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Discussion Starter #1
On my 1927 Conn New Wonder II bari, the C# pinky key sits almost 1/4' (0.227") higher than the B and B-flat keys, making it very dificult to move around (B-flat to C# is particularly nasty).

The B key is one solid run from the pad cup to the key, so once the pad height is regulated for tuning that pretty much sets the B pinky key height.

The B-flat key is working fine with just a very thin cork between it and the B-flat key, so its height is set equal to the B-key.

The C# key has one place available for small adjustment where the action crossed over to the key on the bell. However, adding cork or teflon here would just make the key higher.

I can't see any way of lowering the C# key short of bending or resoldering the C# rods and levers.

The horn is laquered brass, but the keyword is nickel silver plated, doing much to the metal is likely to crack the finish.

The most promising approach appears to be bending the lever at the crossing at the bottom of the horn, it's slightly more than 1" from the rod to the mating point, the lever is roughly 1/8" square cross section (that's what the micrometer says, it looks more rectangular to me).

So is bending this lever the best option for adjusting the C# key height (short of leaving it be)?

Best method would be :
  • Two pliers?
  • Pliers and a vise?
  • A vise and a padded hammer?
  • A hard cylindrical surface and a padded hammer?

The horn currently plays fine except for this. It was never a problem when I was using the horn in a blues band, but it's really an issue playing jazz. I've made other minor adjustments on it involving cork, felt, and sandpaper - but I generally prefer not to bend things if there is any other option.

Thanks in advance.
 

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You could send it to Martinmods for a completely rebuilt pinky cluster. I think he offers 2 different styles, both of which should be much better than the original. He usually has auctions listed on Ebay for the work.
 

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You should be able to bend the C# touch down (or the pad cup arm up) without any harm to the plating.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
You could send it to Martinmods for a completely rebuilt pinky cluster. I think he offers 2 different styles, both of which should be much better than the original. He usually has auctions listed on Ebay for the work.
I know about MartinMods and I'll likely send some business his way eventually, if not on that then on some of his other mods, but:
1) It's expensive and I'd have to send the horn out.
2) I don't mind the Conn pinky arrangement that much, it's just that it's way out of adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Low notes on the horn are now working like a charm. Repair consisted of two parts:

1) I bent the C# crossover lever as proposed, did it a bit at a time taking about 6 tries, checking the fit after each try.

The two plier method seemed to work best - used one to grab right around the rod connection and the second to do the bending. Didn't have any problems with the nickel silver plating. This brought the C# key down from way above the B and B-Flat keys to 3/64" BELOW the other keys.

2) I also discovered that the B-Flat to C# roller was completely frozen, and the B to C# Roller was sticking a bit.

Long story - I ended up splitting (breaking in two) the B-Flat/C# roller to get it loose, then superglued it back into a single piece, reamed it out a bit, and then used emery board to square all 4-ends of the two rollers on the C# key - getting a tight fit but without any catching.

The HORN now has no problem playing the big band charts and moving through all the different note jumps at the bottom - B-Flat to C#, C# to B-Flat, chromatic runs up and down, etc. Now I can't blame the horn, have to go off and practice MY chops.

Moral of the story - if you're having major problems with the vintage Conn left hand pinky keys, it may be an adjustment problem - have your tech take a close look at it.

If it's adusted right and you still don't like it -> MartinMods or modern horn!!


P.S. - Can anyone direct me to a reference article, I need to convince my wife that the lead shims used to protect the horn from pliers can only be obtained from the foil on fine French bottles of wine.:)
 

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I think all the pearl rollers split when trying to free them up on my '24 Conn bari (my avatar). I believe they were super glued back together as well. ChuJerry did the rebuild on mine and did a wonderful job.
 
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