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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I finger the low Bb on my sax and the 2 large pads on the bell close together, the pad below them bounces open slightly so it doesn't sound.

A while back my sax teacher adjusted the 4 'left hand pinky' keys to make them lighter but that one was bouncing up so he adjusted a spring which sorted it. I'm not seeing him for 2 weeks so need to sort it myself.

Was wondering how I can sort it? and is the bouncing a bigger issue?

Thanks!
James
 

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There could be many causes, pretty difficult to identify accurately without seeing it.
And it is an area where you can make things a lot worse very easily. (I suspect your teacher may have done some of this already, actually causingthe problem. I think you need a good technician.

To me, the most likely scenario is that the spring that closes C# is not succeeding (because of the teacher's adjustment), so C# is relying on the G# lever spring to close it, the result of a further adjustment problem (with several possible causes). When you press down Low B, that also presses down the G# lever, which can then no longer close the C#.

So unfortunately, probably a case of an amateur creating problems by inappropriate efforts to solve another.
 

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I'm assuming the "pad below them" you are referring to is the low C#. If this is the case:

- First check to see if when pressing the Bb or B key they touch the C# key. You can even put a sticky note paper between them to see if they are rubbing or not.
- If they are they need to be straightened so they do not touch---a job for someone with experience.
- If they are not touching, press the key to open the low C# and while holding that key down, press the low B key. It should close or "almost close" the low C# if there is a B to C# closing mechanism on your sax.
- If the B does not close the C# and it has an adjusting screw, you can slowly turn the adjusting screw until the low C# just moves a tiny bit when the low B is pressed and the low C# key is added. If this doesn't made sense, then wait and let your teacher look at it.
 

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If the pad below is bouncing slightly then your left hand pinky table is not setup properly, or you might have a slightly lazy finger which is riding C# as you run B and Bb. First job is learning not to ride C#

Aftre this as john has said, if it has an over ride mechanism for C# adjust this.

However you really need to fix the core problme to start with, which I would say is finger position or pinky table setup
 

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There are at least a few things that can cause this. What model is your saxophone and does it have the pin and sleeve linkage of the low Bb and C# touchpieces?

In addition to the options suggested, if B doesn't close C# with it (as John suggested) then possibly Bb and C# touchpieces are binding so the Bb touchpiece takes the C# with it at the end of its travel.

You can try a few things:

1. Press just the Bb key, without also pressing any of the other pinky keys with your finger (the B will close to automatically). Does the C# open a little the same as when you play? Try pressing both softly and hard and see if there's a difference.

2. Hold G# pressed. Now operate the C# key. Can you tell if it closes completely when you release? Try to release slowly as opposed to imediately, which can sometimes gives more force to help closing and overcome a small misadjustment.

3. Hold G# pressed. Then press Bb touchpiece only and very slowly. Does the C# touchpiece move with it at any point of its travel? Especially notice if the Bb is moving normally and then at the end of the movement C# moves a tiny bit with it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've contacted a tech called Eddie Ashton who I will take the saxophone to next week when I am off work. For now I'll have to practice my scales with a silent low Bb!
 

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Eddie Ashton is one of THE techs!!! Don and Eddie are legends. They contributed to the "Cambridge Companion To The Saxophone" a truly great book for those who have not read it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm assuming the "pad below them" you are referring to is the low C#. If this is the case:

- First check to see if when pressing the Bb or B key they touch the C# key. You can even put a sticky note paper between them to see if they are rubbing or not.
- If they are they need to be straightened so they do not touch---a job for someone with experience.
- If they are not touching, press the key to open the low C# and while holding that key down, press the low B key. It should close or "almost close" the low C# if there is a B to C# closing mechanism on your sax.
- If the B does not close the C# and it has an adjusting screw, you can slowly turn the adjusting screw until the low C# just moves a tiny bit when the low B is pressed and the low C# key is added. If this doesn't made sense, then wait and let your teacher look at it.
Clearly I chose well! I am trying to work out if I should temporarily adjust the key using the adjusting screw so I can practice or just leave it so I don't screw it up (excuse the pun).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've adjusted the B,C# screw, and the Bb now works more or less but it was a balance to keep the B working too.
 

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I get the distinct impression Gordon has cleaned up behind more than one instructor who is an expert in horn repair.
Indeed, but unfortunately, just as often it is cleaning up after "repairers". I've just spent most of today on such work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How are people to choose a good repairer? I have clearly found a good one from the response on here, but is it just hit and miss?
 

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Ask around your local music scene, go to some gigs and ask the sax players, ask a few people and a common denominator (repairer) will start to appear, word of mouth from local playing musician's, trumps an internet post it add anyday
 

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I've adjusted the B,C# screw, and the Bb now works more or less but it was a balance to keep the B working too.
That tells me you are on the right track. It is indeed a "balancing act". A good leak light is a useful tool when doing adjustments of this type.

There is something else you can do if you are handy with tools. A better adjustment can be accomplished when the bumper material in the adjusting screw has a round or "dome" shape on the end. You remove the screw completely, chuck it into your power drill with the bumper material showing, then spin it while holding an emery board against the edge till it rounds the corners. Then you can add a dab of cork grease and replace it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The screw is domed on top and straight below, I mashed the dome bit a little unfortunately
 
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