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Thread: Body Octave pip

  1. #1
    Peter B's Avatar
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    Default Body Octave pip

    My tenor is a Mauriat LeBravo, and it's served me extremely well in the four years I've had it. However, just lately I've noticed that when I come down from notes above high A, which use the neck octave pip, to high G, F, E or D which use the body octave pip, these body octave pip notes can be a bit stuffy. The same thing doesn't happen if I go from a low note up to a body octave pip note.

    On inspection I can see that when I go up to a note using the body octave pip, the body octave pip pad lifts fully, which is around 2mm I should think, and rests on the cork of the stop arm. But when I come down from a neck octave pip note to a body octave pip note, the body octave pip does not open fully, and does not go right back to the stop arm, and I assume this is why when I come down to a body octave pip note they sound stuffy.

    I've looked and looked to see why the body octave pip should behave differently depending on whether I'm coming down to it or going up to it, but I can't for the life of me see why this should be. I've read the appropriate paragraphs of Stephen Howards Saxopone Manual, and excellent though his description of the body octave pip operation is, it doesn't offer an explanation of or cure for this particular problem.

    So I should be grateful for any ideas on how to make the body octave pip open fully when coming down to it from a neck octave pip note.........thanks!
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  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    well, I suppose a tech would address the problem by re- alining the octave pip mechanism if this has been bent (?) or possibly having a look to the springs involved in the movement which might have been gone too weak. I once bought a soprano which had this problem and the side octave only required some slight bending to be timing and opening properly

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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    The octave mechanism can be confusing to understand. There are a number of factors that affect the mechanism and can keep it from working properly. Spring tension, dirt, silencer materials, bent mechanisms, bent rods... and more. It is not unusual for a mechanism to work differently (improperly) when going up or down the scale when one of these factors is out of adjustment. If your sax has not taken a hit from a fall or an accidental bump then I would guess the problem is fairly minor. If you are mechanically inclined and brave enough, taking apart the mechanism and cleaning it is probably the first step I would take. Make sure all rods move freely and are oiled with key oil when you reassemble.

    FYI, Howard's book couldn't possibly describe every possible problems with the mechanism. There are just too many factors that can make it not work. Luckily if there is no major damage then a tech can probably repair it for you while you wait.

    Matt

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    Peter B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    or possibly having a look to the springs involved in the movement
    Thanks Milandro, but this is part of the problem. The first thing I looked for were the associated springs but there aren't any!! The only springs involved with this whole mechanism are on the G touch piece rod, which holds the body octave pad closed until the G touch piece is pressed down, and the neck octave lever leaf spring which causes the neck octave ring to open the body octave pip when G is pressed down, and in my case it's this which doesn't happen properly.

    I can't figure out what's going on here.
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  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    have you considered that the neck octave mechanism (and its flat spring or the simple fact hat it resist the action of the G spring) also come into the equation?
    I have horns where, if I don’t mount the neck , and try this, the side octave is sluggish BUT that all disappears when the neck is mounted

  6. #6
    Peter B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    Yes I know exactly what you mean about mounting the neck, and the neck octave arm leaf spring being involved.

    I've taken slausonm's advice and I've got the octave mechanism in bits at the moment, though I'm not looking forward to trying to get it back together again!! I've always kept my horns well lubricated, but there's quite a bit of dirt on the octave mechanism steel pin and there's a residue of old oil in there too which looks as though it might be making things sluggish.

    So I'm hoping that it's as simple as suggested, and that a good clean out with lighter fluid and some fresh lubrication will help, if not actually cure the problem.

    Thanks for all the good advice.
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  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Technician Chris Peryagh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    Make sure there's a gap of around 0.5mm minimum between the shift lever (the piece sticking up at the socket covered with plastic tubing) and the inside curve of the crook key loop for safety - that's to ensure the crook key pad closes fully and allows for some movement of the shift lever.

    Also be sure the shift lever doesn't move when playing any notes between D and G# using the 8ve key. If it does, either the 8ve key touchpiece has too much travel in it (the cork stopper could be too thin or missing) or the silencing material at the base of the shift lever (by the highest pillar on the socket) is either too thin or is missing. This can open the crook key slightly, even if there's a small safety gap between the shift lever and the inside edge of the crook key loop.

    Don't put too much tension on the flat spring on the crook key as that can cause problems going between high A and G as it will make the closeure of the lower 8ve vent too sluggish - the 8ve key touch has the strong spring to keep the lower 8ve vent closed as does the LH3 key (or 'G key' if you prefer to call it that). If the crook key spring tension is too strong, it can make the LH3 key feel sluggish when playing upper register A-G. Another thing that makes things sluggish is having cork on the lever end of the LH3 key - you're best with something like felt as it not only dampens mechanical noise, it also slides better against the lower 8ve vent arm as it has much lower friction than natural or reconstituted cork.

    The plastic tubing on the shift lever can also cause too much friction between it and the crook key causing the 8ve mechanism to be sluggish - if it does, then stick a single layer of that cloudy sellotape (the tape you can write on with a pencil) around the tubing to reduce the friction.
    F*** the notes, go for the tone!

  8. #8
    Peter B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Body Octave pip

    Cleaning completed and octave mechanism reassembled with the aid of my wife - tricky thing isn't it. It's made a difference for sure, but the body octave pad still doesn't fully open when coming down to it, and stops short of the stop lever on the end of the LH3 rod.

    Make sure there's a gap of around 0.5mm minimum between the shift lever (the piece sticking up at the socket covered with plastic tubing) and the inside curve of the crook key loop
    Yes, check that, but it's barely 0.5mm and it narrows very slightly when I move the crook round to accomodate having the sax at my right side. SH's manual explains how to adjust that gap, and I'll try to increase it a bit I think.

    be sure the shift lever doesn't move when playing any notes between D and G# using the 8ve key
    No it doesn't, not the slightest bit of movement there.

    Don't put too much tension on the flat spring on the crook key as that can cause problems going between high A and G as it will make the closeure of the lower 8ve vent too sluggish
    I've always thought this spring on my LeBravo was very strong, and certainly stronger than on a couple other tenors I've played. I'll try backing it off a bit.

    Another thing that makes things sluggish is having cork on the lever end of the LH3 key
    Yes, there is cork on the LH3 rod lever, but since the body octave pad doesn't touch it, as described at the top, I don't think this can be a feature of the problem.

    Thanks very much for your time and expertise and for giving me a couple of things to look at - greatly appreciated.
    Growing old is unavoidable, growing up is optional

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