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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have two Superba 1s - one alto and one tenor.
While I am mostly really* happy with their sound - what I think of as "throaty" - I have a few difficulties.
I'll say up front that I've played sax for about 25 years - I'm a decent player and I have pretty good pitch.

Both horns seem to be generally quite flat.
I push my mouthpieces about as far as I can - nearly covering the whole cork - and I still have to do some work to keep it up to A440.
I have messed around with a handful of mouthpieces.

I gather from reading around that people often have intonation issues with Coufs (especially palm keys), but do people have general flatness over the whole horn?

Is this something commonly dealt with through pad height adjustment?
Is this a call for a new (shorter) neck?

Any suggestions are appreciated.
-j
 

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I give my suggestion as per what is generally thought to be problem when a horn is extremely flat or sharp. The height of the keys, the distance between the keys and the tone holes does effect intonation. I would seek a good tech and have him check to make sure that your keys are at a proper height. There are fantastic seasoned players and techs here that assist you with more facts on horns being flat when played. I'm basing my thought of what can be the problem, because you mentioned that you have tried multiple mouth pieces. Others can jump in on the pipe inside the may be causing the problem, by being clog and the air is not properly or fluently going through the horn, or is not optimal. If I'm wrong, then I'll be learning a thing or two. My first horn was a La Monte student horn back in 1968, and the horn had bad intonation as it was, but in about a year, I could not tune the horn and played very flat, so something is a mist with your horns...


Philo
 

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I played a few of these and they all were very good with tuning. I’ve been changing mouthpieces for a while (too long but can finally say that it is over) and what I learned is that a mouthpiece with an open chamber has to be far more on the cork of the neck then a mouthpiece with a smaller chamber. If I were you I would go to the store and try some Meyer mouthpieces with a smaller chamber and see what you get. I think that these horns can take a smaller chamber mouthpiece easily cause there are a little darker than other horns. If that doesn’t work it has maybe something to do like Philo says with the key heights or maybe ask a colleague or a professional to check your horn. Again these horns are generally very good. Just my 2cents
 

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I think you should just go pay to see a great player/teacher. Have them play it and see how it plays for them. In my mind it is worth 60-75 bucks. They play it, it plays fine for them, you see you have an issue and the rest of the lesson is on fixing the issue. That's much better than playing flat for 10 years and not knowing why.

PS. I had a Superba 1 alto and tenor all through college and both played very well in tune for me. I played the tenor on gigs for many years afterwards.
 

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I played a few of these and they all were very good with tuning. I’ve been changing mouthpieces for a while (too long but can finally say that it is over) and what I learned is that a mouthpiece with an open chamber has to be far more on the cork of the neck then a mouthpiece with a smaller chamber. If I were you I would go to the store and try some Meyer mouthpieces with a smaller chamber and see what you get. I think that these horns can take a smaller chamber mouthpiece easily cause there are a little darker than other horns. If that doesn’t work it has maybe something to do like Philo says with the key heights or maybe ask a colleague or a professional to check your horn. Again these horns are generally very good. Just my 2cents
OP: What type of mouthpiece are you using for your Couf saxes?
 

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I have had many Keilwerths. Now I have a Keilwerth Toneking Special which essentially the Couf’s Superba horn.

The horn is very well in tune or at the very least just as well in tune as most saxophones are. I have played it with my Brancher J27 and is very similar to my King Super 20.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
OP: What type of mouthpiece are you using for your Couf saxes?
Tenor (primary)
I have played on a Berg Larsen HR 130/1/SMS forever. I never had any problems tuning on my previous horn - Selmer USA.
Over the past year I have also spent plenty of time with : Francois Louis Spectruoso 350 SP (sphere chamber), Morgan Excalibur EL9, and 10mfan Black Widow 9.

Alto
Mostly Clarke Fobes Nova 6, but also Morgan 7M and Arnold Montgomery Luna 7.

I have been using Vandoren ZZ 2.5s on both - I'm generally happy with the flexibility of these reeds volume and tone-wise.

Regarding the chamber-size, I would say that:
tenor: 10mfan and Morgan are pretty large, while the Berg and Francois are medium.
also: Fobes and Morgan are medium-large and AM is *large.
(I'm not a mp expert)
 

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I would always try other styles and strengths of reeds first. Be open to change and you may be pleasantly surprised!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Also, just curious but what is your pitch when you just blow in the mouthpiece by itself?
Hard to answer precisely, but my comfort zone seems to yield between C5 and D#5.
On some mps I can move this up and down by about a second and on others by a fourth.

Does this agree with what you find?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would always try other styles and strengths of reeds first. Be open to change and you may be pleasantly surprised!
Hmm. I would not have thought that reed strength would make much of a difference.

I don't have many other reeds around so I tried an old and crappy 3 from 10 years ago.
Hard to say, but surprisingly it may have brought up the pitch 5 - 10 cents..
I'll have to play around with some more (and fresher) reeds.

Do you find that lower strengths tend to pull your pitch down?

Thanks for the idea!
 

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I have found reed strength to have a resonable affect on intonation.
Mouthpiece volume, more so though.
I’ve not had a couf horn but a few earlier Keilwerths.
Tuning was generally really good, especially with the tenors.
Altos were slightly flat up top, but I rarely play alto, so I know where those issues came from.
 

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Intonation is , yues, sometimes, an hardware matter but it is more often than not a software on.

Every player constantly adjusts for a number of factors and I hav often found that switching between horns results in your body (Ear to embouchure co-ordination ) not quite adjusting to the change.

Also, a horn that has some near invisible leaks would require the player the play through the leaks by forcing the playing resulting in a tighter embouchure this may also influence playing. So as usual there are many reasons why one skins a cat one way or other.
 

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Alto
Mostly Clarke Fobes Nova 6, but also Morgan 7M and Arnold Montgomery Luna 7.

I have been using Vandoren ZZ 2.5s on both - I'm generally happy with the flexibility of these reeds volume and tone-wise.

Regarding the chamber-size, I would say that:
tenor: 10mfan and Morgan are pretty large, while the Berg and Francois are medium.
also: Fobes and Morgan are medium-large and AM is *large.
(I'm not a mp expert)
That is what I suspected. You say that you pushed the mouthpiece about as far as you can so is it possible to put it even further maybe with pulling some of the cork off or something?
 

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Is this something commonly dealt with through pad height adjustment?
Is this a call for a new (shorter) neck?
Yes.

No.

Have a tech open up the keyheights a tad, this will sharpen the entire horn and make it so you can put your m'pc on at a 'normal' location.

Then you can go on using the same mouthpiece setup you like, and keep blowing the way you have been blowing for 25 years....
 

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Yes.

No.

Have a tech open up the keyheights a tad, this will sharpen the entire horn and make it so you can put your m'pc on at a 'normal' location.

Then you can go on using the same mouthpiece setup you like, and keep blowing the way you have been blowing for 25 years....
Maybe.

I would agree that all of the other things should be tried first. But the drastic surgical remedy may be the solution. Here is a blog on neck shortening that solved the "flat overall" issue after the more common remedies didn't work. Skip down past the picture of "Doctor Slick" cork lubricant for the part about adjusting the intonation.

https://stuffsax.blogspot.com/2018/11/1965-beaugniervito-tenor-rebuild.html

The neck length and cork is still such that somebody with a different mouthpiece, embouchure, oral cavity, etc., could still go back to the original mouthpiece position. But it now allows the horn to easily play in tune for me with a variety of mouthpieces. I haven't had the "butchered" horn out of the house to play with others, but being as it now tunes extremely well on the digital tuner, I don't expect any surprises.

Mark
 

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I too think that shortening any neck is by and large a wrong strategy.

It may have worked for one case but more often than not is a dead alley.
 
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