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Discussion Starter #1
If I hit the Low B key at all while playing the low B-flat, low B-flat will not come out. There is some sort of leak (I'm assuming).

I was under the impression that hitting both should still close the pads to play low B-flat.
 

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you shouldn't have to hit the b key too!!!!!The low Bb key should close the B,Bb and keep the C# closed. On my baritone(selmer S-80 series I) I can play low As w/o assisting it w/ the Bb pinky key depressed.
 

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It may be that if the finger is contacting the edge of the Bb spatula near the B key touch that you are not getting the full leverage of the key to close both the large pads on the bell. If you have a way to put a light into the bell and press the B key very lightly followed by the Bb key, you can quickly tell if there is a regulation or a pad closing problem. To cover the tonehole perfectly with just the lightest touch should be the standard for those notes if you have a professional model sax.
 

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Is it possible that you actually mean the low C# key and not B key? If that's the case the problem makes a lot of sense. If you really mean the B key then maybe just when you press both the B and Bb keys for some reason you don't press one of them (the Bb key) enough. If you press the Bb enough, adding the B key will do nothing that would create a leak. Unless pressing both the B and Bb key somehow makes your hand twist in a way that another pad doesn't close.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
puahahaha SORRY! I did mean the C# key! I'm an idiot. Sometimes I nudge the C# key when I'm fingering the B-flat...
 

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OK. There is an adjusting screw connected to the B key that is pressing on a part connected to the C# key. I assume you are talking about the Mark VI in your signature but I'm going by an alto I have here (not Mark VI) which is probably about the same. Press the C# and B keys seprately and together and you will notice how this mechanism works.

That adjusting screw is probably not screwed enough, which leaves the C# a little open if you press both the B and C# buttons. Most likely you need to screw that adjusting screw just a little more, but what you will notice if you look at this mechanism is that if you screw it a bit too much it will make the B not close with a light touch, and if you screw it even more it won't close at all. So it has to be exactly right, and preferably without double action between the screw and the part under it (which on some models is realistically impossible, but on good ones it should be ok).
 

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Better to be slightly under-screwed than aiming for equal closing pressure, or even simultaneous pad contact with tone holes. Otherwise the closing and sealing of B is really poor when fingering the low Bb.

Because of all the metal flexing going on, and soft silencing material under that adjusting screw, you cannot have B + C# closing really nicely together (both spatulas pressed), and also B & Bb closing nicely (Bb spatula only). This situation is much worse on some instruments than others.

No player wants to compromise their Low Bb. Therefore most of the compromise has to be with the B + C# fingering, IMO.
 

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There is an adjusting screw connected to the B key that is pressing on a part connected to the C# key. I assume you are talking about the Mark VI in your signature but I'm going by an alto I have here (not Mark VI) which is probably about the same. Press the C# and B keys seprately and together and you will notice how this mechanism works.
I'm sure someone will correct me if I am wrong but I'm prety sure that Mk VI's are not fitted with that. there's just an arm that is attached to the C# hinge that goes underneath the B key arm and the linkage is usually cork (i use hicotex here)
 

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You may be right. However arm adjusted by bending, or adjusting screw to assist, the principles are all the same.

I, too, use agglommerated cork here (e.g. Hycotex) . There is quite enough flexing of metal without having squishy stuff in the linkage as well.
 

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Yes Gordon by "screw it a bit too much" I meant anything that would compromise the Bb. On some instruments it is possible to have both with basically no compromise (i.e. the C# key might close a bit softer with the arm than it is normally but still seal when playing Bb + C#).

Griff that is why I said "probably" :) I'm guessing you are right since I really don't remember how it is on Mark VI but like Gordon said same principle.

Decade, If it doesn't have the screw then it is most likely a worn cork or something bent.

I hope I could help.
 

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Low C# pops open ?

Mark VI does not have an adjustment screw there. Cork only.

My clients demand low C# not pop open when low B or Bb is fingered, and they expect B and Bb to close perfectly also. You can get those three pads all to close, but it takes effort and good pads. It helps tremendously to have enough glue behind the pads to tweak out the leaks associated with rod flex.

Most of my clients are classical players in university.
 

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"Close perfectly"?
Do you mean simultaneous pad contact with the tone holes, or equal closing pressure? Because of metal flex, and somewhat because of the similar 'give' in linkage silencing materials, the two are mutually exclusive. Mechanics 101.

And these discrepancies cannot be "tweaked out", unless by deliberate design, design, the flex is the same along the path from the finger to each pad involved in a linkage. Also mechanics 101. No manufacturer has achieved that yet. The situation could be helped a little if the pad at the end of the route with the most flex, was firmer than the pad at the end of the route with the least flex. IMO this is the only way that flex could be compensated for.

It's all a matter of best compromise, which is often quite precarious. Whether a player is into jazz, or orchestral, or a beginner, the adjustment is all the same to me - the best it can be for that particular design of sax. The more servicing I do, the more that I realise that as with ALL mechanical engineering, everything is a managed compromise; nothing is 'perfect', thanks to the 'give' in all materials.

Actually I think the purpose for the B activating the C# is for a cleaner change BETWEEN these notes, rather than so that B can be leak-proofly played with the C# key down as well. On a well designed 'touch-piece' geometry there is no need to press down both these keys at once while a note is sustained.
 
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