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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I help out with a high school band and their best bari sax is a Yanagisawa B-901 that is having some issues with the low C# (C#3?) and also the low B key. When held in a very vertical position the keys seem to work normally. However, when the kid that plays it sits (and this instrument is used for jazz or concert bands, not marching), the C# key doesn't spring open properly. It looks to me as though the C# key should be opening and springing the B key open with it, but it doesn't seem to have enough power to get the B key open properly when not perfectly vertical. As a result, both the C# and B keys only open slightly. Low B works fine on its own.

Does this sound like a spring issue on the C#? The spring appears fine and is properly positioned against the key, but maybe it needs to be bent more.

Is anyone familiar with the mechanism on this saxophone model? I'm confident fixing adjustment issues that involve cork or felt, and I can disassemble and clean instruments, but this one is a bit different than ones I've worked with before and I've also never really had to adjust springs. Obviously we can take it to a technician if it needs it, but we don't have a shop nearby and are also working with a public school budget, so I'm hoping it might be something I can fix. Figured it was at least worth asking here.

Thanks!
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Maybe check if he is torqueing a long rod against the chair or his leg in playing position.

If you hold it at an angle, it should still work. If it works like that but not when the kid is using it, it is something to do with the kid or the chair.
 

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For the OP: is this problem evident when you're sitting in the chair?

Maybe check if he is torqueing a long rod against the chair or his leg in playing position.

If you hold it at an angle, it should still work. If it works like that but not when the kid is using it, it is something to do with the kid or the chair.
In a former life, I was a band director...one thing I saw a lot is bad posture with sax players, especially tenor and bari players. Without seeing the kid or the chair, I'd want to know if the kid is sitting away from the back of the chair. Preferably toward the right front corner of the chair so the sax will definitely clear the chair.

Another possible "gotcha" is the mouthpiece placement. Not how far it's pushed in, but its angle relative to the body tube. Twisting it clockwise or counterclockwise might make all the difference here. Unless the kid tilts his head to compensate (which he might already be doing!), the sax will become more vertical or less vertical.

Another thought...on most - probably all - modern baritones, the upper octave vent and key are not on the neck, so the neck can be twisted from one side to the other without interfering with the octave mechanism. This should allow the body tube to move in the opposite direction.

Another "gotcha" that still trips me up sometimes, especially when playing bari or bassoon...if I have too much stuff in my right pants pocket, it can get caught up in the rods.

If all of that fails, look into a different chair or have the kid play the sax from a stand (not my favorite remedy, but might be a solution in this case).

Good luck...keep us posted.
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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The C# key should not have to open the B key. The linkage is only so that the B key can close an already opened C#.
Perhaps the B key spring is dislodged or broken.

The effectiveness of the Low C# lever's spring at closing the key depends on the friction between the key and the lever. Even a dented cork or felt can tip the balance. An excellent place to use Teflon to reduce friction. Friction can be greatly increased if an inappropriate grease or oil has been used, leaving a gummy mess.

Of course there could also be excessive friction in the pivots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, everyone. I don't think it's an issue with the rods contacting the chair or his leg. I observed the problem as well, and it does it too when you tilt the saxophone while standing and it's clearly not touching anything. When it's vertical and gravity is not working to close the key, it's fine. The further it tilts and the more the weight of the key shifts toward being able to fall shut, the less the key opens. If you push the key very hard with your pinky, it seems to hit the B key, stick a little, and then pop open, but you have to push it as hard as you can. That's what led me to believe it's a spring issue - if you can give it enough oomph, it will overcome the resistance and then pop. That's just not very conducive to playing smoothly!

Thanks for your suggestions. We're battening down the hatches here for Hurricane Matthew, but if all goes well I could try to take a picture on Saturday when I can get back into the band room. I'm not sure if I'm correctly diagnosing what the problem spot is, so maybe that will help.
 

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As it lifts it should encounter no resistance other than the spring tension.
It is unlikely that the spring is the issue. My guess is that something is bent, or perhaps a DIYer has done stuff way out of his depth.

More than likely a half decent technician could have diagnosed and fixed it in the time you have spent writing here.
 

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I had a similar type of issue with my Yani B992. In my case the G# key spring had lost enough tension that the pad cup just flopped around once the key was open. It was the spring from the low B that was helping the G# open but once it was open there wasn't enough holding it to keep it from bouncing around.

In my case it required some adjustment of the springs but I would agree with Gordon - have a knowledgable tech take a look at it. As long as there isn't a spring that needs replacement and it just requires tensioning it should not take long or cost much.
 

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I always rejoice when I get a Yanigasawa in for servicing. They are made so well designed and made, and so straight forward to service. No hidden surprises.
(So I would suggest that for any technician charging you as "standard" charge as opposed to an hourly rate, you would be subsidizing customers with other brands.)

But I lie. Twice in the last month I have encountered fake Yanagisawas (both very substandard and with the wrong name font, hence fake) with "Japan" written on them. There are even internet sources selling them and claiming "Made in Japan". It's sad when my customers cannot even trust buying this brand name anymore.
 

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It seems like a week or unhooked spring somewhere in the bell keys. Maybe more than one. Bari key weights can often cause problems with the larger keys, and it will show up with different angles. Many times a unhooked bell key will seem to be functioning, in only certain positions, and the g# will actually be moving the key and not its own spring. I wouldn't rule out that something is bent, but usually if it were a bent key issue, then the position of the instrument wouldn't a factor, usually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Figured it out! The Bb key on the pinky table was just a tad bit bent - looked very close to normal when nothing was depressed, but when the C# key was pushed it was contacting it just enough to make the Bb start to close. The C# key was so wimpy because it was having to do the extra work to catch that and then pop both keys open. I didn't notice when I looked at it because I kept looking at the pad cups while I was pushing the key...I feel a little silly about that but it was a very easy fix, so that's good. All better now. All the more money saved to go into the old bari, which needs all the help it can get. Thanks!
 
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