Sax tuning.

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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The anwer is yes. Sort of. Somewhere on the web, can't remember where, is a long article about this. Haven't done it myself or seen/heard the effects.

The pitch of a tone hole is determined by the distance of the centre of the hole fom the reed.

Basic approach is to cut cork crescents and stick them inside the tone holes, either on the neck side to flatten the note, or the bell side to raise the note. Net effect is that the tone holes move from being round to out of round.

As you adjust the position of a tone hole like this, you need to be aware that a tone hole has an effect on the next note or two higher than it, so adjusting one can affect the tuning of others.

Problem's going to be that if the crescent drops out, then the tuning will revert - and may be worse than before you started.

Found it:

http://www.musicmedic.com/info/articles/num_24.html
 
OP
Tommy Ng

Tommy Ng

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The anwer is yes. Sort of. Somewhere on the web, can't remember where, is a long article about this. Haven't done it myself or seen/heard the effects.

The pitch of a tone hole is determined by the distance of the centre of the hole fom the reed.

Basic approach is to cut cork crescents and stick them inside the tone holes, either on the neck side to flatten the note, or the bell side to raise the note. Net effect is that the tone holes move from being round to out of round.

As you adjust the position of a tone hole like this, you need to be aware that a tone hole has an effect on the next note or two higher than it, so adjusting one can affect the tuning of others.

Problem's going to be that if the crescent drops out, then the tuning will revert - and may be worse than before you started.

Found it:

http://www.musicmedic.com/info/articles/num_24.html
Many thanks for the info.. :thankyou:

It doesn't sound very easy to do it :(
 

phooesnax

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USA
Tone, action and intonation are greatly affected by deck height< height of pad above tone hole> . It is trade off. You get fast action with low height but sacrifice tonal qualities and intonation.

I once overhauled a 6M Conn 1923 that was a wreck. I started with low deck heights and slowly raised the height while using a tuner.

To make things more complicated...snce the sax is conical then the height increases on the way down the horn.

Easy to raise the keys...harder to lower.

You take a narrow strip of 200 or so grit sandpaper and put the smooth side against the horn and gently pull it under the cork on the foot. You need to be very careful and proceed slowly watching the combination for correct regulation.
 
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MusicMedic

New Member
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2
There are a lot of ways to affect the tuning of a sax.

That is, folks setting key heights etc.. are usually considering their job to be mechanical and not tuning. The tuning becomes a crap shoot.

I suspect this haphazard approach to setting up a woodwind is why people say things like, "that will effect everything else" or "anything you do will have an effect on the entire instrument."

When I tune a saxophone, I often wish I could "effect the entire instrument" :)


Some ways to tune a saxophone include.
Octave pips
Neck liners
bore liners
Tone hole inserts
moving tone holes
key heights
boundary layer surfaces (usually the inside of a tone hole)

Anything that effects intonation short of atmospheric conditions can be used to benefit the player by bettering intonation.
 

JasonC

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Swadlincote, Derbyshire
I guess this might not be completely relevant to what you want to know but, I've had a couple of tuning problems with my sax with certain notes. The majority of notes are pretty much perfect (based on my tuner) but the odd one or two are very sharp.

Anyway, I mentioned this to my teacher the weekend and he went through airspeed and breathing with me in a bit more detail, since then I've managed to control my airspeed better for certain notes which has flattened them out. I didn't believe it could make much of a difference to start with when he told me, but once I got the idea of what I had to do I was very surprised. I also learnt to increase/decrease the amount of air to make louder/quieter notes but still keeping the same airspeed thus keeping it still in tune.

Obviously I'm not that good at controlling the airspeed etc quite yet so I have to concentrate on what I'm doing but hopefully with a bit of time I should be able to adjust it 2nd nature and play in tune all the time, he's hoping anyway!

Jason
 

Targa

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I can't remember when I heard it or who it was, probably Ronnie Scott, but they were tuning up and said "that's close enough for jazz". A sentiment that I've applied many times to things other than music.
 

phooesnax

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FUNNY
We always said 'Good enough for Jazz Band' The band director did not see the humor in this however.
 

jonf

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I can't remember when I heard it or who it was, probably Ronnie Scott, but they were tuning up and said "that's close enough for jazz". A sentiment that I've applied many times to things other than music.
It was said by Alvin Lee of Ten Years After at the beginning of 'I'm Going Home' performed at Woodstock in 1969. It's on the film, and is the best song in the entire film.
 

AdamBradley

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jonf said:
It was said by Alvin Lee of Ten Years After at the beginning of 'I'm Going Home' performed at Woodstock in 1969. It's on the film, and is the best song in the entire film.
Wouldn't call it 'jazz', but I love that track!
 

Targa

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It was said by Alvin Lee of Ten Years After at the beginning of 'I'm Going Home' performed at Woodstock in 1969. It's on the film, and is the best song in the entire film.
He must have picked it up from someone else as well because I remember it a few years before that.
If the truth was known it's probably as old as jazz itself.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Hi

Can a sax be tuned for better intonation other than moving the mps in and out? All the tone holes are in fixed position :confused:

Yes...you can do much better that pushing and pulling the mouthpiece - you can lower your pitch centre....here's a very interesting article from Stephen Duke:
http://www.yamaha.com/yamahavgn/Documents/BandOrchestra/Wind_Tips_Duke.pdf

I've saved that article in my hard disk some years ago and never bothered to read it...
Yesterday I was about to delete this PDF file wondering why it was there for so long and decided to have a proper read -suddenly I've realized why I've never had any problem in tuning - that's because my pitch centre has always been fairly low = more versatile and more pitch control = more in tune, no matter which mouthpiece I use or how far it's pushed/pulled.

It's a rather longish article but worth every letter and comma...
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Tone, action and intonation are greatly affected by deck height< height of pad above tone hole> . It is trade off. You get fast action with low height but sacrifice tonal qualities and intonation.

I once overhauled a 6M Conn 1923 that was a wreck. I started with low deck heights and slowly raised the height while using a tuner.

To make things more complicated...snce the sax is conical then the height increases on the way down the horn.

Easy to raise the keys...harder to lower.

You take a narrow strip of 200 or so grit sandpaper and put the smooth side against the horn and gently pull it under the cork on the foot. You need to be very careful and proceed slowly watching the combination for correct regulation.
Tone and tuning are mostly affected by the player....
I could have replied in a similar manner to any other message in this discussion because apparently most of you missed this very important truth.
You can adjust the physicality of the sax but in the end the matching of man+machine is the one that really counts...and one of these 2 is far more versatile and adaptable than the other (there you go).
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
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447
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Leeds
Hi

Can a sax be tuned for better intonation other than moving the mps in and out? All the tone holes are in fixed position :confused:
Your toneholes are in the right place. Key heights can be an issue if some are too low. If you're not able to get in tune by moving the mouthpiece, the problem is either:

something wrong with your sax -- leaks and/or key heights set up wrong; or
mouthpiece and sax are acoustically incompatible; or
your fault.

Exactly what kind of pitch problems are you having?
 
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