Custom octave thumb rest

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    Default Custom octave thumb rest

    Anyone have any experience with making/installing a custom octave thumb rest? The rounded shape of the thumb rest on my 6M alto gets uncomfortable after a while and I want something that's more flat, which has worked very well for me on my modern Selmer tenor. I know there's the option of using some type of moldable epoxy to build up the shape I'm looking for, but was thinking a custom replacement would be a more interesting solution. I think a dime from 1952 (year the sax was made) would be really cool and a dime is the perfect size to fit in the space.

    Has anyone ever done something like this and could you share your experience? Is this a bad idea and going to end up being more trouble than it's worth?
    Tenor: Selmer Super Action 80 Series II / MPCs: Woodwind & Co. metal Thunderbolt 7, Yanagisawa metal 5, Selmer S80 C*
    Alto: Conn 1952 6M / MPCs: Vandoren HR V16 A6M, Otto Link STM 7, Rico Metalite 6M

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    there are thumb rests for sale, they won’t fit all saxophone though.

    http://www.tenormadness.com/product_...roduct_id=1155

    there have been threads before

    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...est-Customized
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    That thread doesn't really provide any specifics though. Is replacing/modifying the stock pearl thumb rest doable as a DIY project? Is it best left to a repair tech? Could I just take a file to the pearl so gluing a coin on top would match the original thumb rest height?
    Tenor: Selmer Super Action 80 Series II / MPCs: Woodwind & Co. metal Thunderbolt 7, Yanagisawa metal 5, Selmer S80 C*
    Alto: Conn 1952 6M / MPCs: Vandoren HR V16 A6M, Otto Link STM 7, Rico Metalite 6M

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    I have used cork to extend the shape of thumb rests on a couple of horns. I don't think it would be particularly tough - for me - to use the dime scheme, though I would probably use a quarter to get some more area.

    There won't really be any "standard" specifics, you just need to look at the mechanics of the thing and do what needs to be done. If you are familiar with modifying things and working with your hands and the behavior of various materials, it will be pretty straightforward. If you feel you need detailed step by step instructions, I would suggest you ought to rethink your approach to doing this kind of work, and do what all of us old farts did when we were learning - look at it a long time, make some sketches, try some stuff and have it not work, then try some other stuff till you get it to work.

    Good thing about using cork and contact cement is that it's easily reversible and you can screw around with it till you get the shape just the way you want, then duplicate that shape in a more durable material.

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    I'm pretty confident in working with my hands. Really just trying to figure out if it's really as straight forward as I'm thinking or if I was missing something.

    And the octave key is shaped super tight around the thumb rest on my 6M. Not enough room to fit a quarter in there.
    Tenor: Selmer Super Action 80 Series II / MPCs: Woodwind & Co. metal Thunderbolt 7, Yanagisawa metal 5, Selmer S80 C*
    Alto: Conn 1952 6M / MPCs: Vandoren HR V16 A6M, Otto Link STM 7, Rico Metalite 6M

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    Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Forum Contributor 2010-2017 maddenma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    Quote Originally Posted by foobajoob View Post
    And the octave key is shaped super tight around the thumb rest on my 6M. Not enough room to fit a quarter in there.
    There isn't unless you consider reshaping the octave key touch itself.
    1926 Buescher Model 122 True Tone Series III Gold Plated Soprano
    1926 Buescher Model 120 True Tone Series III Silver Plated Straight Alto

    1936 Buescher Model 139 Custom Built Bare Brass Baritone
    1938 Buescher Model 127 Aristocrat (Art Deco) Tenor

    1938 Buescher Model 139 Aristocrat Gold Plated Baritone (some day)
    1947 Buescher Model B-11 400 (Top Hat & Cane) Bare Brass Tenor
    1949 Buescher Model B-7 400 (Top Hat & Cane) Silver Plated Alto
    1949 Buescher Model 140 Aristocrat (Big B) Alto
    1949 Buescher Model 156 Aristocrat (Big B) Gold Plated Tenor
    1970-something Yamaha Model YBS-61 Baritone
    2015 Vibrato A1S III Plastic Alto

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    Just use Sugru; apply it outside the octave thumbrest between approximately 5 o'clock and 9 o'clock, so that you almost double the existing surface area and mould the Sugru to the same height as the existing pearl.
    "Sans musique, la vie serait une erreur" - Friedrich Nietzsche.

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    I’ve seen, over the years, all sorts of modifications done to this by necessity ( the horn lost its thumbrest) or because owner wanted to personalize it.

    depending on your ability you can replace it in any way that your mind can think of, there is not too much to keep you from experimenting.
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    Attachment 86782
    this is a yamaha thumbrest i often use on the 10M conn tenor...
    i pop the pearl off and glue the black plastic one on....the octave lever needs a very slight file to make it fit perfect...
    easy job for most people...

    i have never tried the alto ones on the 6M....

    the thumbrests are very in-expensive and i think look fine....

    good luck...
    cheers,philip

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    Quote Originally Posted by Secondhandsaxes View Post
    Attachment 86782
    this is a yamaha thumbrest i often use on the 10M conn tenor...
    i pop the pearl off and glue the black plastic one on....the octave lever needs a very slight file to make it fit perfect...
    easy job for most people...

    i have never tried the alto ones on the 6M....

    the thumbrests are very in-expensive and i think look fine....

    good luck...
    cheers,philip
    How do you take the pearl off?
    Tenor: Selmer Super Action 80 Series II / MPCs: Woodwind & Co. metal Thunderbolt 7, Yanagisawa metal 5, Selmer S80 C*
    Alto: Conn 1952 6M / MPCs: Vandoren HR V16 A6M, Otto Link STM 7, Rico Metalite 6M

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    i use a blunt pointy knife between the pearl and pearl holder ,and just flick it out....
    i have just checked and the 6M is the same size as the 10M so the yamaha thumbrest needs to be a tenor one to fit...
    that said,the sideC key might get in the way of this large thumbrest,so go slowly until you know it will work...
    the octave lever will also need to be filed to fit...
    good luck...
    cheers,philip
    Quote Originally Posted by foobajoob View Post
    How do you take the pearl off?

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    Quote Originally Posted by Secondhandsaxes View Post
    i use a blunt pointy knife between the pearl and pearl holder ,and just flick it out....
    i have just checked and the 6M is the same size as the 10M so the yamaha thumbrest needs to be a tenor one to fit...
    that said,the sideC key might get in the way of this large thumbrest,so go slowly until you know it will work...
    the octave lever will also need to be filed to fit...
    good luck...
    cheers,philip
    I have done something similar to my 12M which has the same shape octave key touch as the 6M (the 10M is different). I just filed the expanded thumb rest to clear the "corners" of the key, rather than modifying the key. It works great and has been on there for 30 years now. I did not use plastic or epoxy, but rather cork, but the same principle would apply. I would not file on the key but rather on whatever material you use for the thumb rest.

    This can greatly improve comfort in playing. I particularly like the Yamaha thumbrest idea. When I got the 12M there was no internet to exchange ideas like that.

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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    Quote Originally Posted by Secondhandsaxes View Post
    i use a blunt pointy knife between the pearl and pearl holder ,and just flick it out....
    i have just checked and the 6M is the same size as the 10M so the yamaha thumbrest needs to be a tenor one to fit...
    that said,the sideC key might get in the way of this large thumbrest,so go slowly until you know it will work...
    the octave lever will also need to be filed to fit...
    good luck...
    cheers,philip
    Awesome, thanks! I think I'm gonna stick with my plan to use a 1952 dime as the replacement thumb rest. It'll look more interesting and those dimes are 90% silver, so it'll be a vintage sax appropriate material. The size will be good. It's just getting a flat shape instead of the rounded pearl that'll make the difference for me. Might encase the dime in resin to protect the detail of it from wearing off and becoming unreadable since that would defeat the purpose of using a matching year to the saxophone. I'll be sure to post pictures once it's done.
    Tenor: Selmer Super Action 80 Series II / MPCs: Woodwind & Co. metal Thunderbolt 7, Yanagisawa metal 5, Selmer S80 C*
    Alto: Conn 1952 6M / MPCs: Vandoren HR V16 A6M, Otto Link STM 7, Rico Metalite 6M

  16. #14
    Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Forum Contributor 2010-2017 maddenma's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    FWIW, I find the sharpish edges of my YBS-61's thumbrest over a long gig less comfortable that the stock Buescher 139's domed pearl piece. I find that I tend to rest the joint of my thumb on the edge of the button where it digs in and becomes uncomfortable after while (vs. the fleshy part of the thumb sitting on the dome of the pearl -- where it starts to dig in after awhile.) Different issues between the two, of course, so it's a matter of what bothers you most -- the edge on the plastic or the pressure from the center of the domed pearl. Both have their downsides.

    Something like a dime might actually be worse, as the edges are sharper and it's really not all that much larger than the pearl.

    Just a thought, but before you pop out (and likely break) that pearl and/or grind away at the octave key touch, why not experiment a little with some different shapes and sizes on the end of a dowel rod to see if there's something better than that flat button (or dime)? There are a number of shapes that have been used by makers over the decades. Maybe something else works better for you?
    1926 Buescher Model 122 True Tone Series III Gold Plated Soprano
    1926 Buescher Model 120 True Tone Series III Silver Plated Straight Alto

    1936 Buescher Model 139 Custom Built Bare Brass Baritone
    1938 Buescher Model 127 Aristocrat (Art Deco) Tenor

    1938 Buescher Model 139 Aristocrat Gold Plated Baritone (some day)
    1947 Buescher Model B-11 400 (Top Hat & Cane) Bare Brass Tenor
    1949 Buescher Model B-7 400 (Top Hat & Cane) Silver Plated Alto
    1949 Buescher Model 140 Aristocrat (Big B) Alto
    1949 Buescher Model 156 Aristocrat (Big B) Gold Plated Tenor
    1970-something Yamaha Model YBS-61 Baritone
    2015 Vibrato A1S III Plastic Alto

    Morgan, Ishimori, Strathon, and Theo Wanna Mouthpieces.





    Nothing works so well in gathering information as a display of ignorance. I learn something new every day.


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    Distinguished SOTW Member shmuelyosef's Avatar
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    Default Re: Custom octave thumb rest

    You can get black ABS (plastic) rod at any TAP Plastics in the US. With a saw and files, this is easy to shape, smooth and polish. You can pop the pearl off and attach it there, or unsolder the whole thumbrest assembly and use contact cement (or epoxy which would require heat to remove) to affix it.
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