Custom Key Risers

I have been working on classical repertoire, both as a soloist, and in a saxophone quartet, and I have found lots of little technical holes in my playing – nothing that I can’t work around, but there are definitely things that I’ve had to keep in mind in the practice room.

As I dug deeper into building (and rebuilding) my technique, things were only getting marginally better, and there was some frustration setting in.

I was able to check out Mike Tremblay‘s alto (which has some risers on it), and several of my technical issues were solved – even though we play different models of alto (Mike plays a Selmer Super Action 80, and I play a Yamaha YAS-875EXBII). I thought about trying, and potentially acquiring a different horn, but figured that my favourite part of his alto was the keywork.

I thought about it for about a week, did some reading on what I might use, and decided on using Sugru (since I read that it was removable), in case I didn’t like it.

It was really easy to use – it’s kind of like Play-Doh. I wrapped it around the keys that I needed raised, and let it dry. It took three full days to dry completely. My hands are large, and I needed the risers to be about 2cm thick on the palm keys, I build the spatulas up (I tend to overshoot them), and made a huge extension on the high E side key. It took 6 of the 8 packets to complete the work on my alto. My alto being slightly heavier, but I’m really happy with the results, and my hands are really set when I play, so my technical issues have started to disappear.

I’m waiting for my new Sugru order to come in tonight, so I can get all of my other saxophones set up to feel great!

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