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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this is covered somewhere else, but I could not find it.

I'm wondering if key guards are necessary to functioning of the keywork. I like the wire guards on my Buescher Aristocrat and Conn 10M, but I'm not a fan of sheet metal guards. Just cosmetically; I'm sure they function just fine. I'm thinking about mods to non-vintage instruments to cut down on the clutter.
Let's just say I find a good playing TS100, 615, YTS-23, 52, 61, 62 or equivalent. Could I replace the sheet metal with eyebrow style guards?, or maybe just leave them off entirely?
What exactly are we 'guarding' against?

I'm sure some key guards incorporate the felt bumpers to stop key travel. How is that done on eyebrow style guards? Can the eyebrow guards (or just guard removal) be done on any sax or do some keywork designs require the guard to function?
 

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Well, in many instances the B and Bb and C guards have bumpers which prevents the keycup from just flinging open. So unless the key barrel of those keys has a foot/stop on it which stops the key from rising, then the keyguard actually functions in this regard.

For the Eb, the opposite, since it is sprung closed. The keyguard and bumper prevent the keytouch from depressing 'too much' and the keycup from opening absurdly wide. Same caveat as above, some Eb key barrels have a foot on 'em which actually serves this purpose....in which instance, the guard is NOT serving a functional key purpose.

Likewise, the bumper felt height is (should be) set in such a way as to maximize intonation.

Then lastly for protection.

One can argue IF the keys DO have the barrel feet on 'em, you don't really need guards at all, sure. Then protection and aesthetics becomes the only reason in such an instance.

By 'Eyebrow style', do you mean just wire guards ? Yes, you can certainly do this, although the likelihood is a tech would have to whip some guards up, unless you had a donor parts horn. The former is not particularly expensive if the tech has done this before. My tech in CA charges around $50 for afabrication & installation of a new wire guard. A very simple two-foot, arched one like one finds on a Buescher 20A or 30A (pic).

The latter isn't very expensive to install either, if you can find some old wire guards....but oftentimes they will need to be bent and reshaped a bit to fit the particular horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
re: "So unless the key barrel of those keys has a foot/stop on it which stops the key from rising, then the keyguard actually functions in this regard."
Can the key barrel stops be added to any horn if they are not there? Or does that depend on the design of the keywork?

re: "Likewise, the bumper felt height is (should be) set in such a way as to maximize intonation."
To me, this implies that cup height affects intonation. If so, will removal of other metal around the key opening affect intonation?

Would I possible ruin a horn doing this? It's really just a cosmetic thing for me. I suppose that removing any weight could make a horn more resonant or responsive. I would consider that a serendipitous benefit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
to clarify.... by 'eyebrow style' I mean the King Zephyr style of wire guards that follow the contour of the key openings. I heard them described that way.
 

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I doubt if a significant weight-loss would occur if you removed the key-guards - they don't weigh much. If your key-guards don't play a role in limiting pad-travel, why don't you take them off and tell us how it went? DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't do this with my current horns.... Just taking the minimalist approach. My guards DO have the bumpers there and I don't want to modify these horns. They're not collector quality, but I like them with their original wire guards. If I find the right horn with sheet metal guards, I'll give it a try and let you know. Consensus seems to be that I would not be ruining a horn. Just possibly wasting some time/money.
 

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Hi.

1) Yes, feet can be added to existing key barrels. A tch who is decent at modifying keywork would do this, probably silver-soldering them on from a donor key.

2) Yes, key height can effect intonation. Quick example, the height of the low C key in the open position will effect how the D intones. Whether a keyguard is present or absent would not effect intonation, no.

3) I agree with Dave, keyguards would not alter a horn's weight in any noticeable way.

4) "Ruin" it ? Well, it'd likely drop its resale value, but if you intended to keep the horn then consider it a custom mod which you desired, and enjoy !
 
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