Adjusting Springs

Articulated keys, such as the closed G# key and the octave keys, are sprung shut by two springs acting against each other. One spring — the stronger of the two — tends to close the key. The other and weaker spring tends to open the key. When the key spatula is pressed down, the stronger spring is overcome, leaving the weaker spring to lift the pad from the socket. This spring tension must be kept very light, and unless everything is working properly the keys may not function. If the spring becomes weak, you can increase the bend in the spring and create additional tension. This is called “tucking” the spring, or putting a “tuck” in the spring. For “tucking” springs, get a metal crochet hook and file a notch in the tip. See (a) and (b) As shown in the enlarged view (c), the notch is used to push the spring, while the hook is used to pull it. If the key is still no working properly you may need to bring it in to have it adjusted at the Volkwein’s Repair Center. Even if the spring needs to be replaced this is a simple repair and normally doesn’t take very long.

Failure of these articulated keys to open may be due to causes other than weak springs. For instance, there may be lacquer on the tone hole socket rim and on the pad. This lacquer acts as an adhesive to hold the pad to the socket. The spring is not strong enough to pull the pad away from the socket because it is stuck fast with the lacquer. In this case, use some lacquer cleaner or thinner on a cloth and carefully remove the lacquer from the rim of the socket and from the pad. Use sparingly or the thinner will cause the pad to become hard. A quick but temporary solution may be a little talcum powder or face powder dusted on the pad to counteract the stickiness of the lacquer. Another quick solution may be to use some fine sandpaper on the socket rim and on the pad to remove some of the lacquer and rough it up so it is not so sticky. You can damage the pads or tone hole on the instrument so if you have this problem Volkwein’s Repair Center may be your best option to fix it.