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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a Buescher Arisocrat series I tenor. Great horn with a recent repad but I am having one issue. The horn plays sharp. I can "fix it" by backing off the mouthpiece but I don't like playing with it that far back. It isn't exactly "dangling" off the end, but another 1/2" and it probably would be, not to mention the seal may not be tight anymore if I did that. I guess there is always the paper trick but I'm really not anxious to go that route seeing as I just bought the dang thing.

Could another mouthpiece change it? Any other ideas why this might be happening or how to fix it?
 

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You might have to back it off further than what you are used to on your other horn, but what also might help is trying to open your throat and relax your embouchure. It can be awkward and not sound great at first but once you get used to it the end result will be a much bigger, richer, more enveloping sound. If you decide you need the neck re-corked to fit your piece, let me know.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hey pontius. It may be I need the neck re-corked (I was thinking if it was just a tad thicker I'd feel better) but let me try the embouchure thing for a few days. Thats a new mpc so I may be clamping a bit. It's "working" now but it just sort of seems too far off if I want to be in tune to my backing tracks which obviously I need to be. BTW, I put the Morgan back on it just to test, and I could barely play it, weird, the Mouthpiece Cafe sounds far better on that horn.

Figures you'd be up now lol. I need to get my butt to work!

Thanks
 

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FWIW when I first got a Series I tenor, I played sharp across the board, and had to back up the mouthpiece position on the cork. I then took in a little more mouthpiece (small effect), relaxed my embouchure (bigger effect), and in about 1 month, I was in tune near the center of the cork length. For reference, I was using ML chamber mouthpieces at the time, and all mouthpieces acted similarly.
 

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I have a Series 1 Aristocrat tenor that may is the most consistent in tune horn that I have played. I also have to pull my favorite mouthpiece back to about 1/2" from the end where it starts rocking and that is with new cork on the neck. Using a mouthpiece with a longer shank takes care of this issue, but I do not like this mouthpiece as much. I had a 10M with the same issue but never had this issue with any of the Martin tenors that I have/had.
 

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I just purchased a Buescher Arisocrat series I tenor. Great horn with a recent repad but I am having one issue. The horn plays sharp. I can "fix it" by backing off the mouthpiece but I don't like playing with it that far back. It isn't exactly "dangling" off the end, but another 1/2" and it probably would be, not to mention the seal may not be tight anymore if I did that. I guess there is always the paper trick but I'm really not anxious to go that route seeing as I just bought the dang thing.

Could another mouthpiece change it? Any other ideas why this might be happening or how to fix it?
What is your “problem” mouthpiece?

How can we know if “another” mouthpiece is part of the answer if we don’t know what you are playing?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The mouthpiece I'm using is a Mouthpiece Cafe Bergonzi Slant (7). I guess I would say it has a relatively short shank. The other mpc I tried briefly was a Morgan 7L, that has a longer shank so I do need to slap that one back on and check tuning even though I know it's not the mpc I'd be using on this horn. I guess my mpc question was more general - i.e, do mouthpieces have any effect on a horn playing flat or sharp, all other things being equal.

But it sounds like jth121 had the same issue, maybe inherent in Series I's? I'd say mine is about 1/2" off the end as well. FWIW my other horn is a Martin Handcraft that does not have this issue (that being said, the Buescher does seem to have slightly better intonation across the board).
 

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The shank has nothing to do with it other than being a mechanical attachment. The horn was probably designed for a mouthpiece with a larger chamber, which would have had a shorter sounding length when in tune (the distance from the tip of the mouthpiece to any convenient registration point; I typically use the upper octave vent to measure to).

My understanding is that Morgan pieces are designed with chambers very similar to Meyer, in other words what would today be considered "medium-large", probably a bit smaller than Otto Link hard rubber, but bigger than many.

For both pieces, tune to a note of intermediate tube length. G (fingered, concert F on tenor) is a good one because it's well vented and in the middle of the horn. Measure the distance from the tip of the mouthpiece to the octave vent. I am willing to bet that you will see this distance is significantly shorter on the Morgan.

Of course, different instruments are designed with different physical neck lengths (this does have an acoustical effect because the neck occupies space inside the mouthpiece) and mouthpieces have different shank lengths (this has no acoustical effect because the shank is outside the airspace), but the sounding length is what's important.

In my own experience, I found about one inch difference in sounding length between a Vandoren mouthpiece with a smallish round chamber and a Meyer mouthpiece, on a baritone. Because the baritone is a Conn 12M from about 1945 (the basic acoustical design probably dates back to around World War I), using the mouthpiece that gives me the shorter sounding length is closer to what the horn was designed for, and dramatically improved overall tuning, improved the sharp middle E and F that these horns are known for, eliminated a propensity for upper register squeaks, and made it many times easier to play the altissimo range.
 

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The mouthpiece I'm using is a Mouthpiece Cafe Bergonzi Slant (7). I guess I would say it has a relatively short shank. The other mpc I tried briefly was a Morgan 7L, that has a longer shank so I do need to slap that one back on and check tuning even though I know it's not the mpc I'd be using on this horn. I guess my mpc question was more general - i.e, do mouthpieces have any effect on a horn playing flat or sharp, all other things being equal.

But it sounds like jth121 had the same issue, maybe inherent in Series I's? I'd say mine is about 1/2" off the end as well. FWIW my other horn is a Martin Handcraft that does not have this issue (that being said, the Buescher does seem to have slightly better intonation across the board).
Larger chambers generally tune flatter. Some people find it impossible to use small chamber high baffle pieces with vintage horns because they need pulled out so far. Your Slant copy should not have that problem I am guessing.
 

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I don’t want to know anything about Bueschers but I’m guessing that’s one of those old split bell key dogs.
Look for one of the mouthpieces that was original to it and if you don’t care for that get something similar.
 

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Well, considering that the Buescher Aristocrat is generally regarded to have about the best scale of any saxophone ever made, I think characterizing it as a "dog" might be a bit uninformed.

If you look up a couple posts you can see that I provided some concrete recommendations.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
pontius, I wish I knew what chamber size the Mouthpiece Cafe Bergonzi Slant Supreme has. I would have assumed "large" but their website doesn't say, so perhaps it's "medium large". Also, I forgot you threw in that what we think might be original mouthpiece, I'll give that a shot as well and see the tuning difference, it any.

Thanks for the measuring tips turf3 I will try that!

And no, the Series I is not a split bell key.
 

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pontius, I wish I knew what chamber size the Mouthpiece Cafe Bergonzi Slant Supreme has. I would have assumed "large" but their website doesn't say
If you are looking at the Slant Supreme on the Mouthpiece Cafe website, go to the lower right corner and you contact them and ask how they categorize this chamber. Or worst case, call and talk to someone in real time. :bluewink:
 

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Hey pontius. It may be I need the neck re-corked (I was thinking if it was just a tad thicker I'd feel better) but let me try the embouchure thing for a few days. Thats a new mpc so I may be clamping a bit. It's "working" now but it just sort of seems too far off if I want to be in tune to my backing tracks which obviously I need to be. BTW, I put the Morgan back on it just to test, and I could barely play it, weird, the Mouthpiece Cafe sounds far better on that horn.

Figures you'd be up now lol. I need to get my butt to work!

Thanks
I would think you could experiment by building it up with plumber's tape and see if that works; if it does, then you'll know just how thick the new cork needs to be.
 

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I apologize if I missed something already stated. How far 'on' the cork is the mouthpiece when it is in an 'in-tune' position ?

Because you write "another 1/2" and it will be dangling".

To me, 'dangling = 3/8" or less. So, 3/8 + 1/2 = 7/8"....IMHO, if the mouthpiece is on 7/8"-ish and in tune, this isn't a big deal and is stable.

BUT if NOT for YOU...if what you want is for the mouthpiece to be on a total of 1"+...to be a 'comfortable' location for you.....just take horn to a tech ...and have him/her drop the keyheights a little bit (tech should have an idea how to drop keyheights WITHOUT negatively impacting/creating a stuffiness to horn's tonality). This would 'flatten' the horn so you can push in a bit further.

Cheaper solution than going on a wild mouthpiece chase; and your embouchure might really be fine if you haven't had such an experience on other horns.....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
JayeLID, I'd have to say (without being near the horn at the moment) it goes on about 5/8" to be in tune...any more than that, sharp. As long as it's on securely at that point with no leaks around the cork, I suppose I'm good (as of right now, it seems to be "secure"). A lot of this is a "comfort level" thing as you mentioned. It's just close to being at the "tipping point", IMO. The lowering of keywork is something I'd look at down the road if I can't resolve it with just new cork etc. but that is a good tip. Not to worry about going on a wild mouthpiece chase as I am pretty close to depleted funds at this point!

Also a good idea on the plumbers tape johnebrave - that could help in a pinch as well.
 

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I just purchased a Buescher Arisocrat series I tenor. Great horn with a recent repad but I am having one issue. The horn plays sharp. I can "fix it" by backing off the mouthpiece but I don't like playing with it that far back. It isn't exactly "dangling" off the end, but another 1/2" and it probably would be, not to mention the seal may not be tight anymore if I did that. I guess there is always the paper trick but I'm really not anxious to go that route seeing as I just bought the dang thing.

Could another mouthpiece change it? Any other ideas why this might be happening or how to fix it?
The tuning of the sax depends to an significant extent on the internal volume of the mpc. A mouthpiece with larger internal volume would need to be further on the neck to achieve the same tuning compared to one of lesser volume, all other things being equal.
 

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Something else that hasn't been mentioned yet is playing lower on the "mouthpiece input pitch". This causes the mouthpiece to be pushed on farther to tune to A=440, increases the number and intensity of the upper harmonics, and increases the volume of the sound due to the increased travel of the reed. Just something else to think about.
 

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You might find after lipping down for awhile that your sound opens up because it encourages you to relax your embouchure and have a bigger air stream and open your throat/oral cavity.
 

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I just purchased a Buescher Arisocrat series I tenor. Great horn with a recent repad but I am having one issue. The horn plays sharp. I can "fix it" by backing off the mouthpiece but I don't like playing with it that far back. It isn't exactly "dangling" off the end, but another 1/2" and it probably would be, not to mention the seal may not be tight anymore if I did that. I guess there is always the paper trick but I'm really not anxious to go that route seeing as I just bought the dang thing.

Could another mouthpiece change it? Any other ideas why this might be happening or how to fix it?
>>> Older horns like the Buescher need bigger chamber mouthpieces. Other people have posted the same. I have an Adolphe Sax tenor (made by his son). It plays almost perfectly in tune with a Vandoren Java T55. If I put a Dave Pell Beechler or a hard rubber Berg Larsen on it, the thing plays horribly sharp. Same thing with my Conn baritones. They play right in tune with a Vandoren V5 B75. A newer mouthpiece, no chance. Evidently the bores of saxes changed right around WWII and the newer horns can handle the newer mouthpiece designs.

Ralph Morgan told me that a mouthpiece is at the right place on the neck when all of the overtones of the Low C are in tune with the actual notes. If you don't know the C overtone series, it's Low C, C in the middle of the staff, G on top of the staff, C above the staff, E above that, G first altissimo note, the Bb ... Try it. I find it works best with the G on top of the staff and the C above that. He said horns were designed that way. At least the ones he designed were.

Hope this helps.

Geoff
 
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