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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,
I have a Selmer USA AS600 (aristocrat) that I have been playing for give or take 9 years. However, the octave D is very sharp (+50 cents) which seems to be a general saxophone problem. Currently, I am embarking on more advanced saxophone study based on outlines from Tim Price and Michael Furstner. So the first thing I want to do is to ensure that I can play properly in tune, I already play in my church band every Sunday so I generally self-adjust notes that are out of tune (I just don't play perfectly in tune without reference).

The main thing I am concerned about is that several notes on my saxophone is wildly off, that is has intonation of +/-20 cents. Additionally, overtones are also out of tune (e.g. the no key C# is normally about +15-20 cents and the C# overtone octave is about at least +30-40 cents). My plan is to save and buy a used/new tenor Yamaha Custom Z, however I am wondering if a Yamaha 23 (alto) would be a better instrument for me to practice on until then (instead of my Selmer USA horn).
Note also that I live in the Caribbean so being able to play test is basically not an option (which is also why I prefer to get a Yamaha).

Essentially, my goal is to play tenor/sop sax as my primary instrument(s) and then double on alto but I also want to buy efficiently (that is, if I buy a used pro tenor for $2,500 now, that's $2,500 less towards a used Custom Z later on).
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I often don't bother about +/- 20 cents, sometimes variations can actually sound better. It's all too easy to look at a tuner and panic when it's not 100% bang in tune with equal temperament so I find it is often best to ignore the tuner, work on using and above all, trusting, your eras.

However the +50% octave D is not right (do you mean D2 or D3?).

I would also say not to worry too much about overtones not being 100%, often this is expected - the saxophone is not acoustically perfect in that it has a conical bore that is cut off short at the pointy end because there has to be a mouthpiece. To be "acoustically perfect" the cone of the conical bore would need to be completed but in that case there can not realistically be a mouthpiece.

Having said that I'm not quite sure what you mean by C# overtone octave - both C# 2 and C# 3 should not be wildly out (like the 50% of your D) but they are known to be tricky notes. Also it could be worth trying a different mouthpiece and also making sure your instrument is 100% in good order, a trip to a technician is probably a good idea, especially one who is a good player and can also test the intonation.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I often don't bother about +/- 20 cents, sometimes variations can actually sound better. It's all too easy to look at a tuner and panic when it's not 100% bang in tune with equal temperament so I find it is often best to ignore the tuner, work on using and above all, trusting, your eras.

However the +50% octave D is not right (do you mean D2 or D3?).

I would also say not to worry too much about overtones not being 100%, often this is expected - the saxophone is not acoustically perfect in that it has a conical bore that is cut off short at the pointy end because there has to be a mouthpiece. To be "acoustically perfect" the cone of the conical bore would need to be completed but in that case there can not realistically be a mouthpiece.

Having said that I'm not quite sure what you mean by C# overtone octave - both C# 2 and C# 3 should not be wildly out (like the 50% of your D) but they are known to be tricky notes. Also it could be worth trying a different mouthpiece and also making sure your instrument is 100% in good order, a trip to a technician is probably a good idea, especially one who is a good player and can also test the intonation.
Thanks Pete, I meant D5, I'm actually experimenting with using the picky B to flatten the note on longer notes - I remember someone here suggesting that.

Re the C# - I will look into getting it checked out.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I often don't bother about +/- 20 cents, sometimes variations can actually sound better. It's all too easy to look at a tuner and panic when it's not 100% bang in tune with equal temperament so I find it is often best to ignore the tuner, work on using and above all, trusting, your eras.

However the +50% octave D is not right (do you mean D2 or D3?).

I would also say not to worry too much about overtones not being 100%, often this is expected - the saxophone is not acoustically perfect in that it has a conical bore that is cut off short at the pointy end because there has to be a mouthpiece. To be "acoustically perfect" the cone of the conical bore would need to be completed but in that case there can not realistically be a mouthpiece.

Having said that I'm not quite sure what you mean by C# overtone octave - both C# 2 and C# 3 should not be wildly out (like the 50% of your D) but they are known to be tricky notes. Also it could be worth trying a different mouthpiece and also making sure your instrument is 100% in good order, a trip to a technician is probably a good idea, especially one who is a good player and can also test the intonation.
I was talking about D5.

Oh, C# (both C#4 and C#5) are mostly ok, I was talking about fingering a low C#4 but getting a C#5, I was saying that the first harmonic is sharp.
 
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