Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I've been seeing this term around and would like to better understand what it means and what it is useful for.

Thank you.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
2,081 Posts
"What is involved exactly" varies with the state of the instrument. Often the sky's the limit, price-wise.

Basically you (should) get an instrument that has an even intonation (ie no overly stuffy, flat or high notes) with even ergonomics (equal spring tension throughout, even key height etc) and even mechanics (no key clatter, no squishiness etc). Whithin the limits of the given instrument, of course.

Well at least that's my idea of "regulating". The degree of regulation can vary from "make playable through the next few gigs" to "behave like envisioned by manufacturer".
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
4,702 Posts
Yep adjust, to what that repairer thinks is the right setup
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
2,547 Posts
Regulating a sax is one part of setting up the action - and the action describes both the keywork as a whole and the way it feels under the fingers (i.e. "This action has a nice action").

To understand the principle fully you'll need to have your horn handy while you read this.

Where two keys are required to move together when you finger a certain note, there's a need for some means of ensuring that both keys move together - so that they effectively act as one key.
Take a look at your low F key. When you press it down you'll notice that a number of other keys move at the same time. The key immediately above the low F is the Auxiliary F key - it must move at the same instant you press the low F key and it must close at the same time as the low F key closes.
This is done by means of there being a connection between the two keys - if you look at the rear of the low F key you will see it has a 'foot' that raises when you press the key down.

Atop this foot is a bar attached to the Aux.F key. Where this bar touches the low F key foot there will be a buffer fitted - typically a thin piece of cork or felt. This prevents any metal-to-metal contact (which would be noisy) and also serves as a means to adjust the relationship between the two keys.

Press the low F key down again, and note how (hopefully) the Aux.F key completely closes when the low F does. Now, imagine there was a thicker piece of cork between the foot of the low F key and the bar of the Aux.F key - what would happen?
The Aux.F key would close much sooner than the low F key - and once it had closed, that thick piece of cork would prevent the low F key from going any further. You'd have a leak (in this case known as 'holding off').
Now imagine that no cork was fitted between the two keys - when you pressed the low F down it would close before the Aux.F and you'd have another leak.

So you can see that the ideal is for both keys to close at exactly the same time, and that the cork between them provides a means of ensuring that they do. When a repairer adjusts the thickness of this cork to ensure this happens, it's called regulating the action.
You might have noticed that there is a small screw fitted to the Aux.F key bar, and it sits directly above the low F key foot. This is an adjusting screw - a regulation adjuster or a 'reg screw'. This provides an easy way of altering the relationship between the two keys.

This then is the basic principle of regulation - and it can be applied in various ways. Corks and felts can be used, as can adjusting screws - or keys can be slightly bent as required.

Now press the Aux.F key cup halfway down. Hold it there with your finger, and then press the low F key. You will notice that the low F key gets halfway down before you feel it meet the Aux.F bar. This is called 'double-action' - and this occurs when two keys are supposed to move together but don't.
Where the 'misregulation' discussed above would result in a leak (which would stop your horn working), this kind of misregulation merely makes the action feel clunky. Even the smallest amount of double-action can be annoying - in the same way that having a hangnail or a pip stuck between your teeth can.
With the Aux.F key held halfway down you can probably see that the way to cure the resultant double-action would be to let go of the Aux.F key (so that its bar is able to rest on the low F key foot) or fit a thicker piece of cork to the low F foot so that it too is held half-closed.

This demonstration represent a very extreme example of double-action - in the real world the distances involved are tiny...sometimes only a fraction of a millimetre.

Other types of regulation include setting the overall key height (for optimum balance between tone and tuning) using the corks or felts fitted to bottom of the key feet - or in the case of the bell keys, using felt buffers fitted to the key guards - and ensuring that the various connections between the keys move swiftly, silently and with as little excess movement as possible.

And that's about it - though I should add that being able to properly regulate a horn requires that keywork be in good condition with no wear and tear and the pads well-seated.

Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you very much guys.

A special thanks to you Stephen for taking the time to explain it very precisely! That was exactly what I was looking for :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
And regulation and pads seating are two completely different things.

You can still have a well regulated instrument where the pads are leaking and also a poorly regulated instrument where the pads all seat properly - in both cases the instrument won't play well.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
I think the term regulate can also be loosely used to mean both what Stephen calls regulation and pad seating. After all, there is zero point in doing regulation unless the pads are first made to individually seal.

They're just words. They have no set definition. Different technicians will use them differently. So if in doubt, ask your specific technician what he means. I prefer to use the term that all customers understand the meaning of - "adjust", rather than baffle them with technical terms whose meanings are specific to myself.

BTW pad seating is also a vague term. I would prefer to describe what I do as making pads seal (with very light finger touch). In the opposite extreme, it could mean putting a deep seat in a pad and still having really poor reliability of pad sealing - in my view a pointless exercise that damages the pads, making it more difficult to ever get them to an ideal. One top manufacturer has had a recent habit of doing this, using wedges during transit. But that was another thread.

Words, words, words!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,410 Posts
Most of the bases have been covered by these posts. Just to add a few thoughts--I aim to 'set' the instrument according to the player's needs--within reason. This can include moving things round a little, maybe bending a few keys, moving strap rings and thumbhooks to suit the individual, raising or lowering palm keys and such like.
Many players seem unaware that minor mods such as these are an option--they dont all log in to SOTW!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
2,547 Posts
They're just words. They have no set definition. Different technicians will use them differently. So if in doubt, ask your specific technician what he means. I prefer to use the term that all customers understand the meaning of - "adjust", rather than baffle them with technical terms whose meanings are specific to myself.
If I'm asked to adjust a sax it may mean many different things. I might be asked to alter the angle of the crook, physically change the placement of touchpieces or make any number of modifications. It's a rather too vague an expression.

That the OP asked for the meaning of regulation suggests that the word is in common use, and it's reasonably specific.
I sincerely doubt that the average client has any difficulty picking up such 'technical' terms.

Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Stephen, are these procedures explained in your haynes Manual? I would like to learn about maintenance as well as just playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Ok, sold. I'll be in touch. I have a minor problem with an old Dearman I have just found in a junk shop that I cannot fix but I bet you can. You can read about it in the misc manufacturers section as soon as I do the write up.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,112 Posts
An old and very basic system Dearman bari I worked on years ago had several owners and two previous ones prior to it coming back to the shop I worked at. Both of them found a Lawton mouthpiece wedged inside it before I found a Runyon clear red plastic one when trying to work out why the upper A wasn't speaking well.

So check the bore to see if it's got a mouthpiece or two (or three!) wedged up inside it - even more of a bonus if it's a Lawton!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,542 Posts
I think Gordon has excellent advise. Always ask. Different people may deliver different services for the same title. As a player you need to know exactly what you are having done and what you are getting for your money.

Most techs (and most people) are going to shoot straight but that doesnt mean all of them will. Dont be taken in by vague language. Ask exactly what will be done to your beloved instrument.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
2,547 Posts
@ Stephen, it might be interesting to compare. I'll have to bring it round to you soon.
I don't think we'll have much luck comparing it aside from visually - it's a scrapper, and a test-bed horn. It's currently got dabs of ammonia, nitric acid and horse urine on the bell.

Regards,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Oh thats a shame, poor old sax.:cry:
I fully understand using it as a test-bed to see how different chemicals effect the horn. I mean to say, you never know when a passing horse may pee in your bell. You must play in some rough places. :sign5:

And I'm not going to ask how you collected it.:yikes!:
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top