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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a 220XXX True Tone soprano just nicely overhauled. The thing has always played flat. Previous threads on this site have given the sense that low pitch means A=440 however frequency readings on the horn done accurately in the shop show A=436 as the right tuning position for my horn in order for it to play in tune with itself. So, if I'm to understand this correctly, low pitch is too low for modern ensemble work with piano, etc. and there is nothing I can do--to tweaks, no different mouthpiece, etc. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I'd be most appreciative.
 

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Low Pitch is A=440.

Do you have your mpc pushed all the way on and it's still flat?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I like the picture of your little sax.
Yes--mouthpiece all the way in gets close but intonation becomes uneven bottom to top.
 

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I've got a 220XXX True Tone soprano just nicely overhauled. The thing has always played flat. Previous threads on this site have given the sense that low pitch means A=440 however frequency readings on the horn done accurately in the shop show A=436 as the right tuning position for my horn in order for it to play in tune with itself. So, if I'm to understand this correctly, low pitch is too low for modern ensemble work with piano, etc. and there is nothing I can do--to tweaks, no different mouthpiece, etc. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions, I'd be most appreciative.
The difference between 440 Hz and 436 Hz is only 4 Hz. Are you sure that you can play a soprano saxophone "in tune with itself" so you are off exactly 4 Hz? An experienced player should be able to alter frequency far more than that using only embouchure. A soprano? Really?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well, I'm primarily a clarinetist. I am attempting to double on the soprano on which I can bend the notes quite widely and get them in tune. With the mouthpiece pushed in I can lip up the lower octave, and lip down the higher, but despite regulation the intonation is unstable and the sound stuffy compared with the mouthpiece pulled back a quarter inch.
 

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My experience is that the vintage "low pitch" instruments are built to play in tune with themselves in a range (not just a single specific pitch) of A=438 to A=440. Modern horns seem to be set up to play in tune with themselves between A=440 to A=442 or maybe 443. Thus either one is fine if you're playing with other people tuned at A=440, and you're in a moderate environment (not hot, not cold). If it's cold, you may not be able to get the vintage horn up to pitch, and if it's hot, you may not be able to get the modern horn DOWN to pitch. I have had problems with my 1919 Buescher C-mel playing along with a stock Roland keyboard, which are tuned at A=442 out of the box -- unless it's warm, which is often the case in crowded nightclubs. If it's going to be warm, I don't worry too much about what keyboard is in use, but if it's cool to cold in the room and the pianist shows up with a Roland keyboard, I will ask them to manually pick A=440 (and I know how to walk them through it if they've never done it before, I have a Roland JV-35 myself).

Clarinets are the exception, they ALWAYS seem to be scratching and clawing their way up to 440.

Mouthpiece selection can have a significant effect. For example, pop a Lakey on an alto and its preferred pitch range is going to go up about 2 Hz from wherever it normally lies.
 

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I like the picture of your little sax.
Yes--mouthpiece all the way in gets close but intonation becomes uneven bottom to top.
Thanks. :)

How long have you been playing sop? (Clarinet experience does not count here.)

What kind of mpc are you using? Does it have a long shank?

Did the tech who performed the overhaul on your horn have any difficulty playing it in tune?

Also, are you checking your pitch across the horn's range after you're fully warmed up (I'm referring to both your horn and chops)?
 

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Probably a bad interaction between clarinet chops, approaching sax embochure in a clarinetistic way, too stiff a reed for sax, and maybe, just maybe, venting not set up properly.
 

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Don't tilt the mouthpiece down like a clarinet. The mpc should exit the mouth like an alto. My 238,xxx TT soprano plays very well in tune with a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece. What mouthpiece are you using? The old stockers can end up being flat. Get a Yamaha 4C cheap.
 

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"Playing in tune with itself" to me relates to intonation such as when one note is flat and the next whole step away from it is sharp. Embouchre delevopment plays an important role in dealing with an intonation problem, sometimes uncomfortably difficult taking much practice time getting used to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow! I'm glad I joined this community instead of just reading threads as an outsider. I do have some sax chops and play the this horn almost straight out in terms of angle. The mouthpiece is a JodyJazz short shank (modified Runyon, six star, HR with fibracell soft reed). My tech is very good and regulation should be set right. Niether he nor a third party "objective" sax player (a pro who's MarkVI as being worked on) could play it in tune, it hangs perfectly flat up and down the range. My intonation is spot on with my alto, tenors and a previously borrowed yamaha sop. Sooo... That's the picture.
 

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Wow! I'm glad I joined this community instead of just reading threads as an outsider. I do have some sax chops and play the this horn almost straight out in terms of angle. The mouthpiece is a JodyJazz short shank (modified Runyon, six star, HR with fibracell soft reed). My tech is very good and regulation should be set right. Niether he nor a third party "objective" sax player (a pro who's MarkVI as being worked on) could play it in tune, it hangs perfectly flat up and down the range. My intonation is spot on with my alto, tenors and a previously borrowed yamaha sop. Sooo... That's the picture.
I suspect the Jody Jazz mouthpiece the True Tone may be the issue. My True Tone alto doesn't play in tune with most modern mouthpieces. True Tones need a larger chamber mouthpiece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow (again)...
This is actually what I was hoping to hear. And thanks to BruceB for suggesting a Yammy 4C. Since I'm now in the center of TrueTone wisdom, may I ask if folks can chime in with their TT sop set ups? It would be very interesting (to me) to hear what mouthpiece, etc. you guys are successfully using!
 

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Wow (again)...
This is actually what I was hoping to hear. And thanks to BruceB for suggesting a Yammy 4C. Since I'm now in the center of TrueTone wisdom, may I ask if folks can chime in with their TT sop set ups? It would be very interesting (to me) to hear what mouthpiece, etc. you guys are successfully using!
Barone Vintage
Selmer Super Session
Vintage Buescher
 

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Dave -- I'll leave it to the TT sop folks to give you their setups (like the 4C -- I'm surprised, but definitely trust Bruce). But, in general, these older horns need larger chamber mpcs to play in tune with themselves. For example, I had to get a custom "double chamber" mouthpiece for my 1930 bari. One member here, Jicano I believe, makes custom sop mpcs for TTs with large chambers, but I don't know more about his process. Otherwise, you may want to explore an Otto Link Tone Edge or something equivalently large.

The Jody Jazz you're playing should have a medium or medium-small chamber, which could definitely cause the problems you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks MMT, this is very helpful. And anyone else who can chime in on big chamber mouthpieces for TT sops would be most appreciated. Looks like I'm going mouthpiece shopping!
 

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If you want more edge, a Selmer Super Session works well on these horns. I would not go too open and keep it to a G or smaller. I have a used F if you are interestd. The SS has a larger than normal chamber and mtches well/
 

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Thanks MMT, this is very helpful. And anyone else who can chime in on big chamber mouthpieces for TT sops would be most appreciated. Looks like I'm going mouthpiece shopping!
It doesn't *necessarily* have to be a "large chamber" to work well, but if you're interested in them, check out this link.
 

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however frequency readings on the horn done accurately in the shop show A=436 as the right tuning position for my horn in order for it to play in tune with itself.
Can you explain a bit more about what this actually means? How in tune should it be? Most saxophones can vary by 15 - 20 cents against a tuner on some notes. Especially when played with just intonation.

As others have said, mouthpieces make a big difference.
 
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