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Probably Octave Key problem

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Hi

I was at band earlier this evening and apart from trying to play with a duster stuffed in the bell (d'oh :doh:), I had serious problems trying to get D, E, F to work with the octave key down. I got notes, but they were at the wrong pitch (way too sharp - couple of tones or more out).

I tried a new reed first, which did make some things a little better.

After investigating keys etc, I did notice a problem. Putting down L123R123 plus 8ve key, I noticed that neck key was just lifting off a fraction off the pad. It should only lift when you get to A. At A it does lift cleanly.

A colleague suggested an elastic band, this fixed the D/E/F/G problem but it then didn't open on A.

So I am assuming either they 8ve key mechanism is slightly out of alignment, or the spring needs its tension adjusting?

Reasonable assumption or am I missing something?
 

jbtsax

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These excerpts from "Instrument Care and Repair for the Busy Band Director" that I wrote for a clinic presentation should help.

Saxophone

If the instrument will not play in the lower octave

Check to see that there is at least a 1/16" gap between the neck octave key ring and the post extending from the body. Place your thumb between the ring and the body of the neck and then gently push down on the octave key. Then test the octave key adjustment (below). Should you go too far, place a pad slick or tongue depressor under the pad and carefully push back on the ring until the desired gap is achieved.

If the 4th line D does not play or goes to a higher note (overtone)
Press the thumb octave lever hard without pressing any other keys and see if the neck octave key opens. As in the previous case, make sure there is a gap between the ring and the post. On some saxes with a "spongy" cork stopping the thumb octave lever a wider gap may be necessary.

To test the octave key adjustment
Finger G and forcefully hit the thumb octave key several times watching the neck octave pad. It should not move if in good adjustment. Then finger from G to A while pressing the thumb octave. The neck and body octave keys should alternate opening and closing completely.
 

Colin the Bear

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Sometimes things get knocked while in the case. Has the pin that moves the neck octave had a bump and moved?
 

kevgermany

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Don't play with the spring. Do what JBTsax says. It's probably the pin on the body or the octave mechanism on the neck (is your mouthpiece tight on the neck?). However if the pin's clearly bent, go to a technician.
 

Tenor Viol

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These excerpts from "Instrument Care and Repair for the Busy Band Director" that I wrote for a clinic presentation should help.

Saxophone

If the instrument will not play in the lower octave

Check to see that there is at least a 1/16" gap between the neck octave key ring and the post extending from the body. Place your thumb between the ring and the body of the neck and then gently push down on the octave key. Then test the octave key adjustment (below). Should you go too far, place a pad slick or tongue depressor under the pad and carefully push back on the ring until the desired gap is achieved.

If the 4th line D does not play or goes to a higher note (overtone)
Press the thumb octave lever hard without pressing any other keys and see if the neck octave key opens. As in the previous case, make sure there is a gap between the ring and the post. On some saxes with a "spongy" cork stopping the thumb octave lever a wider gap may be necessary.

To test the octave key adjustment
Finger G and forcefully hit the thumb octave key several times watching the neck octave pad. It should not move if in good adjustment. Then finger from G to A while pressing the thumb octave. The neck and body octave keys should alternate opening and closing completely.
Thanks very useful. It's point 2 - getting some sort of harmonic trying to play the D. What I noticed is that with D fingered, putting the octave key 'on' the neck pad lifted just a bit - less than a millimetre, but enough for it to not be a seal. Moving from G to A the neck key opened properly.
 

milandro

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In most saxophones, especially if they are or copy the Selmer design, it is easy to bend, without noticing it, the top octave mechanism.

One can bend the top or the bottom while fitting the neck ad this will result in a faulty behaviour of the mechanism although there is a little tolerance and sometimes you just get some lost motion of the top octave key. (lots of people have that and they will never notice because they are actually playing slower than the mechanism)

Another possibility is that you turn the neck too much of the left or on the right.

Sounds stupid but we’ve all done this.


On a Selmer design this is not immediately fatal (on some other horns the top octave won’ work at all) and the horn appears to be functional but what happens is that the top octave key ( ferrule? activator?) is as if being slightly depressed and opens just a wee bit ( sometimes so little that you really can’t see it)........this is one of the most common reasons for aggravation on a bass clarinet (!).

In any case the fix is to bend ( the ferrule? activator?) back.

Have you got Stephen Howard’s manual?
 
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milandro

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Life is full of questions, the living looks for answers. Sometimes we find them ( or so we think) , sometimes we don’t :)
 

jbtsax

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Here you go.



Or the simpler version (thanks to Kim Peliter)

 

milandro

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nice and very useful but it still doesn’t give me the name of the lover part of the octave key that I was looking for :)
 

MandyH

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Actually, JBTsax, that's really useful.
I've just been describing by e-mail to Stephen Howard problems with my Tenor sax and could have made some use of such a clear description of the part of my sax.

As for the OP....the loop looking bit that goes around the crook, from the octave pip on the crook can sometimes become bent in transit or in putting the sax together. If you are really careful, you can hold the crook in both hands upside down (as if it were a pipe) and by either gently pushing up or pulling down on the loopy bit, you can tease it back to the right position. And when I say gently, I mean gently!!
Or as suggested elsewhere, if you happened to put the crook on a bit too far round, so nearer 7 o'clock than 6 o'clock, say, it can cause the loopy bit to engage with the octave mechanism pokey bit (aka floating lever, apparently) in the wrong place, and hold the octave pip on the neck open all the time.

If you follow me ! :)))
 
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jbtsax

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nice and very useful but it still doesn’t give me the name of the lover part of the octave key that I was looking for :)

Would that be the part that the rubber sleeve goes over? I don't think I can use that word on a public forum. Children might see it and ask their parents embarrassing questions about where saxophones come from. :blush:

No wait. Are you referring to the "post" that extends from the "floating octave lever"? "Pokey bit" works too. :)
 

aldevis

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Mouthpipe?
What happened to the neck of that crooked chiver?
 

aldevis

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Would that be the part that the rubber sleeve goes over? I don't think I can use that word on a public forum. Children might see it and ask their parents embarrassing questions about where saxophones come from. :blush:

No wait. Are you referring to the "post" that extends from the "floating octave lever"? "Pokey bit" works too. :)

Brick? Trick? Flick?
 

Tenor Viol

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Actually, JBTsax, that's really useful.
I've just been describing by e-mail to Stephen Howard problems with my Tenor sax and could have made some use of such a clear description of the part of my sax.

As for the OP....the loop looking bit that goes around the crook, from the octave pip on the crook can sometimes become bent in transit or in putting the sax together. If you are really careful, you can hold the crook in both hands upside down (as if it were a pipe) and by either gently pushing up or pulling down on the loopy bit, you can tease it back to the right position. And when I say gently, I mean gently!!
Or as suggested elsewhere, if you happened to put the crook on a bit too far round, so nearer 7 o'clock than 6 o'clock, say, it can cause the loopy bit to engage with the octave mechanism pokey bit (aka floating lever, apparently) in the wrong place, and hold the octave pip on the neck open all the time.

If you follow me ! :)))

Yes - I do!

The tenor, unlike the alto, when seated I do turn the neck slightly from "6 o'clock" as well as twisting the mouthpiece . However, I have been careful to not snag the pin that activates the mechanism.

Sax tech is going to look at it - would have been yesterday, but he was moving house and workshop.
 

jbtsax

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On most makes and models the "end plug" not only secures the saxophone in its case but also protects the post that extends beyond the neck tenon receiver. Not using an end plug is a common cause of this post getting bent. Yamaha's design that keeps this post from extending beyond the end of the sax is an excellent idea.
 

Tenor Viol

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I always keep a "shove it" in the sax when not in use.
 

kevgermany

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Yes - I do!

The tenor, unlike the alto, when seated I do turn the neck slightly from "6 o'clock" as well as twisting the mouthpiece . However, I have been careful to not snag the pin that activates the mechanism.

Ideally the arc of the octave ring on the neck is circular about the centre of the neck - so you can twist the neck the way you describe. Usually isn't quite right, though.
 

Tenor Viol

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Update....

Sax tech had the tenor Fri/Sat to look at. Not good news. The whole bottom key stack is out of alignment and some keys, including bell keys are mis-aligned. It's as if it's been 'shocked' but I don't know how - it's kept in its case and I've not dropped it, knocked it, or otherwise bashed it.

He suggests I speak to Hansons before I go any further, as he says it will take a full service/overhaul to resolve and bending keys is not guaranteed to work.

:confused::(
 

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