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Discussion Starter #1
So, I've played the sax for about 6 years now, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I started on my lovable Bundy II, and have recently gotten a Selmer S80. My brother recently gave me his old horn from when he was in band a few years back, and it could be in far better condition.

I knew he had trouble with this horn when he got it (it's quite old), but I didn't realize it until I actually had to play it when my marching horn (the Bundy) was in the shop. (There is no way I'm marching with the Selmer.) We've taken it to two different shops recently, but we can't seem to get it fixed.

It's a King 660. Pretty much any note below an A natural (without the octave key), is VERY difficult to play in comparison to my other horns. It had several other problems that we've fixed, but we can't seem to find out what is wrong with everything from G down. One of the two shops re-aligned the keys and replaced some of the pads, but that didn't seem to do the trick. I can't see any leaks or anything that would hint to the actual problem.

The only problem I can see is where the neck connects to the body. The area around the screw is pretty much warped so that it doesn't fully close around neck. (Though the neck can still go in completely.) Is it possible that this is the problem?

I've heard positive things about the King 660, and would love to actually play this horn. This horn is also my backup in case something happens to one of my other saxes. I can play the lower notes, but it is way too difficult to be normal.

Any suggestions?
 

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If it has a leak where the neck is warped,that would cause all sorts of problems. Have your tech look closely at that.
 

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If you put your sax together and seal the neck joint with a few throws of tight clingfilm or something, you can see if the problem goes away?
 

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The fit of the crook ( or neck ) joint is critical. The tiniest leak at this joint can have a considerable impact on the playability of the instrument, and the effects of such a leak are such as those you've described.
The 'fit' should not be confused with how tight the crook is once the screw is tightened up...it serves only as a locking mechanism and shouldn't be regarded as an aid to sealing the joint.
As suggested, some sort of temporary seal is a good way of testing the joint. You can either try wrapping some clingfilm or plumber's tape around the tenon ( the sleeve on the end of the crook ) before inserting it into the socket, or you can use a grease of some sort to act as a seal. Vaseline works quite well, cork grease too ( remember to clean it all off afterwards ).
Whether it solves the problem or not it sounds like the joint needs some work anyway.

Give it a try and post your findings.

Regards,
 

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What is wrong with leaving cork grease or vaseline on the neck joint ?
 

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What is wrong with leaving cork grease or vaseline on the neck joint ?
It makes a hell of a mess and will eventually work its way down the bore and onto the pads, and you'll have a hard time preventing the crook from moving round when you play.

Regards,
 

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What is wrong with leaving cork grease or vaseline on the neck joint ?
any lubricant on your tenon or reciever if not cleaned off will collect dust and fluff form the inside of your case for example and then act as a grinding paste eventually marring or scratching you tenon and also making it tighter to begin with but looser in the long run.
 

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While the neck/crook fit is important, there may be many other issues. I'd check carefully to see if the octave mechanism is adjusted correctly and /or if the side keys are leaking. I just had an alto in that appeared to be in good shape but didn't play. after closer inspection the neck key pad was worn through and leaking. With the key closed you couldn't tell that there was a hole in the center of the pad.

Find another tech OR tell the ones you went to EXACTLY what your complaint is and in the mean time, don't grease and oil the tenon!
 

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I agree with all of the above.
It could also be a foreign body jammed inside the sax.

The lower part of the neck tenon is what does, or should do the sealing, and should be a firm, very accurate, sealing fit like the tenons on a flute.

The upper part has a completely separate function - clamping. Although it may contribute a little, it never seals because it has a slot cut in it.

If you cannot find a better tech, print this thread and take it to one of your two. Hehe!

BTW, do a blow or suction test on just the neck to see if it seals. It may have a split.
Also check the soldering of the body octave vent.
 

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It's a King 660. Pretty much any note below an A natural (without the octave key), is VERY difficult to play in comparison to my other horns.
Although it's possible that a saxophone is just bad like that, it's extremely rare. Even the worst and cheapest models usually have a pretty good response, if not excellent, especially for notes that aren't so low at all. It's not completely clear if the A note itself is hard or is it completely fine? You later say from G down, but what about G#? If the problem is from G down, first thoroughly check the G# key, the back especially is sometimes hard to see with a leak light because of all the keys in the way, have to look in a specific angle. Another possibility for G and down is maybe the body octave key only seals when the linkage arm from the G key is pressing on it. If G# is also a problem, it's a different story.

Anyway, sounds like a pretty big leak for this drastic change exactly at that spot. Though it could also be a bunch of smaller leaks. Or many small leaks and a big one that affects things mainly from that spot. Or a combination of any number of leaks that for whatever reason affects most from that note and lower.

I'm not sure how it went with the repairers you tried. Were you able to speak with them, explain and/or show the specific problem, they test to confirm, then they can try to find the cause etc. It sounds like a very big problem to miss but who knows...

You also say you can't see any leaks. How did you look for them?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Sorry for disappearing. Too many rehearsals keeping me from my computer.

The G# isn't doing much better. I can go chromatically down from a normal D, but once I start hitting G/G# it gets really difficult to stay in that octave. It's kind of like the octave key is being pressed once I hit the G/G#. I've checked over the octave key and anything connecting to it numerous times, and I don't think it's the octave key. I CAN play the notes still, but it's far too difficult to be normal. Once I hit the low C#, it's pretty much impossible to get an actual tone out. There was a leak in the low Bb that got fixed, and the rod for the low C# was also fixed (it was very loose before), but neither of those fixed that either.

I'm pretty sure at this point it is the crook joint that is the problem. I really didn't notice how warped it looked until looking it over so many times. It took me a while to notice that when I put the neck on, it doesn't close perfectly around the neck. (The neck itself is kind of warped at the base too, I only just noticed that.)

I took a few pictures of the neck area. Not the greatest pictures, but I hope they are clear enough. I'm pretty convinced now that this could be the problem.

http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j23/WWWpeoples/Other/IMAG0049.jpg
http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j23/WWWpeoples/Other/IMAG0052.jpg

Thanks for all of the help so far!
 

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OK, fixing low Bb and C# wouldn't have anything to do with problems from G#. The body octave key could be the problem i.e. closing fine when G key is pressed but having maybe just a crack open without it. Or the neck can definitely be the problem, leaking at the bottom. If whoever you went to claimed fixing the low Bb and C# should help the specific problem you have then it's a bit strange... I guess it's possible they just missed the problem with the neck, but didn't they notice it was still playing so badly...? You need someone who can fix and fit the neck issue but knowing more now it's entirely possible that there are other leaks that weren't fixed either. Maybe if you post where you are others could recommend someone good in your area.
 

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I don't think you're going to get anywhere until the crook joint has been sorted.
There may be other problems with the horn given that two techs have missed that iffy crook joint.
The consensus seems to be "Find a tech who can blow the sax and hear that it's not working - and then fix it".

Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'll have my private lesson teacher look over this horn if I can manage to drag it to school with my other alto. He probably knows the best places in town to take the alto, and I trust his judgment far more than my own when it comes to saxes.

Thanks for all of the help! I learned quite a few new things about my instruments through this, and have a good lead on what is wrong with the sax. I really appreciate this!

I'll give an update next Friday when I see my lesson teacher again, and hopefully post some good news the next time it returns from a shop.
 
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