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Low C# adjustment advice please

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
I've been giving my alto one of its routine cleans/checkovers and noticed something about the seal on the low C# key. The C# pad seals perfectly under normal use and I can hit all the bell notes with little problem. However, I notice that if I play bottom B or Bb and simultaneously press the C# lever on the LH pinky table, then the C# pad rises just enough to spoil the seal so the B or Bb won't play as it should.

I can see that there is a screw adjuster/cork on the edge of the B cup which looks as if it's there to ensure the C# key can't rise if it is accidentally pressed when the B key is closed. I think all I need to do is turn this screw in a bit to put a little more pressure on the C# key. Before I get my screwdriver out, I'd like to check that I'm not about to become a victim of some unintended consequence. I'd hate to make it worse.

Thanks, Paul
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
I would advise that this adjustment be done with a leak light. First check the low B pad with the light to make sure it is seating perfectly first. Then, holding down just the low B key, touch the C# key and watch the C# key cup. If it rises at all, give the adjusting screw just a 1/4 turn clockwise and check again. If the C# key no longer shows visible motion and you see no light around its edges, then check the low B pad again as well. It should close completely with no light visible around its circumference. If it is not closing completely, then back the adjusting screw out a bit and check again.

It is important to note that not all saxophones can be regulated perfectly in this area, due to the geometry of the design, the flex in the metal, or play in the hinges. In these cases, the B must close completely and let the compromise be at the C#. One thing that techs do to make the adjustment easier is to put a dome on the adjusting material so that the same point touches regardless of its rotation.

Techs use a bench motor, but anyone with an electric drill can do the same.

- Remove the adjusting screw from the saxophone and chuck it into the drill with the cork side out.

- Put the drill in a vice or support it on a table and spin the adjusting screw touching the cork with an emery board.

- When the cork is rounded another option is to heat a bit of paraffin wax and apply to the spinning cork.

- Reinstall the adjusting screw and set the adjustment.

This same procedure can also be done on the F#/G#/Bis adjusting screws on modern saxophones.

 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
Thanks jtb. A comprehensive answer as usual. You're a mine of information. My alto is an 8 month old and Yamaha. It looks like they have fitted a cylindrical cork pad with a flat bottom to this adjuster, so I will pop it into a bench drill first. I did wonder if it was possible to spoil the seal on the B key with too much back pressure from the C# key, so thanks for the pointing out the potential compromise. I'll make sure my adjustments are done in small increments checking as I go.
 

PaulM

Member
Messages
143
OK, all done and now working as the manufacturer intended. I hope any other fixes I need to do are this easy.

Many thanks, Paul
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
Thanks jtb. A comprehensive answer as usual. You're a mine of information. My alto is an 8 month old and Yamaha. It looks like they have fitted a cylindrical cork pad with a flat bottom to this adjuster, so I will pop it into a bench drill first.
Glad I could be of help. I'm surprised that Yamaha hasn't picked up on this yet in their manufacturing. They are out front of other manufacturers with their use of tech cork, teflon tubing, etc.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Glad I could be of help. I'm surprised that Yamaha hasn't picked up on this yet in their manufacturing. They are out front of other manufacturers with their use of tech cork, teflon tubing, etc.
Rounding isn't necessary on new screws, but helps the adjustment. As a flat wears on the point, it's a different story.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
As Paul stated, the Yamahas come with the cylindrical "cork" insert that is flat on the end. These are easy to sand. The brands that use a solid sorbothane rubber tube material are a bit harder to shape.
 
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