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Discussion Starter #1
My second/backup tenor sax is a YTS-82Z, a nice-sounding horn, responsive, free-blowing (compared to my main sax, not as much to push against with the air stream), a little more brilliant in acoustic timbre than my main sax. I like it except for one complaint, there is a strong tendency for G2 (G with octave key) to either sqwak or not come out cleanly when going from, say, G1/A1 up to G2, or C3/B3 (normal C/B fingering with octave key) down to G2. Not so much from A2 down to G2, or F2/F#2 up to G2. I do not have this tendency on my other two tenors. The only thing I can think of is the mechanical synchronization between closing the octave pip on the neck and opening the octave pip at top of the body tube.

Technicians, have you seen this issue on saxes you've worked on, namely tenors? Any suggestions for diagnosing, potential fixes? Appreciate any feedback. Again, I do not have this issue on my other two tenors; it interferes with my playing since I have to be so mindful of the tendency. Too bad, because the saxophone is otherwise nice-sounding and responsive.
 

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This is a very common complaint. You can do some easy checks to see if you can isolate the problem. Without the octave key, see if both the neck and body octave are shut - lightly push on both to see if they are closed. Now with the octave key, see that the neck octave opens and the body octave does not move. Now finger G2 and see that the body octave opens and the neck octave closes. It's also possible there is a leak in one or both little pads even though they close. They're both hard to see without disassembly but the body octave is basically impossible. Beyond that, the octave vent tubes in both locations can be dirty. Probably you'll end up taking it to the shop regardless of whether you find anything or not because setting up the octave system takes some experience and you don't want to just start bending things.
 

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The most common faults are that an octave vent that should be closed is remaining ever so slightly open, or that one that should be fully open is barely opening at all. (For a tenor sax I would say the vents ought to open around 2 mm more or less.) So check all four states:

Not pressing octave key, finger G# or below - no vents should be open
Not pressing octave key, finger A or above - no vents should be open
Pressing key, finger G# or below - ONLY the body vent open
Pressing key, finger A or above - ONLY the neck vent opn

and you will almost certainly find out which state is out of adjustment. Also check all the transitions between states, because it can occasionally be that there's a momentary hangup in the machinery.

How to adjust it depends on how it's out of adjustment and the specific design of the mechanism. I will say that you are talking about a new and high quality instrument, so that mechanism ought to be slick as owl poop, and all the notes affected ought to speak beautifully and easily.

It's true that vents can get plugged up, I would expect fibers from the case would be the most likely cause. It is also possible, though rare, that the solder joint where the vent tube goes into the horn can be leaking.

At any rate, there is absolutely nothing about that mechanism that can't be fixed/adjusted, and easily, for short money. What you're describing is in no way characteristic. Something's off. If you want to adjust it yourself, do so by changing cork thicknesses rather than bending things, and then anything you do will be easily reversible.
 

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This is an excerpt from a "Do It Yourself Clinic" I did for band directors in my state.

Diagnosing problems with saxophone octave mechanism

Check to see that there is at least a 1/16" gap between the neck octave key ring and the post extending from the body. If there is not, place your thumb between the ring and the body of the neck and then gently push down on the octave key. Should you go too far, place a pad slick or tongue depressor under the pad and carefully push back on the ring until the desired gap is achieved.

To test the octave key adjustment---finger G and forcefully hit the thumb octave key several times watching the neck octave pad. It should not move if in good adjustment. Then finger from G to A while pressing the thumb octave. The neck and body octave keys should alternate opening and closing smoothly and completely.

To check for friction in the octave mechanism, first remove the neck. Then finger G with the octave key and with your free hand move the “post” that extends from the top of the saxophone up and down. It should float freely with no drag or hesitation. If the post does not move freely it indicates something has been bent or that the mechanism needs to be disassembled, cleaned and oiled before reassembly.

Note that sometimes the friction in the system is caused by the quieting material on the post rubbing against the ring. The solution is to replace the material with teflon tube.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you very much for the replies and recommendations. I am going to do the tests all of you recommended, we'll see if it needs a trip to the shop.
 

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As above. There could be poor adjustment &/or some binding in a vital pivot &/or too much friction in a linkage. (New instruments are not immune to these.)

Something to add:
... The only thing I can think of is the mechanical synchronization between closing the octave pip on the neck and opening the octave pip at top of the body tube...
A test to eliminate that possibility: Use a rubber band to hold the neck vent firmly closed, and see if the problem still exists. If it does, then that was not the problem.
(Either way, the problem could still poor adjustment or binding of a pivot or too much friction in a linkage.)

There is another possibility...
Opening an octave vent to play second octave is only an assistant. As with flute, there needs to be subtle changes in breath pressure and lip support. Many players are so used to this that they do not notice they are doing it. The clue that they have to do it is that they cannot tremolo fast between octaves simply wiggling the octave key.
Different acoustic designs and compromises in different brands/models mean that some will need this a little more than others. It is up to the player break old habits and adjust for the instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Following up, since all of you took the time to respond to my request for basic technical diagnostics and fixes on my G2 problem on the sax. My main horn is a Selmer Ref 36 but it is leaking and I have a gig coming up so I pulled out my backup unlacquered 82Z which I got....hmmm....I think around 2006 or 2007? I tend to use the 82Z more for pop horn sections and rock gigs (which I haven't done in years) because I get a punchier/more brilliant tone out of it. A few years ago I switched out the orginal Yamaha G1 (?) neck with a V1 and it opened up the tone. I probably had the G2 issue from the beginning when I switched necks but I went to the Ref 36 for a darker tone for jazz combo playing so I just worked around it and never really addressed it.

I did the tests all of you suggested (thanks for the rubber band suggestion, Gordon). It looks like the primary issue was the lack of gap between the neck octave key ring and the post extending from the body. I (gently) bent the neck octave key ring to get the small gap (looks close to 1/16" to me) and that did the trick, verified with an hour of playing to warm up the horn and fill it with the moisture it will have on a gig. I also lubed all of the linkages with light machine oil (not too much, Q-tipped away any excess) and now I can get G2 consistently when I do fast runs descending from B/Bb. It isn't a distraction any more. Funny, the problem wasn't so noticeable from A2 down to G2 even though A2 plays with open neck octave pip...mainly from B3/Bb3. The 82ZU is a nice-sounding horn and I'm using a larger-chamber/lower-baffle Link-style mouthpiece and getting a fat tone out of it, albeit not as dark as my 36.

This is one of the things I appreciate about SOTW, the willingness of experts in different areas of expertise (from theory, playing to instrument mechanics) to offer assistance. Cheers, everyone.
 
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