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Forum Contributor 2014-2016
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody,
This week I bought me a Buescher 400 TH&C. Wow! (Why do other saxes exist?:lol:)
I double with tenor Bauhaus-Walstein M2S and I find its sound more matching than with my BW M2S alto. Moreover for me, the resistance in blowing both horns is more the same (mouthpieces Lawton 7*BB on alto and tenor).
Low notes on the TH&C are slimmer than on the Bauhaus however the low C# is a bit muffled. In my opinion this is because the key is not open enough. Does somebody heave the same experience and how to cure this? Could it have something to do with the thickness of the cork under the G# key (arrow on picture)? Thank you for responding.
 

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If the cause of the muffled C# is insufficient opening in the C# cup, there are three places to look; the felt stopper on the top of the C# cup, the cork on the G# "ledge" that allows the C# touch to work the G#, and the cork under the G# touch arm itself (which you identified with the arrow).
-If the felt stopper is too thick- easy to see as you work the mechanism and look- adjustment is easy to effect with no side effects. Since the mechanism on a 400 pushes the C# open as you press the touch it'd have to be some pretty mean felt but stranger things have happened.
-If the cork on the ledge is too thick then the C# touch would push down on the G# via the ledge more than it should and that would limit the C# opening. (It would also have the potential to hold the G# slightly open all the time- which does not seem to be an issue) I'd leave it alone. If too thin you'll get an irritating "double strike" as you use the C# and then, part way through the travel, it starts to engage the G#.
-If the limiting factor in C# touch travel and key opening is the cork under the G# and not the felt, you can thin this cork out pretty easily using a strip of say 400 grit sandpaper (rough side up!) under the touch to thin the cork. But as you thin it you make it more and more likely that you'll get an irritating thunk as you play G# and the key whacks against the closure from the F# cup. I always adjust this to just barely graze that closure arm when the G# is fully depressed to avoid just that.

The opening on your C# cup does appear to be slightly smaller than that on my 400, which has no such C# issue, so a too small opening could potentially be the cause. There's also the potential "mouthpiece matching" issue- though my 400 has always been pretty mouthpiece friendly.

But before I went sanding corks and trimming felts (you can always sand and trim thinner- it's more challenging to sand and trim thicker...) I'd follow Mr. Dolson's advice and check for slight leaks mid stack. As a quick check on the G# holddown; play a C and then finger the G# touch while doing so. If there's a small leak you'll hear the slight change in tone.

Good luck.
 

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How are low C and B? If the Low C is also bad, then it cold be that the B and Bb pads are too closed. If the B is bad, it could be the above mentioned G# leak. I suspect the C# is just not opening enough. You can put a wedge (reed?) into the keywork to force the pad to be open a bit more and try it. From the photos, this looks like the problem.
 

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Forum Contributor 2014-2016
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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you, with the suggestions you made I found out what is causing the problem. As mentioned in Stephen Howard's review of the Buescher TH&C (http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Buescher_400.htm) the action of the C# key works fine “as long as there's not too much wear in the bridge key barrels”. Also in his manual (excellent!) he mentions the problems with the parallel point screws also used with this sax . I found that the play is too much; when holding the instrument upside down while keeping the low C# key pressed the opening on cup is about 3mm's larger due to the weight of the cup (and the sound OK!).
Now I “only” have to solve this!
 

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I take it the play is in the pivots of the cross link between the yoke arm on the end of the C# touch rod and the yoke arm on the hinge tube with the C# cup?

Spring strength wouldn't have as helpful an effect here as it might were the issue just play in the pivot screws at the rod ends where increased spring pressure would take up play by keeping the rod end pressed against the pivot screw (cylindrical in the 400 alto's I've worked on). With the connecting link, the effect on the cup not opening far enough would be caused because the slop in the two ends, taken up when the C# spring is pulling the cup closed, has to be fully compensated for in the other direction as the C# touch is depressed and the forces on the two plain bearings ("simple holes" in the link ends with an end threaded rod going thorough them from one side of the yoke, through the link, to the other side of the yoke ) change from pulling to pushing. The slop (from both ends) would have to be taken up before any opening force was applied to the C# cup.

I'd think the easiest fix would be to unscrew the two short rods and remove the link, partialy fill in the pivot holes at each end (I'd think a hard solder would be your best bet- you could screw around with epoxy/ super glue but it'd probably wear pretty darned fast and this both ought to be done right and can be done right in very little time) and then drill them out to a nice play free fit over the rods.

While you could consider it, I don't think that it would be particularly amenable to using some sort of tubing in there as a bushing. It'd probably be more trouble than filling and drilling in the end.

Reassemble and voila.

This presumes that that is where the play is and that that is (as seems likely from your description) the problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Bruce Bailey: A stronger spring won't solve the problem because the player forces the cup to open, the spring is there for bringing it in the closed position. Henry D: There is indeed a slop in the end of the rod (hardly noticable). I do not trust myself however in flilling the hole and drill a new one, my equipment is also not suited for that purpose. I will ask a friend who is a mechanical engineer to do the job. Thank you both!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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I make a new screw with OS pivot "nose" after reaming the key true round. Or, fit the post with a modern pivot cone screw wich can be adjusted for wear, this is a second instance and only when the horn has seen a lot of action and it's so neglected that the OS required in the pivoting nose is larger than the threads bottom.
 

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My Crat I tenor has a similar issue: low C# can be airy or turbulent even tho the cup opens to ample height. I can feel the G# RH trill mechanism engaging, but the G# cup stays (at least visibly) closed. Low D and C are both fine. What's going on?
 

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you're having a timing issue. Check this: if you play E - D - C (wich you say are fine) and pop open the G# lever do they gurgle too?
 
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