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Discussion Starter #1
I have a series one crat tenor, stripped and barely legible engraving, which is nevertheless powerful as one could hope for, and more importantly, with an absolutely gorgeous, shimmering tone. It was repadded a couple of years ago (not with snap-ins, they were already gone) and really hasn't been played much at all, even as a backup, because:

Well, my G sharp keeps sticking for one minor detail, but the main thing is that to play it in tune I have to pull the mouthpiece WAY out on the mouthpiece.

So it has pretty much sat in a corner, in fact I was going to sell it, and then kind of forgot about it. But guess what? Today I began playing it, going back and forth between my 103K Mark VI (a good one), and damn if the Crat doesn't have it beat for tone, wamth and response. Man, I just love the way this thing sounds, and it's frustrating about the intonation, especially since these are reputed to be excellent in that regard. So I'm wondering why this is a problem for me?

I could just pull the mouthpiece way out like I'm doing, but it's kind of imprecise, that is, I don't know exactly where to place it, and it seems to need that precision. Or maybe I just need to get used to it, playing my VI so long (which has more resistance).

Any of you Crat owners have any suggestions? I really love the sound of this tenor and would love to be able to rely on it as a backup, or even main horn.

If it's any help I play an Early Babbit 7* STM (and don't want to change).
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
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Cleaning the G# tone hole/pad with lighter fluid on a q-tip and making sure the spring is set strong enough should help that problem... but you'd think a Link would have a large enough chamber to play in tune on your horn without having to pull out so far. As the horn has had some work in the past, do you think someone might have cut a bit off the end of the neck? Perhaps you can take measurements and compare them with others on the site just to rule out that possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No one as far as I know cut off any of the end of the neck, but the neck itself was broken off completely at the round section that fits down into the saxophone itself and that piece had to be improvised. Don't know if that would have an effect. It does play in tune when the mouthpiece is pulled out far enough. I have tried cleaning that tone hole with lighter fluid already. Maybe I should just replace the pad.
 

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I also have a series one 'Crat tenor and a MKVI. I know what you mean about the tone on the 'Crat. For some reason I haven't experienced the tuning problem you are having. On my Buescher, the optimum place for the mpc is a little more than half way up the cork (which of course partly depends on how wide the cork is). On the VI, I have the mpc pushed in maybe 1/4 inch further, but it's not much of a difference. The Buescher plays well in tune, at least as in tune as the VI. So something is strange with your horn. I was going to say it seems like an issue with the neck, and now that I read what you said in post #3, that seems pretty likely. You may need a different neck or perhaps a good tech could do something to remedy the problem.

The sticky G# is a pretty common problem. Try putting a piece of cigarette paper under the key, close it, and slide the paper out, doing this a few times. Also, if you put a folded business card in the lower tone hole that will hold the G# key slightly open, it will allow the pad to dry and should help solve that problem. You only need to leave the key propped open long enough for the pad to dry. I usually take the card out after that so I don't forget it's in there next time I play.
 

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I also play a crat (small bell, I think many call it the series one) and it is certainly sharp-er than modern horns. Try penciling a mark right in the middle of the cork. When I first got the horn that's where I had to put my link to be in tune. Over time, I have been playing looser and looser, and I now push in more. For me, the horn still plays in tune with itself quite far out on the cork.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm reading, considering and appreciating all these suggestions. The cork on the neck is not very thick. If all else fails, I could have a machinist lengthen the neck, I suppose. On the other hand, I'm not fond of the neck angle anyway, so can anyone suggest an aftermarket neck for the Crat that will not cost more than the instrument itself?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Lengthening the neck will only cause more intonation issues than you want to deal with. It should not be out of tune with any modern mouthpiece, so whatever was done to the original, if it is, has caused some issues that aren't common to the horn.
 

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Lengthening the neck will only cause more intonation issues than you want to deal with. It should not be out of tune with any modern mouthpiece, so whatever was done to the original, if it is, has caused some issues that aren't common to the horn.
+1. I've had no tuning issues with any of the mpcs I've used on mine.

I'm sure there are after-market necks that would work, or you might be able to chase down an original neck or one from another Buescher. Juan ('Jicaino' on here) could probably help you out with that.
 

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Hello,
I ve a VI tenor and a Crat One. I ve got the the same observations. The crat needs a big chamber mouthpiece. But I like to play it with a refaced New Vintage otto link which is not as big as my Tone Master. So I have to pull way out and it is an instable position (In fact, I think I've got the same positions like JL). But for a few days, now I use a very thick cork ... and it is better (and never move out the mpc after I've played - it stays in place) and a technician will open a few the mouthpiece window to increase its volume. After that I think I will push a little bit the mouthpiece. IMO modern mouthpieces with a little volume are not a good option. Some people says to me to try Morgan HR big chamber...but I feel good with the HR Otto Link and really like the crat sound with. More old school sound but still modern.
 

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it's frustrating about the intonation, especially since these are reputed to be excellent in that regard.

Air leaks can cause the intonation to be all over the place like that, right? It might be worth it to look into that first. Don't ask how I know.
 

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The crat needs a big chamber mouthpiece..
Not to play in tune it doesn't. You might prefer the sound on a large chamber mpc, but my experience with these 'Crats is they play well in tune with modern mpcs, large or medium chamber. I don't own any really small chamber mpcs, so can't say anything about them. But my series one 'Crat plays very well with high baffle mpcs and low rollover baffles. Doesn't seem to matter. The mpc I like best is a large tip RPC with a medium-high baffle. It roars and purrs with that mpc.

I still maintain there is something wrong with the neck, or mechanically with the horn if you can't get it to play in tune.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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That's my take on it too. Something's not right that's not native to the horn.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
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I have another idea... Tune the horn as best you can and then play a low Bb and see if it's in tune in relation to the rest of the horn. If it's flat, your key heights might be too open across the board.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Tune up the overblown Bb2 - B2 - C#2 - C2 with the natural short tube positions and play that way. Record yourself.
 

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It is much better to extend the shank of the mouthpiece than to consider changing the length of the neck. Most of the good refacers can do that for you. Air leaks do not create intonation problems, only response and tone quality issues.

One needs to be careful changing the spring tension on a G#, Bis, or F# key due to the sensitive balance at the "junction" where the F and E keys must close the F# key which in turn closes the G# and/or the Bis. Making a spring stronger is not an effective solution to a sticking pad problem, it is a misguided attempt to treat the symptom which often creates additional problems with the regulation. If a spring raises the key to the top of its arc without bouncing when the pad does not stick---leave the spring alone.
 

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A spring that is set too weak to do its job, ie. raise the key through its full arc without the key bouncing at the end of its travel should of course be adjusted to the required strength. A spring that has sufficient strength to do its job already should not be strengthened more just to overcome a pad with a sticking surface. To do so invites other problems with regulation. The source of the problem which is the sticky pad and/or tone hole needs to be addressed rather than just treating the symptom which is the key not springing open. This is just common sense. Perhaps Stephen Howard would like to comment upon the above statement I just wrote to clarify the topic for all concerned.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The cork is insufficiently thick, I believe. I am going to take this to a tech, and also have them look at the spring tension. I'm adjusting some to the intonation, and am starting to suspect that some of the problem is me, that I'm overblowing this tenor because I'm so accustomed to my more resistant VI because the Crat does seem to be in tune with itself when I match overtones. I've tried all the suggestions with the sticky G sharp except increasing the spring tension. That will be next, and if that doesn't work, maybe I'll try a Roo pad, or a new pad of some kind. I'll have the tech check the tone hole as well. Love this horn, and I'll let you know how it all turns out. Thanks, everybody.
 

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Let us know how it works out Leon, and ignore the argumentative ramblings above in regard to the simple issue of setting spring tension; which is something we all should have no fear in doing to better understand the workings of our horns. You see, some time ago I related an experience in regard to a horn I had just had repadded with some rather sticky pads. I cleaned them with lighters fluid which mostly solved the problem, but my bis key still stuck. I realized the spring was too weak and once I strengthened it a bit, it worked fine and continues to function properly to this day. To help others here, I related the story on this board. Now the argumentative one above took issue with my simple mechanical fix, and without seeing the horn told me I made the spring too tight... which boggled the mind considering the problem was resolved, the action was improved and the horn remains in fine working order. You see, he only made it an issue to somehow discredit me to make up for perhaps some perceived past slight. This behavior does the site no good and in my opinion it's easy to see why though he claims to have experience in instrument repair, in all the years he has been here I have not read one single reference from a satisfied customer who has had him work on their horn willing to recommend his services as many of the respected techs on this board have had in droves. I wish he could move on in this regard, but he will jump into threads to take issue with me, and certain others here, to the detriment of those good folks simply wishing for help with a problem. It shouldn't be about proving you're the best technician by tearing apart others. It should be about offering what you can to help those needing assistance and having the confidence in your written word to not constantly stir up animosity on the board.

Hopefully with your Buescher, you just need to adjust the key heights and/or blow a bit more loose.
 
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