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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My buddy, who plays tenor, fried the ulnar (?) nerve in his right arm. He's been through surgeries in attempt to repair damage, but the bottom line is he cannot use his right pinky.

I was chatting with him yesterday and suggested he might try an old horn with Fork Eb and he thought the fingering would work for him. Unfortunately, that doesn't address low C.

Has anyone run into a similar issue? I've been trying to think of more simple solutions since he doesn't have lots of money to throw at it. Maybe reversing the spring on C, but that introduces other problems. He really can't use his pinky at all.

I'd love to find a solution that doesn't involve him switching to a brass instrument! 馃檪 Thoughts and advice are greatly appreciated! Thanks!
 

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One possible solution for this would be to put a sort of system resembling the bassoon thumb keys that would be activated by the right thumb. Like there are some baritone low A saxes that the low A has a right thumb key.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting idea, thanks! Along those lines, if he gets a horn with fork Eb to resolve that fingering, could we basically remove the regular Eb pinky touch (not the whole thing) and extend the low C touch all the way up under his palm?

Edit: Actually, we wouldn';t need to remove Eb, just run the Low C extension under it, right?

Edit 2: Perhaps we could avoid switching to a horn with fork Eb by shortening the Eb touchpiece and running an extension parallel to the low C extension up under the palm? I guess this would be roughly similar to LH palm keys. Would that work? I鈥檓 trying to conceptualize how that would feel to play.
 

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It depends, because if you extend the low C key and pass it under the Eb key, you'll probably have troube with the mechanism hitting the Eb lever. But it seems doable to be used with the palm. The palm key extension couldn't be just extended directly from the key, because if he would try to press with his palm down, the C key wouldn't come down with it, but bend. So maybe something like an old clarinet left pinky action, where the key you press raises another lever wich in turn brings the key down.
 

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The problem with the palm keys you're trying to conceptualize is that they would probably be in the way of using the normal right hand palm keys.

Another option I'm possible seeing is adding a sort of bis key to the Eb, like the bis key for Bb, but that would probably work better with the fork Eb
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Hmm... True. Although I think he's on an old Bundy I, so no high F# and perhaps he could sacrifice side F# for the extensions.

The bis idea is an interesting thought. Thanks for helping brainstorm, this guy's a really good dude and I want to help him out.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I just got an email from my tech, it turns out he did a mod about 25 years ago for a girl who lost her right pinky!

I will share these ideas with him and let him work his magic. He suspects about $150 worth of work based on what he recalls from the last job.

I cannot wait to tell my friend! Thanks again for the ideas, I love mechanical challenges like this but have little experience to know what is feasible on a sax.
 

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I wrenched my pinky very badly and had it immobilized.
with the right sort of splint, customized, strapped in, I was able to sort of lean and push with my hand/wrist to push down the key with the splint.
Could not really feel anything, and had to do a lot of trial and error.
Non slick tape on the end of the metal tip. I got used to it.

I am certain that this is NOT the same thing as nerve damage, but perhaps someone reading this might take up the notion and make something work.
 

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Good ideas posted here.

I think the Fork Eb-equipped horn is the solution, along with either Kreacher's idea of a right thumb trigger extension from the C key.....or your idea of a C extension operated by the base of the RH palm.

Those are the two most direct solutions.

They are also not incredibly complex key mods to rig up, really.....so $150 yeah that sounds about where a reasonable tech would price it....

The only other thought I had was, on a horn with the Eb Fork, adding a touch adjacent to the D touch which can be 'rolled' to in order to activate the C. This new touch would not only activate the C, but also keep the D key closed. This might (or might not) be TOO much responsibility to be putting on the RH ring finger, tho....
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, guys! The extension by the D sounds interesting as well. I guess part of the solution will be what works best for his hand size/shape.

He describes the nerve damage as sensitive to both movement AND touch. He can鈥檛 even put a glove on his hand anymore. Sounds like nightmare.
 

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Crap, that's really horrible....:cry:....perhaps down the road some alternative therapy (acupuncture ?) may be worth a try to at least alleviate pain.....
 
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