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Yesterday, I was working on a friend's YAS-475. He was complaining about increased resistance and decreased response. Sure enough, the timing on his lower stack keys were off causing some significant leaks. The issue was simple to fix as it just required a few strategic turns on his lower stack adjustment screws. The process may have taken 2 minutes. It then dawned on me that a similar repair on my SA80 would take about 10 times that, as there are no lower stack adjustment screws on that horn. Cutting, shaping, and gluing corks that are of proper height takes time. So that got me wondering. Has anyone ever fabricated a stack key adjustment mechanism for a horn that lacked this feature? Has anyone ever drilled into the rods in order to duplicate this feature? And mind you, I'm not looking to do this to my own horn as I'm lacking the necessary tools and knowledge of advanced metal work to even attempt this. This is purely just an inquiry.
 

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I have done this on my Conn 12M baritone as the adjustments on that horn are particularly difficult to access - instead of having a bar in the back that works with the key feet, the bars run under the front and work off the key arms between the tube and the key cup. (Except where they don't.)

You can't just go drilling and tapping things because you'll weaken things. You have to add bosses that are threaded for the adjustment screws, and pads for the adjustment screws to bear against. The screws need to be big enough to stay properly in place and for whatever slightly resilient material they bear against not to quickly become indented from the end of the screw.

It took me a long time to complete the installation and a lot of fiddling but the end result was quite satisfactory. I would hesitate to ever do it again.
 

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Yesterday, I was working on a friend's YAS-475. He was complaining about increased resistance and decreased response. Sure enough, the timing on his lower stack keys were off causing some significant leaks. The issue was simple to fix as it just required a few strategic turns on his lower stack adjustment screws. The process may have taken 2 minutes. It then dawned on me that a similar repair on my SA80 would take about 10 times that, as there are no lower stack adjustment screws on that horn. Cutting, shaping, and gluing corks that are of proper height takes time. So that got me wondering. Has anyone ever fabricated a stack key adjustment mechanism for a horn that lacked this feature? Has anyone ever drilled into the rods in order to duplicate this feature? And mind you, I'm not looking to do this to my own horn as I'm lacking the necessary tools and knowledge of advanced metal work to even attempt this. This is purely just an inquiry.
My mentor in repair showed me how to make this tool which is used to bend key feet up or down to adjust regulation without screws. The one I use has strips of roo pad leather glued to it to prevent making marks on keys. It takes a bit of practice to learn to use and it does not work on every saxophone due to blocked access to the key foot. Bending the foot gives more reliable regulation than building up layers of cork since the cork can compress over time.

View attachment 236746
 

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This is very neat, almost like a crochet needle on steroids. Nice tool! I can see how it would require a bit of practice but I can also see how this could be used for a real precision alignment.

Thanks for posting.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My mentor in repair showed me how to make this tool which is used to bend key feet up or down to adjust regulation without screws. The one I use has strips of roo pad leather glued to it to prevent making marks on keys. It takes a bit of practice to learn to use and it does not work on every saxophone due to blocked access to the key foot. Bending the foot gives more reliable regulation than building up layers of cork since the cork can compress over time.

View attachment 236746
That's a good idea! For quick adjustments on my own horn, I've been creating small tapered cork wedges. The advantage is that I can fine tune the adjustment height by pushing the wedge into the keywork a bit further. The disadvantage is that there is less surface area on the cork for the key to work with, thus the cork is more prone to wear. I've offset this somewhat by pre-compressing the cork with a mallet. The results seem to be holding up to frequent use pretty well. I'll have to give a tool like this some thought as I'm always apprehensive to bending metal, but I can certainly see the advantages.

Turf3 said:
I have done this on my Conn 12M baritone as the adjustments on that horn are particularly difficult to access - instead of having a bar in the back that works with the key feet, the bars run under the front and work off the key arms between the tube and the key cup. (Except where they don't.)

You can't just go drilling and tapping things because you'll weaken things. You have to add bosses that are threaded for the adjustment screws, and pads for the adjustment screws to bear against. The screws need to be big enough to stay properly in place and for whatever slightly resilient material they bear against not to quickly become indented from the end of the screw.

It took me a long time to complete the installation and a lot of fiddling but the end result was quite satisfactory. I would hesitate to ever do it again.
I figured that drilling would weaken the rods, which is another reason why I wouldn't do that type of mod myself. Now with adding a mechanism to the mechanism, did you notice any change in the horn's feel or action. I also figured that adding a mechanism around keywork would change the key leveraging to at least some degree.
 

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Bending does not take much longer than turning a screw.
(Note that manufacturers do not adjust by tweaking cork thickness, because they are always all the same thickness. What I really hate is a laminate of several pieces of cork. The more glue joints, the lower the reliability.)
The important thing is to bend slightly too far and then back to a stable state.

I have installed adjusting screws but only on the F# arm to Bb & G#
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bending does not take much longer than turning a screw.
(Note that manufacturers do not adjust by tweaking cork thickness, because they are always all the same thickness. What I really hate is a laminate of several pieces of cork. The more glue joints, the lower the reliability.)
The important thing is to bend slightly too far and then back to a stable state.

I have installed adjusting screws but only on the F# arm to Bb & G#
I'm guilty of throwing on those thin pieces of cork in the past, and ended up knocking them out and replacing them with brand new pieces. Nothing bad happened in my case, but I had the same concerns about having multiple layers of cork and glue.

John, that tool seems pretty straightforward, and putting on a bumper material to prevent marring makes total sense. Do either you, or Gordon have any videos, or further readings on how and where to bend? I'm still a little unclear on the technique, and certainly don't want to make blind guesses here.
 

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For lower stack key linkagess:
To lever the "foot" down, I press hard on the back of the key cup, closing it, with my thumb, and push the bottom of the key-stop to bend it. I press it with a "pusher" made of polycarbonate - timber would do - so as not to hurt my fingers!
To lever the foot up, I simply use a couple of digits to push up on the key cup, with my fingers/thumbs as close to the pivot as they can get, on both sides, so as not to upset the alignment of the key cup/pad assembly.
Of course I always "bend" too far and then back to a stable, hence reliable state. And to do this well needs a lot of experience/familiarity working with the metals involved.
I use a range of tools for adjusting key cup alignment (with tone holes), prior to adjusting linkages. Some of these tools can assist with adjusting non-lower-stack linkages.

Why I don't adjust by changing cork thickness:
The cork has to damp noise (and possibly key bounce) while at the same time reliably and accurately transferring motion.
If I select a material and given thickness as a best compromise for both of these, then I don't want to compromise that choice by altering the thickness.
The thinner the material, the noisier. The thicker the material, the less accurate is transfer of motion.
And the best materials do not take kindly to being sand papered.
And if I have chosen to use a high grade, synthetic, dense felt, laminating more stuff to it is about the last thing I want to do, because of glue issues.
 

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BTW for those Yamaha stack-key linkage-adjusting screws: I use them only for very minute adjustments, say 1/10 of a turn or less.
That is because they also adjust for lost motion in the linkage to F#, and I do not want to compromise that.

For most of the adjustment I use minute geometry-tweak adjustment, otherwise known as bending.
iMO those who think "bending " is a dirty word need to get over it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Gordon, that makes a lot of sense. Anticipating, and compensating for the elastic rebound of the particular brass alloy of any given horn seems to be the most difficult concept to nail down. Now, maybe I'm mistaking, but doesn't repeated bending of the keywork make it less malleable, and more rigid and brittle? Is that also something that one has to anticipate through repeated adjustments of this nature?
 

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...Now, maybe I'm mistaking, but doesn't repeated bending of the keywork make it less malleable, and more rigid and brittle?
Yes. Brass behaves similarly to copper. But try repeatedly bending copper wire until it reaches a point where it is brittle enough to break.
You need to bend it hundreds of times further than a typical sax key bend, and repeat that bending dozens of times.
So you have little hope of making much difference to a sax key unless you deliberately bend it a very long way, many times.
So this is not an issue.
 

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My mentor in repair showed me how to make this tool which is used to bend key feet up or down to adjust regulation without screws. The one I use has strips of roo pad leather glued to it to prevent making marks on keys. It takes a bit of practice to learn to use and it does not work on every saxophone due to blocked access to the key foot. Bending the foot gives more reliable regulation than building up layers of cork since the cork can compress over time.

View attachment 236746
You can buy these tools at Feerres. The bending tools and the bar drilling jig tools for the stack adjustment

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

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I'm guilty of throwing on those thin pieces of cork in the past, and ended up knocking them out and replacing them with brand new pieces. Nothing bad happened in my case, but I had the same concerns about having multiple layers of cork and glue.

John, that tool seems pretty straightforward, and putting on a bumper material to prevent marring makes total sense. Do either you, or Gordon have any videos, or further readings on how and where to bend? I'm still a little unclear on the technique, and certainly don't want to make blind guesses here.
1/16" cork is perfect for the foot and actuator bar. Then go from there with slight bending. Use artificial cork it doesn't compress doesn't wear out doesn't fall off it looks ugly but there you go

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
 

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You can buy these tools at Feerres. The bending tools and the bar drilling jig tools for the stack adjustment

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Tapatalk
The bending tool is actually sold as an accordion adjustment tool. :)

Gordon (NZ) said:
For lower stack key linkagess:
To lever the "foot" down, I press hard on the back of the key cup, closing it, with my thumb, and push the bottom of the key-stop to bend it. I press it with a "pusher" made of polycarbonate - timber would do - so as not to hurt my fingers!
To lever the foot up, I simply use a couple of digits to push up on the key cup, with my fingers/thumbs as close to the pivot as they can get, on both sides, so as not to upset the alignment of the key cup/pad assembly.
Of course I always "bend" too far and then back to a stable, hence reliable state. And to do this well needs a lot of experience/familiarity working with the metals involved.
A variation on this I like to use is to bend the foot up slightly farther than needed and then while holding the key closed give the foot a tap with a small plastic hammer. Often you can get more exact adjustments with small taps than by bending.
 

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You can buy these tools at Feerres. The bending tools and the bar drilling jig tools for the stack adjustment
If you mean the Ferrees F27 set, then it is a tool that I found so little use for that I used them as stock metal to make other tools from.
On the other hand, after I modified them I found the E1 key bending pliers extremely useful, although for adjusting key cuip alignment rather than key stops.
 

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If you mean the Ferrees F27 set, then it is a tool that I found so little use for that I used them as stock metal to make other tools from.
On the other hand, after I modified them I found the E1 key bending pliers extremely useful, although for adjusting key cuip alignment rather than key stops.
If you don't like or use the F27 key bending levers to lower the backs of key cups, what method do you use instead? I have the same negative feeling about the G21 key leveling tools. I used those until a new graduate of Redwing mentioned that he was taught to use craft sticks or "tongue depressors" to do the same task. I sold my key leveling tools and have been using the "sticks" ever since. :)
 

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If you don't like or use the F27 key bending levers to lower the backs of key cups, what method do you use instead? ...
See post 8.
 
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