Saxophones Changing key pearls - what best to do?

DavidUK

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#1
I'm hanging on to the Jericho J6 alto for a good while (for me) I think. I liked the previous one I had, comparing well to my SA80II.

But I don't like the concave B bis key, preferring the domed type on the YAS-275 I have at the moment.
Also, the other round pearls have a concave centre rather than being concave right up to their edge as with the Yamaha ones. This is OK but not ideal.

The J6 has identical sized pearls to the Yamaha. B bis 10.5mm. Other keys 14.6mm. Plus the J6 has a 24 x 11.3mm G# oval key pearl (all plastic).

A cheap fix would be just to change the B bis pearl to a Yamaha one. This would keep the sax almost standard for future resale. A fuller fix to change the other round pearls to Yamaha and keep the J6 G# as that's OK.
The J6 and Yamaha pearls are similar but not identical in colour/look.

But others here have changed to abalone, or black pearl as I recall?

I can buy abalone such as here: 9pcs Colorful Abalone Shell Key Button Inlays for Tenor/Alto/Saxophone E9V6 | eBay

Black pearl harder to find.

Any advice as to what to buy, where to buy, who's had a great success swapping?

Thanks for any info.
 

DavidUK

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#3
Those MOP ones look like plastic to me Colin? Also, they look a similar "donut" type I have currently, and the B bis looks concave not domed.

The abalone ones look a bit better, shape wise. Same photo as my ebay link.
 

altissimo

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leicester
#4
deja vu - Technical - Changing pearl, buttons.

some of the cheap 'genuine' mother of pearl and abalone is thin slices of the stuff between layers of plastic. You can get a genuine abalone/paua shell for less than a tenner, but it's generally not thick enough to make key buttons from.
The Musicmedic ones have a thin epoxy backing - Abalone Saxophone Pearls
Almost all the abalone buttons seem to come from China and while I've had perfectly good transactions buying semi precious stones, beads and slices of jasper and lace agate etc at cheap prices from China, the photos always look better than the real thing and sizes may not be exact
 

Phil

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#5
. This was discussed on the "Other forum" sometime back. It was pointed out that while suitable materials can be found on pearls the metsl generally comes up from the key and wraps around the base of the pearl to hold it in. So they are usually held in place by metsl, not simply glue. Changing them requires more than a bit if technical skill.
How difficult, I do not know. I also dont know if it applies to your horn.
 

jbtsax

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#9
On vintage saxes the key pearls were often held in place using a "crimping tool" to bend the tops of the pearl holder in toward the pearl. On modern saxes the sides of the pearl holder are straight and the pearls are glued in place.
 

thomsax

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Sweden
#10
On vintage saxes the key pearls were often held in place using a "crimping tool" to bend the tops of the pearl holder in toward the pearl. On modern saxes the sides of the pearl holder are straight and the pearls are glued in place.
A tool like this is ....
pearlholderclosingdiej.pg.jpg
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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Undy Monmouthshire U.K.
#12
[QUOTE="DavidUK, post: 372094, member: 2853"

Abalone may look a bit tarty and affect resale.[/QUOTE]

I reckon about 70-80% of all Mauriat saxes have abalone key touches. I don’t think it affects their resale value at all. Now on the other hand my G4M tenor will probably be only worth the price I paid for the key touches, if I ever decided to sell it on, very unlikely as I like it too much. On the other hand it might look better flattened by a steamroller as a wall piece.
Regards Al
 

DavidUK

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#13
It's not a Mauriat though.
Would I but a cheap horn with "messed with" keys? Probably not.
Just changing the B bis should be enough to improve playability and still have it looking standard.
I'll see what Dawkes suggest...
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
#14
The thing with MoP or abalone is it's less slippy when wet. It's not just a cosmetic change. The shiney plastic touches are very slippy when wet, which mainly affects the left hand. I've scuffed up mine with some coarse sand paper and it helps.

You could change the shape of the Bis with sugru and remove it before resale.
 

Phil

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#15
Id just fix what is broken...or what you dont specifically like.

The less you mess with it the better.
 

DavidUK

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Near Lutterworth, Leics.
#16
I thought about slippery-ness just this morning as pearl is better as you say Colin. I guess a set of Yam-62 real pearls would be a good option, but can't find a seller and they'd cost a fortune no doubt?
 
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