Bari help!

ladyraygun

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I am a bit of a newbie (I am a professional musician but not a wind player!) and bought an old neglected bari form ebay for a bargain price. I had it fully serviced by Kate Reynolds in Hove, and am getting on well with 'A Tune A Day' - about 3/4 of the way through. The only problem is that when I checked the pitch with my tuner it is a bit sharp (maybe just less than a quarter tone), and even if I try to lip down I can't get it in tune! If I pull the mouthpiece out to where it is in pitch it wobbles then falls off.

I am now worried that as it is an old American horn (no name except 'DOELLING' on the bell) it could be actually pitched to A=444 or some other 'high' pitch. Is there anything I can do about this or did I buy a lemon? It was a bargain but if I can't play in a band it is a bit of a waste of money. I have read on other parts of the internet that you can tape over the cork , and maybe that would give me just that little extra length to bring it down to A=440. Or is it just that I am new to sax playing and as I get better I will be able to control it better? I am having my first lesson on Monday but want to get as much advice as possible from as many people as possible.

I do not want to be professional on sax, it is really to have fun and socialise, but I do want to play properly and in tune with everyone else!

Thanks for your views
- Rachel
 

kevgermany

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The question is how far on the cork is the mouthpiece when it's playing in tune? If it's roughly half way on or more, then it's probably not an issue.

Wrapping plumbers ptfe tape around the cork is one quick fix (this has no glue, so no damage), but not very satisfactory as it comes off when you remove the mouthpiece.

Another quick one is heat - just hold the cork in the steam from a kettle or gently over the flame from a cigarette lighter. The cork will swell immediately. Be careful not to overdo it or damage any lacquer that may be nearby.

Have fun!
 
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Pete Thomas

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I am now worried that as it is an old American horn (no name except 'DOELLING' on the bell) it could be actually pitched to A=444 or some other 'high' pitch.
High pitch is sadly way higher than 444. I had a high pitch soprano once and it's almost a semitone.

Unless it is high pitch, there is a good chance what you have is a mouthpiece mismatch. Often more modern smaller chamber mouthpieces can play sharp with older instruments, the cure in this case is to try to get a big old vintage mouthpiece.

Some people have extensions made for the neck, this can work but might mean that some notes will be harder to play in tune than others as it can mess slightly with the intonation.
 
OP
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ladyraygun

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Thanks for your replies! I am not at home right now, but from what I recall I THINK the forename on the bell is Ernst or Ernest, so this could be the chappie! My bari is no thing of beauty as it has no motherof pearl on the keys, plenty of tarnish and appears to have been coated with some sort of gold laquer. It isn't sharp by much, probably less than a quarter tone, so I think you might be right about a mouthpiece mismatch. I am using a basic Yamaha mouthpiece I got from Sax.co.uk in Denmark St. Any suggestions about getting a more appropriate one? Ebay again? and price?
 

Pete Thomas

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Any suggestions about getting a more appropriate one? Ebay again? and price?
The obvious ones are Buescher or Conn (Eagle), those were probably the biggest makers of US horns back then, but almost any big old baritone mouthpiece from back in the 20s will do the trick I imagine. Not sure of the price, they are often things people have at the bottom of their drawers so should not be too expensive.

I'm not sure, but their may be some modern large chambered mouthpieces, Caravan or Sumner maybe?

Beware that with this sort of mouthpiece you are unlikely to be able to get a more modern funky sound if that is what you want. It'll be more of a warm sound.

I would wait until your teacher has a look.
 
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ladyraygun

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Well it certainly looks like it is the same Doelling that Pete mentioned, as the first name looks like Ernest (it is a little unclear) and the place name underneath is Philadelphia. So it is a much older instrument than I had realised; the only information I had was that it had been in a garage for 25 years! It does sound nice (to me - don't know what the neighbours think!) and I'm very pleased with it despite its tatty appearance. I just need to track down the appropriate mouthpiece now.

Thanks again for your help and I'm sure I'll be back with more newbie type questions soon!

Cheers
 
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ladyraygun

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Been googling all night for vintage bari mouthpieces with little luck (I don't have thousands of dollars to spend!) so does anyone have any ideas where to look - I have put a thread up in the 'Yard Sale".
 
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ladyraygun

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Thanks for that!

I also have just a little bit more info on my sax which I think it is a Conn Stencil
as I have just found the serial number:
Patd Dec 8 1914
1119954
B
P1305
L
I think the B refers to Baritone, and the L to lowpitch. Can anyone shed more light on this instrument? Thanks
 
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Pete Thomas

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Beware about what people call "vintage" mouthpieces.

If your problem really is to do with a mouthpiece mismatch, then it's not just a mouthpiece with the label "vintage" attached as this could mean anything as recent as 30 years ago. Ideally it would be something from the same era, ie pre 30s. These big chambered mouthpiecas are often referred to as "pickle barrels and not the same as more recent vintage mouthpieces, e.g. Otto Link.
 

thomsax

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Thanks for that!

I also have just a little bit more info on my sax which I think it is a Conn Stencil
as I have just found the serial number:
Patd Dec 8 1914
1119954
B
P1305
L
I think the B refers to Baritone, and the L to lowpitch. Can anyone shed more light on this instrument? Thanks
Yes, your sax is probably a Conn made baritone.

The info says.

Patent date Dec 8 1914 indicates the day when Conn company registred the patent that established a new mean of tonehole and body tube production.
1119954 is the patent number. This info is found on almost all Conns made after 1914. The odd/rare sizes like sopraninos, C-sopranos, Conn-O-Sax and Conn Mezzo soprano and Bassax might perhaps not have the this info. I think they were more or less handmade.

B, probably for baritone

P1305 ? Can be the distributers own serialumber. A Conn with that number should be produced before 1900!?!?!?

L(P) stands for LowPitch (A=440, High pitch (A=456) ).

I have some old baritone mouthpieces (Conn, Kohlert, King....) but I find them very hard to play. Beside the old design they also produce a sound that I'm not use to. You can also look for Bilger Classical baritone mouthpiece. Or get a modern cheap one and cut of a small bit of the shank !!!!!

Thomas
 

phooesnax

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Before I overreacted and decided it was a high pitch I think I would take it to a store that has some other mouthpieces to try. My BW Low A played awful with my Meyer 5M and was not in tune but is just fine wiht the supplied stock one. Sometimes the combination is just wrong. Also you may have it positioned wrong on neck cork. If it settles in too deep you would be sharp. You could have the cork replaced larger for a shallower fit.

I also have a soprano from the 20s that is awesome with a Lakey mouthpiece but did not play worth a darn with the one in the case.

Go figure.
 

kevgermany

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Agree on the pitch. There's quite a lot on Conn baris on cybersax.com. Including photos. The owner had a stroke a while ago, and I don't think they're trading again yet. istr there's also something about mouthpieces, will take a look tomorrow if I get a chance.
 

thomsax

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Just curious! Is there a matching number on the neck? The neck fits proberly (right dimension) to the tube/body? Does your horn have rolled toneholes?
 
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ladyraygun

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The sax is now back at another restorer who is going to add a small neck extension and re-adjust the keys which are still very high. As far as I recall the neck has no matching numbers on it, although the crook does seem a good fit, and seems to match the instrument (ie very old!). The horn doesn't have rolled toneholes - both teacher and restorer seem to think it is a decent enough instrument for the price I paid and age so I am satisfied as long as I can get to play it with other people. Teach has a selmer Mark V1 and blew me out of the room. Mine is much more 'woody' like a clarinet or bassoon sound - his was like a giant brass horn! Wow.
 

rhysonsax

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Or get a modern cheap one and cut of a small bit of the shank !!!!!

Thomas
Surely the mouthpiece needs more length on the shank rather than less ?

On my Conn baritone from the 30s the best in tune mouthpiece I have is a Vandoren B75 worked on by Eric Grieffenhagen (?sp). He excavates a 'double chamber' and it works well on older baritones like Conns and Martins. Lots of information on SOTW about that.

I also have a Woodwind Sparkleaire that plays nicely, but quite so well in tune.

Rhys
 
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