PPT mouthpieces

Borgani Tenor Saxophone - Semitone Flat


Senior Member
Hi all, posting a question for my son who plays various clarinets and saxophones, please excuse me as my music knowledge is limited.

I recently purchased a Borgani tenor saxophone (serial number: 11595) for my son second hand from someone in Italy (so there was no option to play before hand). I no little about the instrument I bought him (date of manufacture, model, setup etc.) so if anyone knows anything from its serial number please let me know (I have asked Borgani but got no reply to date). He had indicated that he liked the sound of the Borgani as he played one owned locally and really enjoyed playing it. I would add photos but the picture function does not work for me.

The problem is that currently the saxophone is playing a whole semitone flat on all keys and there is no way to adjust for it (Yamaha 4c mouthpiece pushed all way in and not enough he can do with embouchure). He is use to identifying different tone of each key in his instruments and adjusts accordingly as he plays (hope that makes sense).

Otherwise the saxophone is in good playing condition, standard intonation and great sound. If not for the tuning issue he would be very pleased with the instrument. As it stands, the instrument cannot be played in any situation where accurate tuning is required, most notably with other musicians.

Unfortunately, he suspects the saxophone may have a serious manufacturing fault . Upon preliminary inspection by a saxophone specialist it has been suggested that this issue is due to the bore being misplaced during manufacture and to compensate so were the tone holes to compensate for the earlier manufacturing mistake. I am hoping there is some simple explanation and will bring it in to a local store for more thorough assessment. Just thought I would ask here before I do.

I note that my son is in secondary school and is playing at a high level (AMEB level 7 to 8, if that means anything to you guys). I recently sold his baritone saxophone and bass clarinet (both Selmer USA) to fund the purchase of this second hand Borgani tenor saxophone . He still has a Buffet BC20 clarinet but sold the Bundy instruments because he was finding it too fiddly to play his technical pieces on the them.
I note that my son is in secondary school and is playing at a high level (AMEB level 7 to 8, if that means anything to you guys).

Yes, it means at least he knows the saxophone is a transposing instrument, otherwise that might explain thinking it's a semitone flat when mouthpiece is pushed all the way in, because that is exactly what would happen, ie a C becomes sharp enough to be C#, but it would sound a concert B and you might think it was a semitone flat.
Thanks. I have heard him talk about transposing music for instruments in a different note, he might do that on the fly.

I got an response from Borgani overnight a week after my first email so thanks to them. They couldn't say much.

"The instruments you purchased was a bestseller of our Company several years ago and we never found problems like this on our previous production. Unfortunately without checking the instruments inside our workshop it is impossible for us to understand what happened to this Sax."

So looks like I go to Italy (jokingly) or take it to someone local.
I would think it a good idea to have an experienced saxophone player/teacher try the sax to get a second opinion.
Yes. Thanks. He has gone through it with his teachers at school. When I say above that he suspects the instrument has a manufacturing fault, that came from discussions with music staff at school.
What note is he expecting to get? If he fingers a C, it should sound/play Bb. If he's getting a B, then the mouthpiece is on too far. If he's getting lower than Bb, then usually embouchure is too loose. Problems like this are usually the player/mouthpiece position. Also possible the neck isn't seated fully into the socket. Also possible the previous owner set the key heights too low to get the sax playing faster. But they'd have to be so low they're stifling the sax. Also possible it's not got the original neck.
Hi Kev, at this stage I will put aside suggestions of whether he is the cause of the problem until I speak with staff at a local `repair store. I am not discounting that notion entirely but he is not alone, he has well regarded and highly experienced teachers at his school. I will talk to him about the other 2 suggestions you brought up about the neck and key heights. Thanks.
If you purchased the instrument from outside Aussie the first thing I would do is take it to a sax repair tech and get the instrument looked over and serviced if necessary - something may have got damaged or knocked in transit. Maybe post some photos here to determine what model Borgani the sax is - does it look like this modern Borgani?

Borgani Pearl Gold tenor saxophone review

or a 1970s tenor like Sara Gallitz plays...

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDlO6XumRjI

Happy honkin' from across the ditch...

Greg S.
Thanks for the video. My son would agree with what she is saying regarding the instrument. If not for the issue we are talking about he would love it. I think the instrument is very similar (doesn't have the heart shapes she points out) but according to Borgani my sons sax is the model before the current crop. meaning it could be anywhere from the 70's like Sara's until 1990s. I have added some photos as the option is now unlocked for me. I have other images but did not add here because I assume there is a limit on how many images we should add to a post. Thanks.
Looks like a nice horn - you don't say what part of Aussie you live in - if you are in any of the major cities there should be some decent horn repair people around - in Sydney there is that horn shop down Parramatta Road, Camperdown and in Melbourne Oz Winds they have a store in Brisbane as well. I knew a guy that use to go across to Melbourne over the summer holiday period and help a guy repair all the schools instruments in the Greater Melbourne area full time job for a couple of months and a good little earner.

Greg S.
In comparing the length of the neck cork on the Borgani to the one on my Conn 10M, the Borgani is shorter. It might just be possible that that particular mouthpiece needs to go "beyond" the end of the cork to bring the pitch up to A=440. That is the only explanation I can come up with for what is happening with the pitch. Borgani is a reputable brand, key heights look ok, mouthpiece is not unusual, etc.

Sax neck comparisons.jpg
Thanks Greg. I am from Victoria (Ballarat) and we plan to go to Ozwinds in Melbourne on Saturday (we normally go there for woodwind stuff).

JBT. I will mention it to him and the staff at the repair centre/store I go to on Saturday (hopefully we make it). In the video posted above by Greg I think you can see the mouthpeice is pushed past the end of the cork (5:45). He said he pushed it all the way in but I don't know where that ended up. I will discuss with my son when he gets home. Thanks.
Some saxes just need the mouthpiece to get much more forward.
With the same mouthpiece , when I play my Yamaha tenor I go about halfway in and I may be sharp. With my beaugnier I go all the way in to get to the sweet spot. Each Sax is different.
Ellinas, I now suspect that you and JBT are correct. I will see what the repairers say tomorrow. Here are some photos of the mouthpioece on the neck and cork. The mouthpiece only goes on half way (under some force). It gets nowhere near the end of the cork like it does on the Borgani in the video above. The cork looks new (probably replaced recently by the seller) and may be too thick for this saxophone not allowing the mouthpiece to go on far enough. I will send pics to Borgani also and see what they say. Let you guys know how we go..
You can easily sand the cork down.

The main issue with that is it's best to get it right first off, because you often need some cork grease to help get the mouthpiece on, and of course once it's greased, sanding down is not so straightforward if too greasy.
I sometimes find myself:
1 sanding 2 greasing 3 cleaning off the grease
repeat until done

There is not necessarily a "correct" position on the cork - it can vary a lot from almost hanging off to overlapping - even under normal temperature conditions it depends on the model of saxophone, mouthpiece, length of cork.
Borgani saw the pictures and said I need to get the mouthpiece on further.

Pete, looks like some sanding and greasing is on the way s you suggest. I will also look for some guide on the net to help him but still will take the instrument down to Melbourne tomorrow. Previously my son has been accostomed to the the mouthpiece hanging off his school yamahas and part way on his bari sax.

Cheers for all your help. I will get back with the resolution (confident we will have one now). I will try and convince my son to play a tune as thanks so you can guys hear how good the Borgani sounds.
Before you sand the cork, put some tape over the brass/laquer right next to it.
It it very easy to accidentally sand off some lacquer on the neck as you are sanding the cork.
Borgani saw the pictures and said I need to get the mouthpiece on further.

Definitely the first thing to try.

Pete, looks like some sanding and greasing is on the way s you suggest.

For me the ideal is when you 've sanded it it so the fit is almost right but maybe slightly too tight, so that when greased it becomes OK and snug.

Do also try other mouthpieces, but there 4C should theoretically be fine, as should the saxophone. As mentioned the older ones don't have quite the same rep but in my experience are very good horns and should never have a semitone discrepancy.
Top Bottom