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Thread: Selmer USA Omega 164, TS100, TS110 & TWEAKING IT

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    Default Selmer USA Omega 164, TS100, TS110 & TWEAKING IT

    I have in my hands a Selmer USA TS100 or Omega (not the later TS110).

    I'll provide a review of mechanics compared to Selmer Paris (VII and VI & maybe early SA80) of the day and also playability.

    I an currently comparing it to a mk VII as from what I suspect the original SA80 (no Series identification) seems to be just like a VII except it got rid of the large table keys and it may have introduced the spring plugs, plus I have a VII right now.

    The first thing that I see is that this is nothing like a Selmer Paris horn. It has short cuts all around. Physical quality is great but to think this came from the same "tooling" as the Paris horns seems, at first glance, to be incorrect. We'll find out more as we dissect it.
    edit: put in tooling instead of "mold"

    I do have some information outlined here that I did in the past
    http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/snsax.htm#Selmer(USA)


    First thing noticed was that if someone put a blindfold on me and asked me to guess what horn it felt like I would guess not a Paris horn - VII, SA80 or VI, not a Yamaha but just like my old Cannonball Global Big Bell Series horn. Of course, Cannonball probably didn't exist back then. This is before tweaking or even playing at this point.

    Of course, most horns can be made to play extremely well. The Selmers are known for their "core" tone. The VIs are known for their feel and velvelty keywork when properly setup. We will do some tweaking to this instrument to get it to a very good playability. We'll also try some home "fixin' " in a few items so players can check their horns for some quick improvements that they can do at home.
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-19-2012 at 05:55 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSklar View Post
    Physical quality is great but to think this came from the same "mold" as the Paris horns seems, at first glance, to be incorrect. We'll find out more as we dissect it.
    Are you referring to "mold," as in "something you make horns out of" or "mold," as in "along the same lines of"? In the former case, I've never heard anyone mention that and I'd be interested in the source. In the latter case, I think I've mentioned that the original ad said something like, "Do you think you can get a professional quality [alto] for $1500? You bet." I agree with that. Well, based on the experience I've had with my wife's Omega alto, at least.

    I do think the horn has a bit of VI-ness, VII-ness and S80-ness in it. I don't think it's as good as a VI, but I think it could compete with the VII and S80 in terms of tone and playability. Build quality? That's your forte, Mr. Repair Guy .

    I mentioned in the other thread that the Omega is supposed to have the "164" model designation, from what I've read, at least. The 100 and 110 are supposed to be different horns. EDIT: I just read your website and you confirm that. Do you have a 100 and 110 that you're going to be doing comparisons with, too? That'd be interesting: I'd like to know what the quality drop-off was.

    Yes, I'm the Artist Formerly Known as Saxpics.

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    after reading my website ... I have a TS100 in hand

    "mold" - I was referring to tooling which was an old "wannabe" thing

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveSklar View Post
    after reading my website ... I have a TS100 in hand
    Quote Originally Posted by SeveSklar
    Later models (100s & 110s) horns used more automated procedures such as induction soldering and less precise key fittings.
    So close, too.

    Begs the question of what else was changed, too. Looking at your numbers, you're talking 1K to 4K Omegas, total.

    Well, if you need Omega pics or other detail shots, you've got my PM and e-mail. I'll have to find where my wife put the horn, then "borrow" her expensive camera.

    Yes, I'm the Artist Formerly Known as Saxpics.

    Check out my photoblog! Updated on September 7, 2014: Yanagisawa (a work in progress).

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    Quote Originally Posted by pete View Post
    So close, too.

    Begs the question of what else was changed, too. Looking at your numbers, you're talking 1K to 4K Omegas, total.

    Well, if you need Omega pics or other detail shots, you've got my PM and e-mail. I'll have to find where my wife put the horn, then "borrow" her expensive camera.
    I definitely would like to have some pictures. I'm really curious on the 8211xx vintage horns. I have some pics of one from eBay and those posts look like they took a cue from Selmer Paris and slotted the posts. Though earlier ones weren't like it neither were later ones.

    Slotted posts for keyguards


    Selmer USA TS100 posts for keyguards


    I've updated my website since last time ....
    http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/snsax.htm#Selmer(USA)
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-20-2012 at 01:43 PM.

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    The necks are close in design.
    Curvature is very, very close.
    The two necks are swappable between a VII and the TS100

    • Mouthpiece opening

    TS100 avg of 12.80
    VII avg of 12.65
    This will give the feeling of the TS100 being slightly more freer blowing - assuming all else is equal.

    • VII has an emblem on the front of the neck, thicker soldered ring between the neck and the neck tenon. octave pips are slightly different as are the mechanism guide. The neck stiffener is heavier duty on the VII than the TS100.

    • the total weight of the VII neck is significantly heavier, but it is a gold plated model so I'm not sure on exact weight differences between like finishes.


    • VII (and VI, SA80) neck has a stiffener ring on the mpc opening (TS100 does not)


    • The metal on the TS100 octave mechanism is more easily pliable on a quick check.


    I had to fix the TS100 neck octave guide. The pad was barely covering the pip. at #2 it was flat which pushed out the arm to the pad. I had to finesse the arc a bit so that it would center on the pip. I did this by hand by lifting up on the arm then pushing down on my finger to create an arc again. Worked really quickly, and too easy.

    I can see a player putting pressure here just to install and remove the neck and pushing this flat and causing octave and leak response issues throughout the horn.

    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-20-2012 at 04:35 PM.

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    Another issue I had with the neck is highlighted in #3 & #4

    The octave mechanism (coming next) is way too lose and has too much movement overall. But in this case it was not opening the neck enough and all the octave notes were suffering in tone clarity and response a bit.

    With the metal being a bit soft I had to push the mechanism above the #3 area and push the "ring" area #4 back to move the ring closer to the thumb operated octave mechanism rod (the thing that pushes against the neck mechanism to open it. This being closer now opened the neck octave mechanism more and improved the tone dramatically.

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    mk VII (bottom) vs TS100 (top)

    1982 SuperAction 80 neck



    mk VII (left) vs TS100 (right)

    1982 SuperAction 80
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-16-2012 at 08:22 PM.

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    Here's another quick fix. Even though the horn needs a good detailed going over I'm just doing some quick things to get it to play and feel much better.

    The next on the list is the thumb operated octave mechanism. It's was out of whack. Basically what I did was add a cork to the bottom of the mechanism at the top of the mechanism to level off the entire mechanism (identified as 1). This makes it respond much quicker as the octave post is much closer to the neck octave mechanism. Thus it hits it faster and moves it with much less overall movement.

    The main issues with quick response for the neck octave mechanism is making sure the mechanism on the body is set up for a short throw. And that the mechanism on the neck is close to to body octave pin sticking up to move the neck mechanism.

    But if the neck mechanism is too close and touches, then any different angle of the neck on the body could artificially slightly open the neck mechanism (not good). So normally these two pieces are never completely touching unless the player is well aware of this scenario. As you rotate the neck, the space between the pin and mechanism also changes thus one has to be careful in setup.

    The key items are:
    [A] on the Selmer body octave mechanism there is a multi-pivot mechanism - identified as #2. This needs to be parallel to the body. Usually one accomplishes this by adding cork to the very top of the mechanism where it touches the body #1. This movement also lowers the thumb half-moon touch.

    [B] making sure the neck octave mechanism is not overly open. This requires the loop to be pushed back to the neck to minimize the overall total movement of both mechanisms required to open the octave mechanism.



    Now with a nice thicker piece of cork underneath the #1 above the mechanism looks like this:
    #1 - the octave pin is much closer to the neck octave loop. This requires, in itself, much less movement to open the neck.
    #2 - This entire mechanism is now parallel to the horn
    #3 - the thumb rest is actually a bit lower too, Thus at the pivot point #3 the entire mechanism requires less movement overall to open the neck mechanism, and it opens more than before, faster with a shorter movement.



    I'm not sure how well these videos are nor if they function. It's a iPad compatible video.

    Before
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/wo...00/octave1.m4v
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/wo...00/octave1.avi

    After
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/wo...00/octave2.m4v
    http://www.clarinetperfection.com/wo...00/octave2.avi

    Edit: added the original AVIs. ok, my videography is horrid at best. I might have to take some pics to replace it
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-18-2012 at 02:38 PM. Reason: Cauliflower Causes Calamaty

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    I'm not able to open the files on my PC, even with QuickTime. I've also got VLC Player (Portable) which generally opens anything. No joy. No load-y on my iPad, either.

    I'll try to do the picture thing sometime this week.

    Yes, I'm the Artist Formerly Known as Saxpics.

    Check out my photoblog! Updated on September 7, 2014: Yanagisawa (a work in progress).

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    A few more things coming up
    1 - how to find a leak at home. Fixing it may not be at at home thing, but at least we'll be able to find it.
    2 - how to fix a post push in dent with some home tools you may have around that is fairly accessible through a tonehole or the bell.

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    Back in 1983 the Woodwind and Brasswind sold the Omega sax.
    The Omega alto sold for $1,030 with a retail price of $1,500
    The Selmer SA80 sold for $1,495 and retail $2,300




    =========================================
    For those curious, here is a list of horns available in 1982 from NEMC



    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-19-2012 at 01:42 PM.

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    As mentioned earlier, I'm attempting to do some repairs that players can do with "at home" stuff.

    But in checking for leaks I found that a flashlight is really totally inadequate as it does not splash light directly into a tonehole. One needs a device to point light into a tonehole to check for pads that are not sealing totally. I do have an LED stick which is actually perfect for this as it is super bright (brighter than the flourescent and cheaper too) but too thick of a diameter to get into the body itself - only good for the bell keys.

    Thus I then tried a LED string which can be purchased for $15 or some from any hardware store or hardware section. This proved much more accurate and acceptable to use. BUT it in itself was not the best solution. While I was doing "ear" tone tests I found other very small leaks that the LED string did not find. The flourescent light test found those very small leaks. Since most probably don't have an expensive flourescent light obtained from repair supply shops I'll review the LED and "ear" testing method.

    EDIT: At one time I did test using a flashlight, but not from the inside. In a dark room if you use the flashlight and move it around the closed key light can penetrate into the tonehole, and looking down a dark body it becomes obvious if there is a leak. So this method works too it's just a bit more tedious than the light inside the horn.

    Here are some examples of Ferree's available flourescent leak testers for sax
    http://www.ferreestools.com/index_files/Page84.htm
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-18-2012 at 01:30 PM.

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    In playing the TS100 one can somewhat easily play top to bottom. BUt it is not a "full" and easy tone production that I was hoping for. In most cases this is due to small leaks here and there.

    If one plays the horn chromatically usually leaks from D and above can be somewhat concealed. Tonally it is easier to hear problems from mid B lower. For instance, if low Bb sounds like a boat horn then it is probably because there is a leak somewhere.

    So if one plays a B (close your eyes and listen intently on how deep the tone sounds) one can normally hear a nice full tone. You can test this by ever slightly raising the key as you play and hear the tonal variances. Slowly closing it until it is 100% on any part of the horn as you are playing can also teach you alot and give some good ear training.

    The A note though is a bit different. A relies upon the Bbis key to also close fully. This is usually a area of problems. One method to check is to play an A and use your Right Hand to push down on the Bbis key. If there is give and a tonal change, then you have a leak based on the keywork not pushing down the Bbis cup all the way. This horn had that problem. But the problem didn't show using the christmas LED type light, but only on a higher intensity flourescent.

    It was a very small leak and for a quick fix, I simply added a 1/64 cork to the top of the pad cup. I guess one could also use tape too as long as it is a good thickness. But this fix made the tone much more fuller to the ear.

    Though keep in mind, I had the 1/64 cork a little further up the cup and I had to position it just right for the entire mechanism to close the other key cup properly.

    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-20-2012 at 02:01 PM.

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    The lower stack notes were a bit resistant and response was not 100%. Unless one squeezed a little harder. But that would identify a leak.

    In this video I press the F, then E, then D keys separately and one can clearly see that that top mechanism F# pad does not close 100%.

    This area we have to be very careful.
    With the F# key (which the FED keys close) there is also the little arm that goes up the instrument and closes the Bbis and G# padcup.

    When making any adjustments to the FED/F# mechanism one has to loosen the two screw adjusters for the Bbis & G#. Once we get the lower mechanism working then we readjust the adjusters so that the Bbis and G# are closed.

    Now we can ignore the Bbis if we want to as that is for an alternate Bb fingering that I really never use (but someone else may). But we CANNOT ignore the G#. Any time one of the table keys is pressed G#, low C#, B or Bb this G# is released and may open if that one adjuster does not keep it closed !!

    If you screw the adjuster too much down then it does not allow the F# keycup to close 100% (and the subsequent DEF stack).

    If the material used on the adjuster is too squishy it may also cause a problem (one reason Selmer Paris adjusters are wide which allows for a thin material to be used).

    In this area there is a lot of little adjustments until it is perfected. I mentioned elsewhere that if the Low Bb or B sound like a boat horn then there is a leak, and more often than not it could be this mechanism area itself which is causing the problem.

    AVI video
    http://www.Clarinetperfection.com/wo...erTS100/30.avi

    you can clearly see light between the pad and tonehole rim in this picture
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-20-2012 at 02:14 PM.

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    In order to correct this problem we have to look at the backside of the horn.
    Remove the pant guard and there is a bar there in which each mechanism F, E, D raises up this bar. now each mechanism is not closing the top key, thus as know we have to, in this case, add thicker material between the specific mechanism arm and the bar. Also note the bar extended from the bottom for the D is actually slightly bent which gets corrected too.

    I believe I replace the padded down felt here with 1/32 inch cork. This does not affect the pad height of F, E ,D but it does affect the height of the F# top pad that this mechanism closes.

    I also need to mention, by lowering the F# pad you also affect the arm with the 2 adjusters on it. These have to be loosed a bit as this will now press down on the Bbis arm and G# padcup. These have to be loosen until the lower stack adjustments are done. Then they have to be adjusted for the closure of the Bbis and G#.


    You can see the felt of the E & D


    All replaced with cork
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-19-2012 at 09:56 PM.

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    In the ear tone testing while playing F for instance you can swap lower fingers and have your first couple fingers available to do things.
    One such thing is to push the keycup above the F, or the F# as I like to call it.

    You can even reach and push the G keycup. This technique can be used while playing long tones and listening to hear of, while pushing the keycup, if there are tonal changes which would identify a leak. While doing this process though one has to be really careful to not have the mpc move in their mouth which could artificially change the tone.

    You can also learn to do this with your left hand and the upper stack, especially useful for checking the Bbis key if your right hand is not available.

    for various other tests one can use wooden wedges to wedge close a key to free up a hand. Quite useful when testing bell keys or seeing how well the G &Bbis arm (the little arm with adjusters on the F key) works. For instance you can wedge close the lower stack by using wood or rubber wedges on the stack bar which is located on the backside behind the pant leg protector. You can also do this on the upper stack too. So as one works up or down a horn working on leaks one can close sections or complete stacks.

    Of course, having a high end leak light really helps to
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-18-2012 at 01:35 PM.

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    I should also mention, that on this TS100 everything seems to be of a thiner gauge than on a Selmer Paris horn. So they look alike and the TS100 is a nice copy but nothing is really identical between the two horns. Even the Body/Bell support is different.

    Length of mechanisms, diameter of rods, depth of key cups, sturdiness of key cup arms, basically every piece is different between the TS100 and Paris horn. Of course it's still a saxophone and well designed. Looking at some pictures of Selmer USA Intermediate sax then one sees alot of similarities of details, and alot of differences.
    Picture Album of Selmer USA Intermediate http://www.woodwindforum.com/forums/...php?albumid=83

    Thus I think the Omega / TS100/101 is just a step up design from their Intermediate horn rather than one designed from the ground up from copying the mk VI. I'd have to compare it to one of those horns side by side for an exact comparative analysis.

    If you go to my profile I have uploaded pictures of 2 early Super Action 80s from 1982 for further comparison. But at one time when I compared a SA80 to my VII they were very identical. Unfortunately I nearly got my hands on a 1981 SA80, but if I had done that then I would not have been able to see this TS100.

    http://www.woodwindforum.com/forums/...php?albumid=77
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-19-2012 at 09:53 PM.

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    On the low C the key guard at one time got a fairly significant hit. Both the side posts are pushed into the body a bit.

    This looks like it is just a visual problem but it affects the instrument in other ways.

    Due to the depth of the push in it actually pulls down the tonehole a little bit in two locations, next to the posts.



    The low C, when one plays it, is full but slightly honking in a way and does not speak immediately. This tonal quality identifies a leak. One can work around it with their airstream but it still is a leak.

    It is interesting as the light test does not identify this as a leak as the tonehole still goes into the pad but it is not fully sealing. The pad has it's original indentation. And the hit pulled the tonehole down slightly where it is still in the indentation just not 100% into the indentation. And since light cannot go around corners unless it is reflected (such as the inside of a sax as it is all brass but the pad is leather) there is no leak based from light. But I used a feeler gauge, a clarinet technique, to confirm it.

    There is a extremely small leak basically where the tonehole is slightly, very slightly lowered due to the posts being pushed into the body, this in two locations across from each other. Thus the first part of the solution is to raise the posts back up level the the surrounding body. Then flatten the tonehole chimney.

    One solution not involving touching the body is to replace the pad and re-indent it based on the current situation. This is probably the best home solution.

    This dent work is not really a home solution. I tried a few "home" techniques but the results were not there for the effort. Thus I will use the standard dent ball technique to correct it.
    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-20-2012 at 01:56 PM.

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    Now the low Bb is kinda squishy. This is due to a large felt pad being used as the material to close the mechanism. This is going to be changed to thin cork. This also allows us to change the angle of the Bb if we want. Once we add the cork we do have to adjust (aka bend) the B key touch actuator arm down to be touching the tilting Bb mechanism.


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    Since I'm just making quick fixes, I simply cut off most of the felt. And Viola, some little adjustments (bending the actuator arm down to touch the Bb mechanism and all works well. Low Bb plays about 50% easier now just from this one adjustment.

    You can see here how the actuator arm now has a bend in it identified by the arrow. This removes all the space that the thick felt bumper had. It eliminates the give/cushion of that felt bumper and provides a much more positive, easier and faster action.

    Last edited by SteveSklar; 07-24-2012 at 02:24 PM.

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    I knew if I looked, I'd find one. Selmer Model 164 "Omega" Bb Tenor. It's currently being sold at saxquest.com (I can't find the link, tho). s/n is 821,628. Note the engraving. Looks like the one on my wife's Omega alto. Significantly different on your TS100.

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    Yes I noticed the early engraving is just around the Name emblem.

    Whereas the TS100 covers the bell and bow and is very similar to the Paris US engraved horns ... matter of fact I noticed in that 71 VI that the engravings are eerily similar

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    Sorry. I wasn't specific enough. I wasn't really referring to the fleur-de-lis (-ish) engraving, but the "Selmer" logo, itself. Comparing the 164 to the 100, the 100 has a "dark" engraved logo and the 164 is "light".

    Fleur-de-lis (-ish) engraving:
    Balanced Action
    Super (Balanced) Action
    Mark VI
    Mark VII
    162 Omega Alto (164 is the tenor).
    100
    110 Alto
    Super Action 80
    Super Action 80 Serie II
    Super Action 80 Serie III
    Super Action 80 Serie III Jubilee
    Reference 36
    Reference 54

    The "Bird" horns have significantly different engraving. Take a peek at Kessler Music's page, too.

    Whole lotta stuff on the 162/164 Omega.

    ----------------

    Couple of notes:
    * The Mark VII was more commonly sold without engraving. I think that all or most of the horns listed could be had without engraving.
    * The Mark VI and earlier had a bunch of different engraving styles.
    * Mark VI silver plated and "two tone" horns generally had different engraving than the lacquer horns.
    * The 110 is considered "intermediate" at all the websites I saw.
    * I think that Selmer USA "renumbered" their models sometime in the 1990s to something like 100, 300, 500. I could be mistaken. I haven't really done much on Selmer USA.
    Last edited by pete; 07-23-2012 at 11:32 PM. Reason: Changed the 110 link to a known 110 ....

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    Yes the "Selmer" is different between them all including alto versus tenor it seems and themselves

    The Omegas altos & tenors had the stamp Selmer outline. Which can be heavy or light
    http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/Ga...megaAlto03.jpg

    Omega alto with filled in Selmer engraved outline
    http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/Ga.../SUOmega04.jpg


    The 100s or the engraved outline was filled
    http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/Ga...enor/sax01.JPG


    Alto 110 - cheaper stamp
    http://www.ClarinetPerfection.com/Ga...s110/sax02.jpg


    the 110 Alto you list looks like a model 100 .. i think

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