Saxophone Forum


by sax_maniac
(984 posts)
9 years ago

"Fast" keywork

With proper setup and springs, is there any horn not capable of "fast keywork"? I've never come across any horn designs that are inherently "slow", yet I notice this characteristic brought up in discussion on occasion. Sure, if the rods get rusty or the pivot screws are too tight, the response suffers, but these are (for the most part) addressable issues. I think "fast" and "slow" horns are so due to their specific circumstance - not because of a general design characteristic. The only thing I can think of making a difference is pivot screws vs. a full rod. Keys on pivot screws can end up a little noisy unless they are set just right, but I find them to be faster and, of course, more forgiving to work on. Anyone have a specific opinion on this?

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  1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: "Fast" keywork

    I think there's definitely horns that one would find faster than others. Speed of keywork comes down to several factors: 1) rods vs screws? Don't know what the advantages would be here. I would *guess* that it depends on wear. Do rods resist wear better than screws? I would think that proper lubrication, condition, and integrity of the rods/screws/barrels/posts would be more important. 2) Key Heights. Horns with lower key height adjusments would be a little faster due to spacial concerns.. 3) Ergonomics. If it isn't comfortable for the player to play on, fingering will be slower. 4) Spring tension. 5) Pad condition. If the pads aren't sealing well and it becomes necessary to compensate by placing more force on the stack keys, the speed will certainly suffer. 6) leverage design, especially of bell keys. 7) Noise. while you probably can utilize noisy mechanisms as fast as well silenced ones, there is incentive not to and a player may slow himself down as to try to hide the clunkiness.

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    1. by peter090
      (155 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: "Fast" keywork

      Looks like a good list to me. I'd say from a design standpoint (rather than condition) Ergonomics is #1 followed by key height and spring tension. Not all instruments respond well to being set low and light. Leverage (and probably balance) has something to do with how much bounce the keys have and/or how stiffly it needs to be spung. Just thinking out loud the responsiveness of the instrument probably figures into key height as well.

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