Re: Next Student Saxophone
There's a cheapo hardware store solution to both of your issues with the Conn. The instability on high D is because of the low key height that forces players with less than very large hands to push away from the body somewhat with the knuckle, rather than straight down. Make a key riser with marine epoxy putty, shaped exactly the way you want it. If you want to you can cover it with nail polish so it doesn't end up looking grubby. You will have plenty of epoxy putty left over, so you can do something about the thumb hook and left hand thumbrest, which are also sources of complaints.
This youtube guy has an elegant solution to the balance problem with parts from a hardware store. Done right, it works extremely well. You mainly want a nut and screw combination that holds the bracket snugly so it doesn't shift around.
Not all straps are compatible with the recommended balance fix, as they might not fit into the screw holes and the sharp edges can shred plastic hooks. You definitely want a metal hook.
I also highly recommend a good neck strap for avoiding fatigue as an older player. I had no idea what I was missing until I tried one. The Just Joe's strap with the brass hook works for me. The Cebulla strap is similar and also very popular. There's also a shoulder sling type strap shich is unusual but intriguing because it gets the weight completely off the neck. Then there's the Japanese "Bird Strap," which has a wide yoke to hold the strap at the slider. The wider hang puts more of the weight of the horn on the shoulder compared with a conventional strap, especially in an up-adjusted position. It is also kind pricey. It has a steel hook, which presents a wear problem for brass strap rings but not with a replaceable bracket as used in the balance solution.