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I've noticed when tuning to an F# on my 82Z alto, almost everything is flat. For example my C# I would have to lip up and open the side C vent for it to be in tune. Is this something wrong with me? My horn?

Note this is classical playing. I use a Selmer Concept with 3 1/2 blue box reeds.
 

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I know this might not be relevant to alto, but I know that on the tenors, using the C1 instead of the V1 neck corrects a lot (!!!!) of intonation issues and makes the horn generally better.

Maybe F# isn't the best choice of tuning note for you. Maybe it's a bit on the sharp side. I know that on my tenors, tuning to a Bb tends to produce inferior results to tuning to an A.

A good C# fingering on some altos is to use the G key and the octave key. This will raise the pitch a little and give a rounder tone quality.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I know this might not be relevant to alto, but I know that on the tenors, using the C1 instead of the V1 neck corrects a lot (!!!!) of intonation issues and makes the horn generally better.

Maybe F# isn't the best choice of tuning note for you. Maybe it's a bit on the sharp side. I know that on my tenors, tuning to a Bb tends to produce inferior results to tuning to an A.

A good C# fingering on some altos is to use the G key and the octave key. This will raise the pitch a little and give a rounder tone quality.
I'll see I know someone with a C1 neck I can try. Tuning to G still has many notes that are flat. And while alternate fingerings do help for notes like C#, there are still notes like my F natural that have no alternate fingerings and no matter how much I lip up are still 20 ish cents flat.
 

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I'm not a 'legit' player but using a phone tuner app and preparing an alto, tenor and baritone for a gig, at the gig and under the conditions existing there, I have started 'bracketing' my tuning by playing notes all over the horn and seeking a mouthpiece position on each horn that best fits the whole sax. Then I simply rely on my ear to play in tune now that I have each horn 'roughed-in'. In this way I have been more successful in matching the other two horn players as well as the electronic keyboard that is the 'guiding beacon' of intonation in any group in my kind of playing. You're experiencing exactly what I used to go through trying to tune my horns to one note each - its not a realistic way to approach tuning. I have to deal with extremes of heat and cold with all kinds of weather on most of my gigs. Hot weather is actually the best for playing as the horns seem to 'like' it, but cold temps are murder. Its hard for me to get sharp enough sometimes in cold conditions, particularly on baritone, but overall I have greatly improved in this area since I started using the phone app, and listening to gig tapes I'm hearing very acceptable intonation.
Obviously your situation is vastly different and I know we all have been taught to tune up to one note, but perhaps you could try my method when practicing and see how it works for you. Whether you're playing classical or blues, tuning is tuning.
I'm sure you know that the mouthpiece and reed can affect intonation. Depending on the mouthpiece, even a 3.5 can be a little soft. Your embouchure may have developed to the point where you actually need a stronger reed.
You also have to consider that your alto is not properly 'voiced' as far as key opening heights and it possibly could benefit from the installation of 'crescents' in some tone holes. I probably would get a different horn before going through that.
How long has it been since the horn was taken down, cleaned and lubricated? Do you ever wash out the neck?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm not a 'legit' player but using a phone tuner app and preparing an alto, tenor and baritone for a gig, at the gig and under the conditions existing there, I have started 'bracketing' my tuning by playing notes all over the horn and seeking a mouthpiece position on each horn that best fits the whole sax. Then I simply rely on my ear to play in tune now that I have each horn 'roughed-in'. In this way I have been more successful in matching the other two horn players as well as the electronic keyboard that is the 'guiding beacon' of intonation in any group in my kind of playing. You're experiencing exactly what I used to go through trying to tune my horns to one note each - its not a realistic way to approach tuning. I have to deal with extremes of heat and cold with all kinds of weather on most of my gigs. Hot weather is actually the best for playing as the horns seem to 'like' it, but cold temps are murder. Its hard for me to get sharp enough sometimes in cold conditions, particularly on baritone, but overall I have greatly improved in this area since I started using the phone app, and listening to gig tapes I'm hearing very acceptable intonation.
Obviously your situation is vastly different and I know we all have been taught to tune up to one note, but perhaps you could try my method when practicing and see how it works for you. Whether you're playing classical or blues, tuning is tuning.
I'm sure you know that the mouthpiece and reed can affect intonation. Depending on the mouthpiece, even a 3.5 can be a little soft. Your embouchure may have developed to the point where you actually need a stronger reed.
You also have to consider that your alto is not properly 'voiced' as far as key opening heights and it possibly could benefit from the installation of 'crescents' in some tone holes. I probably would get a different horn before going through that.
How long has it been since the horn was taken down, cleaned and lubricated? Do you ever wash out the neck?
I'm definitely going to try finding a "rough spot" to put my mouthpiece at. I've had the horn a little over a year now and I haven't taken it down to lubricate it though I have done my best to keep it clean and I do wash out the neck. Should I consider seeing if it should be adjusted?
 

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I’m always surprised to see a thread about poor intonation that involves a Yamaha or Yanagisawa horn.
Indeed.

All Horns that are known to be among the best intonation wise.

Especially in this case where OP infers the entire horn is off.

Maybe this horn is not for OP?

For whatever reason, he is doing (or the horn is doing) something that many thousands of people don’t (those who like and appreciate this horn as having one of the best intonation).

So, maybe is time to move on it has been more than a year and if you are still struggling I would conclude that life is too short.
 

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If you tune a saxophone using only one note, that just means that this exact note is in tune, not more ... As 1saxman writes above, try to tune to different notes and try to reach a compromise.
 

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Neck strap, just to be clear, which neck do you have? I believe the Z first had a G1 neck and the current one has a V1. I have had many students with the newer 82Z and playing F# in tune should put most of the other notes in tune. But with Yamaha in general including the 82Z, B, C, and C# are always flat. You can use side keys to put them in tune. You should not be lipping up to put them in tune, especially if you are a classical player.
 

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I've noticed when tuning to an F# on my 82Z alto, almost everything is flat. For example my C# I would have to lip up and open the side C vent for it to be in tune. Is this something wrong with me? My horn?

Note this is classical playing. I use a Selmer Concept with 3 1/2 blue box reeds.
Do you tune to F# in the lower octave or an octave higher. It is not uncommon for folks who play too high on the input pitch to play sharp in the higher octave and when they pull out to tune to a note in that octave the notes in the lower octave are flat. In my playing and teaching experience the pitch on the mouthpiece alone on alto should be no higher than A=880. The pitch on the mouthpiece + neck should be close to Ab concert or F2 on the saxophone.

A method of tuning that works for me (after checking the input pitch) is to tune to A concert F#1 on the alto. Then I check the octave F#2 both with and without pressing the octave key. Lastly I finger low B natural and overblow to the second harmonic F#2. It may take some very small mouthpiece adjustments but when all three of these F#'s are in good agreement, the length of the saxophone if properly warmed up is correct. On most saxophones that are tuned properly and play well in tune, the C#2 is going to be a slightly flat note. It is the natural acoustics of the instrument. Opening the side C or when appropriate playing C# with the "long C# fingering" (low C# with the octave key) are the general solutions.
 

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Why do concert bands tune to concert Bb? How does tuning an alto to concert Bb (G) differ from concert A (F#)? It’s only a half step.
 

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If you don’t already tune to 442 - try that.
this is a very good point, especially because of the comment that is all too flat, Yamaha instruments are tuned at A=442Hz.
 

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You may be interested by this review:
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Yamaha_YAS82Z.htm
where an intonation problem with an (old) 82Z alto is reported.

Also, what is the extent of the flatness you have to deal with? 10, 20, or 40 cents? You give a hint in your post #3 but could you be more precise? If the problem is moderate (less than 20 cents), tuning with a sharp F# might be an acceptable solution, because it will be much easier to lip down the sharp notes. If on the other hand the problem is more severe, you may have to try a replacement neck from Yamaha.
 

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I've had my mkvi for 25yrs and bought an 82z four years ago. To start with I felt like you did about the tuning, but when I stuck with it for a year or so all the tuning weirdness drifted away-I can play classical etudes etc (not really to peform) just fine on it. It's a different feel from my mkvi and took some adjusting for me. I think the V1 neck is just wider than the selmer so I can't push air through it in the same way. I love both the horns now, but try not to switch too often.
 

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You may be interested by this review:
http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Yamaha_YAS82Z.htm
where an intonation problem with an (old) 82Z alto is reported.

Also, what is the extent of the flatness you have to deal with? 10, 20, or 40 cents? You give a hint in your post #3 but could you be more precise? If the problem is moderate (less than 20 cents), tuning with a sharp F# might be an acceptable solution, because it will be much easier to lip down the sharp notes. If on the other hand the problem is more severe, you may have to try a replacement neck from Yamaha.
I believe this was with the G1 neck/crook right?
 

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Why do concert bands tune to concert Bb? How does tuning an alto to concert Bb (G) differ from concert A (F#)? It’s only a half step.
Knowledgeable directors use two tuning pitches, A for the woodwinds, and Bb for the brass. My experience just tuning to Bb concert on the saxophone is that on many instruments G2 tends to be slightly sharp partly because it is two half steps away from the note that has the body octave vent at its ideal location which is F. The note D2 is three half steps lower which makes it sharper still. Players who tune their saxophone to G2 often find their low register to be flat as a result of tuning to a note that is generally sharp.
 

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Couple questions:
What neck are you using?
What pitch do you blow on just the mouthpiece?


On my 82Z (before I sold it) I had to compensate a lot on middle Bb, B, and C# because they were flat. Generally most people vent those notes anyways, but I always had to work harder with the Z than something like an EX. This was on a V1 neck, experimenting with necks would help as well. The E1 and the C1 both have narrower bores that would help intonation greatly. They don't sound as warm as a V1, but every piece of equipment comes with its own set of compromises.
 

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My suggestion:

Try using the LOW F# to tune, then test the pitch of your middle B. If the B is flat, push in by small amounts as required until you can comfortably bring the B into tune using your embouchure/voicing (not necessarily so that the B is "dead-on"). Then try other notes around your horn as others have stated.
 
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