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· Registered
58 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. This is my first post (excitement!) I just bought a new Cannonball big bell alto (BL) and really love it. I notice that the lower register is consistently lower than the upper by 3-5 cents. This is true with both of the necks that came with it. Is this expected, or does it have to do with my embrochure? Might it be something else? I did not notice this with my other sax (Borgani)...which, by the way, I'd like to sell. Thank you,

Edited: Ooops, apparently I have posted once before. It's great to think you're having an exciting experience a second time.

· Distinguished SOTW Member
4,518 Posts
I'd say that plus or minus ten cents is perfect enough. I find that that's the amount of error I find moving from a horn that I'm used to to a new one. e.g. if I play my Yani tenor for a week and then pick up my Super 20, because I know I'm gonna play it at a bar gig on the weekend, that:
1) If I check it to a tuner immediately, it gives me the 'inverse' of my Yani imperfections (small but not non-existent) on top of the King.
2) If I practice critically for an hour (listening carefully with some long tones and some patterns in all keys), then check the tuner, it is pretty close to perfect
3) I play the gig (3-4 sets) and then the next day pick up my Yani and it seems horribly out of tune at first (really bad!!). After 15 minutes, it's perfect again.


Perfect = I can watch a tuner and move from one note to the next in any scale without thinking and it is in tune

OK= same as above, but it varies as much as 10 cents from center on particular notes

Horrible = variations of 5 cents on many of the note-note transitions with some bad notes that are 20 cents out.

None of this really bothers me. It's pretty hard to get a Super 20 "Perfect", but you can get it OK, with 1 or 2 "horrible" notes that can be easily compensated with 15-20 minutes of acclimatization.

· Registered
1,337 Posts
Don't rule out trying other mouthpieces. The resulting changes in airflow might make a difference too.

I play Jody Jazz pieces primarily because in side-by-side trials with other makers, the mouthpieces seem to make my horns play in tune up and down the scale. In fact, I had to unlearn subconscious embouchure adjustments from note to note!

The JJ pieces were the ONLY ones that enabled high G on up on my old Super Action 80 soprano to play in tune with the rest of the horn. Link, Meyer, SR, and Selmer Super sessions were not nearly as good.

My CB soprano, tenor, and bari setups with the JJ mouthpieces play extremely well in tune.

That said, when I tried several alto CBs at my dealer, most of them had high A's that were wicked sharp, but then again the high A and B of my section-mate's mark VI was even worse.

Jim B
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