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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #1
Here are photos of some sax modifications I made using Sugru. People have asked about my Keilwerth sx90. I decided to also show the Selmer USA Omega "hacks" and explain what I was trying to accomplish.

First up; the Selmer USA. Photo #1 is a stop on the high E palm key. That key touch seemed unnecessarily long so I shaped a new stop so the hand would not have to slide so far. This makes for less wasted motion. Photo 2 is the pants guard. The edge of that tended to get caught on clothing. Not any more. The former sharp edge is now thicker and softer. Photo 3 is a cushion placed on the keyguard next to the right-hand thumb rest. My thumb was getting irritated rubbing on that metal guard. Now it has a soft place to rest. Photo 4 is a finger stop on the low Bb. This does a similar job as the Oleg Bb stop. It gives a more secure place for your little finger to sit and saves wasted motion. I'm very pleased with how this one came out.

Now on to the Keilwerth SX90R. Photo 5 shows the right hand stack keys F, E and D. German-made JK saxes are known for feeling "too big" for some players. Many have said they are built for people with large hands. I decided to try and make it more ergonomic. The first thing to do was remove the pearl key touches. As nice as they look, they are simply too thick and angled wrong. (I also tried some thinner pearls, but the overall feel was still not right.) After removing the pearls, I fashioned new F and E touches. These don't look very pretty because I was new at using Sugru. I angled them so that the part nearest the hand is thinner than the part near the bell. (To be clear, there are no pearls now on F, E and D.)

The original D touch was simply unacceptable in it's placement. It's the worst part of the key design on the horn. Photo 6 and 7 show the extension I made for the D. It's secured by the original touch but juts out past the keycup and also closer to the E touch. I was afraid it would be weak and unsupported so I used a lot of Sugru. Photo 7 shows underneath the D touch and you can see how much Sugru I used to try and support the new extension. When I play D on this sax now, my finger rests only on the extension and not on the keycup part at all. So far, the extension has been completely stable and shows no signs of getting loose. If it falls off, I can simply make another. The sax is now much more comfortable. Before the modifications, i was thinking of selling the horn but now I love it.

photo 1, high E stop:

photo 2, pants guard:

photo 3, thumb cushion:

photo 4, low Bb stop:

photo 5 right stack with sugru touches:

photo 6, D touch extension:

photo 7, D touch extension underneath:
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #4
Very easy and it will not affect the lacquer finish. Check the Sugru website or Stephen Howard's site for more info about Sugru.
 

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That is truly amazing. I actually just bought some to do the same things to my Sax. I appreciate the information on this new awesome product.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Technician.
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If you use it for palm key or side key risers, it's better if you wrap it around the key a bit so that it goes underneath too. This will ensure the Sugru can't be pushed off.
It's pretty good stuff and makes better palm key risers than the rubber push-on ones which often push off again.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #8
Is the Sugru extension on the D pearl firm enough not to bend?
Yes. It does not bend at all. Eventually it may fall off, but so easy to make another. By the way, there is no pearl underneath the sugru.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #10
Oh, you removed the pearls?! Do you prefer the feel of Sugru?
There is an explanation of why i took the pearls off in the text. The Sugru doesn't feel bad at all. With the Keilwerth alto, i was able to angle the sugru touches, which really helped. I'll admit it looks funny now. A guy in the music store laughed at my horn, but it feels so much better, there is no way I would go back to the old feel. The beauty of Sugru is, the horn could be turned back to 100% original very easily.

These were fairly radical mods on the JK. I wouldn't normally replace pearl touches with Sugru, but we are talking about a model of sax that many players find uncomfortable to finger: SX-90, SX-90R and the new Tone King.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #11
One more thought about the right-hand touches on the JK. The elegant solution would be to have someone make you some very thin pearls for the F and E. The D would still need an extension, but that could be silver-soldered by a tech with metal working experience. That would be more expensive and permanent. I did the mods with Sugru in an hour and it is totally reversible (and a bit ugly.)
 

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soybean, If your mods work for you professionally, this might be a 'hint,hint' call to some custom modification guys to 'come down off their high mandrel'... Looking weird but playing great is a good place for a horn to be... And where many players exist 'au naturale'...
 

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looks like you have the solution for your particular problem. :) well done.
 

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no, oil & vinegar!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #16
If your mods work for you professionally, this might be a 'hint,hint' call to some custom modification guys to 'come down off their high mandrel…
Haha! Also a call to all sax players that they can do some easy mods to make their horns function better.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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It's all about functionality. Horns don't have to look good, they should just work. Saxophones are tools.
 

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It's all about functionality. Horns don't have to look good, they should just work. Saxophones are tools.
Yeah . I was curious about Sugru and ended up doing a few mods to my Serie II Clone to get it more like my 10m ergos Yep.. All that counts is that it`s easier to play. In an ideal world we would all have keywork designed to fit the unique characteristics of our hands. Sugru and other materials make this very achievable .
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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1. Is Sugru good for softening the thumb rest of a clarinet?
2. Is it possible to mix powder pigments into to make it a little mor like brass in colour?
 
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