Saxophone Forum


by cwhiley
(25 posts)
10 years ago

Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

Hey guys. I have a new (not quite a year old) Keilwerth SX90R in nickel silver. It features rolled tone holes like the old vintage horns. This horn shipped with key clamps installed. I put them aside and pretty much forgot about them but I've recently started taking some proactive maintenance steps to take care of my investment and I started thinking about the key clamps. I've done some reading on the internet and it appears that many techs say they do more harm than good. I've read that they create too deep of an impression on the pads. I've also read that they seal moisture up in the horn and cause pad sticking problems to be worse than normal. There's also been some talk of them causing spring fatigue and causing problems with key action due to the way keys are often linked together. So what do you guys think? Are they a bad deal for everyday use? Should they only be employed during shipping or perhaps during long periods of storage? I've got rolled tone holes so pad impressions shouldn't be a real issue. Also, I swab my horn with a nice BG synthetic chamois swab after every use so moisture shouldn't be an issue. I transport my horn around a lot so I've always felt that my key action will be better off held in place than flopping around inside the case. Any input you guys have would be appreciated. Thanks. P.S. If you have a Keilwerth horn and use key clamps I would really like some help using the upper stack key clamp as I can't figure out how to get the darned thing back on!

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  1. by definition
    (963 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

    There is only one time when I am using key clamps: when I ahve to take the horn and travel using something other than my car

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    1. by cwhiley
      (25 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

      topic bump :)

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    2. by cwhiley
      (25 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

      topic bump :)

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  2. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

    I like to use key clamps when setting new pads but don't advocate their use for everyday purposes, though I might consider using them for airport handling. As far as the springs losing tension, think of the keys that are naturally sprung closed. After 80 years, those will still spring, so I think that's someone's unsubstantiated opinion - not a fact. It's great you are using a pull-through swab. So unless your horn is getting really tossed around, I wouldn't worry about using key clamps.

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  3. by BlueTrain
    (6 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

    I have a Keilwerth alto. I had the same problem with the upper stack key clamp. I had to have my teacher show me how to put it back on. I am in school right now... math class - blech. but maybe later I can take a picture of how to put it back on and leave a link here. I also did the same thing you did - I didnt start using the clamps until a while after. I have been using them ever since. My pads are in great shape and I don't have to worry so much with the marching band retards of the school bumping my horn. My springs are amazing so far and the pads are actually LESS sticky when I use the clamps. I have not been using clamps with my Mark VI tenor (new pads), and have started to actually notice a bit of stickiness... while my Keilwerth doesnt stick at all. The only thing I would worry about is the impression.

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    1. by cwhiley
      (25 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

      That would be awesome if you could take picture of that upper stack clamp. I Can't figure out how in the heck to get it on!

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      1. by someguy
        (80 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

        I have had an sx90 tenor black for acouple months now and use only the righthand clamp and Bb and C# wedges. On my alto which is a sx90r I only use the Bb and C# wedges because I lost the righthand clamp. I honestly dont know if it the best thing for the pads but I do it because the manufacturer recommends it.

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        1. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Key Clamps - Why the controversy?

          I'll throw another factor into this discussion. Anything more than a very slight tonehole impression in the pad should not be required for a good pad seal. A level tonehole meeting up against a flat pad with very slight key pressure should suffice. If the tonehole is not level or the pad not flat enough, then a deeper tonehole impression is needed to get a proper seal. Actual or simulated rolled tone holes (like the 90-R) are somewhat more forgiving when it comes to pad leaks in that there is a slightly larger area for the leak to be "controlled". Downside being that RTH don't make as deep an impression as drawn toneholes. Keilwerth SX90-R's with their soldered on tonehole rings can have a tendency to be less than perfectly flat. And repairing them to be flat is much more difficult than with simple, drawn tone holes or "real" rolled tone holes for that matter. Keilwerth may be recommending key clamps to compensate for this potential flaw.

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