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Burbling bottom D

saxyman

Member
Messages
267
I have just recently added a Yamaha YTS62 to my collection, it's in beautiful condition, but bottom D sounds like I am gargling.
It's at a specialist repairer at the moment to check for any leak and to be regulated.
But I have been told this can be a common problem with Tenors (although none of my others suffer from it).
To overcome this it been known for saxophonists to lay a champagne cork or similar in the bottom of the bell as this can overcome the problem
I have every confidence in my repairer hopefully resolving the matter, but has anyone else had experience of this problem.
Thanks.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Yes had this problem recently and the tech found a few minor leaks. Reseated the pads and now it plays beautifully.
£35 and an hour without my horn. Not bad Stuart at Woodwind Exchange, Bradford.
That burbling is really annoying though.
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
Messages
454
Some repair guys will tell you that the burbling is a symptom of high air pressure cracking open one or more large-surface-area pads which are held closed by weak-ish springs. The pad/s look seated well with a leak light, but when you play a big low note, the air pressure opens it/them a little.
I might agree.

[ I guess the wine-bottle-cork down the bell reduces the pressure locally ]
 
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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,090
Might be the placebo effect. Of course if you've drunk the champagne the burbling won't be coming from the horn. If it's a problem with only one instrument it will be a mechanical problem.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
Yep I've had this problem which was eventually solved by my repair guy - he did explain what the problem was but it went in one ear and out the other ;} all I remember was it was a very slight leak somewhere :thumb:
 

What

Member
Messages
314
I also get this problem, but I think it's me and my noob abilities, the sax checks out from what I can tell at least. Perhaps I should get it to a more skilled hand before I hurt myself.
 

picconose

Member
Messages
75
Burbling in the Low D is usually caused by a leak somewhere in the upper stack (left hand keys). If the burble is only on C and below, It is usually attributable to a leak in the lower stack.

Dropping a cork in the bell may or may not work, but it is a stopgap measure, at best.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,012
The "burbling" described in this thread is also called "motorboating", or "warbling". I have been fascinated with this phenomenon since high school (1960's) when my Mark VI alto did that on low C and B. Tossing the end plug in the bell solved the problem on that particular sax, which as it turned out was one that came from the Selmer factory with too much volume inside the bell bow. The problem was later addressed by repair tech's soldering a brass "patch" inside the bow to reduce the volume. I have heard that was also done at the Selmer factory, but I don't know that for certain.

A few years ago tp satisfy my curiosity I recorded the warble produced by playing a low C on a Conn C Melody. Then I slowed it down keeping the pitch the same using audio software. Next I took some snapshots of the spectrograph made from the recording at different parts of the "warble" to visualize the changes that take place in the note's harmonics. Finally I took numerous "snapshots" of the soundwave harmonics at regular intervals and made a moving picture in sync with the warble at the slower tempo.

For those interested, here is a link to the study: Warble Study
 

Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
Messages
693
Always have a wine cork in my cases. The problem seems to come and go - but popping the wine cork down the bell seems to do the trick every time.

Just don't forget it's in there and lean over to pick something up off the floor - it rolls out and every one else in rehearsal is looking at you with raised eyebrows wondering what's really in your water bottle.

Checking for leaks sounds prudent, as does making sure your pads are seated correctly. Adding a cork to your emergency kit in your case is not a bad idea, though. Works for me!
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
It's almost always a leak, and not always an easy one to find. A cork or a mouthpiece cap down the bell will usually get you through the gig but it wants fixing properly. If your tech says it's sound then get a second opinion IMO.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
Wow one I might actually be able to help with! IF, that is, the burbling and warbling referred to is indeed motor boating. (A feeling of waves pushing back at you and taking the sound away rather like a speed boat going over bumpy waves).

This usually indicates that your mouthpiece simply isn't pushed far enough onto the crook cork. Common with new saxes I think where the cork is obviously new and full (thick). This fix came from my technician (a sax repairer for more years than I've been alive I think) who also mentioned the second remedy of a cork down the bell. I'd tried a few saxes in a shop and encountered water boating on one of them on the bottom C. Not knowing what it was I steered well clear of that sax and ordered one of the other ones. Imagine my horror when my shiny new alto arrived only to present the same motor boating issue. As a newbie I'd been nervous about how far to push a mouthpiece onto the crook. I asked the tech who explained about pushing it on further and tried it later to find it immediately solved the problem (and also stopped the sax sounding so out of tune with play along CDs!)

Well yesterday I decided to order a Bari Esprit II mp for said alto (based on Tom's review of it on this site) which arrived today. Its a lot tighter than the piece that came with the alto so I got the same problem all over again straight away only much worse this time as it also affected the bottom D as well as the C.

Its so tight I really had to struggle to get it on as far as the original piece, which was what it needed before I could eradicate the botor boating.

I'm actually very uncomfortable with the force and effort required to get it on that far, even with copious cork grease, as I'm worried I may inadvertantly damage the octave mechanism in my tight grip whilst wrestling with it. Does anyone have any advice in this respect? How to get a really tight mp well up the crook cork to get it into tune?
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
I'm actually very uncomfortable with the force and effort required to get it on that far, even with copious cork grease, as I'm worried I may inadvertantly damage the octave mechanism in my tight grip whilst wrestling with it. Does anyone have any advice in this respect? How to get a really tight mp well up the crook cork to get it into tune?
Hey mate,

Just sand the cork (uniformly) until the mp fits just fine. :)

Raf.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
Hi Raf,
Thanks for the fast answer!!
I was actually about to post a retraction of my question as I've found lots of great answers (like yours) on the "Tuning with a new mouthpiece" thread. Even going as far as filing or sawing a few mm of the neck! :w00t:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
On the sanding, wrap the neck above the cork in masking tape. Then clamp the neck very carefully in a vice, making sure there's enough soft padding over the jaws so that there's no danger of damage to the mouthpiece. Then use strip of wet&dry, dry to thin the cork down. Start with 400 grit, maybe finish with 600.

Mouthpiece should feel a little tight after sanding, the cork grease and compression over time will sort this out. Better a touch tight than too loose.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,012
Another method of sanding a neck cork is to get a wooden dowel close to the inner diameter of the neck tenon and then sand or build up the end with masking tape to fit very snugly inside the neck tenon. This dowel is then held vertically in the vice.

A variation of this idea that I like to use is to find a wooden dowel that fits snugly inside the mouthpiece end of the neck. You then drill a hole that diameter in the front edge of your workbench. Next the dowel is cut to the length that allows it to go completely into the drilled hole with about 1" extending. This dowel extension is then placed inside the small end of the neck, and the back of the neck is supported by the abdomen of the tech seated at the workbench. Those familiar with the use of a bench "end peg" will recognize the similarity to the method described. The advantage of the bench dowel/abdomen holding method to sand the cork is that the neck can be turned 360 degrees to sand evenly on all sides.

The actual sanding is done using long strips of emery cloth or sandpaper about 1/2" wide with a "ragging" or "shoeshine" motion. If strips of emery cloth are not available you can add duct tape to the back of a sheet of regular sandpaper and then cut it into strips. I like to do an equal number of back and forth strokes from the North, South, East, and West to keep the cork as round as possible. I prefer 120 grit to start, and when the cork gets close to the correct size, I finish it with 800 - 1000 grit to leave a smooth, professional finish.

It is important to sand the cork to the same diameter throughout its entire length to create a cylinder rather than a truncated cone or "frustum". I like to fit the cork so that the mouthpiece will go completely to the end. Once the cork is smoothed with the fine sandpaper, I melt paraffin wax into the surface and then add a generous amount of cork grease for the initial mouthpiece insertion. I put the mouthpiece on slowly using a back and forth twisting motion till it gets to the end of the cork. Then I will use the edge of the mouthpiece to trim the end of the cork to make a perfect circle.

This process takes more time and effort, but in my experience the cork remains functional for years.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
Kev/jbt,

Some seriously good and detailed beyond the call of duty advice there from you guys. I actually feel guilty now as your posts are worthy of a new thread on cork sanding rather than being hidden at the end of the Burbling Bottom thread!

As a complete and utter DIY buffon without ownership of a vice or workbench I'm seeing a Reggie Prescott moment coming on if I attempt any of this so I may just ask the tech to do it when I'm next in. But your advice definitely needs to be available for those that are more gung-ho than me.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Alternatively you could just get a piece of sandpaper folded into a rectangle about 2" by 1", curve it around half the cork and sand it around gradually until it just allows the mouthpiece to be put on with some cork grease. At the end of the day it is only cork and can easily be replaced by any tech for very little. Any time left over ca be spent playing the sax with the mouthpiece on in the right place!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,090
I just hold the neck in my hand, wrap it with a sandpaper strip and twist away. It's a very simple process to replace neck cork if you mess it up. Especially if you use the neck cork tubes.

I tried some of that synthetic cork. It's ok but I wouldn't recommend it.
 
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