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Beginner How much cork?

Philly123

Member
Messages
188
Location
South Wales
Hi all you good people, I hope someone can help me my query. On browsing through the posts on this site, there seems to be a consensus that the mouthpiece should be pushed down as far as possible, so that only a little of the cork shows and that the positioning of the mouthpiece on the cork, influences the tone of the notes played.

Mine, only seems to want to go so far, so that I have a good 3/4 inch of cork showing. I've been reluctant to push it further in case I do some damage. Is this okay? How do I tell which is the optimum position for my saxophone? I get a bit of 'warbling' sometimes, and I'm not sure if this is because I'm a beginner or my mouthpiece is not pushed on far enough.

I thought that if I found the optimum position, I would mark the cork with pen or something so I can find the position again. However, I was told I should not do this as I can damage the cork. Is this the case?

Sorry to ask such basic questions but I'm hoping that an incorrectly placed mouthpiece will explain the frequent squeaking sound I make. If not, I have to accept that it's me and I still have a very long way to go!
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
Location
Løten, Norway
Hi Philly,
To get the mouthpiece to slide easier on the cork, you should be using cork grease.

This is important: How far the mouthpiece should be pushed is a matter of tuning. Whether you use a keyboard, a tuning device, or whatever means you have at your disposal, is of minor consequence. What matters is that you slide your mouthpiece up and down the cork to tune the saxophone.

Up (out) means the sax gets a lower pitch, down (in) a higher.

Hope this was of help for you.
Rune
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
Location
Løten, Norway
Ideally, you tune your sax to a few notes only, then use your embouchure to alter the pitch of the sax so you always play in tune. This requires practice. Quite a lot of practise to be honest.

You have probably noticed that as your lips get tired, your sax seems to play in a slightly lower pitch. And it your embouchure is to tight the pitch is slightly higher. That's embouchure for you. With practice it will be a lot more even.
 
OP
Philly123

Philly123

Member
Messages
188
Location
South Wales
Sorry, I was just about to repost to say I think I've realised what that means and you're explanation confirms what I was thinking. So, if I can somehow get an accurate sound of what any particular should sound like, I can adjust the mouthpiece accordingly, I think?
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
Location
Løten, Norway
That's right. I usually tune my saxes with a keyboard. When the keyboard plays a Bb, my tenor should be tuned while playing a C and the alto while playing a G.
 
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Philly123

Philly123

Member
Messages
188
Location
South Wales
That's right. I usually tune my saxes with a keyboard. When the keyboard plays a Bb, my tenor should be tuned while playing a C and the alto while playing a G.
I've got an alto, so if I play a Bb on the piano, it should should the same as G on my sax? I'll try that tomorrow, bit late tonight. Thanks
 
OP
Philly123

Philly123

Member
Messages
188
Location
South Wales
I've tried tuning it with my piano and I think I've now placed my mouthpiece in a good position. I was able to push it on a bit further with a little more greasing. Thanks for the advice. ..... now I think the problem is with my embouchure and I've posted another question on this. I hope you guys don't get fed up with me asking all these basic questions because I'm really finding your advice very helpful.
 

davinci

New Member
Messages
4
Hi all you good people, I hope someone can help me my query. On browsing through the posts on this site, there seems to be a consensus that the mouthpiece should be pushed down as far as possible, so that only a little of the cork shows and that the positioning of the mouthpiece on the cork, influences the tone of the notes played.

Mine, only seems to want to go so far, so that I have a good 3/4 inch of cork showing. I've been reluctant to push it further in case I do some damage. Is this okay? How do I tell which is the optimum position for my saxophone? I get a bit of 'warbling' sometimes, and I'm not sure if this is because I'm a beginner or my mouthpiece is not pushed on far enough.

I thought that if I found the optimum position, I would mark the cork with pen or something so I can find the position again. However, I was told I should not do this as I can damage the cork. Is this the case?

Sorry to ask such basic questions but I'm hoping that an incorrectly placed mouthpiece will explain the frequent squeaking sound I make. If not, I have to accept that it's me and I still have a very long way to go!
Wondering if anyone can advise how to remove the pen marks from the cork effectively?
Sanding away? Had a few unwanted ones and wish to remove them.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
6,957
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Wondering if anyone can advise how to remove the pen marks from the cork effectively?
Sanding away? Had a few unwanted ones and wish to remove them.
You might try Goo Gone It is effective in removing many types of stains. I would apply it to the cork, brush the area with a stiff brush, rinse and wipe with a clean cloth. If the solvent fails to remove the ink, it is also possible to sand the cork with 400 grit sand paper, or have a new cork installed.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,405
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
As an obsevation (and I appologise if it's a grandma and eggs thing) I don't just push the mouthpiece onto the sax, I zig-zag the mouthpiece down the cork.
I usually have about 1cm of cork still visible on my alto, and slightly less on my bari.
When my alto was brand new, I struggled to get the mouthpiece down the cork. I'd suggest you take the crook off the sax, hold the crook in one hand and the mouthpiece in the other and give it a good shove and jiggle! (If you leave the crook on the sax you run the risk of bending it. If you've taken it off the sax, and hold both crook and mouthpiece firmly and push in a straight line, you're unlikely to cause any damage, but be careful anyway)
 
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