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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, I have run into both low B problems recently. The first, the low B closed with it's key but not completely with the Bb key. Here, more felt was required (or a slight bending up) of the B tab under the Bb key.
The second was the B closed with the Bb key but not with it's own key. Here, the B tab of the G# key was bent up too much and had to be turned down just a tad - the foot of the G# limits its downward travel, so if the B tab or felt is too high, the B key is also stopped before fully closing the pad.
The table key assembly (Selmer-type) simply has to be carefully set and anytime you change something, it affects the other keys. I hate bending those tabs because too much bending will cause them to break off.
Trying to fix the second problem with simply trimming the material on the foot of the G# will work, but this usually lets that key have more travel than it takes to fully open the G#. Not a great problem but in my view just creating a sloppy key instead of fixing it right.
Both of these things are common and can be found on new or freshly overhauled saxes.
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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17,204 Posts
Yes, everything affects everything.
It is usually possible to get everything working as it should, but it takes a fair bit of experience, and hardly something to achieve via a forum without hands and eyes actually on the instrument.

...I hate bending those tabs because too much bending will cause them to break off...
That is very, very, very unlikely.
If it does break off then it was probably about to do so anyway, at the worst possible time, during a performance.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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7,748 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Actually, this forum is the perfect place to bring up intricacies of sax repair/maintenance and offer informative comment on how its done.
A thin piece of sheet brass will not suffer metal fatigue and fail after being sharply bent and unbent an unknown number of times over the lifetime of a sax which could exceed 100 years? That's amazing! My MK VI tenor is already nearly 50 years old but I've only had it for 20 years - I sure am glad I don't have to worry about how many apes have bent them tabs before I got it!
 

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Curt Altarac calls them "break away tabs". :) A more serious response in this thread is this:

Determine what the "end result" needs to be and then work backward through the connecting links and parts. In the case of the LH table, you could start with "the travel of the low B touchpiece needs to allow the low B to close completely" and then work backwards from there. (Hint: you may have to bend the low B touch up a bit in order for this to happen and have other relationships work out.) I discovered this "mental" process while working on a vintage octave mechanism that was giving me fits. I started with "the bar that lifts the octave ring needs to do this" and then I worked backward from there. That said, I have found that there are times when one has to "compromise" a bit where removing "lost motion" is concerned---something us "anal retentive" folks hate to do. :) :)

This article by Curt Altarac may offer some help as well: Understanding the Left Hand Table
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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17,204 Posts
Actually, this forum is the perfect place to bring up intricacies of sax repair/maintenance and offer informative comment on how its done.
I agree, but in this case there are many parameters, all affecting each other, and limited perceptions by most writers. A minute under an experienced technician's eyes and a thousand unspoken words are "spoken".

A thin piece of sheet brass will not suffer metal fatigue and fail after being sharply bent and unbent an unknown number of times over the lifetime of a sax which could exceed 100 years? That's amazing! My MK VI tenor is already nearly 50 years old but I've only had it for 20 years - I sure am glad I don't have to worry about how many apes have bent them tabs before I got it!
Get a piece of brass of similar profile to the part discussed, and bend it a fraction of a mm one way then the other multiple times. It takes many, many bends to work harden it sufficiently to make it brittle enough to break by bending it a fraction of a mm.
In that exaggerated 100 years I think you would have to get the tech to bend it every year to hint to the part that it was time it broke. If it needs bending every year, you need a new tech.
 
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