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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I own an early Martin Indiana Alto Sax - around a '51, I think - and have been having some issues with the "standard fingering" third space "C" and middle line "B".

Both notes sound muffled and do not project well. The "A" speaks well and projects, the side "C" speaks clearly and projects well, but the "normal" fingering B and C feel "swallowed" and muffled.

The horn was repadded by Hornfixer, and everything seemed to work fine, and it has been into the tech for minor adjustments since then, but the B and C are still funky.

Is there something that needs to be adjusted to get these notes to project, or is it an unfortunate quirk of the horn?

What can I do myself to address this issue, what should I check or measure?

Thanks,

dv
 

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Hi guys,

I own an early Martin Indiana Alto Sax - around a '51, I think - and have been having some issues with the "standard fingering" third space "C" and middle line "B".

Both notes sound muffled and do not project well. The "A" speaks well and projects, the side "C" speaks clearly and projects well, but the "normal" fingering B and C feel "swallowed" and muffled.

The horn was repadded by Hornfixer, and everything seemed to work fine, and it has been into the tech for minor adjustments since then, but the B and C are still funky.

Is there something that needs to be adjusted to get these notes to project, or is it an unfortunate quirk of the horn?

What can I do myself to address this issue, what should I check or measure?

Thanks,

dv
I don't think it's a quirk of the sax. I have a circa 1955 w/o those issues. I can't help you solve the problem, however.
 

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If you know the horn is adjusted correctly and not leaking (as in this case) then the first thing to examine is the mouthpiece. What are you using? Have you tried other mouthpieces? Same problem?

The other possible issue could be the neck tenon. The Indiana has a very undersized tenon, smaller in diameter than the neck tube and the body tube, which effectively chokes the instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hey,

Thanks for the responses. It's good to know that it may be fixable.

MartinMods - It happens when using ANY mouthpiece. I just plugged it into my Selmer Soloist F, Selmer S-80 E, Vandoren A7M and Otto Link Super Tone Master 7.

It feels like it's got a sock in it or something when blowing those notes. Everything else just screams, but the C and B just won't speak at the same level.

I'll float a leak light down it, but it was checked not too long ago, so I really don't suspect that to be the problem, but I'll see just in case.

Thanks - I'll report back with my findings.

dv
 

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If you didn't just get it back from hornfixer, then I would check that the key heights are still correct. Perhaps the pads are swollen.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cool, I'll check that as well.....

UM......

How would one go about checking them? Not trying to get trade secrets or anything, just trying to get an idea of how open "OPEN" should be. I remember an article in Saxophone Journal where Emilio Lyons described using a freshly sharpened No.2 pencil as a guide - I'll try to go find it and see what it says....

Thanks again,

dv
 

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Cool, I'll check that as well.....

UM......

How would one go about checking them? Not trying to get trade secrets or anything, just trying to get an idea of how open "OPEN" should be. I remember an article in Saxophone Journal where Emilio Lyons described using a freshly sharpened No.2 pencil as a guide - I'll try to go find it and see what it says....

Thanks again,

dv
That's about right. How do they compare to the rest of the pad cups?
 

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One thing to check is that the B key and the A key each seperately close the small C key. That is the smaller key just above the B key that is closed when each of those keys is pressed. It's possible it's leaking when each of those keys is closed by itself (i.e. when playing B or C) but closes completely when both are pressed (i.e. when playing A). You can check with a leak light (you have to check from all directions) and you can also play the B and/or C and with your other hand press this small key firmly.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the tip, clarnibass - I just checked and that one is moving and closing completely with the others.

No leaks that are visible yet.

I think it is a key height issue, as when I gently "encourage" the "B" cup open wider while playing I get a little more projection. I'm not bending, just applying light pressure in the open direction - just enough to compress the cork and felt a little - the key returns to normal when I let go.

So, I'll continue with the leak light and see if I can sand some cork off the "B" key's foot - don't worry, here at work I only have 1200 grit sandpaper.

I'll be sanding all weekend....

dv
 
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