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G is sharp on my tenor sax

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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G (both octaves) is rather sharp on my tenor sax - enough to be irritating and hard to lip down enough.
I tried adding some thin bits of cork on the body under the feet below the pants guard in order to reduce the openings of the lower stack keypads, but it just made F and E muddy and hard to play.
I'm wondering about covering the top of the tone hole (Is this called a crescent?).
Any suggestions?
 
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jbtsax

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Try tuning to E Concert-your low F#. When that is in tune, check F#2 an octave higher both with and without the octave key. Finally finger low B and overblow to the 2nd overtone which is F#2. Make small adjustments if necessary to get all 3 to match as closely as possible. Be sure not to tighten or relax the embouchure when going from one register to the next. After tuning this way with a full tone about mf then check the pitch of the low G and report back what you discover.
 

rhysonsax

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I wouldn't be tempted to experiment with crescents until you have played around a lot, over months, with other aspects such as different mouthpieces, slightly different tuning positions and long tone practice. It would also be interesting to have another experienced tenor player try your horn with their setup and get their impressions - ideally without telling them the note and issue that you are concerned about.

I have got experience with installing home-made crescents in my "The Martin" baritone to deal with its notorious tuning issues around E2 and F2. It was interesting, fun and mainly successful but that was a well-known tuning issue common to that make and model.

You haven't told us what make and model tenor you have nor by how much the G is playing sharp and maybe that was deliberate. It is maybe significant that you didn't notice the issue until you started looking at a tuner for long notes. That suggests to me that it may not be as extreme as your eyes are now telling you.

For interest here is an intonation chart from Wyman's PhD study covering five different alto mouthpieces, tested on Selmer saxophones by good players. The tuning is not great unless the player is making the instrument play in tune.

Intonation Chart from Wyman PhD 1972 Fig 50 p104.jpg


Gathering data and making intonation charts is much easier now than it was in the 70s when Wyman did his study. You could use the Intonation Station app Intonation Station – The easy way to map your intrument's intonation that has been developed by a member of this forum.

Good luck

Rhys
 

Colin the Bear

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A crescent by making the tone hole smaller will sharpen the note, won't it?

Tuners cause more problems than they solve. We all go through the tuner stage. Put it in the drawer.

Jbt's advice to tune the horn with harmonics is golden. It will serve you well. You may find you need to reposition the mouthpiece on the crook and voice/lip in other areas to get the best compromise.

The realisation that saxophones don't play in tune is part of the journey. It's an intrinsic part of the personality of the instrument.
Frustrating though ;)
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Messages
5,647
A crescent by making the tone hole smaller will sharpen the note, won't it?
Good point. i don’t know how a crescent works.

My assumption was that if I put a crescent at the top of the hole it will flatten the note (by effectively moving the tone hole lower down in the body) and if I put it at the bottom of the hole it will sharpen it. But this may be completely wrong.
 

rhysonsax

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A crescent by making the tone hole smaller will sharpen the note, won't it?
A crescent placed in the top edge of a tone hole effectively moves that tone hole a little bit further down the instrument's bore thus making the length greater for the note using that open tone hole. That makes it flatter.

Rhys
 
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nigeld

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Today the G is spot on, with three different mouthpieces.
Oops! How embarrassing! :blush:


So it's a problem with the player, not the saxophone.
I blame Eric Marienthal. I have been trying to play with a looser embouchure, based on his lessons on Artistworks. Clearly the result is not consistent yet.

Or maybe your good thoughts and advice persuaded my saxophone to behave again.
Or maybe it noticed that I was looking at eBay and decided that it had better be good!

In any case, many thanks for the advice.

Try tuning to E Concert-your low F#. When that is in tune, check F#2 an octave higher both with and without the octave key. Finally finger low B and overblow to the 2nd overtone which is F#2. Make small adjustments if necessary to get all 3 to match as closely as possible. Be sure not to tighten or relax the embouchure when going from one register to the next. After tuning this way with a full tone about mf then check the pitch of the low G and report back what you discover.
I did this, and G was spot on! Also high G.

(However, I was tuning on F# when I had the problems with G earlier. I prefer it to B as a tuning note.)

I can get F#2 with and without the octave key to be the same, but the B harmonic is about 15 cents higher unless I deliberately lip it down quite a lot. I tried adjusting the mouthpiece on the cork to see if I could get them all to be the same, but then the whole sax was out.

You haven't told us what make and model tenor you have nor by how much the G is playing sharp and maybe that was deliberate. It is maybe significant that you didn't notice the issue until you started looking at a tuner for long notes. That suggests to me that it may not be as extreme as your eyes are now telling you.
Grassi Professional 2000 tenor. About 20 cents sharp. I had the same issue with 3 different mouthpieces.

The problem started (or became clear) when I used a tuner for long notes, but on reflection this is also when I started doing the Eric Marienthal exercise for a looser embouchure.
As an aside, using Tonal Energy Tuner for long note practice is soul-destroying! For me at least.
 

jbtsax

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I did this, and G was spot on! Also high G.
(However, I was tuning on F# when I had the problems with G earlier. I prefer it to B as a tuning note.)
I can get F#2 with and without the octave key to be the same, but the B harmonic is about 15 cents higher unless I deliberately lip it down quite a lot. I tried adjusting the mouthpiece on the cork to see if I could get them all to be the same, but then the whole sax was out.
The harmonics of the low B are determined by the taper of the body tube which gives the sax it's harmonicity. (how close the harmonics are to whole number multiples of the frequency of the fundamental) If the 2nd partial of low B (F#2) is sharp, I would also check the first partial B1 and see where that lines up. Are you sure you are not tightening the embouchure to play the harmonics?

The only other thing you might check is the pitch of the mouthpiece and crook. On tenor it should be an E concert (F#2 on the sax). If you play the mouthpiece and crook and get an in tune E concert and put the sax together and play F#2 with the same embouchure and airstream what tuning does that produce?

If my sax played the F# fingerings in tune with and without the octave key and the F# harmonic with low B's fingering was around 10 cents sharp, I would adjust the mouthpiece to where all 3 are just 5 cents off and be happy with the result. When pitches are played consecutively with a brief pause in between a difference of 10 cents is about the threshold of perception for most people.
 
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