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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok smart kids, I have a question for you.

I have read and searched the fora (fora? is that the plural of forum?) and read a lot of posts....but....

I am curious as to the WHY behind the abandonment of opposing bell keys.

I think they look neat. Kind of like your saxophone is waving at or clapping for you.

The when appears to be in the 1930's or so, but the why I cannot find.

Can anyone illuminate the darkness for me?

thanks
dv

ps, I unfortunately do not have ANY of the saxophone history books otherwise I would have scoured those before posting here.
 

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I don't know for sure why it was changed, but it could be intonation issues. I think it may have happened in 1933-35, but then I could be wrong. I know it wasn't before '32 because I once owned an Alto from '32 that had split bell keys.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If it was intonation, why abandon the idea? Why not just repostition or resize the holes?

I realise it is a moot point, but I want to satisfy my curiosity.

'sall good, thanks for the replies.

dv
 

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I suspect it had something to do with the ease of the mechanism arising from both bell pads being on one side. I could be wrong, though.

My '32 Selmer Cigar Cutter has both bell pads on the left side. DAVE
 

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A few good arguments "as to why", if you drop down past the first few postings on this archived topic -

http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/archive/index.php/t-7267.html

and even better is this one from the 'Manufacturing' archives -

http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/archive/index.php/t-22782.html

I think they both say it all, unless you can actually find anyone still alive who was working in sax manufacturing in the 30's ? Start combing those retirement homes now...

I'd go for easier production/mechanics, also note that the four lowest bell notes are now usually on the side of the sax that isn't normally towards the body, and also leaving them uppermost when laid in the case (no water draining onto the pads...). But then, my 60's Magna, like Dave's '30's Cigar Cutter, has both low bell pads on the left, towards the body when played at the side.
 

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MartinMangler said:
Having played one for a few years, the answer is simple: they catch your clothing.
No, not really... My Martin Magna alto has both bell keys on the 'clothes side' - opposite side from modern horns - and I've never had a problem standing or sitting. Having said that, it does have a very effective B/Bb 'guard'.

No problems will all my 'opposing' C-Mels either, and I'm well built and often wear loose clothing...
 

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davevillajr said:
If it was intonation, why abandon the idea? Why not just repostition or resize the holes?

I realise it is a moot point, but I want to satisfy my curiosity.

'sall good, thanks for the replies.

dv
I seriously doubt that it is intonation. I know at least four people on a professional level, and some unprofessional that play bueschers and conns, and one who plays a martin.

What do you guys think the best players of all time played on before the sixes? What did Jackie McLean, and Lester young later play on? :cool: :D

I believe that it was probably to be more ergonomical, but is why I don't understand why they made the Top Hat & Cane the way they did.

-Ian
 

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I have played about every sax there is, (literally speaking about models that is) and I have never had my clothes caught by any with this pattern of bell keys. Just be more gentle with the horn Mangler. Even when I am jumping around on stage playing solos, (like seriously, I go crazy), I have never had that problem.
 
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