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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys/girls,
I have a vintage Mark VI alto (91XXX) and the octave keys, neck and side will not open. I've taken it apart several times looking for a cause but can't seem to understand how it really works. The spring is in good condition, pads are not sticking, key operates smoothely, no hang ups in the rod. I'm hoping that someone who knows this mechanism can give me some pointers. I can post a picture of it but I'm really looking for someone who knows it well enough not to need the pic. Thank in advance,
R
 

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Pressing only the octave key should move the lever at the neck tenon away from the neck, making contact with the neck octave lever and opening it. If that lever at the tenon moves, but does not make contact with the neck lever, bend the neck lever down so that it opens the neck pad when the octave key is pressed and closes fully when the key is released.

That should also fix the body key since that will stop then tenon lever, transferring the force to open the body key when the octave key and the G key are pressed.
 

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There are two springs that act against each other. The one on the octave key itself (to close it) and the one on the octave link to actuate the pin that engages with the octave mechanism on the neck (and body). These two springs need to be balanced. Since you wrote "spring" (singular) I take it you did not look at the second one which is responsible for opening. I don't have an MK VI alto but the MO is similar on all other horns I have looked at.
 

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Without a photo it’s all guessing games.
If neither is opening, it could be the post that leads up and opens the neck key isn’t touching the key on the neck.
 

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Without a photo it’s all guessing games.
If neither is opening, it could be the post that leads up and opens the neck key isn’t touching the key on the neck.
Very true but that post is not directly connected to the octave key but indirectly through a spring-loaded mechanism. Since OP cannot figure out how this is supposed to work, my suspicion is that the needle spring that pushes the post out is disengaged, otherwise it would be obvious how the mechanism is working.

RBlooz, check all the rods at the top of the horn so see if there is a spring that is not in its hook. The giveaway is if you press the octave key and the little rod doesn't move but you can pull it manually out and this way open the octave pad, then it is 99% that the spring is unhooked or too weak.

Very easy to check.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your quick responses everyone! Problem solved! There is a small cork wrapped around the lower side of the pivoting piece, between the actual octave thumb key and the the pivot. This was missing. It must have dried up and fallen out recently. I replaced it and all is well. Thanks for your kind suggestions,
RBlooz
 

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That 'cork joint' has to be replaced every so often. There are three small hidden corks in the octave mechanism that also are important for eliminating lost motion - on each end of the rocking lever and on the center shaft it rocks on. The small 'split' ends of the rocker have a little 'flat' on them with a tiny piece of cork glued on and sanded to fit just right. The center shaft also has a flat on it for a larger piece. 'Blueprinting' a Selmer octave mechanism is very rewarding and done right, it will last for many years. BTW, never 'open' or 'pinch' those split ends - they will break off. Just live with however you find them and adjust the cork thickness to remove free play.
You actually did the hardest job in fitting that thin cork strip. I don't know of anyone who looks forward to replacing it!
 

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That 'cork joint' has to be replaced every so often. There are three small hidden corks in the octave mechanism that also are important for eliminating lost motion - on each end of the rocking lever and on the center shaft it rocks on. The small 'split' ends of the rocker have a little 'flat' on them with a tiny piece of cork glued on and sanded to fit just right. The center shaft also has a flat on it for a larger piece. 'Blueprinting' a Selmer octave mechanism is very rewarding and done right, it will last for many years. BTW, never 'open' or 'pinch' those split ends - they will break off. Just live with however you find them and adjust the cork thickness to remove free play.
You actually did the hardest job in fitting that thin cork strip. I don't know of anyone who looks forward to replacing it!
+1 on every word.
 

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Thanks for your quick responses everyone! Problem solved! There is a small cork wrapped around the lower side of the pivoting piece, between the actual octave thumb key and the the pivot. This was missing. It must have dried up and fallen out recently. I replaced it and all is well. Thanks for your kind suggestions,
RBlooz
All is well that ends well and now at least you know how this contraption works!
 

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All is well that ends well and now at least you know how this contraption works!
The challenging part of adjusting octave mechanisms is to leave enough "free play" so the "joints" move freely, but not so much as to lose the "mechanics" and not have the octave pads open sufficiently. Music Medic has addressed this problem with a "ball joint" attachment he mentions in the description of a Mark VI tenor overhaul.

Next, we will be installing all of our most popular Selmer MKVI tenor modifications. The octave rocker will be modified with expandable teflon balls to make the octave mechanism quiet and free of lost motion.
Curt talked about this in a regional NAPBIRT clinic, but it is still not offered to the public. Perhaps they are still working on it.
 
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