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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What's up with the middle C# (all open) - it's the hardest note to get in tune. It tends to play sharp.

Then there's middle C - it plays in tune easier but you have to blow harder (and lip up) to make it sound.

Other than that it pretty much responds like other saxophones I've played... but these two notes can get annoying.
 

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Bruce Bailey can fill you in more on this problem, but the 1950's Indianas were recycled designs of the pre-THE MARTIN horns from the Handcraft series. The earliest Handcrafts had problems with c#, especially in the upper register, and later models had an adjustable key attached from the octave key to the small c key in the left hand stack. The key would activate when high c# and above were played, partially covering the small c tone hole and pulling down the pitch of those upper tones.

Then again, some mouthpieces create problems on the short end of saxes, truncating the cone that is the top end of the sax and pushing the left hand notes progressively sharp. Try different mouthpieces on the horn and see if the problem improves, remains the same, or gets worse.

Again, perhaps Bruce can chime in and tell us more.

Sax Magic
 

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Try this:

Play a bis Bb (or any other Bb 4th line) and compare it with an overblown Bb using the low Bb fingering. Chances are that your normal Bb is is flat by comparison. So push in that mouthpiece! When the pitches match, your horn will be "in tune" with itself.

I studied with a Joe Allard disciple who would just put the mouthpiece on my horn and say "That's where it should be. Your chops will figure it out." Well, that fixed my biting really quick!

Any horn will have some idiosychrasies in pitch. I use a technique that my old clarinet teacher taught me -- try alternate fingering and try adding keys to lower the pitch. For example if you don't like your open C# try putting down the right hand. Try the long fingering. Try anything! You'll find some cool things this way.

Finally try a "jazz" cut reed. I think a lighter reed with thinner heart will help. Those blue boxes killed me for many a year. I now use Rico and La Voz.

Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
crescent said:
Play a bis Bb (or any other Bb 4th line) and compare it with an overblown Bb using the low Bb fingering. Chances are that your normal Bb is is flat by comparison. So push in that mouthpiece! When the pitches match, your horn will be "in tune" with itself.
I guess that's a better way to determine where to put the mouthpiece instead of just guessing and adjusting by ear while playing as I have been (been too lazy to bother with the tuner!) I will try it.

This probably won't help much with the basic characteristics of the C# and C on this sax, it plays funky on all the mouthpieces I've tried. But, I am interested to know more about this, because I really like the sound of it regardless and plan to try and do my best with it.
 

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OK, here is the deal. Martins have a high C#3. To remedy this, they installed (after 1928ish) a lever on the octave key assembly that closes the small C pad in the Left Hand for high C#. I suspect that your horn is not adjusted so that the pad closes with the octave key. Look at the Left hand assembly and notice that the C pad (small one) is depressed whenever any one or more of the LH keys are depressed. It is under the front F and does not have a pearl. Finger C# and press the octave lever. This pad should close with the lever. If not, examine the linkage to see why it is not closing. This is often caused by the cork or felt under the octave key lever not allowing the lever to move far enough to cloes the C pad. Post back or call me at 305-667-4925.
Also your horn may not have this feature. If not, when playing high C#, depress the right hand F key to close the Bb pad.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Does it have the lever?



Hmm, well it looks to me like there is no such lever. Here I am depressing the octave key only. Can anyone glean anything from this?
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
found these threads:

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=11287&highlight=martin+lever+sharp
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=3646&highlight=martin+lever+sharp

Does this mean I need to modify it by installing this lever to make it play in tune? :?

I really think having to hit the RH F key to lower the pitch will limit my speed. :( It's got enough quirks as it is!

Isn't this the same company that made the "typewriter" model? I am looking at some pics now, and it actually looks like mine in terms of body shape, except for the ghastly keys. How are you supposed to roll your fingers over those things?? (I actually heard it's not that bad, but it's strange! :D)

I have to admit I'm a little bummed. I hope I can sort this out. I may call you tomorrow bruce bailey.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If anyone's wondering about this I'm going to try to have it modified to deal with the sharp 2nd octave C#

It seems worth it because I enjoy the horn in every other way...

I will do it soon, hopefully, and post pics after it's done.
 

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As I mentioned on the phone, you need to attach a lever from the C stack bar to go over the lever covering the body octave pad. It will enable the C pad bar to lift thus closing the C pad whenever the Octave key is depressed. The only problme you may have is a click at the contact point but it can be fixed by some cork or better yet, plastic tubing over the new piece.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
bruce bailey said:
As I mentioned on the phone, you need to attach a lever from the C stack bar to go over the lever covering the body octave pad. It will enable the C pad bar to lift thus closing the C pad whenever the Octave key is depressed. The only problme you may have is a click at the contact point but it can be fixed by some cork or better yet, plastic tubing over the new piece.
I am getting to take it to my tech next week and let him know this. I am hoping he can do it for me.
 

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crescent said:
Try this:

Play a bis Bb (or any other Bb 4th line) and compare it with an overblown Bb using the low Bb fingering. Chances are that your normal Bb is is flat by comparison. So push in that mouthpiece! When the pitches match, your horn will be "in tune" with itself.
Crescent, I think you've just put me on the path to righteousness - thanks!

Stefan
 

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I played my Indiana alto today with a Bari brand Richie Cole mouthpiece. I don't seem to have the same problem you do with the C# and I don't have the magic key either. However, when I first bought it, it played sharp in the upper register so I had the keys lowered a bit which helped intonation. BTW, it sounded fantastic- quite a sound for a "student" horn. I think I sound better on alto than tenor and I hardly play alto!:?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Honeyboy said:
I played my Indiana alto today with a Bari brand Richie Cole mouthpiece. I don't seem to have the same problem you do with the C# and I don't have the magic key either. However, when I first bought it, it played sharp in the upper register so I had the keys lowered a bit which helped intonation. BTW, it sounded fantastic- quite a sound for a "student" horn. I think I sound better on alto than tenor and I hardly play alto!:?
Well, I took the Indiana to horn improvement here in SoCal, I think Jeff took a look at it, and he said these models should be able to play pretty well in tune without any modifications. Although, he said the key heights were all screwed up. When I get it back, I'll hopefully have a better idea of what's going on.
 
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