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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I have a MK VI tenor 113xxx, with a couple of bouncing keys, namely the right hand E and D keys. I've read a few posts on this forum regarding bouncing keys, and I'm tending to think the springs are a little weak.

The bounce isn't really affecting the playability of the horn, it has a wonderfully light action, but when I release the E or D key, I can see the pad cups visibly bouncing on their stops, and can feel the vibration. There is also a very quiet, but audible 'boing' sound, particularly with the D key.

Should I bend the springs a little to increase the tension?

Cheers,

Chris
 

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the flat springs may be weak ( but I actually think that they may be too strong) but any bouncing should be absorbed by the cork under the key which may even be assisted by small patches of felt.

Has the cork hardened over time? I would first change that.
 

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- Springs need tensioning?
- insufficient damping? (i.e. under the keys' "feet")

But are you lifting your finger off the key, or sliding it off. If you slide then chances are you can expect bouncing because your finger is no longer providing some damping.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the tips.

I'll check the horn in the morning, it's midnight here, now. I lift my fingers in the normal manner, but keep them lightly touching the pearls, and that's where I feel the bounce. I can see the pad cups doing a couple of bounces if I work the keys quickly.

Cheers,

Chris
 

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The original design has a felt punching on the body and a cork of similar diameter on the key foot. The felt is either compressed or missing. Spring tension will likely help but if you like the feel of the action, try the felt first. It will do no harm while messing with springs could lead to other issues.
 

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The only springs I've ever replaced on my 122xxx tenor are the G# and the A. The G# just got fudged with a lot by repairmen and the A spring is on the short side and got bent too many times.
The felt on the body under the foot would help without changing the feel from tightening the spring.
The best idea is keeping your fingers on the keys.
 

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Another thing to check is whether there is any "bounce" in the F# key (the keycup directly above the F). This key moves in tandem with the F, E, and D and can have an effect on the feel. The way to check that key is to close and release it with your fingertip on the key cup. These are what I have had good success using when the felt discs on the body need replacing. Self Adhesive Felt Discs They have a good adhesive that helps them to stay in place and do not harm the finish when removed. In my experience the felt compressing is much more of an issue than the cork "drying out". The D key on tenors are especially prone to "bouncing" due to the size and mass of the key. I have worked on a few models where the only material absorbent enough was cut from a "mouse pad".
 

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Another thing to check is whether there is any "bounce" in the F# key (the keycup directly above the F). This key moves in tandem with the F, E, and D and can have an effect on the feel. The way to check that key is to close and release it with your fingertip on the key cup. These are what I have had good success using when the felt discs on the body need replacing. Self Adhesive Felt Discs They have a good adhesive that helps them to stay in place and do not harm the finish when removed. In my experience the felt compressing is much more of an issue than the cork "drying out". The D key on tenors are especially prone to "bouncing" due to the size and mass of the key. I have worked on a few models where the only material absorbent enough was cut from a "mouse pad".
Sorbothane is great for this application.
 

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Sorbothane is great for this application.
Sorbothane is great. I almost mentioned that earlier but got distracted by something shiny. It can be difficult to cut straight though due to the inherent "squishiness". Laminate it with ultra thin cork and away you go. Greatly reduced bounce on the lower stack.
 

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If there is lost motion between the keys mentioned and F#, that could conceivably contribute to bounce too.
(It's to do with the inherent "moment of inertia" of the keys concerned. That is a design parameter probably rarely considered by designers. The geometry of the keys' feet will also play a part.)
 

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This thread reminds me of a story I like to tell. In the shop where I used to work one of the techs had a father in law who was an "old school" repair tech in Idaho. My colleague told me about how his father in law had constructed a bumper felt holder above the D key similar to those on the bell keys to absorb the bounce from a troublesome bouncing D on a tenor sax. He said he called it a "Debouncer". I replied that it would be more accurate to call it a "D Debouncer" to which my friend said, or better still a "Double D Bouncer". Drum roll, crash:)
 

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Compression of that green felt could lead to the lost motion Gordon is referring to. It's very hard to know what's going on without seeing the mechanism in action. A video may help, but that's going to be a bit tricky to film. Springs tend to last a long time before distorting. Bumper materials are far more likely to compress, and the spring does funny things to the mechanism when comping for that lost motion. One of those "funny things" is bounce.
 

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From what I can see with the limited view I have, this virtually destroyed green felt (left on pic 3) is the most likely culprit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the advice.

I might replace the three felt pads with felt, or something else. One question though, these feet look like they have cork with felt discs glued on top. What was the original configuration, was it just a felt pad on the feet?

Cheers,

Chris
 

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Thanks for the advice.

I might replace the three felt pads with felt, or something else. One question though, these feet look like they have cork with felt discs glued on top. What was the original configuration, was it just a felt pad on the feet?

Cheers,

Chris
I believe that Selmer originally used only cork in the US assembled horns, but I'm not sure what they were doing with the European horns. Further, I see that you're in Australia, so I'm only assuming that you have a European assembled horn. I could be totally off base, as I have absolutely no idea how Selmer sourced their horns in that part of the world. In any event, more and more techs seem to be gluing felts onto the body as a means of prolonging the longevity of the cork by minimalizing the forces that lead to compression, and as a means to quiet key noise. I would personally keep the felt, as the rest of the lower stack bumpers still have them, and the method has more advantages than it does drawbacks. With that said, if you have never worked on a saxophone before, please do yourself a favor and take it to a tech. Lower stack adjustments should not be your introduction to the craft, as that area of the horn is the most complex, and most difficult to adjust on the entire horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It's a European horn, though I bought it from an American guy in Australia. :)

I work on all my horns, mainly just pads and springs. I'll measure up all the clearances on the lower stack and replace the three felts. The horn is actually playing really well, it's just that niggly little bounce I can feel.

Thanks all, for the tips.

Cheers,

Chris
 

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I believe that Selmer originally used only cork in the US assembled horns, but I'm not sure what they were doing with the European horns.
As mentioned above, the original set up on my 105 Elkhart Mark 6 was cork in the cup of the foot and a felt punching of same circumference on the body. (Yes, I have some original felts on this horn.)

As to where Cjames is at now, maybe just fluffing up the felt with a needle will cure the problem for now. I have a tool piano techs use to pick at piano hammers. But from the pictures, you're going to want to replace it and set it up like an original. PM if you'd like some pictures.
 
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