Jupiter palm keys for child's hands


Well-Known Member
Petersfield, Hampshire
I've just started teaching my 10 year old daughter to play - recently bought her a Jupiter alto and she's doing well.

Problem is the palm keys keep getting in the way, her hands aren't large enough to reach around to G/A/B without opening high D. Doesn't happen all the time but frustrating for her.

How can this be fixed? Can they be replaced with smaller keys or even bent into shape? Or does she just have to just get used to it?

Any suggestions? Thanks.
There was a thread about this a while ago. Bending may be an option, but one suggestion I remember was to remove the palm keys and plug the holes until the hands are big enough to reach around.

I hope she does well. There's a young lady at the music school here, with similarly small hands - but she's started on sop and plays it beautifully. (No, I'm not suggesting a temporary switch, unless you've got a lot of money to burn).
Is she curving her fingers enough?

I only ask as I often open the D palm key when playing my bari, and it's because I get lazy when fingering B / A / G and catch the D key. When I make a concerted effort to play correctly, I never catch the keys.
Also is she holding her left hand at the correct angle to approach the BAG keys, without catching the D key?

I do appreciate that she may just be too small for the moment, though.
Rather than removing and plugging the keys, you could also try wedging a piece of wood or some cork snugly under the key, kind of like replacing the key cork, which keeps the key from opening too much and cushions it so it won't scratch the horn, with an oversized one, so that the key will not have room to open. You may need to glue it to the key so it won't fall off, and since wood and especially cork tends to compress when pressed, the key will open slightly if enough force is used, but then again if she's only lightly touching the D key, it might just be enough.
I really like jrintaha's suggestion. Another option might be to stick several layers of plastic electrician's tape together and cut out a square (or circle) large enough to cover the tonehole. Sticking this to the tonehole underneath the pad would both seal the opening and lower the touchpiece of the D palm key.
Alternatively you could also try using something like sugru to build up the finger buttons on the top stack, this would then raise the palm slightly so it doesn't touch the side keys.

Something like this but on the top stack: sugru.jpg
I'm with Griff: you could use some corks (champagne corks work well cause they're not punctured!) cut to size to the same effect, stick them with Evo-stick on the pearls (do not use superglue or similar: it will make it too permanent!!!), fully reversable customisation!
I bought my great niece a curved sop to start on thinking everything would be smaller and easier to use with small hands the tonal thing doesn't really matter at that stage does it,she was very young and I don't know if she has a go with it yet,idea was start em young we shall see if it works .....best of luck ....John
I'm always wary of recommending mods that effectively disable a working key on the basis that it won't be long before the player needs to use the key, and part of learning to play an instrument is learning how to position the hands correctly.

A relatively simple mod is to have a beefier spring fitted to the D key (or even just an additional one over the existing spring). This makes the key a great deal harder to open...though it will still work if required. It'll cut down on the number of 'false' notes, while still reminding the player to be aware of where there hands are.

Should be a beer-money on-the-spot job at any repairers'.


Similar threads

Top Bottom