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Gig Surprise

1206 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  1saxman
Got out my old Selmer USA alto last night at the gig only to find the little cork on the bottom of one of the adjusting screws on the 'dog bone' had fallen off and the bis key wasn't closing with the lower stack. At first I thought I could turn the screw down enough to make it work but the screw bottomed-out well before that point. I only play alto on a few songs and no solos so I just adapted to it and got through the night. I had the sax out a few days ago practicing/evaluating a new neck and there was no problem. I open the case last night and 'boom', there it is. Whatever.

The ape who 'overhauled' this horn a few years ago was responsible. He apparently did not know what the cork is supposed to look like - it was like a piece of straw that didn't even fill the hole left for it judging by what was left and what the other adjuster looked like. This is one of the peskiest pieces of cork to work on. You have to remove the screw and sometimes they have been glued in because of looseness, or they could be corroded stuck. Then you have to carefully clean out all cork and glue residue from the recess in the tip of the screw. Next you take a tiny square of cork of the appropriate thickness and proceed to cut off the corners until you get it about right, then finish sizing/rounding it with a small fingernail emery board. Then you can glue the recess and set the cork into place, pressing it in.

Then you're ready to reinstall the screw and adjust that system, which involves the bis key, the G# and the whole lower stack. I would get the bis right first, then check for opening of the G# with any lower stack key lightly depressed - adjust the G# adjuster as needed. Finally make sure the lower stack can fully close. Now check all those again and play test.
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That is a frustrating situation, but thank goodness you performed most of your tunes on your other horn.
Nice! - In heat of the moment, we make adjustments and make it work ---
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