Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / 442 Hz tuning for alto?

User ID: 9517143
Oct 9th 9:54 PM
I'm thinking about buying an alto horn, but just found out the one I want is tuned for 442 Hz. Is this going to be an issue, especially for a beginner? The horn I'm looking at is a Buffet Crampon Prestige ("S3") copper sax. Comments???
User ID: 8722703
Oct 10th 3:23 AM
If you are going to be a professional orchestral sax player only...go for it. Otherwise you will be playing sharp with everyone. DEFINITELY look elsewhere for the horn.
User ID: 9858163
Oct 10th 6:13 AM
Why is S3 tuned to 442hz? Is that the common pitch for symphonic orchestras in France? Or anywhere else?
User ID: 1689844
Oct 10th 6:31 AM
A lot of orchestras tune to 442 these days to give a "brighter sound". String instruments are far more easily tuned higher. Saxes, and most general use wind instruments manufactured in the world are tuned to 440. The Crampon is an exception and is made with the orchestra player in mind. Don't buy it!
Fun Bun
User ID: 1174374
Oct 10th 7:24 AM
We just had a wind ensemble concert last Thursday night. The harpist was tuned to 443!!!! Ouch!!!
User ID: 1320554
Oct 10th 7:47 AM
After you move the MP to tune it, I dont think you will hear a difference.
User ID: 1662364
Oct 10th 7:56 AM
I agree, I wish I could play to within 2 Hz!
Fun Bun
User ID: 1174374
Oct 10th 7:04 PM
Actually, I do notice a difference 440 and 442. I guess because I'm voicing every note I can feel the difference. You know what I mean? Even when I pus hthe mouthpiece in it just sounds more brilliant. Almost as if I don't have to voice as much.

Personaly I like the way 439Hz sounds. It sounds darker to me.
User ID: 9670323
Oct 12th 4:43 PM
Having played a lot of sax/clarinet over the years, in both orchestra & dance/jazz jobs, my recommendation would be for you to not pick up a 442 horn. 3 Hz doesn't sound like much, but if you play with groups that are on 440 pitch, or play with electronic instruments much, you're just gonna be sharp all of the time. On the other hand, if you play with groups that are consistently sharp, you might wanna pick up this horn. Normally, the better the group, the closer it plays to 440, the crappier the group, the sharper they play.
User ID: 9670323
Oct 12th 4:44 PM
oops, i REALLY can add/subract a bit... above blurb should read as "2 hz doesn't sound"...
Fun Bun
User ID: 1174374
Oct 13th 7:06 AM
I think it's best not to get this horn. Get a 440 horn and get a tuner that you play calibrate from about 438 to 444 or so that way you can practice your intonation. My teacher would put the tuner on 444 or 439 or anything except 440 so that I could hear the differences and could adapt on a moments notice. What if your playing on an Ice Ring or something or the heater in the gym is broken and everybody tunes to 438? Well, if you've practiced with your tuner and sounding source on different calibrations it's no problem. Kind of like a football team that practices 2 minute drills.
User ID: 1195644
Oct 13th 7:27 AM
If everyone around you is playing at 440 (doubtfull) and you are playing at 442, there is a problem independant of the horn. You need to be able to lip and adjust your pitch to the lead line being played by the ensemble. If you are the lead line, you need to be playing on pitch as best you can and they need to be matching you. A 442 horn just plays best in tune with itself at 442. The octaves should play in tune with less or no adjustment by the player than when it is tuned to 440. Adjustment is always needed, especially in a community ensemble.
User ID: 1167284
Oct 15th 12:21 PM
Just for fun, go to this page and download their function generator-
Launch it and set in 880Hz. Then change it to 884Hz. Not much difference (not nearly as much as between nearly any two notes on an alto / tenor duet). While I don't believe it is impossible, I have never met anyone who can play a sax consistantly within one half of one percent of tune.
Mike R.
User ID: 2324014
Oct 16th 2:23 PM
Ron, where did you find this horn. I can't seem to locate a Buffet Crampon saxophone dealer. Thanks.
User ID: 1662364
Oct 26th 9:41 AM
They are not sold outside France, although someone was selling one on ebay the other week, having personally exporetd it to Australia. He told me he played jazz on it. Look at the Buffet site for details and pictures of the S3 Prestige horn.
User ID: 9788223
Nov 1st 4:22 PM
Any Julius Keiwerth or Boosey&Hawk dealer will be able to get the S3 for you. The S3s are made in Germany. Yes, the same factory, same labours and same machines of JK.

By the way, I always tune my sax at 442, and so my band do. I feel it is easier to tune.