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The middle D sometimes sounds suppressed and sometimes seems like the reed closes up. Took it to two repairman, one with a great reputation, but not not fixed. I'm beginning to think that the issue is with the left side bell keys resting against my leg - they are not physically touching my leg or pants due to the metal bars around the keys, but maybe the airflow is impeded. Also, the octave on the top of the sax tube, not the one on the neck, opens about 70% of the way. Anyone else have this issue? How was it fixed? I really like the horn but cannot use it on a job the way that it is. Thanks!
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Leaks. Also look at the low C key to see if its not open enough - should be about 10mm to 1/2".
 

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The left side bell key "muffling the sound" is a myth that was used to justify the change to mounting them on the outside, which was done for mechanical reasons.

I guarantee you that my Conn 10M which has the bell keys on the inside does not have a muffled sound on the low notes.

Nope, you've got a leak, or an octave vent not closing when it should, or a low C key set too closed.
 

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Open the low C# while playing the note in question. It'll probably go way sharp, but if its projection and clarity improve, you've got a pad height problem on the C key.
 

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The D1 and D2 on saxophones "vent" primarily through the low C key opening, and also the low B opening to a lesser extent. That can be proven by playing D2 and closing the B key. It lowers the pitch slightly and changes the timbre of the note. That note (D) is one that Curt Altarac calls "under-vented". That means simply that the open tonehole (C) that vents the note is followed by a closed tonehole (C#). Toneholes that vent under-vented notes are often made larger than those that surround it for example G which vents the under-vented note A. Opening the C# will improve the D on all saxophones because of this acoustic principle. Opening the low C as much as possible is the only "mechanical" solution that I am aware of. Alternate fingering solutions include the one previously mentioned, and substituting opening the D palm key for opening the body octave vent. Other issues that can add to the stuffy sound of D2 are a leak at the neck tenon, a leak in one of the side keys, or a leak in the Eb key.
 

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. . . . Toneholes that vent under-vented notes are often made larger than those that surround it for example G which vents the under-vented note A. Opening the C# will improve the D on all saxophones because of this acoustic principle. Opening the low C as much as possible is the only "mechanical" solution that I am aware of. Alternate fingering solutions include the one previously mentioned, and substituting opening the D palm key for opening the body octave vent. Other issues that can add to the stuffy sound of D2 are a leak at the neck tenon, a leak in one of the side keys, or a leak in the Eb key.
Ah! I’ve often wondered why the upper stack tone holes don’t get consistently larger. If I’d thought about it harder it might have occurred to me.

FWIW my first Buescher horn - and first tenor sax - was a split-bell “Wurlitzer” stencil with such a stuffy low D note I almost always played it with the low C# open, or opening the palm D. The problem was substantially eliminated by opening the low C. IIRC also there was a pretty thick pad installed for C & my tech swapped it for a thinner one.
 
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