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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've always been curious about the shape/taper/diameter of necks and the effect on tone and feel/resistance (and intonation etc.). My first sax was an old straight conn soprano and it had a small insert in the tip of the neck that came loose and wiggled out one day. I've seen old Conn straight sops with and without this piece and my curved Conn doesn't have it. Here's a crude drawing of how I remember it:
Parallel Rectangle Bicycle fork Drawing Diagram

I kept that insert and would compare the horn with and without the insert and it blew more free and had a nicer tone IMO without the insert - and a little more focused with the insert.

Now I recently bought a copy of a Yani 991 curved sop - I don't have an actual Yani to compare. If you have a Yani, please take a look and tell me if yours has this same insert. It looks like this with a flared tip:
Parallel Cylinder Diagram Font Metal


And then over the years I owned Conn and Selmer and King and Yamaha Tenors and noticed the size of the neck opening was different on all of them. The old Conn necks had a much larger opening than the Yamaha. Now I see that Warburton sells modular necks with different shapes of the tubing in that area where the neck cork is. They have a flared opening and various curves/tapers for that first two inches or so.
Rectangle Font Grass Parallel Circle


Over the past 50 years I've experimented a lot (overhauled/bought/sold a lot of vintage horns) and found I could solve some intonation issues changing the size of specific areas in a neck (nothing too new there - I think that's fairly well understood). And when I bought my YTS-62 in the late 70's (whatever year they first showed up), I bought a spare neck so I could experiment (spare necks were not expensive back then, maybe $30? -- I'm stunned at what they sell for these days). I opened up the tip a bit on the spare neck with the hopes that it would blow a little more open like a vintage Conn --- and I did find that it opened up the feel. And it also gave up a little bit of "centeredness" (what's the term for this?) that feeling of being locked into the center of the pitch -- Yamaha saxes have always felt like they zeroed in on and made it easier to lock into a pitch. And after opening the tip of the neck I found the pitch had a little more wiggle room to go up or down without as much of that centered feeling. But the tone felt so much warmer and more complex. I also flared the tip and that felt like an improvement in the tone as well. I've been playing with that modified neck the past 40 years and really liking it.

I just pulled out the original, unmodified neck and did another side by side comparison - I still find the same differences. Not sure if you'd be able to hear a difference in a recording - but it certainly feels different to me when playing them. There is a little more resistance and more of a defined center to the pitch with the stock neck. But it also has more of that feel/sound that people who hate Yamaha complain about (a little bit "Eeee" vs "Ahhhh"). When I go back to the modified neck it has more of that vintage Conn feel.

Anyway ... I'm sure this sort of thing has been discussed before but I've been searching and I can't find anything other than Google searches keep sending me to the Warburton page. Hoping someone else here might have an interest in this and discuss a bit and/or point me to where this has been discussed before.
 

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Interesting. I recently bought an old Conn with a badly compressed cork and am still checking it out. I experimented by Plasti-Dipping it so inadvertently the inside diameter got coated too. It worked great but didn't last too long so I ripped it all off and rolled on the old teflon tape. Now I am fighting with low note warble that I did not have with the Plasti-Dip inside.
 

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Anyway ... I'm sure this sort of thing has been discussed before but I've been searching and I can't find anything other than Google searches keep sending me to the Warburton page. Hoping someone else here might have an interest in this and discuss a bit and/or point me to where this has been discussed before.
Are you familiar with the so called " neck enhancer"?

it's a removable insert which is claimed to do all kinds of things, except....many found it did little to nothing (although, as usual there are converts)


https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...k-Enhancer&highlight=Saxgourmet+Neck+Enhancer
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?101120-Saxgourmet-Neck-Enhancer
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?150386-Sax-Gourmet-Neck-Enhancer

there are many more threads abiout this and similar conntraptions
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That gizmo is working in the opposite direction to where I was going (other than the flared opening) -- I was finding on the vintage Conn that the tone was improved (improve is subjective - it was a change in the direction I preferred) by removing the insert.
 

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selmer 26 nino, 22 curved sop, super alto, King Super 20 and Martin tenors, Stowasser tartogatos
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That gizmo is working in the opposite direction to where I was going (other than the flared opening) -- I was finding on the vintage Conn that the tone was improved (improve is subjective - it was a change in the direction I preferred) by removing the insert.
This is all down to Rayleigh perturbation. Any deviation from the ideal conic shape in a saxophone will lead to shifting of the impedances in the tube, and therefore will affect intonation and response. We already have the "problem" of the shape of the mouthpiece, which clearly is not the ideal conic tip. This already has serious effects on intonation, especially in the highest notes, in which the important partials are high up in the tube. One way to counter intonational problem in the upper second register and the palm keys is a process called "necking in", in which the very top of the neck is narrowed and made cylindrical. But of course this has effects on the response of the horn.

Many neck inserts are attempts, I believe, to even out the intonation in the upper register. They also interact with the effects of different mpc designs. Altering any area of the neck will have more-or-less global effects on the character of the sound, and might, for instance, improve one characteristic of the horn's sound, intonation and/or response while impacting others negatively.

The flare that you mention is a very local phenomenon at the very end of the neck. Since any stepwise change in diameter of the tube eats efficiency by causing a reflection at the edge, this could conceivably add a small amount of efficiency at the end of the neck where the larger throat of the mpc meets the reduced diameter of the neck. It is doubtful that it would be a great change.

Neck diameters in general vary because the overall geometry of the tube varies between brands and models. There are advantages and disadvantages to smaller and larger bores, and manufacturers experiment with different neck geometries to achieve what they consider to be the ideal balance between, for instance, low register and high register response, timbre, intonation and other factors.

In any case, the mpc and the keys in themselves create intonational issues because they compromise the conic shape of the sax tube, and because of this, the sax is actually a combination of three sections with varying cone angles: the neck, the body and the bell (the latter, at least, with curved saxes). You might notice that on modern soprano straight saxes, there is a "curve step" in the area that would normally be considered the neck. This is there in order to solve some of the intonational and response issues that happen without it. This is one of the reasons that modern sops are much better in tune and "centered" than vintage horns, regardless of what you think of the sound differences between them.
 

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when I saw a video by Music Medic ( long time ago) about intonation some time ago I tried to see what would have happened, since I had an self-adhesive piece of velvet , I cut a piece which took the entire underside of a tenor neck for 3 cm (more or less what hey were doing in the video), I have to report that on the turner nothing at all happened (not that there was anything wrong before).

 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I saw that video the other day when I was google searching the topic prior to posting here. Interesting that they cut the neck and hard soldered it back together -- I'm not that brave but I have done the tape thing (not just tape but used the tape to test position some filler in specific spots while I mapped which spots in the neck affected which notes). I had a bari that played well but had a few notes in the high register that were really out of tune. The neck had been dented and reworked many times from the look of it - I believe the metal had been stretched, widening the diameter during dent removal. So I tested different size filler pieces and found the exact size/shape/position and it really pulled the intonation together and the tone really came together in the high register where it had the problems before.

I had shown it to a potential buyer the day before I modified the neck (he liked it OK but wasn't knocked out by it) and he asked to see it again afterwards and he was flabbergasted saying the horn was "transformed" and was now a great player. The area I modified was not near the tip --- it was in the curved part of a bari neck, very near the tenon. I used epoxy as my filler and was able to reach it with sandpaper on a fingertip to fine tune it so there were no abrupt edges.
 

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well, I may misunderstood the whole thing, but I thought they worked like chemist bottles but now you make me doubt this.

I first heard of conical matching of tenon and receiver when I visited the Frankfurt messe many years ago, Wisemann (a Chinese brand claimed a patent or an application for a patent ) for such a tenon receiver arrangement (this was about their very beautiful straight alto)

link to the site ( here below appears as just Wisemann written click on it to follow )


"...The revolutionary design of the neck assembly allows for the minimum disturbance to the air flow of the instrument. By utilizing a smooth joint between the neck and body, the air moves unhindered through the horn improving timbre and intonation in the median register. The innovative design of the neck joint of this saxophone has received worldwide acclaim. A patent has been applied for this design which will change forever the way we look at saxophone construction. The innovative design of the neck joint of this saxophone has received worldwide acclaim. A patent has been applied for this design which will change forever the way we look at saxophone construction..."

I understood back then that it worked as I described above.
this was the horn in question

4626
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
From this old discussion about the Conn, the outside of the tenon is cylindrical and the inside tapers same direction as the conical shape of the horn:
 

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From this old discussion about the Conn, the outside of the tenon is cylindrical and the inside tapers same direction as the conical shape of the horn:
That's how I would see it...
 

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Indeed the whole case for a conical tenon is overstated. The perturbation at a cylindrical tenon is rather small, compared to later in the horn with the introduction of all those pesky tone holes. In fact, at one point a conical body was created using stepped cylindrical rings and it still blew exactly like a saxophone. Of course the ideal is a totally conical bore, but the minute we cut off the apex to put on a mouthpiece that is dead and gone. And of course the tone holes add quite a bit of compliance with their chimneys. Because of these and many other factors, makers have distinct conical angles in different parts of the bore. For a starter, the top of the neck is generally cylindrical, and sometimes with reduced diameter in what is called "necking in" to improve response in the highs. That has to do with the fact that the impedances are all screwed up in the mouthpiece, which is hardly conical.

There is usually a distinct change in the cone angle between the neck and the body, and the body is not always perfectly conical (and neither is the neck). In a curved sax, the bow is cylindrical, and then the bell has yet another cone angle.

And any place there is a tone hole, there is a major perturbation in the effective diameter of the bore at that point.

On a practical level, given that saxes have been around for 150 years or more, with countless manufacturers constantly tweaking the acoustical design to get an edge over rivals, and given that it really isn't a major deal to make the tenon conical, don't you think that if a conical tenon made a real difference it would be on all horns by now?
 
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