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My main tenor since I have played one is a Martin Comm III and the bottom end is the most beautiful thing about this horn. The low Bb is like a large ocean liner coming into port after a long voyage. He just comes rumbling out full blast from scratch, and all the other notes from C1 down are the same. I'm no pro but I certainly have no problem blowing those notes at any volume I want from a whisper to a blast and they are really something else. I only say that because every other sax player I have played with either in the 6 horn combo I was in or at the jam sessions I played at here for several years used to look at my sax after hearing it with this look of wonder. One guy I got to know and play with had a King Cleveland. Not a bad horn but it just couldn't match the Martin for richness of tone or the body and complexity of the notes that came out. He asked me to play it and I let him and he then played his, looked at his and shook his head. He had heard and felt the difference and wasn't happy. The following week he was playing alto.

Another similar experience was in combo where the newest member to join was playing a Thomann Antique Tenor. Not an expensive horn by any stretch. It was passable but no match for the tone of mine. He let me play it and I ran some arpeggios up and down and it was easy to play although not elating except when I tried lower altissimo and blew right up to G3 like it was nothing. On my Martin that is something that has taken years to even get halfway decent at. I told my tech about this last week when I booked some time for him to do some work fixing leaky pads for me and he explained it as follows.

As we all know, no sax can be in tune with itself all up and down the range. Therefore the vintage saxes choose either one end of the sax to have good intonation for the other. The Martin by nature of its design and hand made manufacture has a fantastic bottom end, but at the expense of altissimo which he confirmed for me is known to be one of the hardest to get out. It's just the way it is. Why do you need G3 anyway? he asked. I said I like the key of G, especially G Blues and it gets me p.o.'d if I can't get that top G. Often I can get A3 or B4 or some squeal up higher but not that damn G3 to pop right out like it did on that damn 385 euro Thomann horn.

The other thing he said is that if you want to play altissimo on a Vintage horn then get a Super 20 because they were designed the opposite of the Martin and the top end just comes out like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube (my image not his). However, the trade off is that it doesn't have a bottom end that is either easy to play or sounds anywhere as good or is in tune like the Martin.

So there it is. Since the OP didn't say what tenor he plays, I think we need to know that to know if it is just the nature of the sax or something else more sinister at play. I mean you do know that if there is any looseness at the neck tenon....and this happens over time and needs to be expanded to tighten it back up.....there will be problems of getting the low notes out. That's because the node at the neck tenon is in concert with that in the bell and effects how those notes play. That's why the bell notes get wonky with any leak up top at the Fork F pad or in the tenon. If you neck still can rotate when you have tightened the screw all the way you can you likely have a teeny leak and need to get it expanded. At the very least have your tech do the vacuum test on it to see if it is or isn't a problem. You may have had a tiny leak there all this time and not known that it was causing that flaccidity in the bell notes.

Just my two cents worth of what I hope is common sense.
 

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My main tenors through the years that I've practiced, rehearsed and gigged on have been Conns - 10M and 16M.

Over the years I've played for brief periods, but have never owned the following - mostly giving them a good try-out in the music store:

Martin Committee 3
King Super 20
H Couf
King Zephyr
Yamaha Custom
Keilwerth
Yanagisawa
Buescher Aristocrat
Buffet S1
King Voll-True

I've probably played a bit on a Selmer Mark 6 somewhere along in there.

I also once tried out two different Selmer Supers.

That's what I can remember.

None of these ever seemed substantially freer-blowing than my Conn of the time.

I've mostly played a Meyer 8 but I also spent quite a bit of time with Dukoff D7 the standard rock and roll mouthpiece of the 70s and 80s. I can also remember some Brilhart Ebolins, a couple Otto Links, a C* Selmer Soloist, and an old Conn Eagle that played exactly like a pair of old gym socks.
Well, I have to admit that I have never played either of those Conns expect to try one or two of the used ones on consignment in my Tech's sax showroom. Being on consignment used to mean that they were often not play ready and so may or may not have played their best. So I don't remember much about those Conns except that I didn't like the Cobra necks or the pinky table layout. Two of the altos I have owned, including my first ever horn back in 1964, were New Wonders and I loved their sound. I don't recall any problems with the sound quality of the bell keys or difficulty getting them to blow, but I do recall that I had a harder time with the transition between those notes because of the 3-across layout. I have never like that design and it causes me to miss fingering both B and C# decisively. I don't have that problem with my Martin, my Buescher TT or my Conn NW Sop which has a 1, 2, 1 layout of those keys.

Truthfully I find both tenor and alto pretty much the same in ease of blowing although having to jam in Eb always takes a moment or two of reorientation to get going. When I first started playing alto at jams instead of Tenor I kept a cue card in my pocket in.case I confused the transpositions. DUh!! Other than that it was fine. It's not my own personal voice like tenor, it's true, but I do enjoy playing it more and more lately.

Soprano is the hardest of the three for me, but only because of the size of the key layout for my big spatulate fingertips and the smaller size of the mouthpiece. Other than that I accept that trying to play above F is a dumb idea because it has no Fork F and avoiding shrillness is not easy either. Altissimo on Sop is not my idea of a good sound and I think most people probably feel the same when they hear it. I know that my wife certainly doesn't, anyway. The bottom end on the other hand is great, so I play that a lot more and low Bb on my Sop is fun.
 

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"Jazz is all". There's no forked F on your soprano? I think mine has it.
Mine is a Pan American Chu Berry. It's basically a NW II but without rolled tone holes and without the crosshatched G# (it's smooth on mine) and yes, no front F. Do the actualy Chu Sops have the Front F?
 

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I would have quessed an air support issue with not enough from the diaphragm for the bottom end in relation to that needed for alto and sop, but since the OP plays Bari too, that can't be it. I've never played one of those beasts but I imagine they take a whole lotta air. Then too, my experience with sop it that my diaphragm is actually worked more playing it because the narrower diameter of the instrument creates greater back pressure resistance to your airflow and hence you actually have to use more, rather than less, air support. At least that's my understanding. I played tenor for an hour yesterday with mpcs ranging from .090 on up to .115 and it was less work for my lungs and diaphragm than the day before when I played my sop with a medium size tip mpc. And I play the bottom end of the tenor all the time because as I wrote above it is such a total gas doing it.
 

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Thing is, back in the 80s when I was probably playing and practicing 10 hours of tenor for every hour I played baritone or alto, baritone and alto were still easier to play.
I'm guessing it's just not the horn for you inner voice. I started on alto and actually never really clicked with it the way I did fron the first moment I picked up my Martin and started playing it. It was right out of the shipping carton from Florida and wasn't eithere perfectly sound or adjusted correctly and I knew it was the sax for me. I have owned and played other tenors and owned and played various altos and the one sop I have had for years and tenor is still the sax that is easiest for me to play and feel great doing it. So I don't think one can say any one of the saxes is harder than the others, it's just what fits you best and totally floats your boat IMO. I say that because my first teacher is a pro clarinetist and tenor player and if anything is harder than any sax it has got to be the licorice torture stick. Yet that was his first instrument and the one he loves the most, even though he's an excellent tenor player. I think it's just an individual preference is all.
 

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I'm a tenor player, for lots of reasons that I don't need to go into right here. And it doesn't surprise me all that much turf that you find those low notes on tenor more resistant than on a bari. I remember trying out a bari once in the music store. I had never played one and just wanted to see what it was like. I was really surprised at how easy and effortless the low notes, right down to the low Bb, were to play. So I would say it may be true that those notes respond easier on bari than on tenor.

I've also noticed that the low notes on my Buescher Aristocrat (both the series one & 156 models), and also a Conn 10M I play-tested, speak a little bit easier than on the VI, so you might find a VI to be even a bit more difficult on those notes than your Conn was.

In any case, if you play the tenor enough I think you can adjust. Not sure where the alto fits in with respect to the low notes. But overall, there really are some differences from one horn to the next, especially bari vs tenor vs alto.
I would love to just try a bari once, just to experience that low A. My only problem is that I can neither pretend that I'm interested in buying one or that I can even lift the sucker. So I guess it will just remain an unfulfilled dream.
 

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Just remembered someone pointing out years ago that Tenor was a little harder to play because the bore starts out bigger (cork end of the neck) and abruptly gets bigger from there. Can't remember who said it. Just throwing that out there.
I am in the same camp as Felix above. The only thing I have ever found difficult on tenor, or any sax for that matter is Altissimo G. I don't know but one of the things that has been part of my practice routine since the beginning on tenor is playing the chromatic scale starting at Bb1 and going all the way up and then back down. I do it at increasingly faster tempos, particularly between low Bb and C as a rapid lick that can be stuck in anytime. I mean one of the most basic things in the beginning books was being able to play those notes well, hence long tones at all dynamic levels. If anything the difficulty of the G3 on the Martin Comm III (I'm not the only one who acknowledges it is difficult to get easily or cleanly) is perhaps steered me towards learning to control the bell notes really well. That can allow me to shine by playing low, loud and full instead of up high and bright. Coming down fast and doing a couple of kill Steamboat Willy Honks on Bb1 as a climax is just as good IMO as a great Lenny Pickett style High Altissimo arrow to the heart.
 
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