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Okay everybody I am back with some results.

It has been awhile with UPS issues and getting the horn repaired. My wife also gave birth to our second son last week, and I gave birth to a kidney stone that same night. Fun? You bet!

First things first. Ken Beason did an amazing job! The response is better throughout the full range of the horn. Altissimo is a breeze, it is so stable and clean. I can also split tone alt A's and Bb's with ease. The low end sounds fuller and bigger. All and all the horn has more character and resonance.

The horn is now giving my VI a good run for it's money. I put the VI away for awhile and I will be spending alot of time on it. Pound for pound this horn has the best of both worlds between the two horns. With the Guardala on, it rips. Classically the horn plays amazing with my C*. I noticed a huge difference classically. The sound is so full and the response is obscene throughout the dynamic range.

Some changes had to be made to the spot where the key was. When the horn was put back on the mandrel, the solder seam started to split a little where the key was. Ken made a patch for it and it looks really good. The damage that was done to the bell was not cosmetically pretty. Ken just bought a sand blaster, and after bending the bell back he shot a fine glass spray over the bell that gave it a great matte look. I had him also do it to the upper portion of the body tube where the key was removed. It balanced off the look of the horn.

I will be posting pictures soon so stay tuned.

Anthony
 

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Before all the sceptics and nay-sayers start whining about how you ruined your horn I want to say.

1) Congratulations on your (human) baby.

2) Congratulations on your new kidney stone.

and 3) Congratulations on a bold and smart move of having that F# key removed.

I think that it is no coincidence that the end of the premium vintage era ends with the invention and implementation of the high F#. There are undoubtedly good horns out there that have it. But, I've never played one that outperformed one without it. I've also had more than a few well respected, knowledgeable, and amazing players inform me to avoid playing on a horn with a high F# if I can. And I do.
 

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I am actually really curious to see what the horn looks like with the new finish work.
 

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Man this horn has been through a lot.

I'm glad it's playing the way you want. I look forward to the pictures of the horn.

Also glad to hear you're still alive after passing your kidney stone. I've seen big burley men at the hospital in tears and on their knees from the pain.

I had an ex marine that told me that the service men that use to get them would be told to sit on a toilet facing the wall and drink beer until it passed. Helps numb the pain and give the bladder some real pressure.
 

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SplitTony said:
When the horn was put back on the mandrel, the solder seam started to split a little where the key was.
Took a senior moment for that to soak in, but do you mean where the F# tonehole was? I'll be looking forward to seeing the pics. I must have missed the prelude to this thread.
 

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This post makes me very curious, I'm glad to hear someone experimented with this procedure with favorable results. I'm another Series III owner (alto, not tenor), and I'm 95% in love with my horn.

I love the sound, weight, and feel of the thing, it's my dream horn for the most part, outplays almost every VI I've ever tried and I got it for a steal. But I HATE the "whisper" C# key more than anything, ever, ever, ever. I never had a problem tuning up my C# on my other horns, so all this thing does is come loose and leak, ruining my entire lower register, unless I stay on my posts and limit screws like a hawk. I've been VERY tempted to send my horn to Beason to take care of this pesky key, resale value be damned, and I wouldn't be opposed to getting rid of the F#, too, just to see what would happen. I never use it, I only ever use front F#.

The bore, neck, feel of the III, I love it all. I just wish Selmer hadn't tried so hard to put extra neat little buttons that nobody needs on their new toy.
 

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Heavyweather..I experimented with the C# vent on my series III alto. I used a tuner and played C# while leaving the vent open and pressing it closed. With the vent open it's about 2 cents sharp. With the vent closed it was anywhere from 25-30 cents flat. I'm glad I have that feature.
 

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I've heard of these vents but never seen one - can you share a photo of that please?

And I hope to see those images on the F# removed soon.
 

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Jacobeid,

I think you performed the wrong experiment in terms of disabling the mechanism.

The key is already open for the middle C#, on any instrument and they have placed the hole so that that note is in tune instead of flat.

The test would be to make the whole key stay open (maybe just overblow the middle C#), on high C#. Since they have changed the hole to make middle C# in tune, I would expect high C# to be wildly sharp without the benefit of the partial covering by the "donut" pad.

Alan
 

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awholley..I'm lost somewhere.

on my series III alto there is a vent inbetween the front F and octave key. When no keys are pressed down, the vent is open. When any other keys are pressed down, the vent closes. Isn't that the series III C# vent? From what you're saying, do you mean they changed the placement of the C# tonehole? I thought they just added the extra vent. I'm probably mistaken though.

All I know is that when I play a middle C# that vent stays open, but on all other notes it closes. When the vent is open, the middle C# is 2 cents sharp. When I manually close the vent with my fingers, middle C# is 25-30 cents flat.
 

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Swingin' Cat said:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=55924, for those of you wondering...

...and it's not an old wives' tale. The high F# key is the single worst thing ever done to the saxophone design.
hmmm, big call, innovation is something i think we should strive for. Try and play F# without one on a classical setup and if you can get the tone to blend with the rest of your horn you're a better man than most, the plate key destroys blending between registers (with a classical setup).

Just my 2 cents
 

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Has anyone noticed if removal (or blocking) of the high F# makes a difference on alto or soprano?

I would guess it makes more of an impact on tenor and bari but what about the smaller saxes?

You know - they sell this metal tape in hardware stores for sealing duct work.
I wonder if a small piece of this placed inside the body over the F# hole would allow one to test this out without doing anything permanent or costly.
 

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Not sure it makes as much difference on alto. On tenor there are those who buy into the no f# thing. According to a well respected dealer he told me the no f# mark vi would sell for more than the same horn with the f#. On alto its the reverse. Demand wise alto players seem to prefer the f# and tenors no f#.

I am not sure it makes a difference either way. I have noticed however that those that don't think it makes a difference are vocal in their opinion. I did throw out on another thread that Brecker prefered the non f# per my dealer friend who spoke with him personally. Problem is they tend not to offer alot of solid support for it. "Waste of money", "Anectodal Crap", "Old Wives Tale", "Well Mine Has a F# And Its A Great Horn"... seem to be the typical reply.

Wait are those flames heading my way :shock:
 

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soulysax said:
Wait are those flames heading my way :shock:
No flames - yours was one of the most reasonable posts yet. Consistent with my observations and experience. As for the old pros preferring non-high F# horns, it could just be a timing thing: by the time they started putting high f# on Mark VIs, the overall quality of the horns might have already been on the decline, for a variety of reasons. So lack of a high F# doesn't necessarily indicate a better horn - it could just mean those horns were better made anyway.

So as you can see, I don't really buy into all this crap. I just start these things to see where they'll go.:twisted:
 

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Discussion Starter #17
wind.miller said:
Took a senior moment for that to soak in, but do you mean where the F# tonehole was? I'll be looking forward to seeing the pics. I must have missed the prelude to this thread.
Sorry, I meant the tone hole.:)
 

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jacobeid said:
awholley..I'm lost somewhere.

on my series III alto there is a vent inbetween the front F and octave key. When no keys are pressed down, the vent is open. When any other keys are pressed down, the vent closes. Isn't that the series III C# vent? From what you're saying, do you mean they changed the placement of the C# tonehole? I thought they just added the extra vent. I'm probably mistaken though.

All I know is that when I play a middle C# that vent stays open, but on all other notes it closes. When the vent is open, the middle C# is 2 cents sharp. When I manually close the vent with my fingers, middle C# is 25-30 cents flat.

I have not owned a Series III for several years, and have no sax at all in front of me at the moment (on vacation). I mention the last part because I could not picture your description of a vent between the octave key and high F. The C# pad/tonehole in my post refers the uppermost one that opens when you change from fingering a middle-finger C to open C#.

The series III I owned had a double pad (a larger key cup with a smaller one stacked on top of it) on the C# hole. When you played middle C#, both pads were open, lifing together as a single unit. When you played high C# or any palm-key fingering, the lower one (which had a hole in the center like a donut) was closed, leaving the smaller hole still open, which had the effect of lowering the high C#. Any other fingerings caused both keys to close.

As far as I know, all previous models of Selmer altos and Selmer alto copies were uniformly flat on middle C# unless additional venting was done (such as adding side C or adding the G finger plus the octave key), and high C# was still generally quite sharp -to the point you'd do well to add the lower stack keys, which caused the bis key to close and lower the pitch a bit.

My conclusion about changes to the C# tonehole location is just a guess. It seems logical to me that they have moved the C# tonehole into a good location for open middle C# and then compensated in the upper octave for the higher pitch on that tonehole by using the donut pad to lower the effective location of the top of the tonehole with the reduced size perhaps offering additional benefits in pitch and or resistance characteristics.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Pictures

Here are some photos of the horn. I tried to get some with and without flash.

http://community.webshots.com/user/Superbalancedaction

Some interesting things to note for those who don't know. The actual tone hole behind the chimney is oblong. The patch Ken made for the back was oblong shaped. He then made a patch out of a resonator for the top. If you notice in one of the photos there is a silver dot above the patch. Selmer drills holes in the horns to put in the posts in to keep them straight. You need to fill the hole and you can't fill it with brass.
I think the matte finish looks great, kind of industrial. Up close it looks even better than the pics. One of my students is buying a VI from Ken that has been completely blasted. Think of the old Conn matte finish.

This F# is something Ken and I have been going over to figure out what would work best and look best. If people are interested enough in getting it done Ken is thinking of getting a custom milled one piece patch made, that can be inserted and soldered in. Then remove the key and posts.

And for those with weak stomachs he can always just patch the hole from behind and leave the hardware. But where is the fun in that?:D

FWIW. The upper dimensions on the cone of the SIII alto in combination with the jacked up neck lead to the problems that the C# vent fixes. Change the upper dimensions of the cone, tweak the neck, get rid of the vent and your in VI land. This can all be done in a set up.

Anthony
 

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Tony - you've obviously put a lot of thought and research into this topic. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

Couple of questions:

Question 1 (actually first posed by someone else): In your opinion, does patching the high F# tonehole have as much effect for the alto as it does the tenor?

Question 2 (mine): In yours and/or Ken's opinion, if Selmer were to design a Series III tenor without the high F#, would they necessarily have to rearrange the rest of the tonehole layout at all?

Maybe someone knowledgable about the Yamaha 82Z with and without the high F# can tell us if there's any difference between those two tenors' tonehole layouts?
 
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