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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I bought a Buescher TT soprano and love the tone on it. I am new to soprano, mainly playing tenor, but this instrument seemed to play beautifully in tune with itself straight out of the box. Only trouble was that when I checked with a tuner I found I was playing a full semitone flat with the mouthpiece halfway down the cork. I've since read that with these saxes its normal to have to push the mouthpiece right on to the cork to get the tuning right. When I do this I can tune the sax up to where it should be but the mouthpiece is pushed just beyond the cork and the top of the body tube is approaching the level of the bottom of the window inside the mouthpiece.

Is it normal for the piece to have to be so far on with these horns? I hope that the sax is not a bad one as its a beautiful instrument.

I have been using a Drake Son of Slant mouthpiece with the TT and have been happy with the sound, just not the pitch!!.

Thanks for your advice! Tony
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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As long as you're clearing the octave pip, I wouldn't worry about it. Different pieces and players will have different results, but it's not at all unusual for a modern mouthpiece (med chamber/significant baffle) piece to have to be pushed further on to the neck than you might be expecting.

I'm using Morgan Vintage 6 on mine. It swallows most, but not quite all of the cork, leaving about 2mm (<1/8") of the cork exposed.
 

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Soprano takes a tighter lip. That being said, I have come across at least one TT soprano that was hopelessly flat no matter how far you pushed the mouthpiece in. But since yours has room to tune, I wouldn't worry about it for now. As you develop a tighter lip for the horn, you may eventually need to pull out.
 

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When I picked up soprano a few months ago, I was also hopelessly flat. Now that I've been playing for a little while, I can play in tune with the mouthpiece eating most of the cork (but still with a bit to spare), even up to palm F#.
If you're using a tip opening and reed strength that are approximately proportional to your preferences on the other voices, and you practice it at least four or five days a week, you should get less flat in time. Your endurance on soprano will go up over time, too.
The little bugger's a blast to play, once you get a ways up the learning curve. Have fun with it!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Many thanks to those who responded for your help.

Bruce, I can get the horn to play in tune with itself with the mouthpiece pushed on but I feel I am working harder than with the piece further back on the cork. With it further back it seems to effortlessly be in tune with itself, but flat to where it should be.

I'm sure that the comments on improving my soprano embouchure are valid. I have almost exclusively played metal links on tenor up to now and I probably do play with a looser embouchure that seems to work on tenor, but may not be ideal on sop.

I was wondering if, with the mouthpiece pushed on very far, the top of the sax tube would be within the mouthpiece chamber and so compromising the character of the mouthpiece?

Thanks again
Tony
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I was wondering if, with the mouthpiece pushed on very far, the top of the sax tube would be within the mouthpiece chamber and so compromising the character of the mouthpiece?

Thanks again
Tony
I think you do have a very slight mouthpiece mismatch, but seems like it's not that bad and with a vintage soprano that makes you one of the lucky ones. I've had a few Truetones and was only really happy with intonation when using a Buescher mouthpiece, but i was not so happy with the sound as when using mouthpieces that gave me some intonation issues, esp over the C# to D break.

If you are really concerned you could try getting a duplicate or two of the mouthpiece and mess around with the chamber if you feel confident about dong a bit of DIY engineering. It's easy enough to put something in there to make the chamber smaller, but enlargening it is a permanent process and requires a bit of skill with a dremel or something.

If it was me I'd probably stick with the Drake and do that extra it of work as well often have to anyway.
 

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also make sure you are not tilting the horn down like a clarinet. It needs to have the mouthpiece exiting straight out like on an alto and don't have too much lower lip rolled out where there ends up being a cushion. I prefer to have no "lip pink" showing...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for your help Pete and Bruce. I think on the advice here I will carry on with the Drake (it's sound and response with the Buescher seems very good to me) pushed right on. I don't really want to embark on a prolonged mouthpiece search like I did on tenor!! Then I will work on my embouchure and the sax position. I have had the sax pointing down rather forwards so I guess that has not helped.

I love the rich tone that the Buescher seems to have so that's a good start!

Thanks again, Tony
 

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As you said, "I am new to soprano."
The soprano is like no other sax, and, in terms of intonation, it is notoriously unforgiving.
But the more you play, the more it will be tamed.
A quote from Men in Black for you:
Edwards: [shouting after Kay] Hey! Is it worth it?
Kay: Oh yeah, it's worth it...
[starts walking again, stops and turns back briefly]
Kay: ... if you're strong enough!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well I've had the TT sop a month or so now and am just loving it. The intonation issues are sorted with the piece pushed on the full extent of the cork (lucky that, by chance, I bought a piece with a short overall length) and the sax has a lovely rich tone. The ergonomics aren't that much of a problem now I have played a while on the sax. I think the sop playing breathes a bit of life into my tenor playing too. I'm just having a lot of fun on it.

Thanks to those that gave me advice. The TT is a great addition for me.

Tony
 
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