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Discussion Starter #1
I just ordered a set of the soft pads from music medic for my 1932 Conn tenor. Instead of just ordering a set with the flat resos installed, I measured clearance for each tone hole and got the biggest flat metal reso possible for each hole. I left 3mm at least clearance all the way around. Now I'm a little nervous about the resos impeding the amount of pad floating I am able to do. I will take my time adjusting the cups to the tone holes and the rolled tone holes seem relatively flat (I can't see any distortion that should cause problems).

The other thing I am a little nervous about is making the horn overly loud or bright. I think I'm probably just being paranoid and everything will be great but I thought I'd see if anyone here has played this sort of reso set-up before.
 

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If the key cups are not perfectly centered over the toneholes, oversize resos can be a problem. There is some leeway to adjust the cups from right to left, but front to back is only possible with major surgery on the keys. I have never installed oversize resos myself, but I have read where others who do so take into account the location of the seats on the old pads to help decide how large they can go. There is also a guy who sells resos that are made to stick to the face of the pad using an adhesive of some type. That way they do not need to be centered in order to get the most coverage possible. My concern with these types of resos would be the effects of their certain vibrations being loosely attached to just the leather covering the pad.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, I went by the old seats for my measurements. There were a few keys that I can adjust right to left but like you said, some were off-center front to back so not much can be done there.

They had flat metal/rivet in 4mm increments so I picked the largest reso that would fit each cup leaving at least 3mm of clearance all the way around. I was reading that some people go as little as .8mm but that seems insane to me.
 

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Why do it in the first place?-what's to gain? These horns have a huge full tone already the main reason people still buy 'em nearly 90years after the last one rolled off the line in Elkhart.
This over size resonator/reflector craze is quack science and hype-sorry to be so dismissive but your'e wasting your money IMO.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Why do it in the first place?-what's to gain? These horns have a huge full tone already the main reason people still buy 'em nearly 90years after the last one rolled off the line in Elkhart.
This over size resonator/reflector craze is quack science and hype-sorry to be so dismissive but your'e wasting your money IMO.
I hear what you're saying, but I'm not wasting any money here. I'm just sizing each resonator proportionate to the tone hole. This literally cost me less than a dollar or two total to custom order resos for the whole horn. I have no interest in your quack science argument regarding resonators.
 

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Dr. Pauline Eveno's study of saxophone pad resonators found that plastic and metal give virtually the same response and cannot be differentiated by players in a blind study. The study also found that pads without a "cover" absorbed more sound energy than pads with resonators and that players could hear and feel a difference between the two. Although resonators of different sizes were not used in the study it is logical to conclude that the greater the "reflective surface" the less energy is lost as the sound wave comes in contact with the softer material of the pad. This would have a cumulative effect on "long tube" notes, but how significant a difference it makes is anyone's guess at this point. It should also be noted that on open tone holes the presence or lack of a pad resonator makes no significant difference as the sound wave is emitted through the tone hole.
 

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I have a Conn transitional that was set up by music medic with custom cut metal reso’s with virtually no clearance between reso and pad. Recently I had a chance to A/B it against four recently overhauled Conn’s including another tranny and a 30m, all with stock sized reso’s.

My horn was definitely louder and brighter than the others to such an extent that the other horns actually sounded stuffy in comparison. I was thinking it was the reso’s but then noticed how much more open the pad heights were on my horn than the others I played.
 

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... The other thing I am a little nervous about is making the horn overly loud or bright...
I suspect that the effect of larger resonators would be for a louder, brighter sound.
And seeing that manufacturers do not do this, louder and brighter than manufacturers deem their customers to want???

So why are you doing it?
 

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I suspect that the effect of larger resonators would be for a louder, brighter sound.
And seeing that manufacturers do not do this, louder and brighter than manufacturers deem their customers to want???

So why are you doing it?
You have touched on one of my "pet peeves". That is taking a vintage Conn that was designed to play with a warm, mellow tone that was the style when it was made, and then choosing a high baffle mouthpiece and oversize resonators to force it to have the loud, bright, edgy sound of a modern saxophone. Why not just buy a modern saxophone that was designed for that sound and let the vintage sax be what it was meant to be?
 

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You have touched on one of my "pet peeves". That is taking a vintage Conn that was designed to play with a warm, mellow tone that was the style when it was made, and then choosing a high baffle mouthpiece and oversize resonators to force it to have the loud, bright, edgy sound of a modern saxophone. Why not just buy a modern saxophone that was designed for that sound and let the vintage sax be what it was meant to be?
To me, the old Conns are very loud indeed, but not real bright.

I use middle of the road mouthpieces (Meyer is my main piece on alto tenor and baritone) and never have had the least trouble being heard with a Conn sax.

Frankly I think they are a lot louder than most modern saxes. I think what's really happening is that the modern Selmer copy saxes, in order to have a more "focused" sound (whatever that means) and improved intonation, have given up a bit of volume, so they have been scaled to play well in tune with small chamber high baffle grass cutter pieces that people use in the hope of being heard; and people use those. Thus the "bright cutting modern sound".
 

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You have touched on one of my "pet peeves". That is taking a vintage Conn that was designed to play with a warm, mellow tone that was the style when it was made, and then choosing a high baffle mouthpiece and oversize resonators to force it to have the loud, bright, edgy sound of a modern saxophone. Why not just buy a modern saxophone that was designed for that sound and let the vintage sax be what it was meant to be?
It's a totally removable mod. No saxophones were harmed in the application of oversized resonators.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm not really maximizing the size so I guess it's debatable whether or not what I'm doing is over sizing. Most things I've read from people over sizing are shooting for 1mm give or take clearance. I opted to go keep at least 3mm clearance and some will have more clearance because I could only order increments in 4mm. I suspect I might be doing what some techs might do anyways when installing resos (picking a size compatible with each tonehole).

If figure if I'm going to do this, I might as well take everything in consideration. I don't think what I'm doing qualifies as "hot rodding" but others may disagree.

I'll update this thread to weigh in on how I think it turns out. Maybe I'll post a sound clip.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thought I'd update with my experiences here. I finished the overhaul a couple days ago. It was more involved than any other horn I've worked on so far. This tenor had a lot of loose key work, so I needed to swage nearly every key and then use a hinge tube shortener to fit all the keys so they move freely but have no play. That was a long and finicky process but was worth it. The action now is slick and quiet.

So the resos went in no problem. The pads were a chore to float for sure, required a lot of pushing and pulling with a dental pick as the shellac was cooling. Several of the toneholes were not as flat as I initially assumed, but with some patience, I got them all sealing nicely.

Long story short is this horn sounds amazing! I've been playing it head-to-head with my 1936 Aristocrat which also has a new overhaul. The Conn has a warmer, throaty-er, more spread and voluptuous sort of vibe while the Aristocrat has a more focused refined kind of vibe. Both horns are bold and loud but the Conn can be a bit louder. Both have good intonation,,, the Aristocrat is very precise, slotted, and even while the Conn seems a bit more flexible pitch-wise. If I decide I need to sell one it would be one helluva tough decision. They are very different but equally as good IMO.

The Conn can sound can be a but more seductive but I will give a slight nudge to the Aristocrat for comfort. It is so slick and comfortable under the fingers. The Conn seems a little less comfy but I think it can be improved greatly by tweaking the set-up (key heights and spring tension, etc). That strap hook and right hand thumb rest are begging to be moved.
 

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So the resos went in no problem. The pads were a chore to float for sure, required a lot of pushing and pulling with a dental pick as the shellac was cooling. Several of the toneholes were not as flat as I initially assumed, but with some patience, I got them all sealing nicely.
Since you did all of that painstaking key fitting work, I'm curious as to why didn't you level the toneholes as well. If done properly, it can even be done on rolled toneholes.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Since you did all of that painstaking key fitting work, I'm curious as to why didn't you level the toneholes as well. If done properly, it can even be done on rolled toneholes.
I'd rather shim and float the pads than start hammering around the body tube. It's a little finicky getting a real good seal on some of them, but with some patience you can make it right. I don't have the right tools to manipulate the rolled tone holes even if I wanted too.
 

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I didn't see this thread until your repad was done. Glad it was just tedious and not disastrous.

When the resonator isn't centered up and down (or back and forth) on the tone hole, that isn't an insurmountable problem. Usually it is the back and forth that some believe to be difficult/impossible to fix. But that is if you think that you have to shorten or lengthen the key arm to center the pad, when actually what you want is to center the resonator. Order the pad and resonator separately (or remove the resonator.) Then, don't use the punched hole in the pad, as it is centered. Punch a new, off-center hole. If the new hole is close to the old hole, you could end up with a "figure eight" shaped hole that will make re-riveting the pad difficult. Also, if you "unrivet" a pad and use it again, the little metal "fingers" of the rivet that you bent back in order to remove it might break off when splayed out again. If you use a new rivet, you will need a rivet punch to not mangle it during install. Finally, you have to orient the pad properly in the key cup to take advantage of the off-center resonator. Just saying that the project is delicate but doable. And that is still much simpler than adjusting the length of a key cup arm.

3 mm pad to tone hole is about as close as I feel comfortable with. On a recent project, I wasn't worried about maximizing reso coverage, so where I saw the old resos were off center and really close to the tone hole, I just put on SMALLER (Oh no!) resos for those pads, as shown at the very end of this blog. The reason was that the reso tends to pull the leather close to it down like a funnel (that's why you can see an impression in the leather in the blog pictures where the reso had been removed from the new pads). If the reso is really close to the chimney in one area, it makes the leather surface not really flat. So the tone hole might be flat, and the majority of the pad surface is flat, but the pad really close to a resonator isn't.

Mark
 
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