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Saxophones (Why) Does the shape/fabric of crook affect the playability/sound?

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
I've read a couple of threads on here where players have changed the crook in their horn, say to a G1 or Barone, and had dramatic results.

I'm probably being a bit dim :headscratch: but can you more learned people explain in simple terms why this might be the case.

Yours appreciatively,

Amanda
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I can claim to have done a fair bit of reading on this, but without gaining much wisdom. Sometimes obviously the new neck makes a difference because there was something wrong with the old one, but in what way I would not be able to guess.

A fair few people seem to have change their Yamaha G1 for a G3, and another fair few have changed to a G1 or an M1. Some report big improvements. Others say they are hard pressed to notice difference. Maybe the placebo effect enters into play. BTW, I tried to use my Barone neck on the Yamaha and the other way round to see whether I could detect any sort of difference. Neither would fit the other, so I am unable to make a contribution to the science of necks. And I am not willing to shell out for another neck simply because of hearsay.

On second thoughts, there is also the Everest effect. You climb it because its there. When you have run out of excuses for buying new mouthpieces, enter the landscape of necks.

But, I suspect, you have already thought of all this yourself.
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
764
And, although some of the 'special necks' are made from more expensive materials (silver, wood, etc), it seems to me that the original makers ....with all their testing facilities .... should know what's the best match for theiir horns, in terms of shape and size.

The 'specials' are quite likely to sound different, but 'better' ??? I am sceptical.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Don't forget to add to Roger's post the human need to justify the expense, amplifying even small differences to worthwhile gains.

Mea culpa.

Apologies for being serious.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,625
for a start- Rampone custom crooks are all very obviously different shapes from each other- i can appreciate why varying the taper makes a difference (air pressure and its release) and, to some extent the angle at which it enters the mouth...... we all recognise mouthpiece geometry has a bearing on sound, so- to some extent, why wouldn't the next bit of tubing along from that?
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
anything affecting the complex system of a saxophone could have an effect in the sound you make . A neck is one of the parts , if you change its shape , even very slightly , this will affect sound production. So: volume , angle, taper, roughness or smoothness of the surface, position of the octave pip , its diameter and length of its tube they can all have an influence. Goes without saying that the influence is not for everyone the same because you also have to realise that the mouthpiece (which is literally the extension of the body-neck) and your oral cavity are also involved in this.
So, a lot of the neck swapping is just introducing an stochastic element in a system that often times is not a scientifically been developed anyway but mostly derived from empiricism.
So it might work for you , it might not do anything or it might work badly. I recently sold a Mark VII. The horn played very nicely , I had a P.Mauriat Magnum neck too which fitted this horn. That neck was brighter. Why was it brighter ? That I don't know , the shape was definitely different , much less arched than the original M7 neck.

I had a Super 20 alto USA so no Cleveland or Eastlake (very late batch with overslung instead of underslung octave) the horn and I didn't agree on the same tuning scale. So for that reason and for aesthetic reasons I started looking for another neck. Tried a bunch even bought a Yanagisawa 65 neck , nothing helped intonation but there were marginal sound changes.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
I am much more in favour of the theory that it is the impedance matching between the tube and the the ambient that is of most import.

Comparatively easy on a valved and slide equipped brass instruments to show that different flare rates and bell flares do have an effect on the output but with multi-hole brass winds, even the octave holes must be taken into account. It might however explain why rolled tone holes do make a difference to the output and explain why pad heights are so critical as anything less than optimal must affect coupling and therefore the output.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Different tapers sound different (that's why a Conn sounds different to a Selmer). Which is better is often just a matter of taste. Acoustically significant differences between any two necks can be much too small to see with the naked eye.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
I had a Super 20 alto USA so no Cleveland or Eastlake (very late batch with overslung instead of underslung octave) the horn and I didn't agree on the same tuning scale. So for that reason and for aesthetic reasons I started looking for another neck. Tried a bunch even bought a Yanagisawa 65 neck , nothing helped intonation but there were marginal sound changes.
Did you tried a Denak/Amati neck? I had a Super 20 (UMI) tenor with the same problem. And the neck didn't fit as well. To small. All Super 20 tenors (c -82 and later) I've seen/played are more or less suffering from this. The original neck looked like a SML neck. I thought the body of these Super 20 was close to an Amati w high F# key! Maybe these Super 20's were made out of leftovers or old inventories? SML neck, Amati body, King Super 20 keys? I don't know, but they sounded different to the other Super 20's I have owned. But these Super 20's had "double nuts" instead of screws.

Thomas
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
All my super '20 that I have had (and Zephyrs of he same vintage) have double nuts :D , and that includes Cleveland, Eastlake and USA. The neck didn't look like an SML neck.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,048
A different crook from the same manufacturer can even make a difference. I had a customer at home who is a great friend and pro player who had an SA 80 alto as his back up but didnt play it often as he found there was "something missing" in the way it sounded. I had an old SA 80 crook and I told him to take it away and try it out - he rang me a day later to say that the different crook had made a huge difference and he bought it.

When you see how some crooks are made, tubing beaten on a mandrel, then filled with an ice mixture and then bent into shape by hand on a mandrel, collars soldered on etc its not surprising they have differences.

look at the way the crooks are bent into shape around 2.38 into the video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuqY3J-JhUE&feature=related
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
.......or not.

When I bought my first Mark VII I went to see someone who advertised a Mark VI neck, even swapping the necks made no real difference.........;} maybe it was me!:)))
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
764
When I watch that clip, with all that 'labour-intensiveness', I wonder how saxes can be sold so INexpensively !

And it makes one realise what an art it is, and hence why any two saxes are likely to differ, however slightly.

I think we agree that a different neck is quite likely to sound different, but predicting that it will, to your ears, improve it, is another matter ....even more a case of 'try before you buy'.

[I hadn't thought that rolled THs might affect the sound, og .... that, and the smaller bell are the main differences between my alto and the BW M2 ....but it sounds good, when other people play it!]
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Thanks guys. This info has opened my eyes and mind......

A trip to Bradford Woodwind exchange (if they sell crooks?) to experiment with my YAS62, might be in order when I'm in Yorkshire in a few weeks time.

Cheers,

Amanda
 

Tobes

Member
Messages
174
Thanks guys. This info has opened my eyes and mind......

A trip to Bradford Woodwind exchange (if they sell crooks?) to experiment with my YAS62, might be in order when I'm in Yorkshire in a few weeks time.

Cheers,

Amanda
Am interested in how you get on - I have a YAS62 mark 1 and was thinking about experimenting with different necks on it - one that came with the sax is pretty good I understand.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
I've read a couple of threads on here where players have changed the crook in their horn, say to a G1 or Barone, and had dramatic results.

I'm probably being a bit dim :headscratch: but can you more learned people explain in simple terms why this might be the case.

Yours appreciatively,

Amanda
Maybe some necks are built to be replacements necks. They are built like the original neck. Other necks are built to give your horn differnt sound/tone or playablity (underslung octavekeys, adjustable octavekey, silver, copper, straight, curved, wood .... ).

Thomas
 

Dave McLaughlin

Sesquipedalian
Subscriber
Messages
305
I can believe the shape of the crook can make a difference, but the fabric?

For efficient coupling of energy from the air inside a cylindrical pipe to vibration in the pipe wall, the frequency must be greater than the "ring frequency" of the pipe wall. That's the frequency at which a ring of the pipe wall material will naturally resonate in a "breathing" mode, where the whole ring moves outward or inward in phase, as opposed to higher-order modes where some parts of the ring move out while others move in.

I've knocked up a spreadsheet at http://sheet.zoho.com/public/dave.mclau/ring-frequency. 25 mm is, at a guess, about the largest diameter you're likely to see on a tenor crook and, assuming the pipe is brass, it results in a ring frequency that's about twice as high as a typical young person can hear! A softer material, with a lower wave speed, will reduce that frequency but, for any likely material, I don't see it coming down enough to matter.

At frequencies above the ring frequency, the material of the pipe wall can affect sound propagation inside the pipe. By flexing, it reduces the effective speed of sound inside, and hence the resonant frequencies. The pipe wall can also efficiently radiate sound outside the pipe. Below the ring frequency, I don't see how the material can significantly affect either the sound inside the pipe or the sound radiated into the far-field.

Of course the crook isn't cylindrical, or even straight, so it's not as simple as I suggest, but I don't believe the material can affect the sound. It's also possible I've misunderstood something and I'm talking nonsense!
 
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