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Forum Contributor 2015-2017
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I won't know if this is a silly question unless I ask it...

Is it possible to adjust the height of the side keys - Bb, C, high E - so that the touch pieces sit higher? Mine are quite low at present. So too are the low Eb and low C touch pieces.

If they can be raised, I take it it's a job for a technician?

Cheers,

Dennis
 

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Hello all,

I won't know if this is a silly question unless I ask it...

Is it possible to adjust the height of the side keys - Bb, C, high E - so that the touch pieces sit higher? Mine are quite low at present. So too are the low Eb and low C touch pieces.

If they can be raised, I take it it's a job for a technician?

Cheers,

Dennis
I adjust mine on all my instruments. Just sand the corks on the feet of the keys to make them higher or add to the cork to maker them open less. You shouldn't need a technician for this.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Are you talking about raising the pad height on opening or raising the level of the touch piece itself?

Both are possible, but different problems.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Technician
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Is it possible to adjust the height of the side keys - Bb, C, high E - so that the touch pieces sit higher
I adjust mine on all my instruments. Just sand the corks on the feet of the keys to make them higher or add to the cork to maker them open less. You shouldn't need a technician for this.
for the side keys adding or removing cork on the key feet will not affect the height of the keys touchpieces only the venting of said keys will be affected.

Keys can be bent quite effectively and the side keys in particular are fairly straightforward and good results can be obtained using your hands.

Low Eb and C key touchpieces can also be manipulated but be aware that these keys are most often held inbetween their posts by a rod screw ( an axle) that goes all the way through the keys hinge tubing. One must be careful to bend the keys in such a way that the key does not bind on its rod screw after bending.

you can buy side key risers or you can glue cork etc to the keys to adjust their heights but with the keys with rollers on them you are probably best taking them to a tech.

If you want a more permanent fix you can get the keys cut and have pieces of brass soldered onto the key arm to raise the overall height. done correctly by a competent tech it should be an invisible repair.

Bear in mind that this option can be costly as:

you need to silver solder the keywork - which will damage the finish, re finishing (lacquering or plating) will need to be carried out.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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Unless you have great hands, don't do anything dramatic without physically consulting a technician. Repairing damage you may do inadvertently will cost more than having the work done by someone good. When modifying your horn, make love, not war...

If you do want to build up the keys, you can start with some simple prototyping by gluing cork to find out if this type of modification suits your needs (and hands). Only then start doing drastic things like bending keys or filing things down...
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2012-2015
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Unless you have great hands, don't do anything dramatic without physically consulting a technician. Repairing damage you may do inadvertently will cost more than having the work done by someone good. When modifying your horn, make love, not war...

If you do want to build up the keys, you can start with some simple prototyping by gluing cork to find out if this type of modification suits your needs (and hands). Only then start doing drastic things like bending keys or filing things down...
Good advice here.
 

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...or the cheap man's solution:

http://www.doctorsax.biz/musical instruments/saxophones/Selmer/SA80_SerieII_Tenor_N640061/pict08.JPG

Buy a length of latex surgical tubing- the stuff is cheap and widely available at hardware stores. It slides neatly over the side and palm touches, stays put, comes off with nary a mark, cushions clarinet thumbrests, and in short; when coupled with duct tape, super glue, pliers, a screwdriver , and a claw hammer, can solve any problem modern humankind is apt to encounter.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Duct tape.... eh?
 

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The side Bb, C and E touchpieces are generally easy enough to raise - you can often simply pull them up carefully by hand.
Depending on the make of horn, raising the touchpieces may mean the key cups open further - so check first whether there is any cork under or near the touchpieces.
If there is then you will have to increase the thickness of these corks after the bending operation. Most modern horns have the corks further up the keys.
Some horns have corks at both ends of the keys - and raising the touchpieces will render one cork ineffective...which can make the action feel spongier than before.

Another solution is the fitment of risers - these can be bought ready-made, or you can DIY:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/key_risers.htm

Raising the low C and Eb spatulas will require bending them - but there's a risk that any force applied to the touchpieces may affect the key cup angle (i.e. as you lift the touchpiece a percentage of the stress travels down the key and focusses at the point where the key cup is attached to the key arm).
In the case of the low C key it might leave the pad leaking at the rear (where the cup is joined to the key arm), and for the low Eb it might subsequently leak at the front.

Pressing a thumb firmly down onto the key cup arms as you bend the touchpieces will help a little, and checking the pad seal with a cigarette paper before and after the operation is a sensible move. It's not uncommon that these pads require reseating after spatula adjustment.

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/LeakyPads.htm

Regards,
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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As Woody Allen says in one of his films: "It's nothing that some Prozac and a polo mallet to the head won't fix".

Let the pros do the work!
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2017
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190 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
My thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond.

I'll take the sax to a tech and explain the problem, and let the tech sort it.

At least I won't feel such a dill when I get there.

Cheers,

Dennis
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Sherzando, you'll notice, if you finger the RH palm keys as you play them, that the ideal first contact point (where the hand/finger first touches the keytouch) is not going to be directly under the sidekey touch on all keys. You'll want to shape risers, if you add them, to allow the least chance of accidentally hitting the key when you don't want to, and the smallest distance to move when you do want to hit the key. This is sort of more involved on some makes/models than others.

Ideally, you will be present to work with a tech if you have a tech put them on, because his hands & mechanics may be fairly different from your own.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2017
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks ptung, that's sound advice. Perfectly sensible to be there when the tech makes measurements, etc.

I plan on posting a follow-up once the work is complete, however so far I've got the RH palm keys to a more convenient height by having the tech bend them slightly. The RH pinky touch pieces are a different matter and will probably require customisation by a craftsman as opposed to a - dare I say it - run-of-the-mill technician.

On the flip side, things would be perfect if I were to lop off the top joint on my RH pinky. Would that be going too far? :)

Cheers,

Dennis.
 
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