Unstable tone, unusual reason

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  1. #1
    SveinJo's Avatar
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    Default Unstable tone, unusual reason

    My YAS-875Ex has been a paragon of stability since I bought it, but yesterday it suddenly started acting up. Almost all tones in the lower octave started up in the upper octave, and only sounded right when concentrating very hard. Tried all the usual things, and several seemed to work, but after two or three tones the "squeak" was back. A leak light just showed that everything was in order, no visible leak anywhere. A close inspection showed that the felt between the body octave key and the "G" lever was worn, so I exchanged it for a piece of cork. No luck.

    Then, by chance, as I put the neck back on the sax body for the umpteenth time, I noticed that the neck octave key seemed a bit wobbly. A closer inspection showed that the screw holding the key had worked loose and was close to falling out. After tightening the screw (many, many turns), the neck octave key felt sturdy again. And - the problem had disappeared.
    Soprano: Yanagisawa SC9930. Alto:Yamaha YAS-875EX, YAS-62. Tenor: Yamaha YTS-82z. Baritone: Yamaha YBS-62.
    Mouthpieces: Vandoren(SAT), Phil-Tone(A), JodyJazz(AB), SopranoPlanet(S).

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    nice catch

    good warning

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    Christian1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    On my old student tenor that screw would used to fall out entirely every few weeks. When it's all the way out it's a hassle to put back in; good job finding it.
    Yamaha YTS-62iii tenor/Paraschos Selmer Neck/Vandoren T20/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3.5
    Cannonball BBSS Brute alto/Selmer Concept MOJO/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3.5
    Buffet Prodige clarinet/Vandoren Masters CL6/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Locktight

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    The higher up the instrument, the more an opening will impact most of its notes. After 10 years playing my soprano followed by about 5 in storage, when I took it back to play more regularly again last year it’d be playing well for about 20 minutes then suddenly become really stuffy. I took it to my fav repairman and he sent me back home with no finding. Finally after much looking I noticed the octave hole had a thin layer of verdigris build up causing and uneven surface of contact with the pad. After some vinaigrette on a Qtip soaking the octave hole and gently scrubbing I’ve got it cleaned up and it’s back in normal playing condition.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Time for a new tech. You should be able to tell a instrument is not playing it's full range, with a play test. There is no excuse for sending a instrument out, saying it's in playing condition, and having it not be. As a tech my first impression of this post was that something was with the octave mechanism. But I thought it was most likely just a bent neck or neck octave key. A screw is even easier to fix. Nice job catching that before it was lost. It's crazy how much small parts like that can cost.
    Mike Reed

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    To my tech's credit, my issue was more subtle then SveinJo's, a stuffiness that would build up after passed 20 minutes of playing. For some reason once the octave key pad would become moist the leak would increase. Hard to demonstrate to the tech on the spot. I was even questioning myself whether it had been my imagination as I was talking to him and the horn was playing fine on the spot. He later apologized to me for not having thought of that. My main point is that sometimes a minor leak around the octave key or neck joint can completely change how a horn responds in its entirety. Once addressed, that can transform a full horn from average to an exceptional player.

    Another similar experience I once had: I bought a Ref 36 neck while on a vacation trip in Paris right when those horns had just come out, by curiosity, only to be disappointed when I got back home in the US and compared it against my original Mark VI neck. Over the years I'd try it again, on and off, always feeling it was really resistant, non responding, stuffy. Until one time after playing it for a few minutes and disassembling I noticed a droplet of water build-up at the neck cork, but very unusually on the inner end of it, facing the octave key. That lead me to find out that the cork seam was not cut and glued properly, living an open channel of air leak along its length. While playing air/moisture was being pushed from inside the mouthpiece, along the cork seam, leaking to the exposed cork end outside the mouthpiece. A clear manufacturing quality slip. With same effect as a neck joint leak.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Sometimes a saxophone has a "screw loose" and sometimes its the player.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by adamk View Post
    Locktight
    Yes Locktight. Specifically "Blue" that's what most techs would recommend.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by Guto View Post
    Another similar experience I once had: I bought a Ref 36 neck while on a vacation trip in Paris right when those horns had just come out, by curiosity, only to be disappointed when I got back home in the US and compared it against my original Mark VI neck. Over the years I'd try it again, on and off, always feeling it was really resistant, non responding, stuffy. Until one time after playing it for a few minutes and disassembling I noticed a droplet of water build-up at the neck cork, but very unusually on the inner end of it, facing the octave key. That lead me to find out that the cork seam was not cut and glued properly, living an open channel of air leak along its length. While playing air/moisture was being pushed from inside the mouthpiece, along the cork seam, leaking to the exposed cork end outside the mouthpiece. A clear manufacturing quality slip. With same effect as a neck joint leak.
    I had the same experience with a sax on my bench. I chased my tail for a long time trying to find the cause of the unresponsiveness. A similar experience was a poorly soldered brace on the underside of a neck and a neck seam that had come apart that had a microscopic leak. If I hadn't hooked up my magnehelic to the neck to demonstrate to my apprentice how it worked, I would have never discovered the leak. I won't mention which brand of saxophone it was.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by saxoclese View Post
    I had the same experience with a sax on my bench. I chased my tail for a long time trying to find the cause of the unresponsiveness. A similar experience was a poorly soldered brace on the underside of a neck and a neck seam that had come apart that had a microscopic leak. If I hadn't hooked up my magnehelic to the neck to demonstrate to my apprentice how it worked, I would have never discovered the leak. I won't mention which brand of saxophone it was.
    That's probably happened to just about every manufacturer at one time or another. Not likely a reflection of the overall fit and finish/quality history of the manufacturer so I don't see why saying the brand would matter. It's not like you're bad mouthing the company. It happens... Nice catch finding the leak.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    There should never be a need for Loctite (not Locktight) on a pivot rod. Screw it all the way home - tight, and it will not come loose.
    And if the sax is so poorly made that that makes the pivot bind, deal with it!

    I would not use Loctite on a pivot rod. The chance is high that it seeps through to the bearing surface and binds the pivot.
    Loctite ("222", which is purple, not blue) is for regulating screws and pivot point screws that do not have a head, nor any other means of creating a firm fit.
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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason


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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon (NZ) View Post
    There should never be a need for Loctite (not Locktight) on a pivot rod. Screw it all the way home - tight, and it will not come loose.
    And if the sax is so poorly made that that makes the pivot bind, deal with it!

    I would not use Loctite on a pivot rod. The chance is high that it seeps through to the bearing surface and binds the pivot.
    Loctite ("222", which is purple, not blue) is for regulating screws and pivot point screws that do not have a head, nor any other means of creating a firm fit.
    Going thru threads and correcting misspelling must be very rewarding. I am sure you hold yourself to the same standard you hold everyone else too.

    One way of using "Locktite" on a rod is you would put a small amount on the outer thread end of the post so it is drawn up into the threads only.

    I am just trying to make a positive contribution to the thread.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by saxoclese View Post
    Me too.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    I corrected the spelling only so that anybody reading this thread who had not heard of Loctite would be more likely to have success if they were googling the product.

    Perhaps explain the saluting. Is it sarcasm, a put down, or a polite acknowledgement? I find it quite ambiguous.
    Contentment is not the fulfilment of what you want, but the realisation of how much you already have.

  19. #17
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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Gordon's right about Loctite getting where it shouldn't get-ie inside the barrel. If a screw persistently comes loose --for whatever reason, that's another topic-wrap a tiny bit of plumbers teflon tape around the thread..... and I mean a bit.

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by adamk View Post
    Locktight
    Is that ok to put on sax screws? The palm key screws on my soprano always unscrew from playing over time. Usually I don't catch it until notes start not speaking. I was wondering what I could do to fix this........

    Sorry, I just read some more of the thread after posting this and see that my question was addressed. Carry on........

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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Just to add an idea I just add a small piece of thin thread around a screw that tends to loosen occasionally.
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    Default Re: Unstable tone, unusual reason

    Quote Originally Posted by BOPITY FUNK View Post
    Gordon's right about Loctite getting where it shouldn't get-ie inside the barrel. If a screw persistently comes loose --for whatever reason, that's another topic-wrap a tiny bit of plumbers teflon tape around the thread..... and I mean a bit.
    Sounds reasonable.
    I've had rod screws come loose on a flute but all i did was keep tightening it.
    That flute is long gone.

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