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'Crackling' Sound - Good and Bad

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,373
I don't really know how to describe this (see the recent discussion on adjectives used to describe sax sound), but here goes anyway.

One of my better soprano mouthpieces is a Selmer metal. But although I like its basic sound, I don't play it because it quickly sounds 'spitty', presumably as moisture condenses inside the chamber and throat. I don't know why the moisture doesn't run away, but it really affects the sound, which goes from sweet to 'bubbly' or 'spitty' and unpleasant.

By contrast, I have been playing a high baffle metal piece on my tenor (BW M2S). It has a 'crackling' edge to the sound that is really appealing. I can't think of any pro players with that type of sound, but I'm sure that there are some. Maybe it is because the sound of this horn is quite 'warm' and 'rich' that a bit of a rough edge helps to liven it up.

Now I don't think that this 'crackling' is down to moisture as it is present all the time and the mouthpiece isn't particularly wet.

Do any of you know what I mean by this 'crackling' sound ? If you do, what causes it and do you like it ?

Rhys
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,802
I understand what you mean. I use high baffle mouthpieces on my Martins. The Martins saxes were "underpowered" compared to other popular brands in the 50's. So with pads with reflectors/resonators (maybe open up a bit, but you lost action!) and a mouthpice with high baffle and a smaller chamber the Martin became more contemporary. A Dukoff (S, D or X chamber), BL 0 or 1, Rovner D40 chamber makes the sound of a Martin less dull, closed, muffed ..... . I think it's good beacause I play Rock & Roll Saxophone. And I also think that a baffled mpc + oversized reonators makes the sax louder.


Thomas
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
You're probably right about it being due to condensation, metal mouthpieces are more prone to this until they warm up. I think it's mainly the condensation between the reed and the lay of the mouthpiece that makes it spitty, although it could also be moisture on the inside of the reed itself - with a soprano the condensation inside the chamber of the mouthpiece will tend to run down the inside of the instrument, but the moisture trapped under the reed is held there by capilliary action. Synthetic reeds are more prone to this because they don't absorb any moisture. I noticed when I had a transluscent Legere reed that you could see moisture trapped under the reed where the facing narrows towards the table.
There's not much that can be done other than taking the mouthpiece off, shaking out the moisture and blowing from the opposite end to get it out from under the reed or removing the reed and wiping away the excess.
This is something that happens with most mouthpieces I've played, ebonite or metal. The spittyness is more noticeable when you're playing quietly or on brighter sounding horns. Longer facings and or smaller tip openings seem to accumulate more condensation between reed and facing. I've noticed when playing really loud that the air pressure blows a bit of spray sideways out of the gap between reed and rails.
I found condensation to be something I just had to deal with when practising in cold damp rehearsal rooms in the winter months, down near the docks in Liverpool..
Ah, happy days at Vulcan Studios, wrapped up in coat and scarf, blowing like hell to keep warm, then trudging off through the snow to the Ship & Mitre to defrost... err, where was I? ... losing the plot, apparently :)
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Rhys, I'm not going to begin to try and tell you why you get a spitty sound through that piece, could be a number of reasons, but get some car wax on the inside of it....no seriously, and on the reed if you use a synthetic one, and on the inside of the neck....problem solved!

I can relate to the crackle you refer to, you use a Lawton right? well i get the same on my selmer and on the 10m, but interestingly not on the Barone i sold recently......its just how it is.
 

bodak

Member
Messages
72
Rhys, I'm not going to begin to try and tell you why you get a spitty sound through that piece, could be a number of reasons, but get some car wax on the inside of it....no seriously, and on the reed if you use a synthetic one, and on the inside of the neck....problem solved!

I can relate to the crackle you refer to, you use a Lawton right? well i get the same on my selmer and on the 10m, but interestingly not on the Barone i sold recently......its just how it is.
Spit and polish---you cannot be serious man;}
 

sushidushi

Mine's an espresso
Messages
651
Is the idea that the moisture would bead and roll off...?

I often get a spitty sound and simply suck it back in. Pretty gross, probably, but it's all mine...
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Additionally some mouthpieces are badly made - I'll email Joe Giardullo and see what he says (Soprano Planet - top soprano mouthpiece maker).
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I received a reply from Joe Giardullo who said this:

"It sounds like the piece is unbalanced, especially right at the tip area.

There is likely too much material in the mouthpiece."

Hope this helps.
Kind regards
Tom
 

Big-Al

Member
Messages
32
Rhys, I'm not going to begin to try and tell you why you get a spitty sound through that piece, could be a number of reasons, but get some car wax on the inside of it....no seriously, and on the reed if you use a synthetic one, and on the inside of the neck....problem solved!
I decided to give this tip a go as I sometimes get the spitty sound with my synthetic reed and I have to say that so far it has worked a treat.

Thank you.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Sounds cheaper than having a mouthpiece rebalanced/replaced, even if that is a likely cause of such phenomena.........:thumb:
 

Big-Al

Member
Messages
32
I think I'd be reluctant to put something in my mouth that had been coated in car wax.
You don't coat the whole mouthpiece in car wax it's the inside only and the inside of he reed. ie bits that don't touch your mouth.

I don't think it is the mouthpiece it is a PPT mouthpiece but more likely the synthetic reed. Moisture builds up between the reed and mouthpiece so I used to have to more regularly wipe the excess moist away now it doesn't seem to build up to the same extent.
 

sushidushi

Mine's an espresso
Messages
651
I might have to try it. I get that spittiness sometimes with mine - real (La Voz or Vandoren) reeds on a plastic (Hite Premier) mouthpiece.
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
I get a crackling sound when I put a lot of energy into my playing, and I like it that way. If it's the same thing that you're talking about here, why worry about it? To me, it adds a bit of an edge to the sound when I get heated up...

Martin
 
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