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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought a low A bass sax that is based on the Keilwerth: http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Bari/Keilwerth_SX90_special_bass.htm

You can see from the picture of my bass on Steve Howard's website that it actually has three strap rings, one each at the top and bottom bow as well as the usual one between the hands. The maker intended the top and bottom rings to be used with a guitar strap device, but it makes the horn too horizontal for me.

I don't know whether it is the extra tubing for low A, but the (middle) strap ring feels like it is too high up the horn to get the sax to hang comfortably. The ring may have been positioned for good balance, but it's difficult to make the mouthpiece appear at the right position for comfortable blowing. I've tried all sorts of straps and harnesses, including a "FreeAction" harness with rigid rods in the front.

Can you tell me where the strap ring is on your bass, especially if it's a Keilwerth ?

My strap ring is:
  • Opposite the G# tonehole
  • 6 inches (15cm) below the left thumbrest
  • 12 inches (30cm) above the right thumbhook
  • 3 inches (8cm) below the lowest bow of the crook

Rhys
 

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Moving the strap ring.

Hi there-

I have an early IW bass to which I have been doing some work in order to improve its performance (and mine).

It came with one ring in the typical central location, but it felt unbalanced and difficult to hold and play. Further, I could not a comfortable neck strap or harness, and I tried many alternatives.

So...I went to my repair guy and we moved the ring up about 4" and added a second ring near the bottom (like the Keilworth photo), and I use a guitar like strap. The result? Shockingly better balance and way easier to play and hold. I will need to tweak the top ring location to get it perfect, but it is WAY better now.

Moving and adding the rings is not a huge deal, but could be problem if you want your horn to be immaculate.

After I tweak it, I will be glad to share the specific distances, etc.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks hornguy. When you've done the tweaking it would be really interesting to hear some measurements and to see some photos.

How upright or horizontal does the sax hang and is how is the mouthpiece positioned relative to your face ?

All the best

Rhys

PS I'm very reluctant to move any of the strap rings on my horn since it is unique and in such great condition.
 

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Position of Horn

Hi there-

Good question, I forgot to mention:

Prior to the modification, the horn was somewhat horizontal (much more than in a bari or tenor), so I would compensate with neck and mouthpiece adjustments. However my hand positions were not so great. With the modification, the tilt is virtually the same as with a traditional sax and way more comfortable, especially for hand position.

FWIW the Youtube videos I have seen often show the bass at more of a horizontal angle, which seems more common.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice sax, but even nicer jacket ! That's just what we need to cheer us up this summer.

The picture does show the strap ring clearly and I'm guessing that it's a little lower down the body of the horn than on my Keilwerth. Could you measure the distance it is below the left thumbrest and above the right thumb hook ?

If you're in Eastleigh than that's only about twenty-five miles away from me. I wonder if you know Steve Howard and/or Pete Thomas.

Thanks

Rhys

PS I will have to see whether I can remove the link strap from my harness.
 

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Distance between the left thumbrest and ring is 21cm and distance betweenleft thumbrest and right thumb hook is 42cm.

I've had correspondence weth Steve Howard but don't know Pete Thomas.

I took up the bass sax 6 years ago ( the same year as we got the jackets) to double in our quartet as I normally play Sousaphone.

I am now using a Vandoren mouthpiece with rico 2 1/2 reeds but have difficulties getting the middle D. It produces a G if i'm not careful or got a dodgy reed but some reeds get it with no problem. any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the measurements. That means that the strap ring on your Keilwerth is about 2.5 inches lower down the horn than on mine. That probably explains why I can't get any sort of strap to hold my instrument comfortably. I presume the maker adjusted the strap ring position to make the horn balance better after adding all the extra tubing for the low A.

On Steve Howard's review of my horn, he says:

As mentioned earlier, there are a few extra keys on this bass that aren't fitted to the standard production model. Most notable ( apart from the low A and top F# ) is the addition of a mid D vent ( the topmost central cup in the photo above right ). This key was added by the builder at a later date - presumably as part of the ongoing research and development project.
The vent sits near the top bow...so the linkage that connects it to the low D key has to run the entire length of the body - and is split into two keys.
Mid D has always been problematical on basses - and most players of older basses either get used to it or develop 'false fingerings' that help improve the clarity of the note - so an automatic mechanism that cleans up this tricky note is a welcome addition.
Thing is, whilst it works it does so in a slightly kludgy manner.
Vent keys, as the name suggests, tend not to need to open as far as normal keys. In some cases the merest crack in the seal of the pad is enough to allow the vent to do its job. In this case I found the vent key needed to open about three millimetres...and that's a huge difference to the three or four centimetres that the D key has to travel - and so there's lost motion that has to be taken up by the vent linkage. It does this in a very crude way; the actuating lever hangs above the D key foot ( seen on the right ) and only comes into play just before the D key pad hits the tone hole. This makes the D action feel clunky.
If you adjust the linkage so that it always remains in contact with the D key, the feel improves considerably - but the vent cup opens about a centimetre...and as it remains open when you play an Eb it almost completely kills the note.
There's not much that can be done about it. Ideally yet another link is needed from the Eb touchpiece to close the vent key - but this would be horribly complex. A better bet would be to fit a foot to the vent key that limits how far it can open ( it could be made adjustable too, to allow the player to fine tune the tone - the existing link does have some degree of adjustment, but it's rudimentary at best ) - which would allow the link mech to remain in contact with the D foot. There'd still be some double action, but this design would shift it to the top of the action rather than leave it on the D key, where it hampers the feel.


I don't think that all the mechanical complication and extra venting keys actually solves the middle D sounding problem on my horn.

Perhaps the middle D is best played with the D palm key and no ocatve key. Maybe you will have to close/open some other keys to get the note best in tune.

All the best

Rhys
 

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I finger the middle D2 like a G2 with the palm D key. This tunes better for me, has a richer tone, and is easier to stay in a home position to finger the rest of the horn. Mine is a Noblet French wrap style horn. It might work for you.

David
 

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see:

a presentation I made on the "guitar strap" for saxophone.
The 'guitar strap" is a very good solution for carrying the bass and the baritone saxes and also usable on tenor.
See also:
guitar strap on a baritone sax (Fishbone):
and on a tenor sax (also Fishbone):

Good luck
Will Wunderbar.
 

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I either use the harness I made for myself from horse bridle parts-Its fairly comfortable for a couple hours-, or my Sax Rax stand that I customized (this was purchased-unfortunately-before the newest version of the bass sax stand came out).
 

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some extra tips on the use of the "guitar strap":
tip 1:
Do your own testing to locate the ideal positions of the strap rings by temporary tying the strap with some rope to your sax (shoe leashes work perfectly well). Check out my (you tube) presentation for explanation with pictures and comments. (See my previous reply for the link. Upper strap ring is just below the thumb-rest of the left hand and the bottom ring is somewhere at the bottom for bari and further up for bass!! (if you put that one near the bottom the load on your left shoulder will increase. Again: watch the presentation! After testing put marks on the sax to point out the strap ring locations using a (permanent) marker. Now you are ready to visit your repairman to do the simple modification (soldering the strap rings).
tip 2:
Don't (re)move the original strap ring!!! Just add 2 additional new rings. (I payed only 25 euro recently to get that job done on my bass sax.)
If you move the original strap ring a neck strap can no longer be used and that is an unneccesary limitation.
Furthermore: a strap ring is not expensive so why move the original one?
tip 3:
Do try the guitar strap, even when you are currently satisfied with your neckstrap or harness, IT WILL CHANGE (IMPROVE) YOUR SAXOPHONE PLAYIN' JOYFULL LIVE!!

Have fun!
Willie Wunderbar.
 
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