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Discussion Starter #1
A friend, here on the Forum, and I were having a small debate about the effects of different horns, and we were hoping someone could help to sort out what the right line of thinking is.
Using the same 7* Link piece on two different horns, I seem to run out of air faster on one horn, than the other. Is that because the horn I run out of air on is more "free-blowing?" (Note: this horn was just completely overhauled, and has no leaks).
I ordered a smaller NY Link (5*) to combat this issue.
 

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Perhaps it has a much larger bore??? Perhaps it still has leaks in spite of the overhaul?

Whatever I can’t see how a different (smaller tip) mouthpiece is an answer to the issue, I would think breathing exercises and long notes would be what you need.
 

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A friend, here on the Forum, and I were having a small debate about the effects of different horns, and we were hoping someone could help to sort out what the right line of thinking is.
Using the same 7* Link piece on two different horns, I seem to run out of air faster on one horn, than the other. Is that because the horn I rum out of air on is more "free-blowing?" (Note: this horn was just completely overhauled, and has no leaks).
I ordered a smaller NY Link (5*) to combat this issue.
Ok stupid question, are you playing the same song for the comparison? And is there any chance your older condition horn has some venting resistance? Or maybe the fresh one is to open ?
Take a video. Look at yourself playing and note the difference if any. That may also help a tech make adjustments to your liking if needed.
Meanwhile stick a piece of clay in that mouthpiece and make your own baffling. I’ll try anything once if it’s not hurting anything.
Yes my 16m blows a bunch more freely than the YTS even with the same mouthpiece. Tech confirmed this too.
My Rookie two bits, good luck !
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well then, what is the purpose of smaller and larger tip openings, and why is it always recommended that students play a smaller tip mp?

Squealer, yes, same song. As for venting, I'd say they both are fairly wide open.
 

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Well then, what is the purpose of smaller and larger tip openings, and why is it always recommended that students play a smaller tip mp?
It's personal preference. I use larger tip openings because I like the versatility I get. It could be that (beginner) students should learn basic tone production before worrying about versatility. Also in some cases larger trips (along with shorter facing curves) can require a more developed embouchure and developed air support and breath control. I think this is why many people recommend smaller tips for students.

Of course, experience players can use whatever they want, not just large tips. It can depend a lot on the genre.
 

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Using the same 7* Link piece on two different horns, I seem to run out of air faster on one horn, than the other. Is that because the horn I run out of air on is more "free-blowing?" (Note: this horn was just completely overhauled, and has no leaks).
I ordered a smaller NY Link (5*) to combat this issue.
I assume that you are finding that with the new 10M you are running out of air faster than with your Cleveland. When I got my 10M I noticed the same thing (but to perhaps a lesser degree). At the same time, my wife asked why I was suddenly playing louder than before. I have cut back on how much air I am pushing, and now I do not notice any difference in air depletion time. And according to my wife, my volume is more than enough. :bluewink:
 

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There's no doubt in my mind that some horns offer more air resistance than other horns. I notice a difference between my Yani TW01 and my Super 20, though the difference isn't really all that great. A good exercise for increasing your (if you're interested) ability to put air through your horn is to start your low Bb at a medium volume and then increase it as much as you can to the loudest forte you can play (your neighbors will be ever so pleased with this). Don't worry about tone, or intonation, or even if the note falls apart at your loudest. This is an exercise aimed at increasing your air. Just do this for about five minutes every day and you'll see an improvement in your ability to put air through your horn. As Dizzy Gillespie once quipped, " you can't win the fight unless your as%hole is tight." I agree with Pete Thomas about a smaller tip opening not being the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I assume that you are finding that with the new 10M you are running out of air faster than with your Cleveland. When I got my 10M I noticed the same thing (but to perhaps a lesser degree). At the same time, my wife asked why I was suddenly playing louder than before. I have cut back on how much air I am pushing, and now I do not notice any difference in air depletion time. And according to my wife, my volume is more than enough. :bluewink:
Right you are, Fred! You know me almost better than I do! It's encouraging to know that someone else experienced this same thing, when switching to a 10M. I still believe the 5* will be an easier piece for me to deal with. The 7* is doable, but it's more work.

Side note: I just had a very involved pulmonary test at the VA, yesterday, and the technician said I did very well. I had it done, because of my concerns about my breath length (not just in terms of the sax), lately. I have scleroderma which could affect my heart and lungs, so periodically I have tests done to see where I'm at.
 

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Fred is the other guy in my username. I'm the Jim part. But you made a great guess. :cheers:
When you get the 5*, recognize that you might need a slightly harder reed. Different mouthpiece tips can sometimes require a more diverse reed inventory.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Fred is the other guy in my username. I'm the Jim part. But you made a great guess. :cheers:
When you get the 5*, recognize that you might need a slightly harder reed. Different mouthpiece tips can sometimes require a more diverse reed inventory.
Damn......I had two guesses to choose from, and picked the wrong one. Oh well. I have a full inventory, from 1.5 to 3.5 (Fibracells), but ya, thanks. The 5* I had for a few days and returned, played pretty well on a 2.5, my usual for the 7* TE. I'll give the 3.0 a try though, just to see what that's like. Thanks Jim!
 

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I have learned by reading Benade and other saxophone research that the "harmonicity" of an instrument due to its internal geometry makes a difference in how the instrument feels to the player. For those not familiar with the term, "harmonicity" has to do with how close to whole number multiples the frequencies of the harmonics are to the frequency of the fundamental. When these harmonics are well aligned, they share energy with the fundamental and the player gets more volume and intensity for the amount of energy put into the instrument. When there is not good "harmonicity" on a note, the harmonics are moved away from their peak energy in order to lock in with the fundamental in what Benade calls the "regime of oscillation". The result is that energy is lost in the process which means the player has to create more input energy (blow harder) to get the same volume and intensity of sound.

An instrument with good "harmonicity" is called free blowing. An instrument with less than ideal "harmonicity" or leaks is termed resistant. The vibrations of the reed control the amount of air that goes into an instrument. Once you reach about mezzo forte, the reed starts to "beat" which means that it actually closes the aperture once each cycle. Once this happens, the volume of air going into the mouthpiece is as large as it can get. Trying to blow more air will simply close the reed off. Some may argue with this, but when we say one sax takes more air than another, what we really mean is it takes more air "pressure" to get the same volume or intensity.

We hear a lot about bore size from brass players. It is commonly understood that large bore instruments take more air than ones with smaller bores. The main difference between the brass instruments and a saxophone is that the saxophone "bore" is chock full of holes, making the actual diameter inside less critical. The other main difference is that the sound of a brass instrument is produced by the vibrations of the "lip reed", which understandably the player has more control over than the saxophone player does over his "cane reed". Brass players talk about "back pressure" which is another way to say "resistance". The long narrow tube of a brass instrument actually does create a resistance of its own, even without the effects of "inharmonicity". Just putting one's lips over a trumpet leadpipe and blowing confirms this "back pressure". When sax players put their lips over the end of the neck and blow the result is quite different.
 

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Saxoclese, thanks for the clarity on free blowing and resistance.
I’ve tried to look up terms and definitions on the site with no success. Is there anywhere in your library with such information? I’m sure that would be quite a useful tool especially in the beginners section.

To stay on the OP what is the relationship of a baffle to free blowing and resistance environments.
 

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Benade's text "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics" has two chapters on woodwinds where a lot of the information I posted can be found. Some Aspects of Tuning and Clean Intonation in Reed Instruments is another resource. One without a physics background has to read "around the math", but there is a lot of good information about how inharmonicity affects how woodwinds play. I know next to nothing about the acoustics that take place inside mouthpieces so I can't comment on that.
 

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Regarding tip openings I would suggest the OP read this by Larry Teal:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/29052591/Sax-Met-Teal-Larry-The-Art-of-Saxophone-Playing

Just scroll down to the section on mouthpieces. Note how Teal suggests novices are better off beginning with a medium chamber mouthpiece in order to avoid the creation of bad habits. There's much more to mouthpieces besides tip openings and baffles such as the facing and chamber, not to mention just how well the mouthpiece is made. But generally speaking a high baffle creates a brighter sound and better projection while a low baffle produces a darker deader sound with less projection. I've always wondered if chamber sizes are related to the venturi effect on air where for example if you blow air through a tube and the tube has a section where the diameter is smaller than the rest of the tube the air speed increases in the narrower passage. But if you read Teal's piece it seems clear that there is much more to the resistance you experience than just the tip opening or the size of the chamber such as the length of the facing. At any rate there's lots of good information on mpc selection there and a good place to start before you start shelling out big bucks for mouthpieces that might or might not work for you. I'm probably just wasting air here (pun intended) but I'm only posting this as others besides the OP may find it useful, back to practicing. By the way, I didn't invent the exercise I mentioned previously, I got that from one of the best teachers in Los Angeles and it works. Others may find that useful as well.
 

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I used to believe that horns have quite different resistances.
Particularly my favourite (Selmer Super Series) which I would have always considered quite resistant.
A Few months back I had it overhauled, prior to that the pads weren’t bad and it sealed quite well.
But now the difference is like night and day.
The Selmer is the easiest blow of all my horns now.
I wouldn’t imagine that any horn in top condition would feel more or less resistant than another in similar condition.
The 10m I had in the past was in no way more difficult to blow, regardless of the so called bore size.
Resistance between the different voices (EG: soprano, alto, tenor and Baritone) is something I do notice more.
I especially find soprano resistance much higher, but it is also the one I have spent the least amount of time on.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Thanks for the scientific side of things, Saxoclese and Rob. Should've known there was no simple answer to the free-blowing/resistance question. We did at least get a definition of those two conditions most often mentioned, in terms of how a sax plays. Interesting to hear what the actual causes are.
So, in theory, all well made leak-free horns should be free-blowing?

After giving some of the replies to my OP further thought, I wonder if there wasn't some misunderstanding about what I am trying to accomplish with the smaller-tipped piece.
First off, as Jim alluded to, the two horns in question are my old horn, a King Cleveland, and my new horn, a Conn 10M. The Conn, obviously is the one I thought was taking more air to play, using the same 7* Tone Edge on both pieces.
It had originally taken me a bit of time to be able play the larger-tipped 7* on my Cleveland, when I moved up to it from a Hite Premier piece. For whatever reason, I probably wasn't really ready for a 7* tip, at the time I got it, and even when I was playing it "alright" it still was at the top edge of my limits.
That is the reason for the 5* piece I have bought. To get back within my comfort level with the 10M that I used to enjoy with my Cleveland, when I was playing it with the Hite piece.
Hope that clears any confusion up, if indeed there was any.
 
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