's revisit the list...
  1. Low C# cup misaligned - Fixed.
  2. Octave mechanism doesn't actuate neck octave key - Fixed.
  3. G# isn't quite held down when lower stack keys depressed - Fixed.
  4. Small shallow dent in rear of main tube - not one for me, wait until it sees a tech - Pending.
  5. Odd low Bb key touch, looks to be a replacement - Looks like a fabrication job for the tech also. May get him to use the displaced low Bb touch to replace the low B touch which has had its roller slot enlarged - Pending.
  6. Pearls seem to have been cleaned with a red cleaner... or is it previous players' blood? - Done my best to clean these up with metal polish. The pearls are actually quite nice, some concave, some convex, as they should be. Aware pearl dust is carcinogenic so haven't tried to sand! - Pending on this.
  7. G# cup not rising fully when bell keys depressed - sorted as best I can, by thickening the cork strip on the G# touch piece. G# key cup rises better now - Fixed.
  8. Checked regulation of lower and upper stack and fettled corks/felts as required - Fixed.
  9. Oil the action - I have EP80 (per Steve's advice elsewhere) and a needle - Done.
  10. Recork neck - Pending - see under...

So now it should play, but one final thought... the MP with it (Bill Lewington :() was loose on the neck cork... off I go to try my others. Nope, also loose. I'll put some tape around the cork for now.
I've used natural cork neck sheet before and the last neck cork I replaced was with a Valentino synthetic type. Can't seem to get it now.

Where's best in the UK for neck cork? I noticed Dawkes sell "tubes" but not sure how I'd get on with these, as here: Pre Shaped Cork

Any advise for cheapie neck cork welcomed. :thumb:
 
DavidUK

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OK, worn neck cork taped, Yamaha 6C and LaVoz MS reed, and nervously blow... :oops:

She plays! Little warble on D, until I remember it's a tenor and not my usual alto and adjust my embouchure. Then, yes, fine all the way up and down again. Played a tune... oh, quite "jazzy", more so than my Jericho tenor. Hmmm... quite like it. Key work falls to hand rather nicely, a little like my SDA - but then they're both from the 50's and both French so I guess that's why.

This is probably the most DIY "teching" I've done on any horn to date so I'm pleased it plays at all!
I think it's worth getting those pinky keys sorted and then it could be a really nice player.

Right, now back to the Vito alto to finish off that re-build... :rolleyes:
 

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