Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to attempt to describe this situation - thanks for your patience.

There is some play (maybe 1mm or a tad less) with the front F key on my tenor sax, especially noticeable when the high-B key is depressed. I can see that there is a gap between the vertical post on the front F key arm (which is situation in a slot) and the curved arm it contacts, which is attached to the F palm key mechanism. The opening of the high F hole is about the same when both the front F key and the F palm key are pressed.

Is this small amount of play acceptable? The front F key isn't sprung itself, so this minor amount of play allows the front F key to flop around just a tiny bit when the high-B key is pressed. It's at least quiet, though.

Do I care? Sound-wise, things seem fine. I can see where a bit of smooth material added to the curved arm attached to the palm F mechanism would take up this slack, and not result in any appreciable increase in the high F opening between hole and pad (compared to that seen with the palm F). But that might not be the way to go.

There - I probably made no sense. :doubt: Thanks for any suggestions you might have!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
It's not an issue that effects the playability. Does the cork/felt under your high F key touch the B cup when not depressed? If not, you probably notice the F palm key doesn't immediately start to open when you press the front F key. Personally, I set up my personal horns and the ones I work on to not have any play in that area. That way, the palm F opens as fully as it can when fingering a front F.
Hope that makes sense!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It's not an issue that effects the playability. Does the cork/felt under your high F key touch the B cup when not depressed? If not, you probably notice the F palm key doesn't immediately start to open when you press the front F key. Personally, I set up my personal horns and the ones I work on to not have any play in that area. That way, the palm F opens as fully as it can when fingering a front F.
Hope that makes sense!
"Does the cork/felt under your high F key touch the B cup when not depressed?" - yes, no play there, no problem, looks good I think. It's where the short vertical post attached to the front F key arm contacts the curved arm that is part of the separate mechanism that moves the high-F lever that the 1mm gap exists. Harder to describe with words than actually seeing it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,455 Posts
Play in the front F when the B is pressed is very common. On most horns you can adjust it out if you wish but since it can't affect playing its only something you will notice when not playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,498 Posts
I'm going to attempt to describe this situation - thanks for your patience.

There is some play (maybe 1mm or a tad less) with the front F key on my tenor sax, especially noticeable when the high-B key is depressed. I can see that there is a gap between the vertical post on the front F key arm (which is situation in a slot) and the curved arm it contacts, which is attached to the F palm key mechanism. The opening of the high F hole is about the same when both the front F key and the F palm key are pressed.

Is this small amount of play acceptable? The front F key isn't sprung itself, so this minor amount of play allows the front F key to flop around just a tiny bit when the high-B key is pressed. It's at least quiet, though.

Do I care? Sound-wise, things seem fine. I can see where a bit of smooth material added to the curved arm attached to the palm F mechanism would take up this slack, and not result in any appreciable increase in the high F opening between hole and pad (compared to that seen with the palm F). But that might not be the way to go.

There - I probably made no sense. :doubt: Thanks for any suggestions you might have!
The nature of the front high F mechanism makes some play almost inevitable. Most horns prefer the F pad not to open fully when playing front high F but to open fully when playing F with the palm key. A very few instruments have an adjustable slider there that could, with near-infinite pains, be setup to do this, but it's not worth it.

What's more important is that the front F mechanism must allow the F pad to fully close. Given the fact that pads swell and shrink, and pad seats gradually get deeper with age, the best thing is to set it up with a wee bit of lost motion anyway.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
4,983 Posts
Does the cork/felt under your high F key touch the B cup when not depressed? If not, you probably notice the F palm key doesn't immediately start to open when you press the front F key.
The might not be related, but isn't the opposite more likely? If the cork/felt touches the B key, it is more likely that the B key is stopping it and not the front F linkage arm. If it doesn't touch it, it is more likely that the F linkage arm is stopping it, and the F key would start to move immediately when pressing the F key touchpiece.

Of course it's possible that in both cases, the front F touchpiece is actually stopped by its back bumper (which some models have), so wouldn't move the F linkage immediately regardless of whether the touchpiece cork/felt is touching the B key.

Personally, I set up my personal horns and the ones I work on to not have any play in that area. That way, the palm F opens as fully as it can when fingering a front F.
Some players/saxophones combinations require the F key to open much than usual when using the front F lever. This can be achieved with essentially no (or minimal) play by shaping the linkage(s), which isn't always possible for various reasons (inherent design or even time, budget, etc.).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
Joined
·
4,983 Posts
"Does the cork/felt under your high F key touch the B cup when not depressed?" - yes, no play there, no problem, looks good I think. It's where the short vertical post attached to the front F key arm contacts the curved arm that is part of the separate mechanism that moves the high-F lever that the 1mm gap exists. Harder to describe with words than actually seeing it.
It sounds like the front F touchpiece (the part you press) is being stopped by the B key. On some (maybe most) models there are three "stops". The F touchpiece to B key, the F touchpiece to F key linkage and the back of the F touchpiece (bumper against the body).

In theory the F touchpiece should be stopped by its back bumper, with the other areas having a minuscule amount of play. It might even look like it's touching in the linkages too, even when it's not. Then there's the issue of the shape of the linkage and the amount of you want F to open when using front F, so you need to choose the best compromise (or occasionally modify the shape of the linkage if/when possible).

I guess the important question is whether it bothers you?
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
....Some players/saxophones combinations require the F key to open much than usual when using the front F lever. This can be achieved with essentially no (or minimal) play by shaping the linkage(s), which isn't always possible for various reasons (inherent design or even time, budget, etc.).
And I find that some alto (not tenor) saxes are a lot more responsive in the altissimo range if the Front F opens the F key quite a small amount.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,498 Posts
And I find that some alto (not tenor) saxes are a lot more responsive in the altissimo range if the Front F opens the F key quite a small amount.
Ah, now THERE'S an interesting thing to consider. I have noticed that some of my instruments prefer a higher opening and some a smaller opening, but I never thought of correlating it with size. Unfortunately half my instruments are 2000 miles away but it would be interesting to see if there are any commonalities between my two altos of different makes and my two Bb sopranos of different makes, versus my baritone, two tenors, and one alto all of the same make. The sample size is obviously so small that anyone with a scientific background would howl in derision if I tried to present this as an actual "experiment", but it might give an indication, anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, everyone - I think I have my answer. I'm gonna leave it as it is for now - the opening is a bit less with the front F than when using the palm F, and the play is quite minimal and only observed when the B key is depressed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,030 Posts
The saxophone teacher at a local university studied with Eugene Rousseau who prescribed setting the front F to open just a small amount, about 1.5 mm in order to facilitate playing in the altissimo register, in particular high G. I have had several of his students come to me to make that adjustment. Of course at that low a setting the high F fingered that way is extremely stuffy, and the front high E is virtually impossible.

The repair tech with whom I apprenticed designed a front F key that operates both ways---opening the F palm key to allow full venting, and opening it a minimal distance to facilitate the altissimo G which is especially helpful on tenor. Since the mechanism has to be designed to work on each specific make and model of saxophone, it is not possible to mass produce, and so is a bit expensive to make by hand. 3D printing might someday open the possibility of making them in a more cost effective fashion. Front F Altissimo G Key for Saxophone
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,952 Posts
I 'll jump in just to agree that indeed the front(aux) F often prefers a small opening. I learned this from my Eugene Rousseau book. Reason being the F is an overtone of A (don't ask me why it's a minor 6th, probably due to truncated cone)

But the point being because of this the F hole is acting not as a normal tone hole (like it does with the palm F) but just as a vent to "kickstart" the overtone in the same way as an octave pip does for the normal upper register.

In my Rousseau book he mentions a modification to make it just crack open slightly for front F while keeping full opening for palm F.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Interesting stuff, guys! My personal experience (and preference) is to *try* to have the palm key F open equally (if possible) when using the front F fingering. I also prefer it opens as much as possible to have the front F speak as clearly and quickly as possible, not to mention (as saxoclese said) to allow the "front E" to be even remotely playable! I've never had any problems producing a full, clear and responsive altissimo G on tenor with having the front F key open the palm F as close to as full as the palm key itself would open.
For alto, I don't use the front F for an altissimo G. If this makes sense, the fingering I've always used for altissimo G on alto is LH: 1, 3 RH 1, side Bb. On alto, I don't use the front F key until altissimo D......which I rarely play!

As always, different strokes for different folks!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,889 Posts
some modern horns offer the possibility to regulate the front F opening independently from the palm. Some of the older front F mechanics are not mechanically very strong.

Regulation by means of felt has the potential to be dislodged or changing in time. This is an area that I am not very happy with on my Super 20, where I too, would prefer the front F to open less than it does.

My feeling is that front F regulation gets less critical with the growing of the size. So I have found some of the most precise mechanisms to regulate this action on sopranos such as the Keilwerth SX 90 II that I have owned, which, altogether, has to be one of the most complex mechanics that I’ve ever seen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,498 Posts
I find that the degree of opening the front F also has a significant effect on intonation of front high E and F.

My experience has been that G does come out a bit easier with a small opening of the F pad, but I am not a strong altissimo player; someone who is might well no longer experience this. It's kind of like high E on flute. Since I started out on flute (pre-split-E days) and spent many hours in my youth working on transitions to and from various third octave notes, I don't need a split E, can't tell a lick of difference between having it and not having it. But a newbie to the third octave of the flute is likely to notice the effect of the split E very strongly. Same thing, probably, with me and the high G on saxophone.

I also note that Rousseau does the common thing of assuming that everyone on earth is playing the same make and model of saxophone as he is; "such and such vent key is used on the soprano though not on alto or tenor [and of course baritone sax simply doesn't exist, nor bass sax]..." Well, I am willing to be that if you're choosing from amongst a Holton soprano or Yamaha 62R, a Selmer Super Action 80 alto vs. a Buescher True Tone, or a Yamaha 62 tenor vs. a King Zephyr, you'll find more variation than that.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top