Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Occasionally on the lowest notes I hear the sound warbling, like a motorboat engine. What might the cause be?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
101 Posts
There are many other threads on this subject. You didn't say when this started. Put a plastic mp cover in the bell. If it goes away you have a temp solution. I have an alto that has the same problem. After having 2 techs not discover any leaks and trying different mps, reeds I use this solution as a fix.
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,204 Posts
Motorboating can also be caused by playing with too high of a pitch center. When the mouthpiece is out too far, then the sax is out of tune with itself. See this article by Steve Duke about lowering your pitch center.

http://www.steveduke.net/articles/mouthpiece.shtml
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
357 Posts
I was just visiting the Sax ProShop/Music Medic yesterday and mentioned I had this issue on B and C with my new YTS-82ZASP even though my tech had recently set it up. Gary said it might be a leaking neck joint and did observe this with his pneumatic tester. I was not aware and thought my neck had a great fit. He fastidiously went back and forth between expander and tester about 12 times and got it to seal perfectly, even with jiggling and screw tightening. There were no leaks or timing problems and now the low notes respond faster and no longer chug. Thanks, Gary!
BTW, the facility is a tech Birdland, amazing tools and gear and various horns, but the expertise and knowledge are principal.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
I was just visiting the Sax ProShop/Music Medic yesterday and mentioned I had this issue on B and C with my new YTS-82ZASP even though my tech had recently set it up. Gary said it might be a leaking neck joint and did observe this with his pneumatic tester. I was not aware and thought my neck had a great fit. He fastidiously went back and forth between expander and tester about 12 times and got it to seal perfectly, even with jiggling and screw tightening. There were no leaks or timing problems and now the low notes respond faster and no longer chug. Thanks, Gary!
BTW, the facility is a tech Birdland, amazing tools and gear and various horns, but the expertise and knowledge are principal.
I might have to move near that place - I am having a heluva time with techs. I just paid for a premium overhaul and got the sax last week. I am now into the 'fix it yourself' mode. The first thing I noticed was the neck fit was no better than it was to start with. He said 'Can't you tighten it with the screw?' I replied, 'Yes, but it should be tight enough to play without the screw.' Blank stare. So I got it home (2 hour drive) and put it away. I took it to a practice Monday night and that's when the wheels really began to come off. I found the RH Eb spring off its perch and a rather big leak on the G#. I actually fixed both of those right there with my bare hands. The horn began to come back to life at that point. I got it out the next day and started to go over it with my screwdrivers. I found loose guard screws, loose pivot screws and loose rods. The pivot screws were loose because the key would stick with them snug. Fixed that by sanding back the nose of the pivot screw just a tad - they were very close but not really good. Everywhere I look on the sax I find something else. I had to trim the bumpers in the key guards because the bumper screws were too far out and loose. This is basically the same thing I had to do to my Selmer USA after getting a local overhaul for half price - I may as well have taken the MK VI back to them instead of going out of town.
So on the neck, I'll have to try to find somebody to fit it for me. The one guy who did it right and had the vacuum machine had to quit for health reasons. Fortunately I have no intention of using the original neck with it - the Series III neck is much better and it fits perfectly without any work, but the original neck should be correctly fitted anyway.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,948 Posts
This thread surprises me a bit. I mean it took until the 6th reply to state the most obvious circumstance: A leaky horn (or neck).

So, Beemer...first and foremost - have a tech check your horn for leaks. A leak somehwere can easily be causing this problem.

If you cannot do that (get horn to tech), AND you get the motorboating issue when the horn is in tune....and you need a quick fix, the aforementioned mouthpiece cap or wine cork thrown down the bell usually works as a temporary fix.
But it is sorta like a drummer putting duct tape on the bottom of their cymbal...yeah, it stops the problem, but do you really want a cymbal which requires several pieces of duct tape on it to make it behave ?

IF the horn is leak-free, and the neck fit is good....I would next:

a) try different mouthpiece/reed setups...see if you can find one which alleviates the issue.

b) try suggestions #2 and #4...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,004 Posts
A few years back I did an acoustic study using a C-Melody sax that had the "oscillations" some call motorboating when playing a low C using a tenor sax mouthpiece. I recorded the sound and then greatly slowed it down to hear the actual pitch. Then I made a spectrograph of the harmonics of the sound. What I discovered was that the effect was caused by two harmonics that were out of tune fighting back and forth to control what Benade calls the "regime of oscillation". This only happens on the lowest notes where the fundamental is weaker than the next two overtones. I found that I could turn the warble off and on by "voicing" the note differently, and using a different mouthpiece I could not make it warble no matter what I did. My conclusion from the study was that a warble of this type is caused by "inharmonicity" which means the frequencies of the harmonics are not whole number multiples of that of the fundamental, and that a mouthpiece volume that does not match that of the "missing cone" can produce inharmonicity. I believe this is what happens when a soprano sax warbles when the mouthpiece is too far off the cork producing an interior volume that is too large.

Warble normal speed

Warble slowed down
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,476 Posts
I used to play a 10 star tip opening mouthpiece for over 2 1/2 decades, and I loved to blow a lot of air through the horn!
If my horn wasnt in adjustment, it wasn’t good. I could get that sound from blowing a side key open or blowing the low C# sharp key open because the springs werent tight enough with all the air I was giving it.

That’s something to check out too.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,782 Posts
Occasionally on the lowest notes I hear the sound warbling, like a motorboat engine. What might the cause be?
this is one of the best discussed (and least solved) problems on this forum!

There are hundreds of hits for both Warble ( 690 hits) and Motorboating ( 299) if you only care to look for them with the search engine

tThe search box at the top of the page where it says google custom search . https://www.saxontheweb.net ( open this link please)


There is no way that opening a new thread you will get as many answers as there are already. Not only, by continuing an older one you will get an alert to all the people whom have participated there.

Opening new threads on old and common problems only dilutes (even further) the information, archives are there to be be used. This is not a rebuff but a simple explanation of the forum mechanics.


a few of the hundreds of links ( some respondants opened themselves more than one thread on the same subject before)

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?322449-Warble-Study
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?2332-Low-Notes-Warble
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?196956-Motorboating-(gurggling)-on-low-notes
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?68279-Inharmonicity-and-low-note-quot-burble-quot
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?68279-Inharmonicity-and-low-note-quot-burble-quot
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,535 Posts
Motorboating is currently my favorite verb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,440 Posts
There are some individual saxophones that do this even when completely leak free and with any mouthpiece located at any position on the neck. I have had one. (I won't recount the whole set of experiments, you'll just have to trust me that the horn was 100% leak free.) There are other instruments that do not do this even when leaking like a sieve. I think saxoclese has it right about the fundamental root cause.

And frankly, if an instrument is designed/made such that a tiny leak makes it unplayable while another instrument can be played with leaks, I will prefer the second. Every saxophone has leaks from ten minutes after you take it from the shop, to some extent. Requiring the instrument to be in perfect shape or it won't play is not practical.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,004 Posts
In all my years of playing and repairing saxophones I have come across "oscillations" in the sound caused by key heights that are too low and springs that are too weak allowing a key to be blown open at the loudest playing levels. However I have never found a "warble" like the one in my recordings that was caused by a leak. In my understanding of acoustics a leak "saps" energy from the sound wave. It does not create inharmonicity that is not otherwise present.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,572 Posts
Have you tried the trick suggested on posting #3? A wine cork or a small rubber ball works too.
My 1920's soprano had this issue and my tech ended up glueing a chunk of cork inside the bottom of the bore to resolve it. If the experiment above works for you, that's a possible solution.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,912 Posts
Hmmm, I hate to throw a wrench here but, warbling and motorboating are not the same thing in my book~~!

Warbling, almost always responds to the "mpc cap in bell" routine. Its two tones alternating or pulsing.

Motorboating is much more insidious and technique related. And nasty as sort of split tone/fuzz.

Its Especially notable or likely with particular note jumps, downward; i.e., E2 to A1 or B1. This seems to be a function, but not exclusively, of player technique and "voicing" (I believe) and/ or throat/emboucuer (sp!?) and/or breath support air stream.

Its really a bear for me and would like to blame it on octave mechanisms or other tweak-like issues with the horn

Does anyone get this as a distinction? Or am I calling it the wrong thing...
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top