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Discussion Starter #1
My horn seems to play sharp. Today I did an outdoor concert and it was hot and a bit humid. Our conductor actually came over to tune me because I was playing extremely sharp. Even pulling out the mouthpiece as far as I could go and pulling the neck out a bit, I was still really sharp. The tuner actually read the pitch as a concert B instead of Bflat.

Trying to read up on this, I've seen that newer reeds can play sharp (which the reed was) and that heat and humidity can make the instrument sharp. Anyone else have any suggestions about what I can do to go flat? I've read somewhere that that your cork may have something to do with pitch. So is it any of the above, none of the above, who can tell? I have a 57 Conn Naked lady playing on a Yamaha C5. Thanks
 

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Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contribut
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Embouchure maybe ?????
 

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you have a cool sax and a very bad mouthpiece. But it could be a lot of things, including embouchure. Try the softer read.
 

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This is totally normal considering you setup and horn. The neck or the mouthpiece will need to be modified to get you down to pitch. On a hot day, forget it.

I use a 12m and a Lawton not to different from your setup, and I have a big extension on my Lawton. For classical I use a large chamber mouthpiece and it works great without modification. But, if you need power for marching or jazz band that setup might not cut it.

There is a place on my site where I put an extension on a Bari mp for this purpose you can see. I would send a link but I'm on an iPhone and it's not so easy...
 

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Conn baritones are really mouthpiece un-friendly. Try one of those old "Pickle" (really large shape) mouthpieces. I used to play with a Latin band where the leader asked me use his old Conn that was only keyed up to Eb. The only thing that I found could even close to being in tune on that old dog was a Leblanc student model mouthpiece.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I have a 57 Conn Naked lady playing on a Yamaha C5. Thanks
I used to have 12M (probably similar vintage) and I found, as others have said, mouthpiece matching is crucial. But I'm a bit surprised if a 5C gives you such problems, or at least if it is 100% responsible. In the end the mouthpiece I settled on was a Otto Link HR (Slant). With this I could play comfortably with the mouthpiece in a reasonably good position on the cork.

But having said that, there could possibly a lot of room for playing less sharp by relaxing your embouchure.
 

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+1 what the others have suggested on larger chamber mouthpieces. Also, what reeds are you presently using, and what type of ligature? If you are using a strap/band style ligature like the Rovners, etc. you may be able to lower your pitch another 20 cents or so by sliding the ligature further down (Away from your lips) on the mouthpiece before tightening. Trying different strength reeds and working on relaxing your embouchure can help some too.
 

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I am just a sop player and I follow the pedagogy of Joe Allard (very loose embouchure with minimal pressure on reed) so take my comments with that in mind.

Depending on where i am in the register I can alter the note I am playing without changing lip pressure by a whole tone or a minor third.

I think that other more knowledgeable posters have given you excellent advice however look to your embouchure as a source of the pitch challenges. If you can get it to play in tune on long tones with a tuner. After a bit see how much change note to note you have with your embouchure. If it seems like a lot then think about trying new mpces until you get a setup that gives one the easiest intonation.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the responses so far. I am playing with a Rovner Ligature so I will definitely try moving it down further. I'm playing on Vandoren #3 reeds. A local music shop had these weird mouthpieces, they looked about 30 years old still in the box. I never heard of the brand and but I think they said they might have been manufactured by Conn. I'll have to check that out again. When I asked they could only tell me the tip opening but nothing on the chamber size.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I am playing with a Rovner Ligature so I will definitely try moving it down further.
I don't think that can help your intonation. I would work on embouchure and ear training.

Interesting about those mouthpieces you mentioned, but at 30 years old they are still 25 years later than your baritone, but if you can actually find a mouthpiece that was designed for use with your 12M, then that at least is a good starting point to trouble shoot.
 

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I've actually experimented with placement of the rovner ligatures on the mouthpiece with respect to general tuning. Depending on the strength of the reed used, it can raise or lower the general tuning of notes to some extent - not huge- but very measurable with my tuner. If one thinks about it, you can visualize the reed being held to the mouthpiece at a point corresponding to a location of the ligature's band. Moving that point further away from the tip of the mouthpiece's tip can have an effect on the reed's vibration, particularly with softer reeds, as it has more of its length 'free' and not fixed tightly to the mouthpiece's table.

Embouchure is definitely very important in this case, too.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I've actually experimented with placement of the rovner ligatures on the mouthpiece with respect to general tuning. Depending on the strength of the reed used, it can raise or lower the general tuning of notes to some extent - not huge- but very measurable with my tuner.
Very interesting. I'm not poopooing the possibility of that happening, it's just that I can't reproduce that phenomenon with my equipment. I can only move the Rovner about 1/8 inch before it hangs over the end of the reed, at which point it could start to not be holding the reed properly so I find very little room for adjustment.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
After a bit more playing outside and indoors, I'm going to buy into the ligature thing. It's not a perfect solution but it does help. I appreciate the suggestions that it is my embouchure but prior to quitting playing, I played bari for 8 years consecutively which was the longest I played any saxes. If I couldn't hold the same pitch stopping and starting, I would say that would be a large factor. I definitely am able to tune those individual bad notes on the sax.
 

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its not you -its the conn bari-have the neck extended an inch and use whatever mpc you want. i have had 3 conn baris of this vintage and the only mpc that worked was a metal link
 
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