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Why Does My Octave Key Fail To Work Temporarily Sometime.

683 Views 6 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  milandro
Hi guys
My octave key doesn't work for notes from G down to D (once in a while). The puzzling thing is that everytime I run into this problem I would swab and dry the horn and start all over again. The octave key seems to recover when the horn is clear of moisture. I don't understand why my horn is behaving this way. Can you guys enlighten me? I am trying to get to the root of it so that I can just fix the one key or pad. Thanks.
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In addition to Pete's excellent answer as a way to "diagnose" the problem I would suggest fingering the note G and watching the body octave pad as you press the thumb key. It should raise without sticking or hesitation. Next with the octave key still pressed use your free hand to close the body octave pad with your finger to feel the spring tension. If it feels weak, that could be a part of the problem. Finally while fingering G with the thumb key, raise your 3rd finger to go from G to A and back. The body and neck octave pads should exchange places as you do this. To check if there are any bent keys or rods that are creating friction in the octave mechanism, remove the neck and while fingering A and pressing the thumb key, use your free hand to move the rod that extends from the saxophone to engage the neck "ring" up and down. It should "float freely". If note something needs to be straightened or cleaned and lubricated.
You may be able to disassemble it yourself and clean out the pip with a pipe cleaner. If you don't feel up to that, take the mech to the tech.
My repair apprentice found a creative way to do this without having to remove the key. You lift the pad and then insert the pipe cleaner from the inside. When it comes out the top you grip it with tweezers or needle nose pliers and pull it through.
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