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Discussion Starter #1
I just completed a True Tone alto and spent a lot of time getting the Eb trill to work as it should. I won't go into all of the detail, but there were many inherent design problems that had to be overcome that made it a real challenge and very time consuming. I now understand why many techs just reverse the spring or put a piece of cork to permanently close the key.

The question in my mind is one of cost of time and effort vs benefit. Is it really worth it from a musical and performance standpoint to make this archaic fingering work when refurbishing these older saxes? What do others think?
 

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I think its useless as far as modern playing. I think if it was worth it,they'd still make them with it. I just reverse the spring and close it...however I can remember one overhaul I did in which the customer specifically stated that they wanted use of that key.
 

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The question in my mind is one of cost of time and effort vs benefit. Is it really worth it from a musical and performance standpoint
Why does it matter. If your being paid for the repair / restoration then you should fix it so it works, if thats what the customer wants, then thats what the customer should get. If the customer wanted a sax without an eb trill, then thats what they would have bought
 

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well If I am buying an older sax i want it to work as it was designed. If I am having one rebuilt... i want it back to its original condition more or less.
 

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As a customer I always want everything to be as functional as it could be made to be on a vintage horn and that includes any special key as G# and Eb trill. I don't like to see reversed springs on the Eb or (that is an abomination) removal of the G# trill altogether (someone some time ago bought a 26 M where the rod was removed, the shop which sold this didn't even think of telling the unaware customer!!!)
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?132727-New-Connqueror-alto-missing-a-rod?s=
 

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Is it really worth it from a musical and performance standpoint ...?
Obviously collectors like their instruments to be as originally designed, and obviously customers' preferences are paramount, but jbtsax's question was about playing these saxes.

Is anyone making real use of the trill keys in serious playing?
 

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Is anyone making real use of the trill keys in serious playing?
Yes, although on my horn it's designed in a total different way. It actually really works. Additionally my horn also sports a forked Bb option. It take a while to incorporate the forked fingerings in your technique, but once mastered it's a great option to have.
 

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Obviously collectors like their instruments to be as originally designed, and obviously customers' preferences are paramount, but jbtsax's question was about playing these saxes.

Is anyone making real use of the trill keys in serious playing?
I play, rather than collect.

G/G#......Useful as a lever to free a stuck G# or to reassure myself that the G# has not stuck during the guitar break.
Also handy as a trill to signal the end of a sequence.

Eb....Glue it shut; just to be sure.....nothing shews to give the game away.
 

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With appropriate attention to detail, I have got quite quick at getting these to a state that I reckon is fully functional, and as reliable as any other linkage mechanism on a sax, far better than it could ever have been when new. (For a start, I don't think Teflon was around then.)

The first couple of times took a lot of time and dogged determination, analysing and dealing with the inherent problems, both congenital and from lack of appropriate subsequent servicing. But that is the very think I love about this job.
 

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People either love the Eb trill or hate it!!! If I'm overhauling a horn to sell, I remove the Eb trill key guard / grind off the tone hole / saddle patch the hole / and rework the keys. I also remove the G# trill lever. I make key fobs out of them. If I'm doing a horn for a customer I always discuss it with them and do what they want.
 

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Crippling a horn because it's a pain to fix it right seems like an unfortunate approach to repair. For a situation where the instrument was rescued from the recesses of the attic and little Bobbie is going to play it in band because it's all that the family can afford, I suppose arguments could be made that; the kid won't gain from the added feature, that he could care less about the instrument's authenticity, and that the likelihood of the mechanism going out of adjustment during rough handling from a fifth grader makes it a liability. This is much the same argument that was made for disabling the D connection to the F# cup (a fingering which frequently gets used for many arpeggios which include both D and F#- covering a fair amount of ground).

OK for a horn set up for less than fully responsible kids.

The Eb trill really just isn't that hard to set up and is not particularly less stable than the A/bis regulation.

The Eb trill cup pivots (on most horns) on its own inch and a half or so hinge rod. This, given a level tonehole, makes it very simple to set up to close and seat perfectly. Its protected location makes it unlikely to get smacked. The hold open springing can be set very light.

The weak part of the linkage is the touch on the arm that arcs over the E cup with a foot in the back to activate the trill cup while the bottom of the touch presses the E cup shut. (The foot to stub of the trill cup hinge rod is a great place for a thin strip of tech cork covered by a layer of 2mm teflon sheet for both smoothness and to avoid compression at the linkage) On many mechanisms the arm pivots on a very short bit of hinge rod which is subject to developing play quickly, allowing lateral movement at the touch, and is so short that it's a pain to swedge.

The True Tone altos are an exception to this as the arm pivots off a forked set of hinge rods (as in the A touch or bis mechanism in many horns) so that play has a much lesser effect in the adjustment and develops much more slowly. Still a pain to swedge should it develop

The most painstaking piece of the whole deal is simply ensuring that the E cup closes via the felt under the touch at the same time as the trill cup is closed by the foot on the other end of the arcing arm. This is a painstaking adjustment to be sure- but generally slightly easier than the A/bis synching.

If there's lateral play in the arm, given the sloping nature of most E cups, it's going to be near impossible to achieve without requiring a firm grip closure while playing. Works fine but clearly not ideal. No play in the mechanism? Works like a champ with a feather touch.

My one point five cents based upon simple repetition on many horns and subject to refinement by those with greater insight- don't spend it all at once!
 

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People either love the Eb trill or hate it!!! If I'm overhauling a horn to sell, I remove the Eb trill key guard / grind off the tone hole / saddle patch the hole / and rework the keys. I also remove the G# trill lever. I make key fobs out of them. If I'm doing a horn for a customer I always discuss it with them and do what they want.
And for a mature player that's absolutely their choice. For horns you repair to sell; they're your horns and it's your product. Again, absolutely your choice and more power to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
With appropriate attention to detail, I have got quite quick at getting these to a state that I reckon is fully functional, and as reliable as any other linkage mechanism on a sax, far better than it could ever have been when new. (For a start, I don't think Teflon was around then.)

The first couple of times took a lot of time and dogged determination, analysing and dealing with the inherent problems, both congenital and from lack of appropriate subsequent servicing. But that is the very think I love about this job.
I love the use of the word "congenital problems" in regard to manufacturing flaws. May I steal that expression from you? I will give you credit the first 3 times I use it and after that I'll act as if it is mine. :bluewink:

I would love to compare notes on your analysis and problem solving involving this key. My concern even after getting it to work was that it could very easily be knocked out of adjustment which would prevent the low notes from playing at all.

As far as Eb trill keys I think Buffet got it right with this "piggy back" design on their Apogee system soprano. It is a much more stable and reliable design IMHO.


 

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Discussion Starter #16
People either love the Eb trill or hate it!!! If I'm overhauling a horn to sell, I remove the Eb trill key guard / grind off the tone hole / saddle patch the hole / and rework the keys. I also remove the G# trill lever. I make key fobs out of them. If I'm doing a horn for a customer I always discuss it with them and do what they want.
My concern with removing the tonehole "chimney" completely would be the loss of the tonehole volume incorporated into the acoustic design of the instrument. Eliminating this volume theoretically would sharpen all of the notes below it in the tonehole lattice. Have you checked for this effect?
 

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check the picture of the True Tone tenor... it has the entire tone hole removed. There's no effect in tuning. When they removed that tonehole in later horns all of the body dimentions remained the same. When then custom order fitted this trill mechanism on later horns (USMQ specs) they didn't modify nothing but adding the tone hole.
 

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People either love the Eb trill or hate it!!! If I'm overhauling a horn to sell, I remove the Eb trill key guard / grind off the tone hole / saddle patch the hole / and rework the keys. I also remove the G# trill lever. I make key fobs out of them. If I'm doing a horn for a customer I always discuss it with them and do what they want.
Of course anybody is free to destroy an object that besides being an instruments is also a witness of the time when it was made. So, if your customers are happy.......... . From a collector's point of view, once you have done what you describe to a horn , it looses (as far as I am concerned ) a large chunk of its value and some collectors wouldn't buy it , not even if it was very cheap.
 

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As far as Eb trill keys I think Buffet got it right with this "piggy back" design on their Apogee system soprano. It is a much more stable and reliable design IMHO.

This "cup on a cup" was also on a couple of other horns from the era- you have the "Evette-Schaeffer System" on the soprano pictured. The actual Apogee system eliminated the reach over levers over the mid lower stack and incorporated an extra touch below the low C. C, C#, B and Bb were all "one touch of the pinky" notes via a pretty elaborate linkage. Link to drawings of the Apogee mechanism:

http://saxpics.com/?v=gal&a=5210

The early Buffet alternate Eb was really reliable. I found it sort of awkward to go from Eb to E though and so wound up using the normal Eb touch. The forked Eb, while admittedly squirrellier, is easier to incorporate into playing for me. Coming from a trumpet background (though that's about forty years ago) notes involving the three central fingers of the right hand without lateral movement are very comfortable for me. Others may not find it so.

The Buffet system has never showed any issue with adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
check the picture of the True Tone tenor... it has the entire tone hole removed. There's no effect in tuning. When they removed that tonehole in later horns all of the body dimentions remained the same. When then custom order fitted this trill mechanism on later horns (USMQ specs) they didn't modify nothing but adding the tone hole.
My question is why do such an invasive and irreversible modification to eliminate the key rather than just seal the key closed? There has to be an effect on the tuning. It is acoustically impossible to remove that much of the volume of the bore of a woodwind instrument and have no effect whatsoever. Whether the effect is significant enough to be a concern is a different question entirely.

I hope Grumps doesn't find out how much you "grind" toneholes. You'll never hear the end of it. :twisted::twisted:
 
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