Tutorials

Saxophones Rolled toneholes on German and Asian saxes

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,655
Location
UK
Nearly all tone holes were uneven in the 20's and early 30's?!?!?! That's why Conn had Res-O-Pad, Buescher had "Snap-On " Martin "Neverleaks, Buescher and Conn didn't use shellack. A self leveling system? The pads were more to compensate for uneven toneholes. Another pad system on a Kohlert model 1927 straight soprano. No shellack. A very thick pad with screw and washer.
Nearly all toneholes are uneven today - the lack of flatness across the rim has been a consistent problem down the years.
Plain drawn holes typically rise where the holes goes over the apex of the tube - probably as a result of the downward pressure from the milling (flattening) operation being relieved after the event.
With rolled holes you get what you get after the rolling operation, and later levelling is very time-consuming.

A self-levelling pad would really only work if the tonehole was perfectly flat - a flap valve, effectively. The slightest warp in the tonehole means the pad would be required to deform in order to take up the warp...and that would require increased downward pressure on the key cup and extra time for the pad to adjust. It's by no means a new idea, and can be seen on early flutes and clarinets which used a pewter 'plug' loosely suspended on a key, which dropped down into a tapered hole in the body. It didn't work very well.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,655
Location
UK
Reading that I thought could the sax be completely redesigned using micro switches under the finger touches connected to electro magnets to close the pads with a spring to open them or as appropriate break the circuit to allow the pad to open with a spring to close it. This would do away with all those messy connecting rods and bits of regulating cork and make the action a lot quicker as there would be minimal finger movement.
Unfortunately:
DE202014006961U1 - Electromechanical Saxophone - Google Patents
I suspect that's where we're heading - some sort of electromechanical solution.
However, it's also possible that an entirely mechanical solution can be found. The pewter plugs I mentioned above are a good idea in principle (a tapered plus that fits into a tapered hole - just like the valves on a car) - but such a solution would be noisy, and the structure of the horn itself wouldn't be stiff enough to provide the repeatable accuracy required.
With the advent of 3D printing extending beyond simple plastics it may be possible to think in terms of some other esoteric material that could be used to create a complex mating surface that's rapid in operation, near-silent in use and suitably lightweight.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if such a solution relied on some sort of interlocking fibre technology.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
22,004
Location
Just north of Munich
I'm well aware of the Hohner saxes referred to on Bassic Sax. However, the name has since also been used, as I mentioned, for Chinese generic saxes.
Old post, but Hohner shifted a lot of production to China, especially accordions. They're now charging a big premium for the re-established German made ones.

Guessing for saxes they just bought in generic Chinese stencils. Cos they're clearly not the quality Max K designs.
 
Top Bottom