Saxophone Forum


by mttsaxman
(16 posts)
9 years ago

Forked Eb Key

I've recently acquired 3 vintage Conns (2 altos and 1 tenor) and all 3 have been recently overhauled. In doing so, the forked Eb key has been sort of disabled, for lack of a better term. I think they just reversed the spring or something like that, which I understand is a common procedure. My question is...why? What is bad about this forked Eb key that it needs to be disabled? Not sure if this is the right place to ask this, but I figured you guys would know. Thanks !

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  1. by blackfrancis
    (396 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Forked Eb Key

    I wish somebody would answer this one as I'm in a similar situation and curious as to the fix!

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    1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
      (767 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Forked Eb Key

      It's disabled because it ends up being another point of regulation that can fail, and it's not a fingering in common use. If the spring is just reversed, it can be unreversed. Unfortunately, sometimes the tab that activates the cup is broken off to accomplish this and would need to be resoldered.

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      1. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Forked Eb Key

        I have heard from some people and from this forum that it causes problems with intoneation (sp?) and other things with tone and playing. and yes, it's another thing that can go wrong. I'm sure someone else can answer it better, and I'm also sure a really hard and long search can dig up the info... (not that you're wrong asking, but there is something out there on this site that I remeber reading a very long time ago)

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      2. by MarkLavelle
        (300 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Forked Eb Key

        Huh? What exactly is a 'Forked Eb Key'? I'm assuming there isn't one on my Yamaha... Anyone have a link to pictures?

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        1. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          On some vintage horns you have the option of fingering Eb by using 1 and 3 in the left hand. I found it to be a pretty useless fingering and currently keep the key closed by a cork under the keyguard that forces the key shut. I did not notice any unusual tone or intonation problems and it seemed no more prone to leaking than any other pad. Before spending any more time worrying about it try to think of a situation where a 1,3 fingering has a significant advantage over the traditional fingering.

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        2. by MarkLavelle
          (300 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          What, me worry? ;-) I can see why it's gone the way of the dinosaurs, but don't you mean 1,3 in the *right* hand?

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        3. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          That fingering would be very useful when trilling D-Eb or Eb-E, as you could trill either finger2 or 3 respectively, rather than trilling pinky or pinky and 3... also respectiveley. Those trills, however, would not be very common. I, also, would like to see pictures of this mechanism.

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        4. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          It isn't bad for for D to Eb but it isn't any better. Eb to E involves switching 2 and 3 which is much worse.

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        5. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          Yes. 1,3 right hand. Almost no advantage over the standard fingering.

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        6. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          I can think of one instance where it would be useful: Coming from the low C or C# to that Eb. I've ran into one instance where this would have been nice.

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        7. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          Oops! I meant trill of Eb to F...

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        8. by peter090
          (155 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          I'll have to try it. My recollection is that the best you usually got was going from a terrible fingering to one that was merely bad. Something about leaving the ring finger down while moving 2 and/or 4 just doesn't lay well.

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        9. by saxismyaxe
          (574 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          The reason so many players disable the Eb trill key is due to the fact that even if it is working and sealing properly, it CAN cause problems with extreme low range response for some, and is yet another (some would say unnecessary) key that can leak. It also slows down somewhat the lower stack action on some horns. A much simpler way to fix it shut is to simply insert a cork wedge between the key cup and the guard to keep it sealed.

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        10. by DaveUK1965
          (14 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Forked Eb Key

          I've got three vintage saxes from the 20's and 30's and all my Eb keys are open" - why ? Well. A lot of saxes of this vintage have G# trill keys. You also have the F-F# trill key, and it makes sense to also have a quick "D-D#" key, too. The way they were designed. Granted, the Eb trill keys can leak: matter of fact, they're reknowned for leaking, but if your sax is well made and well set up, this shouldn't be a major problem. We all go on about "a quick alternative fingering" and - there it is, built in. When you learn to use it, you tend to stop using your pinky finger as much for an Eb. I'd rather have it there than not have it. ;-)

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