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Tenor: Selmer Mark VI 127xxx, Yamaha YTS26. Clarinet: Selmer Signet 100
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
My name is Ed, I'm 18 and I've been playing tenor sax around 8 years. I just stepped up from a YTS26 to a Selmer Mark VI 127xxx a week ago. The horn is in great condition and was set up wonderfully by an excellent technician. I really enjoy playing it and the lucious spread sparkle it adds to my sound. However, I notice that I am significantly sharp on the tuner. I leave the mouthpiece where it is on the cork (about 3/5 way down) because if I pull out a little more, the mouthpiece isn't as tight and the air gets weak and flat (there's also a small dent in the end of the mpc shank that may contribute to this). I can temporarily correct this problem by adjusting while listening to a pitch drone, bringing down my pitch, but ultimately old habits return.

Just to note I play on a Guardala MBii (.107) and V16 3 reeds.

Any advice would be appreciated, thank you!
 

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If the issue is that you cannot put the mouthpiece in the right position, get it recorked by your tech...he/she should be able to put a new cork on while you wait.
 

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You can put some steam from a boiling tea kettle for a few seconds on the cork, which will expand it. After that you should be able to place your mouthpiece a bit further at the correct position without leaks.
 

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Another trick is to wind some plumber's teflon tape around the neck cork to build it up for a tighter fit with the mouthpiece. The yellow gas tape is best, because it's heavier duty than the white tape used for water pipes. I carry a reel of it in my tenor case all the time.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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Get a new neck cork, and have your horn checked for leaks while you are at it.

Happiness is a good tenor in great working condition.

Enjoy the new horn.
 

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All my Selmers (Modele 26, Mark VI and Mark VII) were sharp for me. I wrapped a piece of paper at the end of the cork to hold the mouthpiece on tighter. I eventually gave up Selmers for this problem.

I've had a Conn, Couf, Grassi, MacSax, and Yamaha and my mouthpiece is about 2/3 the way into the cork, my Selmers were always at the tip of the cork.

I posted a thread on this a few months ago, and the general consensus was that "it must be me, not the saxes".

I'm not so sure, but in the unlikely event that I ever go to buy another Selmer, if it's sharp, it's a deal breaker for me.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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Get a new neck cork, and have your horn checked for leaks while you are at it.

Happiness is a good tenor in great working condition.

Enjoy the new horn.
And in the mean time, wrap a piece of paper around the cork.

I find those thermal-print receipts work really well. I've usually got one in my wallet.

Make do! Use it up! Wear it out!

I am really surprised by how many people think the place where some mouthpiece came to rest on the cork has significance to a different mouthpiece played by a different person. It's either "it plays too sharp when I push on to where the crushed part stops" or "it plays flat because I can't push it on far enough". The neck cork is a consumable item and it is provided for the purpose of adjustment.

I have played many thousands of hours and hundreds of paying gigs with a piece of paper wrapped around the cork.
 

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You can put some steam from a boiling tea kettle for a few seconds on the cork, which will expand it. After that you should be able to place your mouthpiece a bit further at the correct position without leaks.
I use the flame from a lighter. But I like your idea better.

Failing that, I'd use paper in the old days, but plumbers teflon tape these days.
 

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Another point: older horns usually already went through several replacements of the neck cork. It's not uncommon that techs install corks a bit longer each time to hide imperfections at the lacquer transition. So, you end up with older horns typically having a longer cork than new ones. And that gives you even more of an impression that you are not pushing the mouthpiece in enough. I agree you should just get a tech to properly install a cork that matches your mouthpiece and then go play it!
 

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A Guardala should tune on a MK VI tenor about 1" in, generally speaking. The tenor neck cork only needs to be about 1.25" to 1.5". You need to have the shank end of the mouthpiece rounded out before doing anything else. The next step is to replace the cork and size it to the mouthpiece. Maybe that 'excellent technician' will do that for you since he botched the first attempt.
After this, you should be GTG unless something else is wrong with the sax or neck. A 127xxx will have a numbered neck - do you have the original neck? Does the neck fit the body tight enough so you could play it without the screw? Have you checked your mouthpiece for anything that might be in it or having been added to it, like a throat restriction, a piece of cork, a build-up of cork grease or anything?
 

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Tenor: Selmer Mark VI 127xxx, Yamaha YTS26. Clarinet: Selmer Signet 100
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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you guys for all your help. I'll stick some paper on it for now.
 

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Tenor: Selmer Mark VI 127xxx, Yamaha YTS26. Clarinet: Selmer Signet 100
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Discussion Starter #14
A Guardala should tune on a MK VI tenor about 1" in, generally speaking. The tenor neck cork only needs to be about 1.25" to 1.5". You need to have the shank end of the mouthpiece rounded out before doing anything else. The next step is to replace the cork and size it to the mouthpiece. Maybe that 'excellent technician' will do that for you since he botched the first attempt.
After this, you should be GTG unless something else is wrong with the sax or neck. A 127xxx will have a numbered neck - do you have the original neck? Does the neck fit the body tight enough so you could play it without the screw? Have you checked your mouthpiece for anything that might be in it or having been added to it, like a throat restriction, a piece of cork, a build-up of cork grease or anything?
The neck has no serial but my understanding is that the horn was assembled in France without a stamped serial and that this was the original neck to the horn. He recorked it when I got it, the Guardala always eats neck cork haha. My mouthpiece is clean I clean it regularly. I'll try an inch or so and see how it tunes. I have a feeling I just need to work with it until I can learn it's quirks and play it in tune, I can play along with things in tune, so I'll just keep working with the horn. Thanks for the help.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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A yamaha 26 is much more of a "fixed pitched" instrument than a Mark VI. Meaning that you blow air and wiggle fingers and you don't have to think about intonation. The purpose is to allow young kids to play "in tune" and work towards a developed embrasure. You now have an instrument with no "training wheels". It will be much more flexible then the 26 was. Its like walking in a new pair of shoes that are a little too big but you have room to grow into them.

My advice is to give it time and to remember that it is much easier to drop the jaw to bring things down to pitch then it is to bite and squeeze up to pitch. I know it may be uncomfortable or awkward at first to keep things that open inside the mouth, but trust me, later on you'll thank me.
 

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You can also expand the cork using a hair dryer. There is no reason you should have to keep the mpc pushed way onto the cork to the point the horn plays sharp! But also make sure your embouchure is relaxed and you aren't biting too hard.
 

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Dip it in a pot with boiling water, that's the easiest to apply the heat evenly around the perimeter of the cork. It's a temporary solution until you get it re-corked, which is the correct solution in the long run. Also, a softer reed may help with the pitch.
 

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All the saxes of the same size I have played (except C Melody & soprano) have had similar intonation.
Same note issues (ie. middle D).
Tenor and alto tendencies to have the same intonation.
Mouthpieces have had a bigger effect.
I know Yamaha uses computer models in designing all their various types of instruments.
The earlier makers did have math and slide rules.
Slower but accurate.
 

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There are far too many variables that affect the pitch to "generalize" where the mouthpiece should go on the neck. Some that come to mind are mouthpiece input pitch, effective volume inside the mouthpiece, stiffness of the reed, and the length of the neck itself. If you want to find out the natural resonant frequency of the body tube of your saxophone that is determined by its length remove the mouthpiece, finger low Bb, and put your ear up to the end of the neck like a stethoscope. There is usually a fan running somewhere nearby that is sending out soundwaves that with create a sympathetic vibration of the air column inside your sax. Another variation is to finger low Bb and place a tuner close to the neck as you "pop" one of the lower stack keys. That will set the air inside into vibration at the sax's natural resonant frequency much like a plastic "boomwhacker" and you can read what pitch/frequency is produced.
 

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Do people read the first post before responding anymore???
 
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