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Soprano octave pip modification?

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
527
I have a John Packer 243 one piece straight soprano which plays very nicely, but has had this apparent modification by a previous owner - moving the octave pip down slightly. It is a nice job, very smooth patch where the hole was. Was it to improve venting/intonation...?

JP243 neck.jpg
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,276
It would have been done to correct the tuning - though apart from a few bizarre anomalies I tend to find that the tuning is pretty good on Chinese sopranos (they're copies, after all).

In the case of allowing a mouthpiece to be pushed further on, it seems like a rather extreme 'fix' - and if you look at the cork it doesn't look like the last few millimetres have seen any action.

As long as it plays in tune for you it's not going to be a problem.

One slight note of caution though - it looks like the cup arm has been soft soldered onto the key barrel, which isn't the most reliable fix. Should be fine as long as the key isn't subject to any great stress, which it won't be in normal use.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,199
New Sequoia necks come in two versions, with the pip in different positions.
The pip closer to the mouthpiece helps stability of palm keys notes, but it feels less free on the second octave.
I definitely like the lower pip
It is quite surprising that someone would have done it to a one piece soprano. We did quite some testing on prototypes, before releasing the two versions
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,751
It would have been done to correct the tuning - though apart from a few bizarre anomalies I tend to find that the tuning is pretty good on Chinese sopranos (they're copies, after all).
I second this completely. Years ago, when Robbie starting importing instruments from China under the name Student Music Supplies (SMS, Academy - the fore-runner to Jericho saxes) he asked my opinion of them. He gave me a straight soprano. The price he sold them for at that time might have been well under £200 but I can't remember.
At that time I was running two SATB quartets in a local school and it was quite amazing what the instrument allowed me to do on it. We took on a lot of the Saxtet arrangements, so fairly demanding in range and control. It wasn't the free-blowing instrument that my SA80 is or a Yani/Yam and possibly needed a good mouthpiece match-up - but it sure as hell played far better than it had any business to. And intonation was easy.
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
527
Bit difficult to see the inside - but the horn plays very nicely and the tuning is good. It has a nice dark sound, which I like in sopranos. I only bought it because it came with lots of extras - split it all up and sell them, was my thinking. Might keep it though, having played it. Though it doesn't quite measure up to my Antigua Pro-One.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,276
I have seen several vintage sopranos with the octave pip next to the end of the cork that had a mouthpiece in the case that had a portion of the shank cut off to allow it to go farther onto the cork.
Done that job a few times - and also for a few modern Ultra Cheap sopraninos.
What I tend to is rather than reduce the length of the shank, I cut a notch in it that fits around the pip/key.
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
527
No surprises there, the Pro One's a nice bit of kit.
Stephen - have you had a Pro-One in the bench? I would be interested to know what you made of it, with its Peter Ponzol design features. I have found the intonation excellent, and getting up into the palm keys is far easier than any soprano I have played. Really nice horn.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,276
I've had a few on the bench - sadly not for long enough to run up a review.
Build quality is reasonable to good for the price, but the playability punches above its weight.
Spoke to Peter at some length about the design some years ago - a very interesting guy.
 
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