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Low Eb key.

mpjbiker

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Is there a reason why the spring on the low Eb key is so much stronger than the spring on the adjacent low C key? It seems to be the case on all the horns I own-I have quite large hands with long fingers, these keys always seem far too round the body of the instrument and consequently probably account for my dislike of playing in multi-flat keys! (or multi-sharp keys, come to that!) The rollers make it almost impossible to build up and flatten the keys with sugru, the C-Eb slide being a pretty common occurrence. Anyone else have the same problem? :confused2:
 

spike

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On Tenor not so much Alt & Sop:

I always have my tech adjust the height of the C key so it's slightly below the level of the Eb key so sliding/rolling down is easier for my comparatively small little finger, sliding back up is no problem.

As for spring tension the C key needs to be fairly stiff as the C key is quite a heavy piece of metal and needs to close securely and open swiftly after use.

The Eb key spring can be adjusted quite easily by bending it back slightly should it be too strong for your liking. However not too weak as it is a closed key and needs to be held closed securely by the spring.
 

jbtsax

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I'm not sure what you mean by "far too round the body". Can you explain that statement?
 

mpjbiker

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Sure, I mean that for my fingers, the post that the keys pivot on is almost parallel to the lower three keys/pads, meaning that the actual Eb/C keys are almost at right angles to the right hand keys/pads, if that makes sense?
 

spike

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Difficult to visualize - Photo might help - what sax are you playing ?
(Edith);)
The rod on which the C/Eb keys are mounted (between the posts) is usually parallel to the sax body but normally those keys are angled to accommodate the shape of the different finger lengths. Also the pearls on the 3 right hand stack keys are normally positioned in the same manner.
I'm sure jbt will have some helpful tips regarding what I henceforth refer to as "the jbt baseball grip".
 
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jbtsax

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I probably can't relate since I have relatively short fingers. Not bad on sax, but pure hell trying to play inline open hole flutes, violas and bassoons (all of which I have had to take lessons on to be a music teacher).

The "standard" pedagogy of saxophone teaches that the RH little finger should be straight as it rolls back and forth across the low Eb and C keys, and the LH little finger should be slightly curved as it navigates the pinky table. Of course "standard" doesn't work for everyone. Depending upon the make and model, I have had some success tilting the inside of low C key down a bit to make the slide from Eb a bit easier. I don't know what else to tell you. I'm just starting lessons from a teacher who has long fingers. I'll ask him what he does.
 

MandyH

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Doesn't the Eb key open a pad and the C key close one?

So the Eb spring is normally keeping the pad closed (very important to avoid leaks) and you close the C pad with the strength of your Pinkie. The C spring only need to hold the pad open.
 

DavidUK

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Sure, I mean that for my fingers, the post that the keys pivot on is almost parallel to the lower three keys/pads, meaning that the actual Eb/C keys are almost at right angles to the right hand keys/pads, if that makes sense?

I don't think the Eb/C keys' pivoting on a rod (between posts) which is parallel to the main R/H keys is relevant, but the angle of the Eb/C keys, and particularly their rollers in relation to the sweep of the little finger, may well be? I have the same problem with my YAS-62 (left, below) compared to my Buffet SDA (right)...

P9265233 - Version 2.jpg

It's only a very small extra slant of the keys and rollers on the SDA but the SDA is much easier to roll from Eb/C and back again. I'd put this down to the slant but thinking about your explanation made me dig out a photo of my Conn Pan Am (below) which emphasises the "right angle" you describe....

PC153358a.JPG

...now these keys really are at right angles, and yet I find the Eb/C roll fairly easy on the Conn?

So maybe the solution to this problem has more to do with: key heights; key heights in relationship to each other; key angles toward/away from the body; spring tensions.

Other considerations must be: the key/s angle from the perpendicular (as discussed); the key/s length from their pivot rod; the shape and size of the roller; the condition of the keys/rollers.

Bearing in mind these keys are fairly easily altered or replaced (as with the Conn's C key - below), you could have them manipulated by a tech to suit your fingers and to resolve the difficulty. I'm over at Connollys in the next few days so I may take the 62 & SDA and ask them to see if my issues can be resolved. Let you know...

P1163528a.JPG
 

Colin the Bear

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It may just be the photo but the tone holes on the Yam seem further round the body, nearer to the pinky keys, compared to the SDA. This design limits where the pinkies can be positioned. The SDA are further over and longer giving the finger a little more mechanical leverage and a more comfortable position.
 

jbtsax

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Thank you David. You have given me some great insight to the "geometry" of the RH little finger keys that I did not think about until you posted those photos. The little finger does move in an arc as it goes to and fro. (I so want to swedge your low C key on that Conn to make it fit snugly between the hinge tube sections of the Eb key.) :)
 

DavidUK

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Colin, this may be a little clearer...

P9265239.jpg
P9265237.jpg
P9265236.jpg

The angle of view still isn't quite the same on each, but notice how stubby the 62's Eb/C key arms are (they are as short as they look - just checked) compared to the SDA's? This must be why, with my large hands, I have to bend my little finger on the Yam to reach back to these keys whereas on the SDA I can keep it straight. I'll have to get them both side by side again and compare a few crutial distances.

JBT, you've said that before. You're welcome to come on over and swedge away! :thumb:
 

DavidUK

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Just checked and the SDA pinkies fall to the tip of my straightened little finger precisely, whereas the 62's are 10-15mm behind, meaning I have to curl my finger significantly to get the end on the roller. This will be the major reason for my problems, as JBT pointed out. Tried the 62 thumb hook in various positions but this won't allow my finger to remain straight. Apart from lengthening the Eb/C key arms, what can I do? Surely someone else must have had this problem on a Yamaha?
 

Colin the Bear

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It's the off the peg v tailor made problem.

I'm not keen on any yamaha layout I've tried. Some vintage horns I find very awkward.

Some saxes fit your hands and some don't, which I find more important than most other considerations. You can get an instrument customised but then its value may be affected. The position of the keywork can be a deal breaker.

Lots of good horns out there that are useless to me. When I get that sponsorship deal I'll get them to make me a special.:optimistic:
 

mpjbiker

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Only just caught up on the thread-thanks for replying and posting really useful photos, was beginning to think it was an issue unique to me! The issue certainly seems more pronounced on the 62 than any other of my horns. On tenor, the size of the bore and key position makes it less of an issue, which, while I enjoy alto, is probably why I feel more at home on tenor. I wonder if there are any different keys/pads which would swap straight over, or if anyone has a spare set of keys from a scrap instrument which could be experimented with? Guess that's one for the repairers and techs!
Thanks all-interesting stuff!
 

DavidUK

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Ah... interesting. I didn't know it was a 62 alto you were having problems with. The pinky key issue may be the deciding factor for me in which wins the battle of the altos. I wouldn't have the 62 altered due to future saleability being affected.
 

mpjbiker

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No, I agree any permanent alteration would be unadvisable-I meant if an alternative set of keys could be sourced for experimentation, so that the originals could be refitted as required. Anyone got a scrap 62 with bits for sale?:optimistic:
 

MandyH

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After David UK's photos, I checked out all my saxes. The Yanis (A901 and S992) are very similar to the Yamahas (YTS62 and YBS62). But for me, I don't find it a problem - maybe my little fingers are the "right" length?
I find that the C/Eb keys fit nicely underneath the top section of my little finger, and my finger is more or less straight, not locked rigid straight, but I don't need to bend it to sit on the keys comfortably.. I wouldn't consider that I have small hands, but they are female hands (so probably way smaller than DavidUK's large hands!).

Therefore, I had never noticed a problem, I can slide / roll from C to Eb fairly easily.
 

Colin the Bear

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The G4M is supposedly a Yani copy and is very similar to the yam pictured. I've just been looking how I actually play. Pinky straight, the crease for the end joint sits on the end of the keys and the rollers fit nicely under the pad for the middle segment of the finger. No problems. I suppose using this fingering gives more leverage. No point curling up the finger just to use the tip.
 

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