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jazz, rock, funk, fusion and gospel on tenor, alto and soprano
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought my 1st soprano. being new to playing soprano, I'm concerned about damaging the octave key mechanism attached to the neck. I can't seem to find a safe place to grip the neck while putting the mouthpiece on and off. It is not an extremely tight mouthpiece fit, but tight enough to require a firm grip on the neck. The octave key mechanism looks kinda fragile and is difficult to avoid (spans the length of the entire neck. it's a removable curved neck, I don't have the straight neck). I keep thinkin if I keep applying pressure to this, the octave key mechanism is going to bend out of shape and eventually even break. any advice?

It is an older model Jean Baptiste (model 280sl). Yeah, I know a lower end model Jean Baptiste isn't one of the better saxes out there, but its better than no soprano at all. anyway, key action is good, horn seems to be durable and tone is good. Sure, some intonation issues on certain notes (especially G#), but I am able to compensate by adjusting lip pressure.
 

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Some options to consider:

1. Consider sanding the cork lightly with low grit paper. Make sure to tape the lacquer neck before you start.

2. Grease generously and often.

3. If you use more than one mouthpiece (for classical, jazz, or blues, etc.) adjust to smallest diameter piece and then shim the other mouthpieces with paper or plumber's tape.
 

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I leave the neck tightly attached to the horn and screw-off the mouthpiece first. My Yani has two beefy tabs that hold the octave key arm pivot, and that's what I twist against. I can't get the mp off while holding on to just the neck when disconnected.
 

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Yes to all of the comments. I put two fingers (middle and ring) on the neck's tube and the the thumb of that same hand against the tabs supporting the octave-arm pivot, then twist. DAVE
 

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Similar to Dave's method I grasp the sides of the octave posts or wings (depending on how yours is constructed) with the thumb and index of my left hand, while getting onto some of the tube also, then put on or remove the mouthpiece with a slight twisting motion.

The best advice to you has been SAND DOWN THE CORK SOME, there is no need to fight the mouthpiece on the cork. It should be close to effortless!
 

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Totally agree all of above. I have the exact same issue when I first got my soprano. I spent half an hour to put the mouthpiece on the neck to keep in tune and spent the rest of night to put if off. It was a very frustrating experience. I sanded the cork after that.
 

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Cork grease is cheap. Get and use plenty of it. I tried various lubricants but found regular cork grease is best. Other lubricants can mess up the cork. Work carefully with a tuner. Your blowing technique can be part of the tuning problem.
 

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also try leaving the MP on overnight (on newly greased neck cork), or even for several days, as this will compress the neck cork slightly. I did this on my new curvey sop as I was having the same problem, and it worked well. Keep the neck itself on when you take the MP off, you don't need to touch the neck at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OK thanks to all for the advice. Truly sandpaper is the answer, as I always use my trusty Meyer 7M mouthpiece, which I bought to replace the generic mouthpiece the horn came with. I just need to sand it down to fit the Meyer with ease. What grit sandpaper should I use? 200 OK? And (@Gandalfe) what kind of tape should I use to protect the lacquer without making a sticky mess? I suppose plumber's tape would be best?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OK thanks. I just saw an ad for scotch blue, the painters tape and figured that would indeed be best.
 

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The application of tape to protect the finish below the cork is probably the best way, but I've done it and not used tape and did not mar the horn's finish. If you have to make a special trip just to get special tape, you can probably avoid that by using some care.

Cut any sandpaper sheet into 1/4" or 3/8" strips, grip the horn between your knees, and gently move the strip back and forth around the cork. It won't take much effort to take off enough around the cork's circumference to allow the piece to fit. Use plenty of cork-grease after doing it. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OK Thanks Dave. I did as you told, and it worked great. No tape was needed.
 

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I leave the neck tightly attached to the horn and screw-off the mouthpiece first. My Yani has two beefy tabs that hold the octave key arm pivot, and that's what I twist against. I can't get the mp off while holding on to just the neck when disconnected.
That's interesting. I do exactly the opposite so I don't pull the neck down. Remove neck from the horn and then pull the mouthpiece off. The other way is a recipe for a pulled neck and I'd much rather bend the octave key back into position than the neck itself.
 

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I forgot to mention that one mouthpiece I use had to be cut to fit properly. It is a Meyer 6. On my AW590 I could not get it in tune until I put it on a band saw and cut 1/8 inch off the end. This is all outside the neck tube. But now the neck tube protrudes into the chamber a bit more. It works fine, sounds good and plays in tune.
 
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