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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! And thank you for taking the time to read this! Today in band, my alto stopped working. I couldn’t play anything below low G, and after a while, when I pressed the F natural and E really hard they came out, but low D came out super wavy and odd. Any idea where the issue could be from?
 

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Like your title already says, most likely a leak, if you have a leak light, check it, it is easy enough to detect. Also check your octave key to make sure it closes correctly, make sure you tightened your neck tenon and also take a look at your neck cork, that's one thing that is often overlooked (i.e. if your MPC has room to wiggle, you need to replace it). You can start of with cleaning your pads and make sure that all the keys move freely. Pressing the F nat and E really hard may only compensate for something else that is going on. And did you bump your horn into something or drop it. Or did you forget to take out the pad snake in the low C# key? Or any other foreign body that is jamming up one of your keys?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Like your title already says, most likely a leak, if you have a leak light, check it, it is easy enough to detect. Also check your octave key to make sure it closes correctly, make sure you tightened your neck tenon and also take a look at your neck cork, that's one thing that is often overlooked (i.e. if your MPC has room to wiggle, you need to replace it). You can start of with cleaning your pads and make sure that all the keys move freely. Pressing the F nat and E really hard may only compensate for something else that is going on. And did you bump your horn into something or drop it. Or did you forget to take out the pad snake in the low C# key? Or any other foreign body that is jamming up one of your keys?
I really don’t know what caused it. I was just playing the music, and then all of a sudden I couldn’t play low F. I thought it was the G# but that seemed to be working fine. It’s slightly aggravating because I JUST made a music festival for my district and seating tests are coming up.
 

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So it sounds like something happened to the regulation of the F and below, causing the F# or F keys not to close fully. This could also be caused by perhaps the F# trill key getting knocked and leaking...although given you say that it is alleviated if you press the F down very hard, I doubt the latter.

Yes it could also be that the F or F# key got knocked out of sealing. But if you are certain the sax didn't get knocked, then it could be that

a) a piece of regulating material which links the F stack to F# stack fell off....so when the F is depressed, the F# above it is leaking.

It is also possible

b) something in the armature linkage of the F# key to the G# key above (or to the Bis key arm) got wonky (for example the regulating screw moved, if there are regulating screws on the F# armature), so the F# leaks.

Either of these possibilities would 'take away' the F, E, D. It would also explain how 'pushing down the F and E very hard' would make the problem go away.

If you wanna check that out before taking it somewhere, you MAY be able to see the problem with the naked eye....

1) take your left hand and close the F# lower stack keycup with a finger. Then with your right hand, finger a low F on the lower stack, not hard but fairly gently. Then lift your left hand finger off of the F# keycup. Did the F# keycup move ?

2) take your left hand finger and push down hard on the G# keycup, then finger your F note. Watch the F# keycup, and remove your finger from the G# cup. Did the F# cup move ? Repeat the same except push down the Bis key armature fairly hard (instead of the G# keycup).

Pretty easy fix...get it to a repair tech, I cannot imagine it taking more than 30 mins. It may take 5 mins....
 

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Go back to the basics . . . look closely at each function, look at each pad, see if something may be stuck on the lip of the tone-hole, make sure a cork hasn't fallen off somewhere, make sure the G# isn't rising when it shouldn't, check the bis Bb to see if it is closing properly, etc., etc. If it happened suddenly, I'd look for a loose or missing pad that looks normal when the pad-cup is closed but in fact, there is no pad in the cup or it is loose and just flopping around. It could be because any number of reasons. DAVE
 

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Your best way to figure out the issue is to take it to the shop.
Usually it's a quick and inexpensive fix.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
So I found the issue. It’s the key below the G# hole and above F. For whatever reason, it’s not fully sealing which is causing my F, E/F#, and D to not close. Is this something I can fix?
 

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One thing you can try is to hold the F key shut with normal pressure, and then slightly back off on the adjusting screw above the G# key (assuming you don't have an older vintage horn). See if the leaking pad starts to close when you do this. If this works, I would consider it a temporary fix, and then take your horn to a good tech to check it out. There are just too many corks, springs, linkages and felts on a horn that have to be just right in order to function properly.
 

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Actually there could be a heap of reasons why that pad is not closing properly, and it is unlikely to be the most obvious - a linkage cork fallen off.
Unless you have the mechanical diagnosis skills to go further, and have a leak light and have experience at using it, take it to a technician.
 

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Actually there could be a heap of reasons why that pad is not closing properly, and it is unlikely to be the most obvious - a linkage cork fallen off.
Unless you have the mechanical diagnosis skills to go further, and have a leak light and have experience at using it, take it to a technician.
+1 My other guess would have been that a spring disengaged, that can happen suddenly and the symptoms are, well, suddenly .... :)

It happened to me a few weeks ago when the wire from the clip-on mic got tangled in the keys and managed to pull one of the springs, luckily it took me only about a minute to figure it out, embarrassing nonetheless in the middle of a set.
 
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