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Sax on the Web / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / C# mechanism on SML

Marty
User ID: 1578334
Jan 25th 9:38 PM
Hello,
Anyone ever have a problem with the low C# mechanism on an SML alto? If you finger low C# and add the B key, the C# pad stays open, whereas on most saxes it would close. One of my teachers seems to think that this would inhibit technical work down in the low register, because the B and C# keys flop close at slightly different times when you play fast down there. I love the sound of my SML and don't want to give it up. Do you think a person could get used to the mechanism or get a helper bar installed or something? Anyone know what I'm talking about? Thanks
Tom F
User ID: 0937864
Jan 25th 9:42 PM
Your alto, as well as every other SML I've seen, has a non-articulated C# mechanism. The articulated C#, in which C# closes if C# is depressed at the same time as B or Bb, is a fairly new development. There's really nothing you can do, other than get used to it.
Miles
User ID: 1578334
Jan 25th 9:57 PM
Thanks for your response. How new is fairly new? I believe this saxophone was made in the late 70s or early 80s. My King Super 20 (1953) has the articulated C# and so does any Selmer I've seen. You would think that a great brand such as SML would have included this feature on their saxophones.
Msr. SmartyPants
User ID: 6883933
Jan 25th 10:05 PM
The later SMLs & King Marigauxs had a mechanism with a little switch, whereupon you could either have articulated c# or not--though I dont know why anyone WOULDnt want it?
Miles
User ID: 1578334
Jan 25th 10:28 PM
Hi,

Actually, we were talking about the C# mechanism, not the G# mechanism. Also, do all SMLs have the low Bb key in front of the B rather than below it? Have any of you had any trouble getting used to this style of keywork? I just got this saxophone. I am used to the school's selmer but thought that I could used to the SML's key layout. Do any of you have opinions about which kind of left hand table is better, or are they just simply different? I think Conn saxophones had the same table as the SMLs, with the low B and Bb next to eachother instead of one below the other.
Miles
User ID: 1578334
Jan 27th 2:00 PM
Tom F,
Thanks for your response. Are you sure I couldn't get some custom keywork done to fix the problem? Like maybe Steve Goodson of Saxgourmet could do something? Wouldn't you just have to install a bar that connected the C# pad and B pad so that they work together instead of independantly?
morgan
User ID: 0784604
Jan 27th 7:55 PM
FIX YOUR TECHNIQUE
morgan
User ID: 0784604
Jan 27th 8:01 PM
Ooops sorry the cat jumped on the "enter" key before I got a chance to explain.

I wondered to myself, "how come I never noticed that the C# was not articulated?". So I fiddled with the keys until I could find a way to depress both the B and C# at the same time. The only way I could do it was to bend the last joint of my pinky backwards -- which (bending the joint backwards) is something you should never do on ANY fingers, on ANY keys on ANY horn. The fingers need to be ever so slightly curled or arched FORWARD for proper agility and strength. Once you do this, you will find that a pinky on the low B will not collide with the C# key any more and the problem will be gone. Also you will have better timing and technique because you will have corrected a more serious problem with finger control.
Miles
User ID: 1857214
Jan 27th 9:05 PM
Morgan, thanks for your response. Really though, the problem lies with the horn, not my technique. You SHOULD be able to depress the low C# key and low B key at the same time. Not the entire C# key and entire B key, but just like if you had your pinky on both the rollers at the same time where the keys meet. When you play a B major scale rapidly up and down the horn, as you come in to the low register there is a point as you go from low C# to low B, where your pinky is on both keys. When you're playing fast you can't play low C#, pick up your pinky, then play low B. That's what the rollers are there for, to facillitate the transfer of your pinky from key to key. I don't even know how to bend my pinky backwards. The most I can do is straighten it. Anyway, the way the horn is set up makes it impossible to get a clean C# to B because those two pads flop close at different times. They are not coordinated. You have to have your pinky completely on the B key and completely off the C# key before low B will speak.
morgan
User ID: 0784604
Feb 3rd 3:12 PM
Pah.
I played a bunch of B major scales to see if it was a problem. They play just fine.
I got out my Buescher 400 to see if articulated C# made a difference. HA! It doesn't have it either! And the scale was just as easy to play on the Buescher.
If both SML and B400 lack the feature, it can't be that important.
Pah.
Miles
User ID: 1578334
Feb 3rd 9:01 PM
Whatever you say, Morgan, who can't play his B major scale without getting a blip between C# and B.
dave
User ID: 2525954
May 28th 5:54 PM
I have a selmer as200 that lacks the articulation as well. It doesn't make that much of a difference to my playing unless I slip and hit the c# and the b keys at the same time. Someone with smaller hands might have more of a problem, though.
zigzag
User ID: 2964484
May 31st 11:30 AM
Miles...my SML tenor has two sets of rollers. One set goes from C# to B then to B flat. The other set is on the B flat(on the bottom), key next to the C# and facilitates going from B flat directly to C#. The B flat key is shaped so that one end of it is next to the B and then it curves under the B and meets the C# . Thats where the B flat and C# rollers meet. I'm a novice player and can go smoothly from B flat to C#. I don't have big hands..it's just a matter of extending your small finger down.
Miles
User ID: 8499503
Jun 2nd 9:31 AM
Thanks for the response. I actually sent this horn back a long time ago, so its not a problem. Zigzag, I understand what you are saying, but I don't see how that is relevant to the problem I stated.
zigzag
User ID: 2964484
Jun 2nd 11:28 AM
Sorry Miles I must have missunderstood your question. I was just trying to explain how my model SML was set up. I don't know if all models have the same features. And I was making an attempt at showing how my sax did have rollers going fom B to C# or B Flat to C#.
Paul C.
User ID: 9760743
Jun 2nd 7:06 PM
I have and SML alto, a Buescher bari, have played Conns and other saxes with this type of table, and have not had the problem Miles is speaking of. On the other hand, I have spent a lot of time for many years working on my low note technique. I do not find that having the articulated C# is of any advantage or lack of being a disadvantage... so here I agress with Morgan.

The switch was for linking the G# to the other low notes, and I find that an invaluable addition, but have done without it on some saxes.

Perhaps Miles' SML was not adjusted properly for smooth technique on these notes. The left hand pinky table keys should all be even, straight, inline. If one sticks way out, something is misadjusted or bent. There must be the proper clearance between keys, or they can strike each other. They must work smoothly, the rollers rolling easily.

And if you are used to the Selmer type pinky table, which I admit is superior, I can see the old style Conn / Buescher / SML type being difficult... BUT with practice you can play well with this arrangement.
zigzag
User ID: 2964484
Jun 2nd 8:25 PM
PaulC...I usually leave that G# mechanism deactivated. I don't really understand it. It seems to make the rest of the keys in that cluster harder to operate. But I'm a novice player and don't fully understand how it works.Would you mind explaining to me ? Thanks