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Hi!

A few months ago, I bought a Yamaha YTS-280 and noticed there is a little brass tube sticking inside the neck of the saxophone. It seems to be part of the octave hole (the one that opens when you play notes lower than A with the octave key pressed... sorry... I lack the technical term for these).
I use to play the alto (a Conn) and there was no such tube inside the neck of the sax. I don't think it affects the sound (or at least not at my level of playing) but I am curious to know if this is normal or a manufacturing error.

Here are some pics for better illustration:

Musical instrument Wind instrument Brass instrument Automotive lighting Automotive exhaust

(view form the top of the saxophone with bell removed)

Thanks in advance for your insight!

LD
 

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This is the body octave "pip" or vent tube. It's similar to the one that protrudes into the bore of your neck under your neck octave key pad. Normally they're quite a bit shorter than this one on your horn, but all saxophones do have them.
 

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Theres actually a fair bit of physics that describes the ideal diameter and intrusion of the pip. That one looks a little deeper than most that Ive seen?
If it plays OK and doesn't snag your pull through I wouldn't lose sleep over it. If the octave response seems slow or there is some iffy intonation it may be a contributing factor...

*Science content warning*
https://ccrma.stanford.edu/marl/Benade/documents/Benade-ConeHole-1973.pdf
 

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Forestman, let's get terminology straight, just for future reference: it is the body tube of the horn which you are talking about, and you photographed looking down the neck receiver...not the 'neck' as you wrote (which also has an octave pip, of course).

Also, I hope you didn't really remove the bell of the sax before you took the photo :bluewink:

This is typical of Yamahas, at least the second-shelf/student models. It is actually a bit frustrating for a repair person, because that quite long pip tube makes it hard to get dent rods down the horn, even some rods which are slotted to bypass the pip. Usually when I am working on a Yama, inevitably I have to usnolder and remove the pip and trim it down, then resolder.

(And, I might add, in no way is intonation or response altered in any discernible manner by the trimming....)

But as noted by others, for all practical purposes there is nothing to concern you here. It's the typical Yama detail, for whatever reason.
 

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Forestman, let's get terminology straight, just for future reference: it is the body tube of the horn which you are talking about, and you photographed looking down the neck receiver...not the 'neck' as you wrote (which also has an octave pip, of course).

Also, I hope you didn't really remove the bell of the sax before you took the photo :bluewink:

This is typical of Yamahas, at least the second-shelf/student models. It is actually a bit frustrating for a repair person, because that quite long pip tube makes it hard to get dent rods down the horn, even some rods which are slotted to bypass the pip. Usually when I am working on a Yama, inevitably I have to usnolder and remove the pip and trim it down, then resolder.

(And, I might add, in no way is intonation or response altered in any discernible manner by the trimming....)

But as noted by others, for all practical purposes there is nothing to concern you here. It's the typical Yama detail, for whatever reason.
I actually have a Buescher 400 Tenor and had the same frustration since trying to get the swab up through the body of the horn was very difficult. I ended up filing down part of the pipe to help with the swabbing. I have no doubt that wasn't the idea way to handle it but it did work. I have no idea whether the horn was manufactured that way or when it got overhauled the company just left it long (I purchased it used).
 

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well @L Dion
the horn was manufactured this way

however it is been debated that it may be not necessary for the pip to be that long ( I have never touched )



there are more threads discussing this
 

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I actually have a Buescher 400 Tenor and had the same frustration since trying to get the swab up through the body of the horn was very difficult. I ended up filing down part of the pipe to help with the swabbing. I have no doubt that wasn't the idea way to handle it but it did work. I have no idea whether the horn was manufactured that way or when it got overhauled the company just left it long (I purchased it used).
Better to ask first before making irreversible (OK, yes, someone more knowledgeable can replace the tube you just neutered) modifications to your horn. Please make sure to disclose this when you sell the horn.
 

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this was written by @kymarto in 2008 who is an excellent acoustician

".....
For an excellent, though somewhat technical, answer to many of your questions, go to this link:

The Arthur H. Benade Archive

click on the link for the 70s and scroll down to 1973 and the link to the pdf file "Register hole design in cone woodwinds".

In a nutshell, the pip should be as small in diameter and as short as possible so as not to cause intonational problems. Benade observes that sax pip designs are uniformly poor in this regard. The extension of the pip into the bore should not make too much difference, but it does add turbulence and is not particularly desirable to have things sticking into the air column like that. The diameter of the pip hole affects the intonation: it should just be large enough to inhibit the fundamental from sounding. The shape of the end of the pip should make no difference at all acoustically.

Ideally, each note should have its own pip at exacly half the length of the tube for that note. Since this is rather impractical, only two pips are provided normally, and so each are in a compromise position for all the notes, with the notes at the end of the range being the most compromised. This is why the middle D is usually stuffy and the middle A is often airy sounding. If you want to hear how the middle D could sound just add the palm D, which is in the position that the register hole for the middle D should be. It is much too large so it sharpens the note considerably, but do you hear how much brighter and clearer the note becomes using the palm D?

If you move the pip down you make it better for the lower notes in its range and worse for the higher, and vice-versa. I have always thought that the sax should use the same solution as the oboe: move the body pip up and add a vent hole on the LH1 key touch, but this would take some getting used to and necessitate some reworking of the position of the pearls. I figure that sax designers (Conn possibly excepted) are just too laid back and figure that the two register solution, although poor, is "close enough for jazz". Modern oboes also include a fourth register key for the highest notes, and perhaps some intrepid designer will some day experiment with one farther up the neck on the sax for the altissimos.

My guess is that the big problem with hiss for the middle A has to do with the fact that because the placement of the pip is quite wrong, it is in an area where there is a lot of air movement, and this air rushing through the little hole causes the hiss. The strands of nylon probably break up the airstream rushing through the hole somewhat, lessening the hiss.

The ideal placement of the octave pip puts it in the middle of a "pressure node", where the displacement of air molecules is at a minimum and the pressure changes at a maximum. The air does not move at that point, but if you interfere with the pressure changes you break up that mode of vibration, which is the point of an octave pip.

Toby..."

He quotes this from Benade ( I believe it is the same article quoted before)

 

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It may be that the long tube is meant to minimize the hiss of high A. There is another point, per Benade, which is that any register hole has both a reactance and an inertance, and those determine how well the hole functions to break to the octave at both soft and loud dynamics. If the register hole is not designed correctly it could work for soft dynamics but not so well for loud dynamics or vice-versa. I personally would not touch the tube. Manufacturers do not just do things like this on a whim or by mistake; every part of a horn is designed deliberately. While it is true that Benade has stated that most register vent designs for saxophone are less than ideal, it would take precise knowledge and metalworking skill to design a different pip according to his specifications.
 

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this was written by @kymarto in 2008 who is an excellent acoustician

".....
For an excellent, though somewhat technical, answer to many of your questions, go to this link:

The Arthur H. Benade Archive

click on the link for the 70s and scroll down to 1973 and the link to the pdf file "Register hole design in cone woodwinds".

In a nutshell, the pip should be as small in diameter and as short as possible so as not to cause intonational problems. Benade observes that sax pip designs are uniformly poor in this regard. The extension of the pip into the bore should not make too much difference, but it does add turbulence and is not particularly desirable to have things sticking into the air column like that. The diameter of the pip hole affects the intonation: it should just be large enough to inhibit the fundamental from sounding. The shape of the end of the pip should make no difference at all acoustically.

Ideally, each note should have its own pip at exacly half the length of the tube for that note. Since this is rather impractical, only two pips are provided normally, and so each are in a compromise position for all the notes, with the notes at the end of the range being the most compromised. This is why the middle D is usually stuffy and the middle A is often airy sounding. If you want to hear how the middle D could sound just add the palm D, which is in the position that the register hole for the middle D should be. It is much too large so it sharpens the note considerably, but do you hear how much brighter and clearer the note becomes using the palm D?

If you move the pip down you make it better for the lower notes in its range and worse for the higher, and vice-versa. I have always thought that the sax should use the same solution as the oboe: move the body pip up and add a vent hole on the LH1 key touch, but this would take some getting used to and necessitate some reworking of the position of the pearls. I figure that sax designers (Conn possibly excepted) are just too laid back and figure that the two register solution, although poor, is "close enough for jazz". Modern oboes also include a fourth register key for the highest notes, and perhaps some intrepid designer will some day experiment with one farther up the neck on the sax for the altissimos.

My guess is that the big problem with hiss for the middle A has to do with the fact that because the placement of the pip is quite wrong, it is in an area where there is a lot of air movement, and this air rushing through the little hole causes the hiss. The strands of nylon probably break up the airstream rushing through the hole somewhat, lessening the hiss.

The ideal placement of the octave pip puts it in the middle of a "pressure node", where the displacement of air molecules is at a minimum and the pressure changes at a maximum. The air does not move at that point, but if you interfere with the pressure changes you break up that mode of vibration, which is the point of an octave pip.

Toby..."

He quotes this from Benade ( I believe it is the same article quoted before)

Thank you for the info. Yeah, it makes a lot of sense especially about his comments surrounding middle D and middle A.
 

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I also experimented with this years ago, when there was a notorious poster (name now "Dirt," but with a lot of interesting ideas, most of which had at least something to them, but also things to them not accounted for) recommending cutting the pip. Chances are, if you do, you'll end up with hissing notes.

If you want to try that, put the original pip aside and do it with a substitution, IMO, because you'll probably end up putting the original back in, just like it was.
 

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Something to be aware of is that the little tube might be loose, causing an air leak.

When I bought my heavily used YTS-21 in 2007, while swabbing it I quickly discovered the tube could be pushed in and out a little bit. A tech soldered it tight and its been fine ever since, but I check it after every cleaning (by reaching in and gently pressing it).
 

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Something to be aware of is that the little tube might be loose, causing an air leak.

When I bought my heavily used YTS-21 in 2007, while swabbing it I quickly discovered the tube could be pushed in and out a little bit. A tech soldered it tight and its been fine ever since, but I check it after every cleaning (by reaching in and gently pressing it).
It's common for the dentrod to knock the pip loose when removing dents/pings/dings from the bodytube or rear of the bow. Techs should always check for this when/after using a dentrod on the bodytube/bow from the top. Surely a loose pip is common to miss for some.

I will usually use some type of spacer/shim inside the tenon to prevent wayward knocks to the pip when doing that work (unsolicited tip for techs not yet taking measures like that -- as much as you'd think it'd be standard, pips are so commonly smashed by past work that it's pretty obvious many are not taking such precautions).
 
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