From a repair standpoint I have (with the customer's permission) removed the G# trill key on several vintage Conns because in my experience it tends to get in the way. On Conns it was designed to be a separate mechanism on its own hinge so nothing else is affected. It can easily be reinstalled if the need arises. I prefer to make or keep the Eb trill operative since that tonehole remaining open on F adds to the "venting" of that note.
Very small sample so far, but a surprising result. I would have expected "learn to use them" would be the least popular option, not the most popular.
I tried trilling with my middle and ring fingers (G# and for Eb), and it's exactly the same speed as using my pinkies. So I wouldn't really gain anything with these fingerings. At least 99% of my playing will be on horns that lack these keys anyway, so I think it would be confusing to have this rare exception floating around in my brain. Whenever I drive my wife's automatic transmission car, I still stomp on the floor to press the imaginary clutch because I'm in the habit of driving my manual. I imagine I would do the same thing, attempting to trill using imaginary keys, on my modern horns.
Unless I start having mechanical problems, I'm going to ignore them. If I do start having problems, I'll take your advice @saxoclese and remove the G# but repair the Eb, keeping it intact due to the venting issue.
The fork Eb can be used for trills, but what it's really useful for is to move from/to Eb to any of low C#, C, B, Bb - in other words the notes that you have to depress the low C key. The fork Eb eliminates that slide. I find it especially helpful on baritone, and it would probably be even more so on bass (my bass doesn't have it).
I've never seen the advantage to pulling fingers out of position to use the alt G# key, rather than just using the little finger. Of course coming from flute you do a lot of practicing of trills.
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