Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
A lot of folks are probably familiar with the book The Saxophone is my Voice, by Ernest Ferron. What's nice about his work is that he takes acoustic principles and applies them specifically to saxophones. As an instrument maker, he understands the imperfections of design and the compromises involved in attaining the delicate balances in improving performance. In regard to performance, he has an interesting take on the height of tone holes when discussing the acoustic affects when they're closed that he expresses as follows:
I think we could all agree that leveling tone holes as a matter of course when repadding a saxophone, whether they need it or not, would be ill-advised. Now I realize significantly uneven tone holes must be addressed, but given Ferron's conclusions as stated above, should altering the height of tone holes by leveling them even in the slightest be safely considered only as a last resort? That is, if you consider him to have expertise in this regard.The height of a closed tone hole, depending on the raised part must be absolutely precise. Variations of a few hundreaths of a millimeter can modify the filtering function, and are sufficient to make the difference between a good or mediocre instrument.