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Saxophones Tuning a tenor with a Korg TM40

bestbutter

New Member
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7
Hello all

As a B-flat tenor tyro with tuning issues I bought a Korg TM40 electronic jobbie. However, I'm finding its use, er, challenging. I daresay the problem is elementary and hopefully wiser heads in this parish will be able to point me in the right direction.

When I play middle C (at 440Hz, the default) the tuner registers B. I've tried adjusting at all calibration increments between 410 and 480Hz - the range of the tuner - but I cannot hit the C.

As I say, this is probably a no-brainer and I'm prepared to hang my head in abject shame, but I'd certainly appreciate some sage advice as to how I should precisely calibrate the tuner in order to match the notes.

Any help gratefully accepted - many thanks.

Richard
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
You need to set your Korg to 440Hz, then if you play a C on tenor you will get a Bb showing on your Korg, remember your tenor is pitched in Bb and your korg is pitched in concert pitch C so there will always be a full tone difference whatever note you play.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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5,944
Agree with Fraser. The reason you can change to pitch on your tuner is if you're a weirdo like me who plays viol at Baroque pitch where A is 415Hz rather than the usual concert pitch of 440Hz.

If you want to avoid the confusion, there are tuners that transpose, including Apps you can download for a smart phone.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
First thing is, you don't calibrate the tuner to match the notes, you adjust the notes until the tuner says they're OK. Otherwise you may get your sax notes in tune with each other, but you'll be out of tune whern you play with anyone else. So you need to set the tuner back to A=440.

Second, the sax is a transposing instument. When you play a C on your tenor, you should get a B flat (I really hope this isn't going to start another fruitless dicussion on the merits of transposition;}). Either you're playing sharp and getting a B natural, or you didn't spot the little flat sign on the tuner screen (it's quite small on mine).

To adjust the pitch of your tuning note you need to move the mouthpiece on or off the neck a little bit.

Finally, I'd say that the best use for your tuner at this stage is to generate a reference tone (eg a Bb) and adjust your mouthpiece until what you play sounds like the same note. You have to learn to hear when you're in or out of tune, and not just see it on the meter. The meter can be good for confirmation, but you can't keep looking at it while you play.
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
I've got the same tuner. Fraser is perfectly correct. Some tuners allow you to set the pitch of the instrument, but this model doesn't.

I prefer to tune to G, i.e. with F showing on the tuner. Fewer squeaks with my setup.

You'll probably find the metronome isn't really loud enough, either look at the needle/leds, or play the metronome through a set of headphones.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Used to do this and gave up completely. Couldnt get consistency between octaves and realised, with help from right here, that provided you have the mpc in more or less the right place, you can play it into tune. That was on alto, thinking about it, have never used a tuner on tenor. Sometimes ask keyboards for an A, but its for reassurance really, always seems to be ok.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
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1,910
Fraser is perfectly correct.
Well of course i am! (sorry couldn't resist) no seriously another good thing to do, and assuming you use one specific mouthpiece only would be once you find the correct tuning position to mark the mouthpiece position on the cork with a pen, that way you wont need to faff about in future...
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Well of course i am! (sorry couldn't resist) no seriously another good thing to do, and assuming you use one specific mouthpiece only would be once you find the correct tuning position to mark the mouthpiece position on the cork with a pen, that way you wont need to faff about in future...
Well, I think the faffing about is all useful ear training. Also the right position can depend on temperature and humidity.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,272
and assuming you use one specific mouthpiece only would be once you find the correct tuning position to mark the mouthpiece position on the cork with a pen, that way you wont need to faff about in future...
This is what my teacher told me to do :thumb: easy peasy
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
I really don't think temperature and humidity would make very much difference in this situation, for one you are blowing greater or lesser degrees of moisture down the thing every time you play, and it does warm up after a while of playing but the tuning wont alter:thumb:
Sorry, but the pitch of the instrument does change as the air inside warms up. Quite a lot, and it's for this reason that having a mark on the cork works, as the instrument warms ip it comes into tune.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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3,551
I have tuned my bari this way - I played it for a goodly while (maybe 30-40 mins) at home. When I felt happy, I spent a while getting the mouthpiece in the right place.
I always blow the note at the tuner with my eyes closed. When I feel the note sounds steady and right, I open my eyes and look at the tuner to see what it says.
Once I felt I had adjusted to the best place for the mouthpiece on my bari, I put a pencil mark on the cork.

So far, wherever I've played indoors, once warmed up, the bari has always been in tune.

Of course, out of doors on a damp spring afternoon (as 2 weeks ago) there is no chance of ever warming the bari up enough to get the tuner needle off "very flat", but hey hum!
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Sorry, but the pitch of the instrument does change as the air inside warms up. Quite a lot,
I'm shocked:shocked: and eager to put your revelations to the test played the C cold about 35-40 mins ago, bang on... and after a couple of glasses of wine and some serious ska! tried it again...guess what, bang on....so can only conclude, either your findings are slightly wrong or my Selmer has a fault:w00t::shocked:
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Got exactly the same problem! thought I was going Bananas!

liking the online tuner!!

I assume these clip on Tuners would produce the same result what with the note displacement due to a Tenor playing in Bb ?

Rgds Lee.

Lee.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
This digs into the theory behind transposing instruments. Really you need to get used to the idea that everything you play on the tenor is 1 tone and 1 octave below where it's written on the stave. Using a tuner, on line or electronic, that allows you to set the instrument's pitch is a quick short cut and useful, but tends to mask reality.

Clip on tuners may/may not allow you to set the instrument pitch. Depends on the model. The clip on Mic for the Korg doesn't, cos the tuner doesn't.
 

jthole

Member
Messages
226
I really don't think temperature and humidity would make very much difference in this situation, for one you are blowing greater or lesser degrees of moisture down the thing every time you play, and it does warm up after a while of playing but the tuning wont alter:thumb:
Oh yes ... you never had to play outside on a winter's day? Worst thing; string instruments go sharp in the cold, and wind instruments go flat!

Btw, I don't like "transposing" tuners; you should do the transposing in your head.
 

jbtsax

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8,002
A change in temperature affects the speed of sound, which in turn affects the pitch. The formula for pitch in physics is:

F = C/λ where F is frequency, C is the speed of sound, and λ is the wavelength

At 74º F the speed of sound is 345 m/s, and the wavelength of A = 440 hz is 78.4 cm.

At 68º F the speed of sound drops to 343 m/s, and the wavelength of A = 440 hz becomes 77.95 cm---4.5 mm shorter.

If the saxophone was tuned at 74º F to play A = 440, and then taken to an environment of 68º F, the mouthpiece would need to be pushed in approximately 4.5 mm to bring the saxophone up to pitch [not counting the effect of the player's breath warming the air inside the instrument which is inconsistent throughout the length of the tube].

From Ernest Ferron's book, "The Saxophone Is My Voice" p. 48

Sound (pitch) rises approximately:

-1 comma (25 cents) for a difference of 6º C or 10º F
-1/3 step (67 cents) for a difference of 20º C or 36º F
-1/2 step (100 cents) for a difference of 30º C or 54º F

One can interpolate from these figures that pitch changes approximately 2.5 cents for each 1º F rise or fall in the air temperature inside a wind instrument. The effects of outside temperature upon intonation is greater for larger wind instruments in part because there is a greater volume of air inside diminishing the effects of the player's exhaled breath.
 
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