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G with Octave key problem - Tech advice needed!

Alexandra

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Hi

I have a week-old problem playing a G with octave key on my Yany AWO10. The body octave often doesn't open, just the neck octave (underslung). The problem is intermittent or I would counter it by overblowing a high G.

When the body octave key does open, it makes a tacky sound as the pads separate, and causes a delayed octave jump or a mess of a sound. Would a bit of fine-grain sandpaper passed through the pads possibly help? Or is this likely a mechanical fault? Any advice much appreciated!

(FYI The Yany is a new-ish replacement, less than a year old. No other mechanical issues with it).

Alex
 

Stephen Howard

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If it continues to be a problem, and repeated applications of cigarette light fluid doesn't fix it, you can have the pad replaced with a cork one - at which point it would be worth inspecting the octave key pip for burrs. Not likely to be an issue on a Yani, but everyone makes mistakes.
 

jbtsax

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To apply naptha (lighter fluid) to a pad I like to use a "cotton bud" (Q-Tip) used for applying cosmetics that has one end flattened. If that is not available one end can be flattened using smooth jaw pliers. I rub the pad with a liberal amount of fluid followed by wiping with a dry cotton bud.

On regular toneholes I sometimes also pull a strip of 1000 grit wet or dry paper between the pad and tonehole using light pressure 2 or 3 times with the abrasive side down. This both cleans and smooths the top of the tonehole. I would not do this on the top of an octave pip.
 
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Alexandra

Alexandra

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@jbtsax Thank you so much for the detailed info. I've ordered some lighter fluid that should be here tomorrow and I've got cotton buds.

I knew I'd heard of using sandpaper on pads somewhere before and wondered if a fine grit, car-polish sandpaper would work.

But I'll just use the lighter fluid as you and @Stephen Howard have advised. :thumb:
 

Stephen Howard

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I knew I'd heard of using sandpaper on pads somewhere before and wondered if a fine grit, car-polish sandpaper would work.

But I'll just use the lighter fluid as you and @Stephen Howard have advised. :thumb:
You might find it hard to get a standard cotton bud between the body octave key pad and the pip - which is why I recommend pipe cleaners. They're cheaper, and you can clean more pads with them before you have to throw the things away.
But you can also use a piece of cotton sheet - such as the corner of a handkerchief. Even a strip of thick paper will do the job...and won't fall apart too quickly when soaked with lighter fluid.

Fine sandpaper (or carborundum paper, for preference - which is likely to be used for car paint work ) can be used to remove gunk from tonehole rims - but on something with as small a surface area of an octave key pip you really do need to take a bit more care...and as your horn is less than a year old you need to be mindful of the warranty conditions. If the horn develops a serious problem, many manufacturers will take a dim view of any evidence of 'abuse'.
 

saxmad

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I might have missed the point here but Alexandra is saying the "body Octave" doesn't open when playing "G with the octave key" - I'm guessing she means the 2nd octave key isn't opening when playing G (that sits on the top of the stave). Well it shouldn't be opening until playing the A above it.
 

GCinCT

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I might have missed the point here but Alexandra is saying the "body Octave" doesn't open when playing "G with the octave key" - I'm guessing she means the 2nd octave key isn't opening when playing G (that sits on the top of the stave). Well it shouldn't be opening until playing the A above it.
I think she means exactly what she said. The body octave key which sits at the top of the body and opens from Ab down to D. The other octave key is the neck or crook octave key which opens from A up.
 
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Alexandra

Alexandra

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Update: I followed the good advice and used some lighter fluid with flattened cotton buds and the pad sticking was gone. The body octave now seems to open cleanly.

The issue is far less pronounced but I'm still having a problem on octave G because I can hear both the lower and upper notes speaking together, often with the lower winning. I have to alter my embrouchure a lot to get the G to speak in the upper octave.

There's no movement of the neck octave key anymore which is good. The body key doesnt completely touch the cork when it opens - is that normal, I can't remember? Could there be some laquer residue inside the body octave hole or is it likely to be mechanical? I know diagnosis from afar is difficult but any advice would help! Thanks. Alex.
 

nigeld

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There's no movement of the neck octave key anymore which is good. The body key doesnt completely touch the cork when it opens - is that normal, I can't remember? Could there be some laquer residue inside the body octave hole or is it likely to be mechanical? I know diagnosis from afar is difficult but any advice would help! Thanks. Alex
I don't understand, please can you explain further.
Are you saying that the body key does not completely close when the neck key opens?
 
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Alexandra

Alexandra

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The body key fully closes, yes (I've just checked with thin paper - it seems to be a firm seal).

The body key opens now when it's meant to, but the problems I outlined are still present.

The body key opens onto a piece of cork (which normally sits against it when closed), and it doesn't always open to it's fullest and touch this cork pad, although it's well clear of the hole. Does that make sense?

I'm searching for where the issue could be! Apologies for the lack of clarity, my terminology is lacking somewhat and I'm no technician. Also I wrote the first message in the early hours of this morning and haven't slept since...
Alex
 

Targa

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I don't think it matters that the key doesn't quite touch the cork as long as it is as you say well clear of the hole and the neck octave key is closed.
For the difficulty playing G is it only that note and is the difficulty there both playing it alone and when 'running' to it from both up and down?
p.s. Don't lose sleep over it.
 
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Alexandra

Alexandra

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Bis G# and C closing and the problem is there both playing a single note and running up and down. Nothing to lose sleep over as you say @Targa ! Just a minor annoyance, especially because I was going to do a recording.
 

jbtsax

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The issue is far less pronounced but I'm still having a problem on octave G because I can hear both the lower and upper notes speaking together, often with the lower winning. I have to alter my embouchure a lot to get the G to speak in the upper octave.
The way an octave vent works is that at low dynamic levels, it increases the dampening of the fundamental so that the 2nd harmonic (1st overtone) can take over the oscillation. At high dynamic levels this effect of the hole is insufficient as "intermode cooperation" can still sustain the low register oscillation producing a "multiphonic" with both octaves sounding at the same time. The solution to this requires the vent opening to "de-tune" the fundamental to the extent that oscillation with the 2nd harmonic is no longer possible. How to modify the vent opening to do this is quite complex.

@Colin the Bear has the right solution, although the vent issue for the moment is just the body octave "pip". With the keywork still on, it is quite difficult to get a cotton pipe cleaner started from the top down. My apprentice just recently taught me a trick where you bend the pipe cleaner to an "L" shape and insert it from inside the bore with the octave pad open. When it comes through the opening you can grab it with tweezers and pull it through. This can remove any obstruction and may help solve the problem.

I have found this issue to be more common on tenors when played at their loudest levels. On one the only solution was to remove the key and widen the opening at the bottom of the octave vent with a jeweler's file. I am not recommending such drastic measures in this case.

It may be helpful to practice playing high G using the "voicing" and speed of air without the octave key. When you can take charge of which octave the note sounds, it may be the solution you are looking for.
 
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Alexandra

Alexandra

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Thanks for the advice @jbtsax and @Colin the Bear . I wasnt sure if you were serious about the pipe cleaners or not Colin - I thought you might be joking - my bad! I'll have a tentative go with a pipe cleaner but failing that, voice the high G without the octave key. :thumb:
Alex
 
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