Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

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  1. #1

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    Default Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    My G# stopped playing because it won't close all the way. I occurred to me that the reason is that a piece of cork fell off. Is there a piece of cork on the the arm that closes the the G#? Any hack I can use to get it to play? I thought of wrapping it with scotch tape. Of course I will get it fixed. BTW, this is the most useful section on SOTW, thanks.

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    cork gives you the ability to precisely set the height, felt will compress over time and need replacing, you could even get a tech to put a screw on the “ lip” and do what most modern saxophones have , a screw regulating the height with a piece of round cork to silence the action.
    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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    Distinguished SOTW Member 1saxman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    In an emergency its good to have some self-adhesive felt that you can get at lots of places like Wal Mart, home centers or hardware stores. It comes in sheets or rounds of different diameters which are of particular interest to sax players. These felts are sold as 'bumpers' or 'silencers' for furniture, lamps, anything like that. You can carry a few in your case and there is practically no weight added or space taken up. For this fix, you would cut a piece out to do the job and stick it on. Sometimes you have to stack the pieces to make it thick enough. You would need a small scissors or razor blade to trim it. Sometimes you'll lose a felt from the upper stack and you can use one or more of the felt rounds to replace it quickly. They're even green!

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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    Thanks for the advice. BTW, I went to the site below and found a picture of a G# key; it has a cork on it. AND, here's the hack I figured out if this happens to you. I found an old piece of 1/4" (I think) rubber tubing that you can buy at any hardware store, cut off a small piece and slipped it over the arm. I also had to put a small piece of scotch tape on it because it kept falling off. Works as good as new. I can practice today!!!! The original cork fell off 10 minutes before the end my gig last night. That's pretty good timing, I guess. This is the 2nd time in two days that I have fixed a tough (for me) problem on my sax. Yesterday, it was a regulation problem that involved bending (very scary) a key.

    Now that I'm retired, I should go take a tech course somewhere. It would be fun to start a reed instrument co-op one day a week where kids could bring in their non-playing instruments and we could get them to play. Sort of a first line of defense before they bring it into the shop. Ever heard of anyone doing this?

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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    No, I haven't heard of that. I think it may work better if you volunteered your services at the local schools and went to them rather than having them come to you.

    The guy who does repairs for me works in a music store. He is swamped with school instruments. Kids' problems don't involve missing corks (well, obviously some do). Rather the whole horn will have been run over by Mom or the dog chewed the neck, etc., etc. The problems MY guy sees are HUGE! He shows them to me and just shakes his head. I fear that you'd shortly be overwhelmed. DAVE
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    Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician & columnist clarnibass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    It's not completely clear if you are talking about the arm that closes the G# by the G# left hand lever, or the arm (sometimes screw) that closes G# by the right hand F# (stack) key. I think the former?

    IMO cork is not a good material for either. It is too grippy so too much friction (even with grease). Also, it can (and almost always does) develop a dent creating even more more friction. If it's very thin to counter that, it can just wear through easily.

    The most confusing thing is, neither situation makes your G# not play. In the former G won't play, it will usually sound like a choked note (depending on how thick that cork was), but G# will be open just fine for G#. In the latter case, your low notes (C#, B and Bb) won't play if your sax is a model that opens the G# keys when you play them, or when you play press G# for lower notes. G# itself would be fine.

    Maybe you can clarify?

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    Distinguished SOTW Member hgrail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    The rubber tubing isn't a bad approach actually. If you want to keep it from moving around clean the arm it's on and put a dab of glue on the arm before you slip the rubber over it. I've used heatshrink tubing wtih success the same way - it fits better and the glue keeps it from moving around.

    FYI - the G# should be closing on it's own before that lever comes down. That lever is a 'safety' really. Check the mechanism or have it checked. If the key isn't closing all the way on it's own then something is amiss.
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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    Quote Originally Posted by lutemann View Post
    My G# stopped playing because it won't close all the way. I occurred to me that the reason is that a piece of cork fell off. Is there a piece of cork on the the arm that closes the the G#? Any hack I can use to get it to play? I thought of wrapping it with scotch tape. Of course I will get it fixed. BTW, this is the most useful section on SOTW, thanks.
    I take it that by "arm" you mean the G# lever that the left little finger operates.

    Yes, most manufacturers use cork, even though it is not really suitable because it has significant friction and it dents.

    Any material that has even moderate friction is definitely not ideal.
    A material that gets significantly dented by the connector thingy is unsuitable because much of the spring force can be used up pushing against the "end" of that dent.
    Lowest friction is Teflon, but it is noisy.

    Quote Originally Posted by milandro View Post
    cork gives you the ability to precisely set the height, felt will compress over time and need replacing... .
    High quality (synthetic?) felt (as sold by Music Center, Kraus - to technicians - and maybe other), compresses a lot less than cork does in this location. And it can retain Teflon powder in its surface.
    An idea is probablyk to have this felt on one surface and teflon on the other. Without the Teflon, a high polish might be second best. Lacquer adds friction. Plastic tubinbg... bad for this appplication.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    Clarnibass, there is a picture of the key at the site in my 2nd post - it's the left hand key. You play a G and you still get a G# because the key won't close. I took it in and had it fixed.

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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    To Dave Dolson: my tech is also is swamped with school instruments; he's the only tech in town. I find that most problems with kid's horns are bent keys, minor regulation problems, broken or detached springs and sticky pads. Getting together with the kids and parents and teaching them how to clean the sax and treat it like a new born baby, would go a long way. Parents tell me that they have to take the sax in at least once a month to get it fixed.

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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    I tell kids to treat (some) saxes as if they were made of glass.

    Quote Originally Posted by lutemann View Post
    .... Parents tell me that they have to take the sax in at least once a month to get it fixed.
    These users must be about 20 times more damaging than the players in my part of the world, or they need a new technicain!
    There are techs and techs. If you target the cheapest, then all they do is correct the most immediate fault. I, and some others, put the sax into a state where it is reliable for a long time. That maybe costs a bit more, involves far more skilled and conscientious work, and costs 20 times less long term.
    Of course this is very challenging for the average Chinese-made sax.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

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    Default Re: Arm that closes G#, cork or felt?

    Gordon (NZ), unless you live in a large metropolitan area, it is difficult to find a good tech. My YAS 62 only works only about half the time, and I take good care of it. Right now my low D breaks into the next octave about one out of ten times when I move quickly from a G down to the D. I'll go over it tomorrow with a leak light. It might need a new pad. Could be (and usually is) anything.

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