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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I recently purchased a newly overhauled MKVI tenor (111xxx) and have a couple of questions. Both pertain to me using it as a classical horn too, because I enjoy the feel and tone of the MKVI so much.

First, when playing certain notes (low d up to g) at a ppp dynamic, the instrument goes extremely sharp (about 40-50 cents). I understand this is the tendency of the saxophone, but I feel that this is a little extreme, even for a vintage horn. I was thinking about trying some series iii necks, maybe that would mitigate the intonation issue?

Second, the same notes as above seem to have a wobble or gurgle when playing below a mp dynamic. I'm not sure if this is more of a voicing thing I need to figure out on the new horn, or a horn/neck problem. I understand gurgling can always happen on Selmers, but this is a bit more than my SA80 tenor.

It plays like butter as a jazz horn, but just trying to "fine tune" it for classical playing as well. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

AE
 

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Funny, most people lament the horns to be flat, the neck route is a very unsure one, is going to be expensive and take you on a possible fool’s errand.

Anyway, the M7 neck is used by some to cure problems.

Gurgle in the pianissimo may be a symptom of you playing around the border of the note breaking into its fundamental. I bet this is more of the beginning of a multiphonic.

The “ normal” Gurgle happens around low C but you are talking of a different predicament, the medium range of the horn.

The Mark VI was born as a Classical saxophone, was developed and played by Marcel Mule. Truth to be told, in the NL the M7 has more cachet among classical players because that’s the tenor played by Arno Boornkamp (if and when he does play any tenor)
 

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Just because a horn had an 'overhaul' does not always mean it will now be playable. Have it checked by somebody you can trust. Could be a million things, like a bad octave pad, loose neck, leak in the F palm key, etc.
 

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Nothing wrong with the VI or the original neck. You just need to spend more time with it. No mechanical problem will cause the intonation problem you describe, only your mouthpiece/reed and embouchure. Sounds like you're simply biting to get the low notes to speak at a soft dynamic. You just need to learn to do that without biting.
 

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If I had to guess, I'd guess you have either too open a mouthpiece (maybe too high of a baffle, too) with too hard a reed, so you're having to bite like crazy to play softly plus you're pulled way way out throwing the scale off; or you've got a minor leak in the upper part of the horn somewhere; or, most likely, both.
 

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I am wondering if you have considered trying a sixties era Soloist or Soloist style as a mouthpiece? They are readily available as they were very popular in the day.
 

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D up to G are hardly the low notes... rather more the middle ones
Seriously? To me, right hand is low, left hand and right hand with octave key is middle, left hand with octave is high.

If you said to someone, "play your middle D", he/she would play D with octave key, not the one without. Similarly, if you said, "play your low D", they wouldn't go grab a 6 foot piece of PVC pipe and stick it in the bell, they would simply play D without the octave key.

Next time I'll say "those" instead of "low" to avoid any confusion.

Point is, he's biting to get the frequencies 131 to 175 Hz (I hope to god I got that right).

There, an entire, multi-paragraph post to justify the use of a single word in a post that everybody in the world understood except you. Happy now?
 

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The reed woodwinds have a tendency to go sharp during a diminuendo. The flute has a tendency to go flat. An exercise to work on keeping the pitch constant as the dynamic level changes is to hold a note 30 seconds watching a tuner and the second hand of a clock or the digital equivalent. Start at forte or fortissimo and gradually diminuendo to pianissimo at the end keeping the "needle" in the center. Also do the opposite starting at pianissimo and going to fortissimo. If I remember correctly on the oboe taking more reed into the mouth raises the pitch, and taking less lowers it. I believe the same is true to a lesser extent on the single reed woodwinds. This is another way one can better control the pitch when playing softly.
 

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How long have you been playing tenor?

What mouthpieces/reeds are you using?

And no, the notorious gurgling is not what you are describing.

FWIW, I agree with mdavej that you need to commit time on the Mk VI, and sort out mouthpiece, reed, embouchure, and air stream issues.

I don't understand why you bought this particular horn if it has so many issues for you. But that aside, the issues you describe can be sorted out.

FWIW: tenor is my voice for the last 40+ years, and I my experience spans both jazz (mostly big bands) and classical (saxophone quartets).

Hi all,

I recently purchased a newly overhauled MKVI tenor (111xxx) and have a couple of questions. Both pertain to me using it as a classical horn too, because I enjoy the feel and tone of the MKVI so much.

First, when playing certain notes (low d up to g) at a ppp dynamic, the instrument goes extremely sharp (about 40-50 cents). I understand this is the tendency of the saxophone, but I feel that this is a little extreme, even for a vintage horn. I was thinking about trying some series iii necks, maybe that would mitigate the intonation issue?

Second, the same notes as above seem to have a wobble or gurgle when playing below a mp dynamic. I'm not sure if this is more of a voicing thing I need to figure out on the new horn, or a horn/neck problem. I understand gurgling can always happen on Selmers, but this is a bit more than my SA80 tenor.

It plays like butter as a jazz horn, but just trying to "fine tune" it for classical playing as well. Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

AE
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
For anybody interested, I got a series ii neck fitted on the VI for classical playing, and it fixed all the problems. Still use the original neck for jazz.
 

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I am wondering if you have considered trying a sixties era Soloist or Soloist style as a mouthpiece? They are readily available as they were very popular in the day.
Still the best mouthpiece for a MarkVI. I've never had any wobble, gargle or wobble on low notes or any other with a Soloist.
I guess I'm one of those who thinks that Selmer put some actual thought into designing what works well with their saxophones. They just like the smaller chamber mouthpieces. That's why vintage Links play great on them too.
I still play the S-80D that came with my soprano.
 
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