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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,... starting earlier today, I noticed that the tone of my Alto was beginning to sound a little different in the upper octaves. As the day grew on, it seemed to get worse. Right now high D is way stuffy, and when I do the octave thumb, high G acts like it doesn't want to fall in,... it sounds like it's wants to stay at G an octave down. Then all of a sudden, it's slowly migrate to high G, after first rolling through some sub-tones on the way. Same with going from G# to high G#. It's almost like the octave key ain't working, but I see that the cups are moving,... both of them seem to be working. The one on the neck and the one at the top of the body up by the palm keys. Sometimes, the neck cup works and sometimes the other one opens and closes. Not sure when which is suppose to up and when, but it doesn't seem like a spring or anything.

Can someone help me out on this? I'm hoping it's something easy to deal with before I make a move towards the horn doc. Thanks!

Jr.
 

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Get a pipe cleaner and clean the lower octave vent. The hole is either clogged or the key is not opening. G and G# is controlled by the lower octave vent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Ok,... just got back from Walgreens on a Pipe Cleaner run. Picked up a can of lighter fluid too. So if I understand all this correctly, I'm gonna take a pipe cleaner, put a 90 at the very tip, and have a go at the boby vent from the inside of the body tube. Should I see the end of the cleaner peeking through the horn? Is that what will tell me I've cleared whatever is in there out? What about the neck vent? Might as well have a go at that while I'm at it. I also plan to clean as many pads as I can reach and I understand lighter fluid is what to use for that. Just apply a little and scrub the pad with a Q-tip? One more question, can I use my brother's trumpet valve oil on my horn? Or there another kind of oil we're supposed to use on saxophones? His valve oil is very light and watery,... just not sure about that one.

Thanks for the tips dubrosa and martinm5862,... thanks a lot for the replies.

Jr.
 

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You won't be able to reach from the inside, and lighter fluid shouldn't be needed. Something small and stiff enough to poke all the way through the hole from outside will probably clear it if it's clogged. You might need to remove the octave key pad to do it, but should be able to squiggle it in there without surgery.

If you're not having sticking pads, leave them alone. If you've got one that sticks, then clean it with the lighter fluid and use a little teflon powder on the pad after you're done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey everybody,... I waited until this morning to clean out the vents,... more and better light. Thanks Mr. Howard for the links. Truth be told, I remember stumbling across your articles last year when I was researching horns but forgot all about it. As a matter of fact, we almost landed on the BW M2 Pro Alto after me and my Dad read through a couple of your reviews. But the Barone Vintage topped the list by the end of day. Sure wished you have a review of the Barone horns on your site.

Anyway, I cleared out both vents,... the neck vent was clear, no prob there. But the octave vent that turns on once you press the G key, well that one was clogged a little. Bent the pipe cleaner at the very tip,... it looked like an L that just came out of partial foot amputation surgery. Anyway, I was able to stick it down the end where the neck goes just far enough to get it through the vent from the inside of the horn. The vent cup doesn't raise high enough to get at the vent from the outside. I used an old reed to push the gunk away from the vent once the pipe cleaner pushed it up out of the vent. Then I used a lighter fluid soaked Q-tip to scrub the pad. Cleaned a few more pads while I was at it. All the keys I've come into the habit of un-sticking before I play,... well, I cleaned all those. Palm keys, G#, A, and the pad at the back of the bow. They all got scrubbed. Too afraid to use my brother's valve oil after reading through your article,... it's a little too watery. My Dad says he understands what kinda oil you're talking about. Guess we'll do that a little later.

Thanks again everybody!

Jr.

Oh, one more thing,... Mr. Maddenma, is the teflon powder something most music stores will have, or is that another multi-purpose thing that was meant for something else, but fits nicely into our needs. Like lighter fluid and pipe cleaners? Where would I find teflon powder?
 
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