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Discussion Starter #1
Overhaulin a USA 16M that was all original and unmolested, something got my attention on the neck. It has a conical neck tenon. It measures 1.065 at the base and 1.025 at the place where my caliper's interior measuring prongs reaches inside the tenon (wich is about .250 down the top edge of the outer part of the tenon that goes inside the female tenon. It's matched both with the main body and the neck (matched as in no gap, bulges or ridges)

So I guess it's possible that some horn makers have indeed fitted horns with conical neck tenons. Also I guess that in the event of expanding the neck tenon, the taper will result damaged (missing) from the unequal force applied by the tenon expander.
 

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You may already know this, but I believe a more accurate measurement up inside the tenon could be made with the use of a telescoping bore gauge like the ones shown below. Anyway, that has been my experience.

 

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Usually this happens from wear. Naturally the receiver and tenon would match, because the tenon has been matched to the receiver.
 

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Bore gauges work a treat.
 

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You may already know this, but I believe a more accurate measurement up inside the tenon could be made with the use of a telescoping bore gauge like the ones shown below. Anyway, that has been my experience.

Right. A caliper's reading will be influenced by alignment.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Telescoping bore gauge is excellent but also influenced by alignment.

I use that kind of equipent on clarinets as a regular basis, I just didn't have the proper size for tenor neck tenons in hand at the moment.
The important thing is that the neck is fitted with an OEM conical neck tenon.
 

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Telescoping bore gauge is excellent but also influenced by alignment.

I use that kind of equipent on clarinets as a regular basis, I just didn't have the proper size for tenor neck tenons in hand at the moment.
The important thing is that the neck is fitted with an OEM conical neck tenon.
Hmmm. The average tenor tenon is ca. 1" long (25.4mm). The average conical expansion for 1" of lower neck/body taper is .06" (1.5mm). If your OEM tenon tapers .04" (1mm) in the first 1/4" (6.35mm), then there should be .16" (4mm) expansion in the entire tenon, if it is in fact conical, which is 2.6x too much taper.

Perhaps the bottom inside corner of the tenon is simply rounded off over the bottom 1/4".
 

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Following proper machinist handbook procedures for either bore gauge or dial caliper use will eliminate operator error.

The differences between bore gauges and calipers are depth of measurement to acceptable tolerance, ease of measurement and most importantly tolerance. A high quality bore gauge can measure down to +/- .0001" whereas high quality dial calipers are usually around .001". I don't know enough about sax design to know what tolerance would be ideal. Looking at the way most saxes are built I am left with the impression that tolerances are outside typical auto machine shop standards.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmmm. The average tenor tenon is ca. 1" long (25.4mm). The average conical expansion for 1" of lower neck/body taper is .06" (1.5mm). If your OEM tenon tapers .04" (1mm) in the first 1/4" (6.35mm), then there should be .16" (4mm) expansion in the entire tenon, if it is in fact conical, which is 2.6x too much taper.

Perhaps the bottom inside corner of the tenon is simply rounded off over the bottom 1/4".
Tapers that much in 3/4, 1/4 is the remaining out of reach of the caliper.

To me the "top of the male tenon" is the part that goes soldered on the neck... you follow me?

So it tapes 1mm in 19mm rougly, tapering about 1.3 mm in the tenon lenght
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Following proper machinist handbook procedures for either bore gauge or dial caliper use will eliminate operator error.

The differences between bore gauges and calipers are depth of measurement to acceptable tolerance, ease of measurement and most importantly tolerance. A high quality bore gauge can measure down to +/- .0001" whereas high quality dial calipers are usually around .001". I don't know enough about sax design to know what tolerance would be ideal. Looking at the way most saxes are built I am left with the impression that tolerances are outside typical auto machine shop standards.
A good machinist can take consistent dependable measures on a cheapo school plastic ruler. You're missing the point entirely wich is noting that THE TENON IS CONICAL AND MATCHES THE BORE OF THE BODY AND THE BORE OF THE NECK. I don't measured it up for finding the taper angle or anything. Just checked if I was seeing right (I was) and the tenon was a perfect theoretical piece between the body and the neck.
 

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Tapers that much in 3/4, 1/4 is the remaining out of reach of the caliper.

To me the "top of the male tenon" is the part that goes soldered on the neck... you follow me?

So it tapes 1mm in 19mm rougly, tapering about 1.3 mm in the tenon lenght
OK. I see. That's about right then. Does it match the neck tube diameter smoothly?
 

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I am curious to know what can happen when the tenon doesn't line up with the bore. My JK sop has a .1mm overhang edge showing as a result of the tenon being smaller than the bore of the horn where the tenon seats. Fortunately the edge faces towards the open end of the horn but I do wonder about it.

I am curious to know what point I was missing as I made no point about saxes only about measuring tools. Having built a number of race motors over the years I do not believe I could have built anything that would hang together at 18,000 rpm using a plastic ruler. My son who is qualified machinist agrees that he couldn't build a good motor with a plastic ruler. Hard to see down to .001

Perhaps my JK sop was built with that plastic ruler which is why it has issues :mrgreen:
 

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I find it hard to believe that an intermediate Conn 16M tenor sax would have been manufactured to have a tapered inner neck tenon when none of the other Conn models have been noted to have this feature.

I have several times in the past while working on lower quality saxes such as Mexicons found while expanding the neck tenon with a can opener type expander that the very tight setting at the top of the tenon became very loose toward the bottom. In every case I have found by inserting a light into the neck that when the tenon was soldered onto the neck a sizable amount of excess solder flowed inside the upper part of the tenon. Once that was carefully scraped away, the tenon once again produced the same pressure upon the expander's wheels throughout its length.

I'm not suggesting the measurements taken are wrong. However, before being 100% sure the sax was manufactured with a tapered neck tenon, I would:

- recheck the top and bottom measurements using a telescoping bore gauge
- measure the midpoint using a telescoping bore gauge
- carefully inspect the interior of tenon where it joins the neck
- measure the exterior of the tenon at each of the 3 locations as well
 

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Waht can happen when it doesn't. My JK sop has a .1mm overhang edge showing as a result of the tenon being smaller than the bore of the horn where the tenon seats. Fortunately the edge faces towards the open end of the horn but I do wonder about it
The wave reflects at the bell/open tone hole, and returns to the mouthpiece, so....an edge is an edge. What you get is turbulence. Turbulence = energy loss. The bore also behaves as being reduced in diameter in turbulent areas. While the detrimental effects (loss of response, tonal center, and pitch stability) may not be devastating, the results of all the little problems are cumulative - they add up. Since in even the very best instrument, 99% of the input energy is dissipated as basically heat, it behooves the player to make the most of that remaining 1%. Even small improvements are worthwhile, as, their effects also, are cumulative.
 

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Thanks so much for explaining that. An edge will affect the sound and that perhaps is contributing to my recalcitrant palm notes. I really really appreciate you sharing those insights. I believe a light bulb just came on.
 

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I am curious to know what can happen when the tenon doesn't line up with the bore. My JK sop has a .1mm overhang edge showing as a result of the tenon being smaller than the bore of the horn where the tenon seats. Fortunately the edge faces towards the open end of the horn but I do wonder about it.

I am curious to know what point I was missing as I made no point about saxes only about measuring tools. Having built a number of race motors over the years I do not believe I could have built anything that would hang together at 18,000 rpm using a plastic ruler. My son who is qualified machinist agrees that he couldn't build a good motor with a plastic ruler. Hard to see down to .001

Perhaps my JK sop was built with that plastic ruler which is why it has issues :mrgreen:
Just to put things into perspective: flute players routinely pull out their head joints anywhere from 1-5 mm, leaving a gap between the tenon and body with an edge in two places, and nobody thinks twice about that. On wooden flutes, there is often an inner sleeve so that the gap is not deep, and no one is suggesting pulling out the barrel of a clarinet or an oboe reed staple, but I am hard-pressed to believe that the small overhang you describe would make a noticeable difference in sound or response. Lance is right that edges are never good in a bore, but I don't think that the cost/benefit analysis here really makes a case for doing anything drastic.

I have a some clarinet barrels which do not line up exactly with either the mpc exit bore or the clarinet body entrance bore, and I do not find them any worse; in fact I use one normally that doesn't line up.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
OK. I see. That's about right then. Does it match the neck tube diameter smoothly?
yes. Smooth and continuous on both ends

I am curious to know what point I was missing as I made no point about saxes only about measuring tools. Having built a number of race motors over the years I do not believe I could have built anything that would hang together at 18,000 rpm using a plastic ruler. My son who is qualified machinist agrees that he couldn't build a good motor with a plastic ruler. Hard to see down to .001

Perhaps my JK sop was built with that plastic ruler which is why it has issues :mrgreen:
What I say is this: to assess wether the neck tenon is conical or straight cyl, I don't need a telescoping bore gauge. If for being convinced that a cone is a cone you guys need telescoping bore gauges, well... you must be at a much higher level than me. We're not taking building a motor. If you need to measure a clarinet socket to fit the cork (select the sheet cork thickness you'll use) do you resource to a telescoping bore gauge?

I find it hard to believe that an intermediate Conn 16M tenor sax would have been manufactured to have a tapered inner neck tenon when none of the other Conn models have been noted to have this feature.

I have several times in the past while working on lower quality saxes such as Mexicons found while expanding the neck tenon with a can opener type expander that the very tight setting at the top of the tenon became very loose toward the bottom. In every case I have found by inserting a light into the neck that when the tenon was soldered onto the neck a sizable amount of excess solder flowed inside the upper part of the tenon. Once that was carefully scraped away, the tenon once again produced the same pressure upon the expander's wheels throughout its length.

I'm not suggesting the measurements taken are wrong. However, before being 100% sure the sax was manufactured with a tapered neck tenon, I would:

- recheck the top and bottom measurements using a telescoping bore gauge
- measure the midpoint using a telescoping bore gauge
- carefully inspect the interior of tenon where it joins the neck
- measure the exterior of the tenon at each of the 3 locations as well
It's a conical neck tenon, and it has been turned that way. The horn had EVERY oem pad, paperwork, all original everything and the screws haven't been removed when I got to it, so we can rule out aftermarket. I'm surprised too that this came on a 16M.

Just to put things into perspective: flute players routinely pull out their head joints anywhere from 1-5 mm, leaving a gap between the tenon and body with an edge in two places, and nobody thinks twice about that. On wooden flutes, there is often an inner sleeve so that the gap is not deep, and no one is suggesting pulling out the barrel of a clarinet or an oboe reed staple, but I am hard-pressed to believe that the small overhang you describe would make a noticeable difference in sound or response. Lance is right that edges are never good in a bore, but I don't think that the cost/benefit analysis here really makes a case for doing anything drastic.

I have a some clarinet barrels which do not line up exactly with either the mpc exit bore or the clarinet body entrance bore, and I do not find them any worse; in fact I use one normally that doesn't line up.
Well, I don't want to sound like lance, but if you're using a poorly matched clarinet barrel, I must raise the question, are you a clarinet player? or you just play on a clarinet that has a mismatched barrel and you cannot tell the diference/and-or like it that way? I've logged in at least 2 hours per day EVERYDAY (as in 360 days a year) for the past 20 years just on my clarinets. I can assure you, there's no way in wich a properly trained clarinet player will prefer to have a poorly matched barrel on his clarinet.
 

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Just to put things into perspective: flute players routinely pull out their head joints anywhere from 1-5 mm, leaving a gap between the tenon and body with an edge in two places, and nobody thinks twice about that. On wooden flutes, there is often an inner sleeve so that the gap is not deep, and no one is suggesting pulling out the barrel of a clarinet or an oboe reed staple, but I am hard-pressed to believe that the small overhang you describe would make a noticeable difference in sound or response. Lance is right that edges are never good in a bore, but I don't think that the cost/benefit analysis here really makes a case for doing anything drastic.
As to flutes, flutes are not saxophones. Flutes are cylindrical or conical with a cylindrical head. Saxophones are conical. Conical air columns are considerably more affected by bore irregularities than cylindrical air columns (Benade). The flute wall is ca. .4mm thick making the total bore error, .8mm. The more sensitive saxophone's bore error is typically 1.5mm to even as much as 2.6mm. Effectively (considering air column sensitivity) ca. four to six times as drastic. Just some "subtle" information that goes unnoticed here.


Is it worth it? Certainly not in your case Toby, to put things into perspective. This is not an issue that occasional hobby players need concern themselves with, as, quite frankly, they have not developed the degree of embouchure/vocal tract control that would allow them to appreciate the benefits of such an improvement. The perceptions of the beginner/hobby player are restricted predominantly by their own technical limitations first, second, and those of the instrument much less. It is here that the subtle aspects of tone, intonation, response, and dynamic range go largely unnoticed.

The perceptions of the developed player, having to some degree, mastered the control of their own physiology, become more and more restricted by the limitations of the instrument itself. It is here that the aforementioned subtle aspects occupy the consciousness of the player to greater and greater degree, and every small improvement in the instrument frees the player to make more music. Every pro player is looking for an "edge", for that very reason. In the extreme, virtually, no cost is too great.........i.e, Stradivarius violins.

Each player must find what works for them. Toby is fortunate perhaps that his musical desires, sensitivities, and aspirations are so easily satisfied. That is not the case for everyone, though he seems to imply it should be.
 

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Lance, you can stop with the casual hobby player bit. I have recorded professionally, played and got good reviews in a Hollywood show, etc. My flute and sax teacher was Buddy Collette. I am not a complete bozo as you would like to suggest.

My preferred clarinet barrel has a small step at the body joint of my R13. It hardly seems to be a big deal, and I like its response better than another barrel that matches the diameters more precisely. I notice absolutely no problems with response or intonation with the "mismatched" barrel, and I would venture that I am not the only clarinettist with a barrel that has a small step at the tenon.

I believe it is misleading to make people think that the tiniest perturbation in the bore is such a big deal. We've got edges much larger than that on most resonators. Saliva and droplets line the walls of the instrument. Many pros play horns that are full of small dents here and there. As Joe Wolfe, a professional saxophonist and highly knowledgeable acoustician said, if manufacturers thought a conical tenon was important, they would have designed it in. A sax is not a racing engine running at 18K rpm.

Of course it is in your interest as a sax technician to try to convince people that they should get service and modifications. I am of the school that says if it ain't broke, don't fix it. You disagree, and that is fine, but you should really stop with the pompous sarcasm. I see no reason why we cannot argue things on their merits without resorting to personal and ad hom attacks.


I invite everyone to put a thin ring inside their sax with a .1mm step near the tenon and see just how much difference it makes...there's the proof of the pudding: easily done and you will find out first hand whether or not it is a big deal.


No one has to believe me, but I do feel honor-bound to point out things with which I disagree. Perhaps Jazzaferri should get his tenon fixed and we will see if that helps his palms. You know as well as I that small local perturbations in the bore often don't mean jack. A tenth of a millimeter? C'mon man, get real.
 

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......if manufacturers thought a conical tenon was important, they would have designed it in.
I agree. The tenor I play was designed by a -in his time- eminent acoustician. In many aspects it's very different from any other saxophone. It does not, however have a conical neck tenon. Now, this proves nothing of course. But I'm sure that if they thought it was necessary to build such a thing, they would have done so as they were practically designing the instrument form the ground up.
As for clarinet barrels, I used a no name HR barrel on my Selmer for years. The fit was not a good one, but the sound and response were excellent.
YMMV.
 
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