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· Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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4,743 Posts
Its not a stupid question, but its also not a universal answer either.

For the action to open fast enough but not rebound also must not be too heavy for the player, lets face facts, you can put a spring in which exhibits 300 grams of resistance to the movement of the key, but imagine trying to move 300grams of weight with just a finger tip for an hour session of playing. You would have cramps within minutes of playing

I have measured force required to close keys and force required for fast actions, this was done with local musicians, telling me what they like and dislike

A key can close and lift its own weight and be a very comfortable light action with as little as 30 grams of force applied, however the key to pad relationship must be perfect, no ifs or buts """perfect""", as 30 grams is not enough force to seal the tone hole and overcome a pad which closes at one point before another point

90 grams is a nice action, fast with some forgiveness to accomodate very minor discrepancys in closing sequence. Very minor.

120 grams is a fast action, some rebounding can occur, pads closing at one point before another is relly not to much of an issue.

150 grams is uncomfortable to the average player. Heavy feeling to the keywork.(side note, I find a lot of the older yamaha 23's exhibit tensions of around the 150, be that becuase they came out like that or be that becuase repairers have oversprung the action, I cannot answer)

Hope that helps with your question
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,743 Posts
The problem is there is no consistency even from a factory.
Lets pick a nice sax 82Z, from the factory Ive found tensions from 60-135, so this led me to the simple understanding that on an assembly line the builder simply kinks the spring, there really is no optimum setting, which is understanable as each spring will have a different tension, each key will offer a different resistance to being moved, the only way to achieve a uniform pressure is with a tech taking time setting each key. Its as simple as that.

As far as sax pad design, I have through negotiation with a manufacturer had my own sax pads made for me, we use close to 2000 plus sax pads a year, they may not work for others, but for me that are exactly what I look for in a sax pad. For the average handy diy person I recommend musicmedic for simplicity of ordering and decent product
 
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