Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Buffet Archive / Buffet DA gurgling sound

User ID: 9732463
Aug 17th 9:04 PM
I have a Buffet DA tenor that I have difficulty holding a steady tone from low G to low D. It breaks into a waffling up and down/gurgling sound. My repair guy fixed leaks, glued a hunk of cork inside and suggested shoving mouthpiece down further on the neck. It's somewhat better, but I'm still having trouble. Is there anything else I can do?
User ID: 8130203
Aug 18th 7:59 AM

I have exactly the same problem now about every second time or so I play my 18-20 tenor, waffling up and down and gurgling sound from low G to low D, sometimes even two notes (about two half tones apart) sound simultaneously.

I strongly suspect the trouble to lie with the body octave pip. I got the horn from Sarge at WWS and he explicitly mentioned that the octave mechanism was very delicate and also mentioned exactly these symptoms as an indication that something would have gone out of adjustment there.

Providing the octave mechanism is basically the same on the DA and the 18-20 (looks very similar at least from the pics at, I'd check the opening action of the key when changing from A to G. It might not open fully when the neck octave key sling and the arm that actuates it are too far apart or it might not open enough because the arm on the G key rod is bent or the cork is too thick on it.

BTW.: on my horn, there's no spring opening the body octave key directly, it's the neck octave key's spring tension alone which indirectly opens the body octave key by keeping the neck octave key in the closed position. Is that the same on your horn? I see an empty spring hole in the lower post of the body octave key on my horn but no corresponding hook or hole in the key's arm, so I guess there's no spring missing.
User ID: 8130203
Aug 18th 8:52 AM
Er, Schutch,

sorry, haven't gotten enough sleep tonight...

What you should look for, is, of course, that the body octave key is still kept properly closed playing in the lower register from G downwards, i.e., when the arm on the G key rod rises.
User ID: 1167284
Aug 18th 2:48 PM
other possibilities are leaky neck tenon (check with PTFE tape), leaky neck cork (check you have a tight fit around them pc and add tape or paper), or possibly the G# is not being properly closed by the rod attached to the F-key, or maybe you have a jumping lower C#. Looking at my DA, the octave pip on the body is closed by the spring on the octave key. Doesn't seem to be a problem there.

Finally check you use a decent reed and your long tones !
User ID: 9732463
Aug 18th 8:16 PM
Thanks madav and joffeff for reply.

Octave keys, neck tenon and cork, etc seem OK. I tried several mouthpieces/reeds and found that I have the least gurgling when I use an Otto Link 7 HR and throw a wine cork in bell. There also seems to be a sweet spot mouthpiece location on neck. When I get everything just right this is one beautiful sounding horn. This is my first French sax. I'm usually playing a The Martin tenor and I'm thinking I need some break in time on this Buffet DA. However, I did play test a SDA tenor several months ago. I tried several mpcs, it played great and never gurgled.
User ID: 0422394
Aug 21st 1:14 PM
I had the gurgles on an alto. Went for a while with a cork in the bell. Then one day I tore the horn apart and found a small leak in the body to bow connection. Put a little dab of silicon sealer on it (tough to get to thru the toneholes!) and the problem disappeared, C, B and Bb were just as easy as any other note!
User ID: 9732463
Aug 21st 9:24 PM

Everytime I've had a problem like this with a sax there was a leak. This sax has been to 2 different techs. The second tech found leaks the first one missed, but still gurgles. Did you use a light to find leak in body to bow connection?
User ID: 4260204
Aug 22nd 3:45 PM
No, the light did not show the leak. I found it when I noticed a very small gap in the joint. It was so small I didn't think much about it, a gap between the tube and the bow. Didn't look like anything, but it just felt like a gap in one spot. I got lucky. I've heard others sealing the bell and blowing smoke into the horn, or sucking to check for vacuum seal.
User ID: 9147853
Sep 1st 1:22 PM
I recently purchased (via mail order) a new Antigua Winds alto for my son, but everything gurgled below low C#. Leak light found nothing--the horn is tight! Reading MBushaw's post here, I decided to look at the body-bow joint, and noticed a small gap about 1/16" wide on the inner side. We rubbed some silicone sealant (the kind that doesn't give off acetic acid!) all the way around the inside of the joint, and voila! No more gurgle... just like that! Hats off to MBushaw!
User ID: 9426023
Sep 1st 8:51 PM
Wally- THANKS! Glad my post helped someone! I've heard about someone using a small rubber ball to plug the body receiver below the neck-line, then insert the neck to check for leaks there too- I'm still looking for a rubber ball that's small enough....
User ID: 9454293
Sep 2nd 12:03 AM
Haven't been in this area in a little while. Sorry.

I owned a Dynaction alto for years and it had some odd problems that could be described as "buzzing" or "gurgling" and it was a loose screw-in resonator. I didn't realize it was this until the pad fell off and the sound stopped. I had a similar problem with a loose adjustable bell key felt on my YBS-52.

I love Mark's suggestion though: the bell-to-body brace is much "thicker" (or at least covers a larger part of the bell) on the DA than the "BC" brace on the SDA -- and the S1 brace is even more different. This might be why Buffet changed it.
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Nov 13th 12:32 PM
I just received a Dynaction tenor that needs pads and regulation, but plays top to bottom and has the lush, dark tone such a Buffet should have. Its overall physical/mechanical condition is excellent, but its lacquer is beginning to look pretty shabby, and it's in need of new soft parts.

This horn is a worthy player, and it seems tailor made for some serious rebuild treatment. I'm thinking about having it stripped and silver plated (either all bright or "beaded" body) before a full repad, but I'm concerned about how silver plating will affect the tone colour.

Can anyone report how the new silver plating might effect this horn's tone? I realize the question is very unscientific, since many other factors are in play (with a repad and regulation). I'm just seeking impressions.