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Discussion Starter #1
Okay,

So I've managed to get Relatively even intonation across the length of my baritone, save for one, unruly note. My low Bb is crushingly loud and aggressive.

Generally, if my wife is home I'm trying to get myself as close to a classic cello tone as I possibly can, for her sanity and my safety (I can always roar when she isn't aroudn:twisted:). I can handle that, with a bit of warm-up, across my saxophone except for that low Bb. It is a low Bb King Zephyr sax (rico graftonite mpc, 2.5 rico reed), so that is as low as she goes, and when I get there, it takes all of my effort not to shake my building apart.

I can't figure out how to reign in the tone on that note. It almost sounds like the sax body itself has a resonance at that note, making the entire thing shake with a brassy, sloppy sound. It is right in terms of pitch, but the overtones dominate the sound. The effect is actually really cool, but I can't move to any other note and replicate it, so it is of little value to me. If I slur down to it, I get the brassy noise within half a second unless I really tighten down on the reed, and if I start on Bb with that tightness, it won't even try and sound.

If there is a "perfect pressure" to get this, I can't find it for more than 2 seconds, and I don't know how to get to it. Any advice is welcome.

P.s. If it helps to narrow it down, the only other note that gives me trouble is low D, which universally wants to jump to an ugly combination of the second and third harmonics unless I mentally compensate by opening my mouth cavity wide enough to swallow my voice box. That may or may not be a leak, but I can play past it fluidly at this point from compensating for so long.
 

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Having only played a Zephyr for a few hours a long time ago, I can't say for sure, but it sounds like a leak or two to me. Of course, your reed/mouthpiece set up may have something to do with it, but I remember that Zephyr as being silky smooth with little effort to get a low Bb at least at p if not pp. I was actually pretty impressed with the horn. Have a tech check it out.
 

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+1 regarding leaks.
 

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P.s. If it helps to narrow it down, the only other note that gives me trouble is low D, which universally wants to jump to an ugly combination of the second and third harmonics unless I mentally compensate by opening my mouth cavity wide enough to swallow my voice box. That may or may not be a leak, .
Almost certainly a leak.

Man, I wish I had a dime for every sax player who never takes their horn to a tech and is willing to play it full of leaks! Or is simply unaware of the fact that a tiny leak will cause all sorts of problems.
 

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Well, curiously, the larger the horn, the less sensitive to minor leaks, and you can almost always play a bari with leaks that would disable something smaller.

After having a tech run a leak light down it to make sure it's reasonably sealed, the next thing I would do is ditch the Graftonite for a piece with a little less baffle and a little more chamber. Actually, I might do that first, but either way, find another use for the Rico. Frankly, and I have one, the Graftonite is a piece of crap on bari with this wierd "hump" for a baffle. I had a similar issue with it, until I had Lance Burton experiment on it to turn it into something else that would work on a vintage horn (though I'm not really recommending that route either).

If it plays in-tune on your horn, think about a getting Berg at about a 115/2 size. Resonable tip (with a 2.5) mild baffle, and the largest chamber you can get. Might also want to try a Yamaha 5C or other middle-of-the-road quality piece.

If you really want that "cello sound" and all the way down to ppp on the Bb, get a Rascher. Very dark and woody tone, HUGE chamber, no baffle to speak of, and a narrow tip that you're going to want a harder reed for. Extremely responsive piece at very low volumes. It's certainly not a piece for jazz or rock, but if dark and quiet is what you want, this is the piece for you. Sounds great doing Bach cello pieces!

BTW, I've only found 1 ligature to fit one. The Rovner Bass saxophone lig is required unless you like tying reeds on with string.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the advice.

I've got an appointment with a tech to leak test it coming up. I need to travel a bit, so it takes some scheduling.

As far as the graftonite goes, I'm desperate to ditch it, but I just manifested a nasty joint problem, and until I can put a cap on the obscene medical costs I've been told to expect, scraping together even the $150-$250 it would take to complete that outfit will be tough.:(

Until then, I'll practice what I can. I hope to have the leaking fixed by October.
 

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I ditched my Graftonite as well for a regular ol Meyer 6 and a lot of my problems disappeared. I'd check for leaks first, then look into a cheap mouthpiece upgrade (Meyers aren't that expensive...)
 

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Well, curiously, the larger the horn, the less sensitive to minor leaks, and you can almost always play a bari with leaks that would disable something smaller..
Probably very true. However, the OP seems to be having problems (almost certainly caused by leaks), so it may be something more than minor.

I know what you're saying, though. I recently took my VI tenor to my tech because it was feeling a 'bit' too resistant. I told him it was playing fine overall, but wanted him to check it out anyway. He put in the leak light and started going through the horn. His first comment was: "You say you haven't been having any major problems playing this?" With disbelief in his voice. The horn was full of leaks! And when he got finished replacing some pads, etc, it was like an entirely different horn. So you do tend to adjust and play past those leaks (especially when they come on gradually, over a long period of time), but it's not an ideal situation and you won't be getting the best out of the horn, tone-wise. You'll also be working way too harder than necessary.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Maddenma also suggested a Yamaha 5C. They're less than $35 on Amazon.com.
... and just about any stock, good quality, bari mouthpiece is going to play better than a Graftonite. A Yamaha 5C is a real middle of the road piece. Excellent at nothing, competent at anything -- sort of like a Mark VI. :)
 
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