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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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Picking up the horn again, I noticed it also with the C1. I'm hesitant to say that it is a centering problem. For example, the nipple that connects the B1 pad to the key arm almost seems to be too flexible considering the weight of the rubber pad, making it floppy. As such, the keywork isn't able to hold the pad perfectly flat. On this key (and the E), it is not a front-back contact issue you would see in keywork that is not centered but top-bottom (with the top settling on the tonehole first). Same issue with the E, but much less dramatic (it is a smaller pad after all). C1 contacts at the rear of the tonehole first, then settles forward as you suggest above, Milandro.


Here is B1, partially closed




Here is C1, again, partially closed



And a look at some of the pads to see how they attach to the key arm


Please remember that I am not a tech and my experiences should be taken as that of an end user. These are just observations I have been able to make on my own without the benefit of a full mechanical understanding of how the saxophone functions.
 

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That's different--kind of a self-aligning pad.
Either way, it's a cool concept. Don't know if I'd do much playing on one, but the idea of running through the sprinklers while playing a saxophone sounds fun.
 

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.......Don't know if I'd do much playing on one, but the idea of running through the sprinklers while playing a saxophone sounds fun.
You are full of surprises........I would have never thought that you would enjoy such thing :)
 

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double post
 

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How about a kind of compromise between the naked pad and the one with a rigid disc; a kind of "spider" to apply even pressure across the top surface of the larger pads?
 

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This observation made me think that one of the problems in building any saxophone (or any keyed wind instrument for that matter) has to be that you want the pad to ideally close vertically on the tonehole but it is difficult since cup is hinged an a angle, relatively to the tonehole , so the the cup and the pad have to be angled to be vertical (angling the arm which holds the cup), relatively to the chimney, when they get to reach the tonehole, I don't know how this has been addressed in this instrument. Obviously if the pivoting pad is simply hinged and the arm wouldn't be angled, one part of the pad will close the tonehole before the rest resulting in all sorts of problems , last but not least, the one the the note would change pitch between partial closing to total closing
 

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That could be used as a nice feature to perform a full gliss, like with an open hole flute... ;-)
 

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or quarter tones........
 

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I just opened my Vibrato sax.... It plays.

I posted some pictures on Facebook but it's too hard to post pictures here.

I'm going to get this horn in the shop over the weekend and set it up. Then, I'll tell you guys what I find.
 

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The keys seem to return at a reasonable rate, I believe most of what I am feeling is a bit of sloppiness on closing. There are a few pads that do in fact contact the tonehole on one side then align and close. At a quick glance it is most notable on the E 1/2 tonehole and B1. This isn't present on all the keys, many actually contact the tonehole quite evenly.
I see, and looked at the photos. So, this is the same as a regular pad on a normal sax that isn't adjusted, except it would be the felt of one area that the finger has to overcome, as opposed to here that the finger has to overcome the alignment of the pad. How much extra force this needs is only possible to know by testing, not from photos. BTW if you can see those with your eyes so easily, I bet a leak light is likely to show many more keys with this problem, only to a much smaller (but still significant) degree.

It's also unclear what exactly is aligning. Can you check if it's actually the pad itself that is distorting to align itself with the tone hole, when more force is added, or are the pad and tone hole both level, with the pad attachment point flexing, or rotating, to align the pad? It looks like the attachment of the pad to the key arm is fixed and doesn't move, no?

In addition to more force needed, it also means adding significantly more time from when the tone hole is starting to close to when it's completely closed, making less smooth transitions between notes. It's bad enough for single pads, but for stack pads like the E key, how it is adjusted with F# and G#, one of the (if not the) most critical adjustment(s) on a sax. If F# and/or G# close when E touched the rim, you need then to overcome not only the E key alignment but also the pressure of the F# and G# since they're already closed and the flex in the arms and hinges. If F# and/or G# is closing only when E is completely closed, it is still more force to overcome, possibly from those keys as well, but sometimes not closing the E key enough because of that, so also not closing the other keys. I'm using these keys as an example but it is really to show the principal.

So for any self aligning system to work and feel good, the pads need a few things:
1. Be loose enough in the part that is allowing alignment to offer no resistance to the fingers.
2. All the linkaged pads have to reach the moment of alignment exactly at the same time.
Even if this exists, there are still problems. For example, in the same way that a regular sax pad with glue behind it doesn't automatically aligns itself correctly with the tone hole if you simply heat the glue and press the key (it will be firmer at the back), although some use this method to achieve a supposed seal. Another is friction that could result in that pad mounted on the center, needing to slide on the tone hole when aligning causing firction there.

The difference between a more or less accurate result and a truely excellent and very accurate result is the small but actually huge and critical difference.
 

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I sincerely hope that this design isn't going to mirror in it's own way some of the adjustment and repair woes of the Grafton. I'm just thinking out loud here.
 

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This is hearsay, but the original intent for repairs of the Grafton was to send the horn back, and the factory would replace Pads, felts AND KEYS!

The Grafton was, for repair puposes, a normal saxophone. Same keys, sort of - different springs and mounting, same pads, and a normal neck. Just be careful when seating pads with heat!

I think the Vibratosax is a whole new world. The geometry of the mechanism seems to be quite normal. Only the materials have changed, and that is a really big change. I haven't received mine yet, and I won't try to evaluate Vibratosax until I get to play it and mess around with it - just like I would do with any other new horn.
 

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Finally we can replace all needle springs with coiled spring. 2 more tools needed again.
Interesting, does it mean that these first batch would require needle springs being replaced by the users by means of two tools ?
 

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Clarnibass,

It's very early and I see I have snow to shovel, so I will answer very quickly for the moment! Anyway, there seems to be very little resistance from the pads aligning wit the tonehole. The pad attachment point is a fixed location, but the pad has a nipple as part of the molding that connects it to the attachment point. The rubber nipple is very flexible and allows the pad to rotate and pivot in any direction. This loose connection means it only takes a very light touch to get the pads to seat themselves. It also means that they are not perfectly level throughout their action.

That's the very basic and early morning explanation! I really do look forward to Curt adding his impressions and I'm sure he will much more eloquent than I!
 

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The Grafton was, for repair puposes, a normal saxophone. Same keys, sort of - different springs and mounting, same pads, and a normal neck. Just be careful when seating pads with heat!
Hi Randy,

Have you ever repaired/restored a Grafton? Let me tell you it is a complete cluster..... well you get my drift. Very little conventional, or logical for that matter, about it's keywork design. There is a lot more to be weary of with those than simply seating the pads with heat, believe me. :(

Mine was a complete restoration, and doing the work myself gave me an intimate understanding of ALL of it's inherent flaws.

NEVER AGAIN will I do that!:shock:
 

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I think the Vibratosax is a whole new world. The geometry of the mechanism seems to be quite normal. Only the materials have changed, and that is a really big change. I haven't received mine yet, and I won't try to evaluate Vibratosax until I get to play it and mess around with it - just like I would do with any other new horn.
[/QUOTE]

The Vibratosax discussion finally prodded me into joining the forum after years of just reading.... I highly respect the experience and expertise of all of the people here showing a sincere and respectful interest in this new adventure. Saxtek's post really resonates with me, though. Taking a rather cold and analytical view of things, this sax is a brand new tool and it's going to take a bunch of qualified players putting it through it's paces to find out just what it can and can't do, and who is likely to benefit from it. I heartily applaud Vibratosax for taking on a radical change to the way saxophones are made. So.... let's hear a few "road tests".
 
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