Jim Schmidt’s Linear Fingering System for Sax

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

imageJim Schmidt, inventor, musician, and part mad scientist has been working on a very unique sax fingering system that takes linear to new extremes. In his own words:

When you look at a conventional sax you see a lot of complicated interconnecting linkages, unnecessary weight and redundant keys (side keys, bis key, F#, Bb. G# etc.). In the new system, scales and tones are cleaner and quicker because each key is independent (except the low note keys) and is not loaded down by interlinkage mechanisms as are, for instance, mid Bb and F# in the conventional Boehm method.

Tones are also clearer because you have the choice of closing only those holes which produce the best sound. This is especially true when playing altissimo (the conventional sax locks you out of some of the best altissimo fingerings). This fingering system allows you to do much more. For example, low note trills and interval tremolos are now available – a big advantantage over conventional horns.

A unique technique is employed to achieve this which allows two fingers to operate the low note touchpieces instead of just the pinky. For example – you can hold down low B with the ring finger while trilling low Bb with the pinky. This is easy because spring pressures are about 1/3 as heavy as found on conventional horns.

Here Jim demonstrates his sax designed from the ground up:

Very few of his uniquely designed saxes that feature the linear fingering system have been made, to date. And Jim has been at it a long time. You can read more on the NeoSax blog.

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About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra, and enjoy time with family and friends.
This entry was posted in Music Instruments, Saxophone, Theory, YouTube and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Jim Schmidt’s Linear Fingering System for Sax

  1. This post is very fun… I happen to need to work on an animation
    about saxophone performance and i find myself baffled at the logic of saxophone linkage design and its the tone hole relations…

    Could you help me understand about saxophone linkage designs theory or its thought process?
    Regards.

  2. Gandalfe says:

    The science of tone hole and key works linkage is not something I have ever studied. You might start with a patent search. You might also find some info in books about Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax.

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