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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at fingering charts, they only show the basic fingering for both of the notes - the main 6 keys plus the top/bottom side key - it's not easy switching between these side keys though, when trying to do C -> D# - are there no alternate fingerings for these or is it just getting used to the change with practice?
 

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I think it just involves practice. What worked for me is playing a horn without rollers on those keys. If you can play it on a typewriter, you can play it on anything. I am not aware of an alternate fingering.
 

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Tenor, alto, Bb Clarinet, Flute
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What I wonder is why sax makers have never adopted the Boehm system used in clarinets. It's so much easier and faster than sliding the fingers over rollers. I'm getting arthritis in both pinky fingers and a Boehm system saxophone would be a blessing to someone like me.
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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What I wonder is why sax makers have never adopted the Boehm system used in clarinets. It's so much easier and faster than sliding the fingers over rollers. I'm getting arthritis in both pinky fingers and a Boehm system saxophone would be a blessing to someone like me.
In fact, the Boehm system was designed for the flute, which means that the saxophone fingering system is actually more "Boehm-like" than the clarinet system (designed by Klosé).

Personally, I much prefer the saxophone system (with the rollers), at least for the right hand pinky keys. As long as the keys are in proper adjustment, it works very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK I guess it's just practice then...I'm learning the sax coming from the clarinet and whilst the sound isn't perfect yet, overall I've picked it up quite well. Apart from the above issue though the other annoyance is some of the side keys for the low notes C# - B - Bb (especially). On the clarinet practice is required to ge a good fluent sound with some of the keys but none are difficult to reach per se, but on the sax the keys for some of the low notes are super awkward.
 

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Maybe have your tech check out the C and D# keys to make sure they're properly adjusted, and the rollers are...well...rolling.

And yes, C#, B, and Bb can be tricky. Especially going from C# to Bb. Ironically, I find that the table of vintage horns can actually be easier and more natural to maneuver on than the post-Mark VI layout.
 

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I think it just involves practice. What worked for me is playing a horn without rollers on those keys. If you can play it on a typewriter, you can play it on anything. I am not aware of an alternate fingering.
Modern saxophones have only one standard fingering for both C1 and D#/Eb1. This requires rolling when going from one of these notes to the other. Some old saxes, however, had/have a second, "forked" fingering for D#/Eb (12346; no pinky key). This could make the transition easier, although I don't think it would be a piece of cake to move your pinky and middle fingers together while keeping the other RH fingers down.
 

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Modern saxophones have only one standard fingering for both C1 and D#/Eb1. This requires rolling when going from one of these notes to the other. Some old saxes, however, had/have a second, "forked" fingering for D#/Eb (12346; no pinky key). This could make the transition easier, although I don't think it would be a piece of cake to move your pinky and middle fingers together while keeping the other RH fingers down.
The forked Eb is one of the greatest fingerings that was removed for no particularly good reason, and this transition is exactly the reason why.

You don't use it that much on alto or tenor, but C to Eb is a movement you make all the time on baritone. My Conn 12M has the best implementation ever, with a full size tone hole.

You don't need to lift up the little finger from the low C key to play the forked Eb.
 

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I agree that the proper adjustment/alignment of the low Eb and low C touchpieces makes a big difference. The only other "tips" I know are to keep the little finger slightly curved and to rub the finger along side of the nose (the outside) to pick up a bit of facial oil to lubricate the finger.
 

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Looking at fingering charts, they only show the basic fingering for both of the notes - the main 6 keys plus the top/bottom side key - it's not easy switching between these side keys though, when trying to do C -> D# - are there no alternate fingerings for these or is it just getting used to the change with practice?
In the the Charlie Parker omnibbk, you discover that Bird hardly ever went below C or D in his solo. The observation is the same in abook of Benny Carter solos. One conclusion: Don't obsess about the lower register!
 

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Buffet was trying to fix this issue with the S1 and its unique RH C/Eb mechanism and LH little finger table. Same fingering, but much quicker than traditional mechanisms, at least on the Low C-Eb table, I don't feel the LH table is any faster.

I edited for clarity, shouldn't read and post at 5:30 in the morning when I'm waiting for the dog to come back in.
 

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Modern saxophones have only one standard fingering for both C1 and D#/Eb1. This requires rolling when going from one of these notes to the other. Some old saxes, however, had/have a second, "forked" fingering for D#/Eb (12346; no pinky key). This could make the transition easier, although I don't think it would be a piece of cake to move your pinky and middle fingers together while keeping the other RH fingers down.
It's quite easy, actually...far more fluid that spat-to-spat.....a horn with an Eb Fork is a nice thing. Nice mechanism to have at your disposal.

The forked Eb is one of the greatest fingerings that was removed for no particularly good reason, and this transition is exactly the reason why.
Agreed.

In its absence, as others have said, just practice...make sure the rollers are free, and maybe see if the spat locations can be tweaked a bit by a tech to give you better leverage/comfort.
 

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It's quite easy, actually...far more fluid that spat-to-spat.....a horn with an Eb Fork is a nice thing. Nice mechanism to have at your disposal.

Agreed.

In its absence, as others have said, just practice...make sure the rollers are free, and maybe see if the spat locations can be tweaked a bit by a tech to give you better leverage/comfort.
Unfortunately, of my two altos two tenors and one baritone, only the bari has the fork Eb. Some years ago I starting thinking about my practicing scales, arpeggios, etc. using the forked fingering and realized that sooner or later I was going to be playing a horn without it and try to finger it and have an error. So I quit practicing patterns using the fork Eb.

I suppose I could ditch my existing altos and tenors and replace them with instruments that do have the fork Eb, but that's an awful lot of money and my main alto has been with me since 1978 and my main tenor since 1998 so they are almsot members of my family.

It's also interesting that when Goodson had his 32 pound Unison model tenor with every key and doohickey known to mankind built, that he didn't specify the fork Eb. So, not every key known, I guess.

On occasion I have bent the C down a bit so that when going from Eb to C the top of the depressed Eb is closer to the top of the not depressed C. Going the other direction it's not so critical because you're pulling rather than pushing so the finger tip easily climbs the hill.

Can anyone who's actually played one comment on the Buffet S1 mechanism? I considered one of these some years ago but didn't pull the trigger.
 

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...the side keys for the low notes C# - B - Bb ...
Just a pedantic point regarding terminology. Those are not the 'side keys.' The side keys are further up the horn on the right side. The keys up high on the left side are 'palm' keys (you play them with your left hand palm). The keys you are talking about, including low Eb, are referred to as the 'pinky' keys (you're using your pinky finger on them). I only point this out to avoid any confusion; especially if you are describing some issue concerning those keys to your tech.

As to using the pinky keys, yes it is just a matter of getting used to it through practice.
 

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In fact, the Boehm system was designed for the flute, which means that the saxophone fingering system is actually more "Boehm-like" than the clarinet system (designed by Klosé).

Personally, I much prefer the saxophone system (with the rollers), at least for the right hand pinky keys. As long as the keys are in proper adjustment, it works very well.
When the OP talked about C to D# and I talked about Boehm fingering, without thinking it through, I immediately thought of the way you finger those notes on sax, not clarinet. Make sense? Maybe not. I was thinking of the alternate left pinky low F and alternate right pinky low E on clarinet which is fingered like low C and low B respectively on sax, if any of that makes sense. I think someone tried something like that on sax with an alternate left pinky C key and alternate right pinky B key but it never caught on. My mistake. By the way, no one refers to a modern clarinet as a Boehm-like clarinet. It's a Boehm clarinet and though the system was originally designed for flute it's much different on clarinets as you know. There are additional pinky keys for the alternate fingerings which come in real handy when you don't have rollers.
 

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I think that when we talk about the common French clarinet as being "Boehm" system what we really mean is that it has certain characteristics:

1) the tone holes are placed where they should be and a mechanism is used to cover those holes that can't be reached conveniently;
2) The "main stack" keys are primarily normally-open keys;
3) Instead of acoustically suboptimal cross-fingerings or half-holing, chromatic notes are generally obtained by "fork" style fingerings (F# on sax and the clarion register of clarinet, for example).

Basically all modern woodwinds except the bassoon are "Boehm" instruments.

The French clarinet really ought to be called "Klose" or "Buffet" system as those were the developers of it in its more or less current configuration. The Albert, Oehler systems are still in my mind basically "Boehm" systems. The saxophone really could be called the "Sax" system as it has a few deviations from the system used on the flute. The modern flute is pretty much exactly as Boehm designed it, so it is truly a "Boehm" system, not a "Boehm/Buffet". "Boehm/Albert" or "Boehm/Sax" system.

By contrast, simple system instruments generally have the hole located where they are convenient to finger as long as they're not too awfully out of tune, and typically the open holes give a major scale, D or C. Additional keys for sharps and flats (other than extending the very bottom of the range) are almost all normally closed keys.

From the standpoint of pure ergonomic efficiency, a version of the clarinet system, except with ALL the keys duplicated on both hands, would be the best. However, the mechanical complexity on larger instruments with great big pads, like baritone sax for example, would make it very difficult to design a reliable mechanism or to keep it in good working order. For example, consider the contrabasss clarinet in paperclip configuration. In fact, the largest pads on that are considerably smaller than the largest pads on a baritone sax, and the length of mechanical runs are about the same. Listen to someone playing a paperclip contra clarinet on a fast passage and it sounds like four typewriters all going at once. That's because there are just so many gubbinses everywhere on the thing; all those linkages going up and down, it's like a linotype machine.
 
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