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Discussion Starter #1
My Kessler bari has the plain lacquered brass oval keys like the B901 so I was idly wondering where in the heck I would find some pearls to stick on the G# and alt F#, when I thought of Amazon. I thought 'No way' but had to try it anyway. Whaddaya know? Not only had them, had plastic as well as abalone in white in sets with the round ones. I ordered the abalone set for the staggering sum of $3.95 including shipping - 'Prime' member, don't ya know. :) I mean, what would we do without Amazon? I get my reeds there, my straps, my stuffers, my cases, my electronic gear, etc.
 

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Amen to that. When we were kids (in the sixties and seventies) you would have to go to a library and search through the reference stacks for a reference book of musical instrument manufacturers. Then you would have to find the manufacturer's catalogues and search through them page by page. Then you would write them a letter to see if they had what you needed because long distance phone calls were too expensive. It's a process that may have taken weeks if you were lucky enough to find what you needed.

I remember ordering a set of piston rings for my 1958 MGA. I found a set in Australia and it took eight weeks to ship them to LA and then here to Sactown.
 

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It would be hard to beat that price, most repairers in country's such as the one i live in (australia, and new zealand etc) make their own from raw materials, price is typically not the issue, its turning the instrument around in a timely matter.

Steve
 

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Most people probably know this, but for the few that don't---saxophone key "pearls" are not "one size fits all". When buying or ordering replacements make sure to use a caliper to accurately measure the diameter of round "buttons" and the length and width of oval ones. Some sets listed on Amazon and Ebay do not give sizes and are a crap shoot whether they will fit your particular horn or not.
 

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Most people probably know this, but for the few that don't---saxophone key "pearls" are not "one size fits all". When buying or ordering replacements make sure to use a caliper to accurately measure the diameter of round "buttons" and the length and width of oval ones. Some sets listed on Amazon and Ebay do not give sizes and are a crap shoot whether they will fit your particular horn or not.
You beat me to it. I have purchased a few of the Amazon pearl kits before. The quality tends to be pretty decent, but I have yet to figure out exactly what horns these fit. These are good for those "I'm in a pinch and need a pearl for my secondary bar gig horn" situations. However, if you're really trying to match the previous missing pearl on your gigging saxophone, I recommend going this route.

https://musicmedic.com/products/repair-supplies/saxophone-pearls.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, these will probably be a little small, but the horn didn't have pearls there in the first place - like the B901. You're right, to replace any key touches you have to get the right part. I didn't go there in my post because I thought it was abundantly clear what I was doing. Apparently not. I will be sticking these on to the original lacquered oval keys IF I think it won't be any kind of problem. Otherwise I'll keep them around in case they can be used on something else.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well. The pearls arrived, they are white shell as stated and the size is perfect for what I wanted them for.


 

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Have you glued them down? Does the additional thickness feel odd, or not noticeable (compared to if the key had been made for it, with a recess)?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yes, they're glued with SG. On the G# I sanded the back side quite a bit to reduce the thickness by about half. On the side F# not so much. Everything feels fine. With the ovals being just enough smaller than the key to show a brass edge all around, it really looks like the normal installation. And of course its not something anyone would ever notice, but I'll see them every gig. :) I ordered some more sets just to get another oval for the high F# (2 ovals per set) plus extras. It is possible that I will replace the plastic buttons in my bari with the shell but first I have to figure out how they are glued in so I'll know which solvent to use to get them out without prying on the retainer edges.
 

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Yes, they're glued with SG. On the G# I sanded the back side quite a bit to reduce the thickness by about half. On the side F# not so much. Everything feels fine. With the ovals being just enough smaller than the key to show a brass edge all around, it really looks like the normal installation. And of course its not something anyone would ever notice, but I'll see them every gig. :) I ordered some more sets just to get another oval for the high F# (2 ovals per set) plus extras. It is possible that I will replace the plastic buttons in my bari with the shell but first I have to figure out how they are glued in so I'll know which solvent to use to get them out without prying on the retainer edges.
The Solist uses plastic key touches? That's surprising given their use of MOP on just about everything else they sell.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I did not know that, always assumed plastic like other Aisian horns. Whatever, it is not MOP (nacre). It could be some other kind of shell like the ones I bought but its not as white. Thanks for the info!
 

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'Prime' member, don't ya know. :) I mean, what would we do without Amazon? I get my reeds there, my straps, my stuffers, my cases, my electronic gear, etc.
Amen to that. When we were kids (in the sixties and seventies) you would have to go to a library and search through the reference stacks for a reference book of musical instrument manufacturers. Then you would have to find the manufacturer's catalogues and search through them page by page. Then you would write them a letter to see if they had what you needed because long distance phone calls were too expensive. It's a process that may have taken weeks if you were lucky enough to find what you needed.....
Convenience is wonderful for some, although whenever I hear someone lauding Amazon I just make the simple suggestion (almost always ignored) that they investigate a bit deeper into what the mega corporation is actually doing to so many levels of society, both American and International. To their employees. To the municipalities they reside in.

What would we do without 'em ? I would argue the country would be a better place.

With the internet, once can basically find what they need most of the time, and do a direct transaction with a supplier. It's not exactly "inconvenient" nor time-consuming.

Also....????...most instrument supply places have pearl/pearloid or plastic touches and inlay blanks in a variety of sizes/shapes....MusicMedic, Ferrees, etc....

Most people probably know this, but for the few that don't---saxophone key "pearls" are not "one size fits all". When buying or ordering replacements make sure to use a caliper to accurately measure the diameter of round "buttons" and the length and width of oval ones. Some sets listed on Amazon and Ebay do not give sizes and are a crap shoot whether they will fit your particular horn or not.
Yup, I usually have to shave down the stock sizes of most available 'pearls' to get them to fit right on a specific horn. I never put slightly undersized replacement pearls on a horn, I think it is just looks bad and sometimes feels bad.
Easy job to grind 'em, tho....I mean it can even be done DIY with a Dremel (although I use a bench motor myself)...

For ovals, I just grind/cut a pearl blank like this (image stolen from MM site):
 

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Discussion Starter #13
'Convenience is wonderful for some, although whenever I hear someone lauding Amazon I just make the simple suggestion (almost always ignored) that they investigate a bit deeper into what the mega corporation is actually doing to so many levels of society, both American and International. To their employees. To the municipalities they reside in.

Really? Not me, I could not possibly care less. They are filling a need for most everybody and not just musicians. They are changing retail and you might as well try to pee up a rope as rail against change this powerful because of some slight or other or possibly because of listening to fake news. As far as I know, Amazon is employing millions of people in thousands of locations - why don't you talk them into refusing their payroll checks and looking for a more 'sustainable' job. LOL
The soles are separating on my white Reebok summer outside gig shoes after probably 300 gigs over 20 years, plus they have been making my toes hurt, so I went to the mall yesterday for my morning walk and did not find any shoes I liked in the giant shoe store. I went to coffee with some folks and was idly checking Amazon on my phone when I found 'the shoe'. I ordered them when I got home. Bam.
 

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Easy job to grind 'em, tho....I mean it can even be done DIY with a Dremel (although I use a bench motor myself)...
Please be aware that grinding shell creates dust that is harmful to ingest. Wear an appropriate mask at least - better still to either work with wet material or have an exhaust that flows well enough to pull the dust away from you.
 

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Yes, Jaye, don't do that. BTW, you can't flatten/thin a little piece of shell like this with any kind of power tool. I put a piece of wet & dry down on a flat surface, wet it and push the piece back and forth with my finger. And if anybody else plans to do what I did, gluing a pearl to a key that didn't have one before, make sure to use the Super Glue that allows some time for adjustment. With mine, I lined them up, dropped them on and that was it - they suck instantly. fortunately I was fairly good on location.
BTW, I played the gig with them and didn't notice anything, so it turned out okay. Not worth the trouble but I like it when I open the case, and that was really the whole thing.
 

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Or use epoxy. I normally use 90-second epoxy. It does not set as tenuous as slow-setting, but completely sufficient for this task.
(And a lot less risk of making some mess of the lacquer on a sax.
 

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My Kessler bari has the plain lacquered brass oval keys like the B901 so I was idly wondering where in the heck I would find some pearls to stick on the G# and alt F#, when I thought of Amazon. I thought 'No way' but had to try it anyway. Whaddaya know? Not only had them, had plastic as well as abalone in white in sets with the round ones. I ordered the abalone set for the staggering sum of $3.95 including shipping - 'Prime' member, don't ya know. :) I mean, what would we do without Amazon? I get my reeds there, my straps, my stuffers, my cases, my electronic gear, etc.
Hello. Can you provide a link to the specific set of pearls you purchased on Amazon? I have been thinking about doing this with my Solist, and it would be great to know I was ordering an item that fits so well.

FWIW, Kessler's specs on this sax indicate plastic touches, which is certainly what they are on mine.

Thanks.
 

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Hey 1saxman, I also would like to know what specific set you ordered on Amazon. My bari can use some oval pearls in 3 places too.
 

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Yes, Jaye, don't do that. BTW, you can't flatten/thin a little piece of shell like this with any kind of power tool. I put a piece of wet & dry down on a flat surface, wet it and push the piece back and forth with my finger. And if anybody else plans to do what I did, gluing a pearl to a key that didn't have one before, make sure to use the Super Glue that allows some time for adjustment. With mine, I lined them up, dropped them on and that was it - they suck instantly. fortunately I was fairly good on location.
BTW, I played the gig with them and didn't notice anything, so it turned out okay. Not worth the trouble but I like it when I open the case, and that was really the whole thing.
...yes you can certainly flatten a piece of stock pearl or pearloid using various mechanical devices - a dremel, a bench motor with a tonehole file attached, or manually - just the tonehole file, or even simply a rectangular anvil block with sandpaper atop as you have mentioned.

This stuff is really quite easily manipulated. The stock rectangular pieces from MM cut quite easily with a dremel cutting wheel. The edges can then be sanded and even beveled using emory boards (like for your nails...available at a local pharmacy, within driving distance...and likely to be populated by local workers- some of whom might even be the neighbors of someone you know).... or sandpaper....various grades working up to 600.

After that, use 0000 steel wool and it will begin to give the cut edges a lustre. Most folks would be satisfied stopping there.

If you wanna go further, buy a mini buffing wheel for your Dremel ($5 which you can buy from your local hardware store... so you can invest your money locally - perhaps even in an establishment that pays its employees a quasi-decent wage as well as providing some benefits...).

The Dremel bits even come with a little piece of rouge. Buff the edges to a higher lustre with the Dremel.

Super glue. Yes, it'll stay in there.
But consider - there are reasons why pearl touches are adhered with stuff other than this (from factory - typically contact cement). There are times where it may be a plus to have the pearl in your key be removable by a tech. Which is why contact cement, both surfaces and allow both to dry before pressing in...is typical.

Short of it --- the square stock is incredibly easily workable with weekend-warrior toolage...the whole process might take 15 minutes...and you will get a perfect fit into your particular key -whereas, again, buying pre-shaped ovals ? Chances of fitting are maybe, I dunno....30%ish.
You can say 'well I'll just cut it down then'....but you cannot cut down a prefab dimension which arrives too short/small already (a commonality when ordering these sorta precut ovals...trust me, the ovals vary greatly from mfr to mfr).

Just some friendly advice.

The dust, yes, but a simple dust mask or just good ventilation takes care of that (my bench motor is adjacent to an exhaust fan, for example. For a DIY, simply do it outside, with a table fan on, or in a well-ventilated room.
 
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