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Cannonball key heights

1697 Views 22 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  habschi2
Hi, thanks for looking and thanks for any clue on this in advance:

Just purchased a used Cannonball Big Bell 107000 Tenor.
Wonderful instrument, only suffers from bad intonation caused by bad adjustment of key heights.
Particularily the left hand korks for key heights are almost gone.
G to middle-oktave key connection kork almost gone.
Right hand k.h. korks have been partly filed so that right hand is too open.
So here´s my question:
Is there a "general" kork thickness for the left and/or right hand openings, that anyone knows of ?
Or does anyone have an original instrument in good condition where he might be able to measure the original key hights ?
Any help on this is highly appreciated !
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I'm with Jerry, if you want to know the "original" key heights call the manufacturer. That said, who knows if they are actually aware of what the key heights should be.

I never understood the 1/3 rule that so many people use. I wonder how many folds have actually measured the tone holes and tried for 1/3. This would certainly not work on the most important keys, the stack keys. The tone holes under the stack keys vary too much in diameter. For example: If the top stack was set up to 1/3 the tiny C# tone hole the keys would barely move. If it was set up to be 1/3 the G tone hole (the tone hole under the G pad) the keys would be flopping around.

My long drawn-out answer to the key height question is:
Gordon (NZ) said:
And that is why it is only suggested as a very vague start. I don't actually go measuring things myself, nor do I keep this in mind.

I suspect that that 1/3 probably comes from fluid dynamics, where an opening (venting) more than 0.3 of the diameter of the orifice of a poppet valve, makes negligible increase to the flow of the fluid through that valve. i.e. at this opening there is no longer significant turbulent flow.(Part of my formal engineering study. Once again, a general rule.)
Gordon, I agree with much of what you say here but this time I'm having a hard time. I think your saying that the 1/3 rule is based on an irrelivent science and that you personally never use or even consider this when making adjustments. However, you are suggesting it as a possible 'starting point'. I prefer to let the horn dictate the key heights to me and not the other way around.

Gordon (NZ) said:
...the design of the sax is such that 'current' venting does not present significant intonation or note-stuffiness issues. IMO, for most modern saxes, plus or minus a mm or even two is really rather insignificant, because of good acoustic design. Most of the time we are not doing a balancing act between intonation and stuffy-sounding notes.
I agree that this method is overkill for many situations. However, in our shop we only do pro-overhauls and usually for pro players. 1 or 2mm's makes a difference. It makes all the difference. A properly set up saxophone is a thing of beauty. That last bit, the tuning and toning part of the job, after the key work is quiet and everything is right, is what makes the work special.

Modern saxophones play stuffy on some notes and out of tune on some. They need work to get them playing well with a clear tone and in tune. This is something that is first addressed with key heights.

Even after hours or days of tuning and toning work, there is still room for improvement on every saxophone I work on. The quick dismissal of the importance of proper key set-up on a saxophone makes me uneasy. Similar to when a guy says, "This is the first horn I have changed pads, but I'm sure I got out ALL the leaks." Then I look at a horn on my bench and consider that I will never have all the leaks out.
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Hey Gordon,
Thank you for the well thought out post. I'm not getting upset. Although, I read my earlier post I see why you think that I am. Sorry about that, I need to improve my writing skills.

I see where you are coming from now, thank you for the clarification.
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