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Low A key on Selmer Bari

Luluna

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Soooo.... the college I work (and play) at owns a nice and fairly new Selmer Bari Sax. The budgets are being cut here like mad - especially in the music/performing arts so they can't send it in for repair. I've kept up with the other maintenance since I'm the one using it the most. I can't take it home with me - but the low A key is not closing all the way. Any expert tips for a quick and easy fix? I hate skipping over the low A during rehearsal - it's the most fun note to play!

Many thanks in advance.
 

jbtsax

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Since I don't have one here in front of me, my comments are going to have to be quite general.

Some baris have a "helper bar" that extends to the Bb key to help keep that key closed. If it has one of those, check to see that the adjusting screw has not been turned in too far keeping the A key from closing.

If there is nothing impeding the closing of the key like above, there is a possibility that the key has been bent. It helps to have a bright leak light to check how the key is sealing. I would use regular bottle size corks wedged under the guard to keep the Bb and B keys closed and out of the way. Then close the low A by pressing the thumb lever only. Pushing the key itself will give a false reading. If the key has been bent and one side is closing before the other, you can use a tongue depressor or craft stick under the side that closes first and gently bend the opposite side down with your fingers. If you have gone too far, then just reverse the side the stick goes in.

Very few baris can be set up so the A key closes all 3 bell keys by itself. Most commonly one must finger low Bb while adding the A key with the thumb to get the mechanics to work as it should. Posting a picture or two would be very helpful to try to diagnose the problem.
 

Luluna

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When I get to rehearsal on Thursday I'll take a photo - thanks jbtsax
 

Luluna

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Well, I got to rehearsal and when I opened the case a screw was missing and the key was just hanging there. Showed the head of the department and it's in for repair. What the heck do these kids do with the instruments anyway?

Will be schlepping my very heavy Martin Bari to rehearsals - no low "A" key so I'll just have to lean over and stick my left knee in the bell!
 

jbtsax

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That's too bad. It's not a bad idea to go through a sax every now and then with the appropriate size screwdriver and make sure all the pivot screws and rods are "snug". When I work on a sax and remove a key held in place with pivot screws I put a drop of blue Loctite on the threads to keep it from backing out.

Often you can find missing screws in the case. You can also go back and look in the percussion cabinet in the rehearsal area, since drummers like to pick up shiny things. :)
 

Luluna

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Often you can find missing screws in the case. You can also go back and look in the percussion cabinet in the rehearsal area, since drummers like to pick up shiny things. :)

No screws in the case - but I'd better check with the percussionists!
 

MontyMac

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Very few baris can be set up so the A key closes all 3 bell keys by itself. Most commonly one must finger low Bb while adding the A key with the thumb to get the mechanics to work as it should.
BWAHAHAHA!
My 39 Year Old Grassi Does!
See the angled bar just to the right of the bell brace ring riding a black roller? That comes from the left thumb actuator. That seats the A key, which pushes the Bb and the Bb pushes the B.
There's enough space to also add a left pinky A key like a Weltklang. That may be a future mod for the beasty! 20141001_171703.jpg
 

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jbtsax

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Thanks for the pics. Try closing all 3 using just the thumb key without excessive pressure and check with a leak light in the bell. :)
 

Nick Wyver

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My old Yanag B900 works fine going from C down to A with just the thumb.
 

jbtsax

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Are you hoping there is a leak?
I have worked on many different brands of low A bari's, and have never found one that the thumb key successfully closes all 3 keys at one time by my standard which is to press the key without using excessive force and have all of the pads seal completely at the same time (timing regulation). I am not "hoping" that there is a leak, merely trying to point out the way that a technician checks that particular mechanism. In other words, it is more involved than simply pushing the thumb key really hard and honking out a low A at ff.
 

Nick Wyver

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I can do it pp with only a light touch. Is that good enough?
 

MontyMac

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Thanks for the pics. Try closing all 3 using just the thumb key without excessive pressure and check with a leak light in the bell. :)
I'll try to do that this afternoon. Should prove interesting. So far she's responded well top to bottom. The left thumb needs quite a bit of force but the responce time is very quick. That leverage ratio thing.
 

jbtsax

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I can do it pp with only a light touch. Is that good enough?
That's a sax I have not had the opportunity to work on. There just aren't very many in my area. My hat's off to anyone who can play low Bb pp on any saxophone let alone low A.
 

MandyH

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I have worked on many different brands of low A bari's, and have never found one that the thumb key successfully closes all 3 keys at one time by my standard which is to press the key without using excessive force and have all of the pads seal completely at the same time (timing regulation). I am not "hoping" that there is a leak, merely trying to point out the way that a technician checks that particular mechanism. In other words, it is more involved than simply pushing the thumb key really hard and honking out a low A at ff.
I only press the thumb key to play low A on my Bari, and I'm not aware of a problem playing the note at any dynamic.....I guess that doesn't mean it is set up right, just that I don't have any problem playing it as it is!
 

Ivan

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jbtsax

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It's identical (as good as) to the Yamaha reviewed here http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Bari/Yamaha_YBS32.htm

The A lever operates two arms, one of which depresses the A and the other tips the Bb table mechanism... the Bb table link is adjustable with two screws to align A and Bb together

Seems to work perfectly
I'll just have to take your word for it. I can't see the mechanism clearly in Stephen Howard's photo other than the two arms coming from the low A key, so it is hard to tell exactly how it works. Also that mechanism is not part of Stephen's description.
 
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