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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Discussion Starter #1
High F# stuff

There's a bunch of threads on F# vs no F#, stories about plugging and removing the F# tonehole and mechanism, and all other manner of talk. A new thread was started 3-4 weeks ago...it was 3am and I happened to have some metal tape on my desk, so I decided to tape over the tone hole from inside the bore. I remembered it was there yesterday when the alto player in my group was having trouble splitting up there on a new mouthpiece.
I don't know if it's changed anything about how my horn sounds out front or if any of the other things people theorize about happened, but I do know that I went almost a month of mostly daily practice, a bunch of altissimo-heavy GB and ska band rehearsals, and a few gigs all with the high F# key off the table so to speak and it never once came into play. If it weren't for that conversation with Jason and subsequent testing of all of our horns and all the F# fingerings we collectively know (there's a bari player too), I might've never remembered putting it there. I'm just going to leave it taped over. This is much easier than fitting plugs or soldering coins into/ onto tone holes and removing hardware. Also completely temporary and doesn't decrease the value in any way. Have fun!
 

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Very nice:) Each horn will be different, from my experience removing the F# key made a solid difference to my Cannonball. That key and the key mechanism adds a lot of weight. Going forward I will only purchase horns made without the high F# key
Feel free to leave the tape on as long as you wish, maybe switch out the tape once a month. If your looking for a longer lasting solution, remove the posts rods and key. Fill the hole with JB Weld Epoxy - Ensure on the inside the mould is completely flush with the bore. This is reversible, so is re saudering the posts to re-install the F# key. I have all of my hardware sitting in a bag "Just in case" I've been playing 5+ hours a day on my horn since doing this, everything is holding up beautifully.

The fellow I'm working with now via private lessons has me practicing my scales 2 octaves + a third. C upwards all go into Altissimo - I also play front E instead of palm key E since it's much faster when I hit front F# to the altissimo range. I have not touched palm key F in weeks. I don't miss my F# one bit, after all of the practice I've been doing I am just as comfortable hitting F# altissimo, it sounds just as strong if not stronger and I can hit it quicker during fast lines.

I stopped into a hobby shop the other day looking for paint to cover the silver welding spots where the posts were removed and the Epoxy plugging the high F# hole. The guys there recommended me to a professional air brusher whom typically works on metal RC cars - I'll be meeting with him in a few weeks to airbrush the sections in question and then go over the paint with clear lacquer. He's also only going to charge a very small amount, I'm excited to see how it will turn out! May not even know there was ever an F# key to begin with.

Don't worry about what anybody else says, if you enjoy how your horn plays and sounds with the hole plugged then keep playing it that way! I loved mine enough to make a sturdier modification, and the weight reduction was fabulous. The horn itself felt like it resonated more with less weight. I'm absolutely in love with this horn, she will be mine until I can afford a Mark V1, then she will be my back up. Recently I adjusted the key heights slightly and tweaked the spring stiffness more to my liking. She plays quicker and sounds more full in all ranges. Not even close to a stock Vintage reborn any more:) And I love it:)

Have fun man.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, That's a whole lot of work. Mostly the whole reason I posted was to say that you can use about 0.5 cents worth of metal tape to have a lasting but completely temporary solution. Also, I thought it was funny that I didn't even think about it for several weeks. I don't worry about what anybody else says, ever. I really don't care about the extra weight of a rod, a couple posts, and a small key cup. Definitely not worth the time, effort, or cash to have parts taken off of my horn and deal with shaping epoxy plugs. It literally took 5 seconds to make my modification, and it'll take another 5 seconds to undo it should I ever want to.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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That's a pretty good way to also try it out and decide if you want to permanently remove it. I did my Selmer USA tenor similar to prince above. My primary reason was I change horns all during a set, and grabbing the tenor in the way I always have deflected the high F# rod and I kept getting leaks. I took a Dremel with cut-off wheel and chopped the posts off, removing everything associated with it. I didn't do anything inside the bore at the tone hole, just super glued a plug on the tone hole. I really don't think it plays any differently but the rods are very stable now.
I'm older and never had a high F# all the years in school, early pro, a hitch in the Army Band, later pro, etc. I finally got a Selmer USA alto with it but never use high F# - at all. Then I got a SA80II tenor and didn't use it on that either. After the Series II, I bought another MK VI tenor, without F# of course. I just do not use it, ever.
I would never recommend younger players do this to 'make the horn better' because all you're doing is wrecking a horn for nothing. If it bugs you and you have no use for it, do what you will.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Discussion Starter #5
That's a pretty good way to also try it out and decide if you want to permanently remove it. I did my Selmer USA tenor similar to prince above. My primary reason was I change horns all during a set, and grabbing the tenor in the way I always have deflected the high F# rod and I kept getting leaks. I took a Dremel with cut-off wheel and chopped the posts off, removing everything associated with it. I didn't do anything inside the bore at the tone hole, just super glued a plug on the tone hole. I really don't think it plays any differently but the rods are very stable now.
I'm older and never had a high F# all the years in school, early pro, a hitch in the Army Band, later pro, etc. I finally got a Selmer USA alto with it but never use high F# - at all. Then I got a SA80II tenor and didn't use it on that either. After the Series II, I bought another MK VI tenor, without F# of course. I just do not use it, ever.
I would never recommend younger players do this to 'make the horn better' because all you're doing is wrecking a horn for nothing. If it bugs you and you have no use for it, do what you will.

Exactly! A super cheap experiment to decide whether or not you want to perform surgery 😎
I’ve only owned one sax that didn’t have a F# key, I just don’t use it...apparently ever!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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I did a similar thing to a few horns in the past and determined I'd much rather have use of my F# key because I have many applications for it other than just the standard F# fingering. If it changed something in the response or tone of my horn I was not able to perceive it.

If other people think it helps their horns then all the power to them. I think it's about as subjective as which mouthpiece works.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Discussion Starter #7
I did a similar thing to a few horns in the past and determined I'd much rather have use of my F# key because I have many applications for it other than just the standard F# fingering. If it changed something in the response or tone of my horn I was not able to perceive it.

If other people think it helps their horns then all the power to them. I think it's about as subjective as which mouthpiece works.
Yup. I notice no changes. Mostly just made me realize I never use the key.
 

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Good idea. I would not plug the hole, etc. Just leave the tape inside but make sure it doesn't vibrate. ......Now , hmmm, like the Leslie speaker on a Hammond organ!
 

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Well, if it's available to be pushed on when you pick up the horn, the long rod could get bent causing a leak. I guess I wouldn't cut or desolder things if I found it causing me problems, I'd probably block the tone hole with the aluminum tape and remove the key and put it away somewhere safe.

I've never had a sax with the high F# (the newest sax I have ever owned is my mid-50s bass sax; then I have Conns, Buescher, Holton, Martin from the late 40s back to the early 20s); what are the other uses for the high F#? (Not a snarky comment, but an actual question.)
 

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what are the other uses for the high F#? (Not a snarky comment, but an actual question.)
Getting some altissimo notes easily, high F# + 123 = F, high F# + Bb bis = F#, high F# + B = G. I also viewed a video by BeatBox Sax where he says it uses it for overtone glissando.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Discussion Starter #11
Took the tape off on my gig Friday because I do use it. Never for F#, but it does offer a stable super high Eb fingering that, depending on the direction of the line, is better/ easier to hit than the only other one I use. Surprised my lizard brain kicked in and reminded me the key wasn't available and I went to the alternate because I hardly ever play that high :)


what are the other uses for the high F#? (Not a snarky comment, but an actual question.)
It does give one of the more stable G fingerings I've found on tenor, but it seems super clumsy to impossible for me to get to the notes around it step-wise in any sort of musical way so I never used it.
 

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I removed the high F# and the low F# on my horn since I never use those notes. Most of the bands I play with only do songs in C, F and Bb. So the C#, G# and B keys aren't really needed either. It's a big project but I figure the weight reduction will be awesome. :headbang:


If all goes as planned, the low Bb will removed too and the bell shortened. This is out of respect for Adolph Sax who proved we don't need a stupid low Bb on a saxophone.


.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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I removed the high F# and the low F# on my horn since I never use those notes. Most of the bands I play with only do songs in C, F and Bb. So the C#, G# and B keys aren't really needed either. It's a big project but I figure the weight reduction will be awesome. :headbang:


If all goes as planned, the low Bb will removed too and the bell shortened. This is out of respect for Adolph Sax who proved we don't need a stupid low Bb on a saxophone.


.
Why stop at the low Bb? The Chinese are recreating inexpensive versions of the old keyless Buescher that Rascher used. Keys? Psht, we don't need keys!
 

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Why stop at the low Bb? The Chinese are recreating inexpensive versions of the old keyless Buescher that Rascher used. Keys? Psht, we don't need keys!
Right! A good player should be able to do everything with his or her chops.
 
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