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Hello!
I am working on a tenor sax Martin Indiana. I have the following problem. The side B Flat key, has no air loss if I look at it with the light, the pad has good support. The spring has tension and is new. But when playing the saxophone, the key has a vibration and loss.
The key to this Martin model is very long and I think it loses strength to close well.
Any recommendation?? Or has this same inconvenience happened to you?
Thank you
 

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I see what you mean. As far as I know, the only solution is to increase the tension of the spring. Alas, you may come to a point where the key is uncomfortably hard...
 

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The martin committee II that I have owned had the thinnest of the springs that I have ever seen on a saxophone, they were opening on theyr own weight if you held the horn 3/4 upside down.

So, this indiana may have a thin spring to start with and its tension may be enough to close it but not enough to withstand whatever back pressure ( it is not a lot) it receives.

Never heard of this affecting the Bb side key but I have heard of plenty of people having to shut close the alternative side Eb key which is present in many vintage horns from before the ’60 (and some even later).

Replacing the spring seems to be the obvious thing. Give some extra tension can be done but unless you have a lot of experience you risk snapping it and then, depending on where it would snap, it would be even more difficult to replace.

It is not unusual for springs to lose tension and this may heve been cause by some application of heat close to the spring. If the heat travels to the spring it may have lost its action.
 

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If this is one of those real long side Bb keys it probably needs more spring tension. Depending on where the pivot is located, that may make it pretty hard to depress the key touch. Unfortunately, if that's the case it's a function of the mechanical design of the key and would not be easy to change.

I have seen keys with two leaf springs mounted on a common screw to give more strength.

I'm sure a competent repairer could improve this situation for you if you aren't confident getting into it yourself.
 

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Along with spring tension you might look at the pad to see if its old and hard. A softer pad could help assuming spring tension is adequate. These horns were student models which is why they have cheaper construction. The spring test that matters for leakage is the resistance to pull-up at the pad, not resistance to push-down at the operating lever - you have to find the compromise that allows the key to open with reasonable force but prevents it blowing open. Tightening up side play to the extent possible can help too but there's nothing you can do for the flex in the long arm. All in all it can be a multi-faceted fix but the primary factor is definitely spring tension.
 

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Spring tension is a likely culprit. But there are other things to check. Lift the pad slightly off of the tone hole and wiggle it side to side. If you can feel the tube wiggle on the rod, which is very likely on an old horn, then the pad can also vibrate side to side. On an older pad, the tone hole fits in the seat that has been pressed into it. But if the pad wiggles sideways, it is thrown out of the seat a tiny bit. More spring pressure might fix this, but swedging the key tube might also get you there. Or a combination of the two. On some keys, it is almost impossible to get them springed so hard that you notice it when playing (as with palm keys). Super spring pressure might not be noticed on these keys when playing, but it will become obvious from the really deep seat created by excess pressure (as with palm keys) when the pad sits closed. Deep seats get harder to check for leaks when the pads get old. So while lots of spring tension can solve immediate problems, it might cause later problems.

Mark
 

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Also make sure there are no sources of unnecessary friction, eg where the spring contacts the body, and the pivot itself.
 

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I have run across cases where how much curvature you put in a spring is less important than where you put the curvature in relation to the axis of the key. Sometimes when replacing a spring with a thicker one, the key closes more effectively but has a "tubby" feel. That can be sometimes solved by using a spring that is both thicker and longer, but requires unsoldering the spring cradle and moving it to the new position. Repair tech's theme song "Springs Can Really Hang You Up the Most". :)
 

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The "tubby" feel is because of the more dramatic increase in finger pressure required during the travel of the key.
And yes, hugely to do with thickness to length ratio.
It seems to be a factor that the Selmer Mark Vl engineer really got right, but modern manufacturers are often a bit slack about, as if there is no longer a design engineer present, and . For needle springs it can have significant impact on location of posts.
 
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