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Hi all,

I recently Bought a Trevor James ‘The Horn’ Classic II on Ebay for £420 (Which I thought was a bargain), and upon inspection, It was in perfect condition - barely used, keys working, no visible damage etc.

However, after a few plays, I found an issue with the octave key mechanism becoming loose after being released. (Image 1).

When I looked at it, I found what appears to be a missing rod (or a point screw) at the bottom of the octave mechanism (Image 2), and possibly also a missing spring, where the small hole is (Image 3).

I thought that these problems might be causing the upper part of the octave mechanism to become loose, and detached from the lower part.

Does anyone know whether either of these might be the root of the problem, and if so, how fixable they are?

I am grateful for any help you can give!

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It may be that all you need to do is either (or both - and/or):

1. reduce the amount of movement (the motion arc) of the octave key itself (it only needs to open the body octave and neck octave the "correct" amount, no more, no less)

2. change the orientation of the octave keytouch (bend it) so that when the touch moves the proper amount the linkage at the other end of the key rides lower overall relative to the bodytube surface, while moving the "proper" amount.

Quotes, above, because "correct" and "proper" while concrete terms are kind of a lot to explain (in a rush at the moment, as I write).

It also looks to me like the octave key posts and octave pad/seesaw mountings may be too far from each other longitudinally, i.e. there could be a bit of a manufacturing error in where they're placed. But even if this is the case, by attending to #1 and #2 above (and eliminating any gap in the linkage itself, because a gap increases the amount your keytouch has to move to vent the pads) you can probably resolve the issue.
 

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Well sure, it does look like you're missing a spring which would certainly affect how well the mechanism works. I can't tell from the photo regarding a missing point screw. Did the seller advertise the horn as in perfect working condition? Just curious as a missing spring is hardly perfect working condition but that's an easy fix and wouldn't cost much at all to have a tech replace the spring. There may be more going on than meets the eye here and I'd take it to a tech rather than asking for solutions on the net. If it is a missing spring, which it certainly looks like, it needs to be replaced with the correct spring size and tension. I seriously doubt that this is going to cost you much at all to have repaired so you probably still got a good deal barring any other issues that might arise. At any rate it's always a good idea to take a used horn bought online to a tech to have it checked out. I do that even with a new horn as factory setups aren't always the best.
 

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It's possible that some parts are bent and it's a little tricky to explain how to align them over a forum or even be sure if and how they are bent from these photos. Though it could be something else...

However, after a few plays, I found an issue with the octave key mechanism becoming loose after being released. (Image 1).
Hard to be sure from the photo, but it looks like the sleeve that is usually over the linkage rod is missing (linkage in this case being between the thumb lever you press to the octave "teeter"). It kind of looks like it's not only missing, but the linkage rod is relatively thin in comparison with the fork (or the fork was bent wider than it should be), causing them to disengage.

If you move the parts to engage this linkage and keep holding them (so they don't disengage back), is that rod very loose in the fork? Optimally there should be barely any play there while still moving smoothly with no binding.

Is there anything over the metal of this rod? If not that's part of the problem at least and might even be the only problem, because...

When I looked at it, I found what appears to be a missing rod (or a point screw) at the bottom of the octave mechanism (Image 2)
Do you mean from the bottom of lower post? This mechanism has a rod screw coming in from the top. It might just be that the threads are relatively short for the post length, so you don't really see much there. It's good to make sure there are really threads there and they are screwed into the post.
Press the G key and hold it closed. Does this part of the octave mechanism move freely? Is it particularly loose on its hinge?
Also check that the rod screw is not sticking out significantly from the top post.

and possibly also a missing spring, where the small hole is (Image 3).
This standard mechanism generally doesn't have a spring on the "teeter" itself. Check to see if there is any spring cradle that a spring there would be able to catch. Likely there isn't. This post might be the same design as others on the sax and it could be better for a production to just drill them all for springs, even if some won't have it installed.

Beyond all of that, it's possible that the mechanism itself is bent and needs to be aligned.
 

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Yeah, there's no missing spring - it's just a pilot hole.

The mechanism has probably had the key pulled by someone lifting out the case, perhaps. I've seen similar things happen on other instruments. It is missing the heat shrink tubing from the lower pin. The key may need bending back a little and the rest of the mechanism may be slightly bent.

It's best to get a tech sort this as it can be a bit difficult know what to push to correct it. Push the wrong bi and you could make it worse.
 

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Unless there is a mis-aligned post, the only way to get the thumb lever's pin to engage properly and reliable in the "fork" is to correct the geometry of other parts of the mechanism, and/or alter cork thicknesses, to get that linkage closer to the body of the sax. I looks like it could be quite dodgy manufacture.

And messing with the octave mechanism needs an excellent understanding of it. The fact you have asked here means to me that you do not have enough of that to work on it yourself.

Take it to a good technician for a good, cheap fix.
 

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Unless there is a mis-aligned post, the only way to get the thumb lever's pin to engage properly and reliable in the "fork" is to correct the geometry of other parts of the mechanism, and/or alter cork thicknesses, to get that linkage closer to the body of the sax. I looks like it could be quite dodgy manufacture.
Yes, though some saxophones (and this Trevor James has a good chance of being one) just have a short fork and/or thin enough linkage rod, that if the sleeves falls this can happen.
 

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A bit of key bending is required for best operation, knowing where to do the bends and not twisting the inner tube is where the skill comes in to play.

Really IMO, take it to a tech, it’s a very simple job for us to do.

Steve
 
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