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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
... by about 20 cents on my tuner.

It's not just a couple of notes. It's the whole horn.

The horn (1925 Conn stencil, very similar to a Chu Berry that I saw on eBay, but no nail file G#) is in great shape having just been worked over by my tech(s), plays pretty evenly up and down, but it's just universally sharp.

I'm using a Rico Graftonite B7 with a Rico orange card #2 1/2.

I just tried a Vandoren Classique #2 1/2, and it is even sharper than the Rico.

The mouthpiece is practically falling off the neck, although I have not yet tried wrapping the neck cork with paper trick yet.

The Graftonite looks to be a fairly long mouthpiece.

What could I try to remedy this? Different reed? Different mouthpiece?

ADVthanksANCE

-Jack
 

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Is the horn sharp when other people play it?
 

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Different mouthpiece. When I was playing a Link, Berg, or Couf mpcs, I had to have the neck extended. Now I play mostly on a Drake Custom Ceramic (inspired by a Berg 120/1/SMS) in a .115 tip, and I find myself pushing the mouthpiece all the way in! I still play on the Couf mpc, so I really don't want to shorten it back to its original length.

What you describe is a common problem on many vintage saxes, and even more common among Conn Baris. My Bari is a 1926 King "Improved" (aka New Series). It plays well with med chambers on the larger side (like a smallish Large Chamber). Those other pieces I played on it were solid Med chambers.

Rico mpcs sounded like doggy doo on my Bari, and intonation was impossible!
 

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... by about 20 cents on my tuner.

It's not just a couple of notes. It's the whole horn... but it's just universally sharp.

-Jack
Sounds like the intonation is perfect. Try a different, larger bore mpc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like the intonation is perfect. Try a different, larger bore mpc.
Cool idea. I'll try it.

Any suggestions as to which mpcs fit this description?

And just as important, any thoughts on mpcs to avoid?

TVM for the input.

-Jack (who will have to find a mpc on Saturday for his 1st bari gig on Sunday).
 

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If you want to play a small chamber/high baffled piece you may have to get an extension turned up that will fit on your mouthpiece and horn. Any tech that can do modifications should be able to do this or an engineer or toolmaker. My tech used some sort of deldrin or hard rubber, worked really well. I feel this is a better solution than extending the neck. You won't get a modern funk tone if you go for the big chambered piece.
 

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fwiw, I use paper on the cork and it gets me by. The extension idea sounds intriguing, I'm surprised my tech didn't suggest it; can anyone elaborate and/or provide a photo of what it is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

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Some horns are marked L or H or Low or Low Pitch, so you can tell that way. I had a high pitch bari that was not marked. I pulled out all the way and the higher up the horn I played the sharper it got, and I could not make it better. Then I saw it next to a low pitch bari - mine was smaller. The bore was narrower and the whole horn was shorter a couple of inches. A high pitch horn is not tuned to A = 440 but to something higher, like A = 460 (I cannot recall exactly). I do not think you can make one of these HP horns work right if you want to play with others. The tuner will show it sharp.
 

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And just as important, any thoughts on mpcs to avoid?
Any modern styled, high baffled, small chamber mouthpiece ain't gonna work. You need an old pickle-barrel. You know... a fat, huge chambered mouthpiece. Some vendors will make double-chambered pieces that will do. Search the site and you'll find them. This is a common issue with old Conn baritone saxophones.

As for it being high pitch, if it's a Conn stencil it should have an L under the serial number indicating low pitch. A high pitched stencil horn would be a rare bird indeed.
 

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Well, just to clarify Grump's comment...

It will work, sort of. You'll find that extending the neck creates intonation inconsistencies. Meaning that while the whole horn might have been sharp before, you'll get G1 in tune, but D3 may be seriously flat, while D2 is way sharp. In short, the horn is out of tune with itself.

You can get a pickle barrel (I hate that term), very large chamber mouthpiece to sound quite bright, but you'll likely have to have something modified with a high-ish baffle.

Erik Grieffenhagen can take a number of more modern pieces and make a large chamber piece out of them (he calls it "double chamber") -- essentially accomplishing the same thing as buying an extra large chamber piece (e.g. Rascher), but with a more modern bite to it. Worth looking into. http://www.mouthpieceguys.com/
 

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I have a 1919 Conn bari, my set-up is yamaha 5C with Rico Orange box 3.

The neck had originally been extended but wouldn't play with even intonation with a range of mouthpiece including a pickle barrel style piece.

I cut the neck extension off and did the body octave pip mod mentioned elsewhere and intonation is good now.
 

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So, that whole horn should be a 1/4 step sharp with a 5C -- something relocating or somehow modifying in place the body octave key by itself I wouldn't expect to fix.

There's literally 100 pages of body octave modification links on this site. Just out of curiousity, which one are you referring to?
 

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So, that whole horn should be a 1/4 step sharp with a 5C -- something relocating or somehow modifying in place the body octave key by itself I wouldn't expect to fix.

There's literally 100 pages of body octave modification links on this site. Just out of curiousity, which one are you referring to?
No not at all. On mine the bottom octave was fine and the neck octave notes were also good (with the std length neck and 5C) the "MartinMods" body octave pip mod fixed the 2nd octave body octave key sharpness issues.

You can check for octave pip issues by over blowing then fingering the octave key, if it sharpens there is an issue.
 

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Well, what that says to me is that it isn't a given that any vintage horn is sharp overall with a modern mouthpiece. It might be most, but not all.
 

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Well, what that says to me is that it isn't a given that any vintage horn is sharp overall with a modern mouthpiece. It might be most, but not all.
And that is exactly right. Most vintage saxes (particularly Baris and Tenors) have real mouthpiece/horn match problems, and MOST need a large chamber piece to cure it. Conns are real kickers on this issue. Kings probably come in at a close 2nd, though I have had no problems with mine using the mouthpieces I do now (it just does not like Metalites!).
 

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Interesting -- and that's what I've found although perhaps The Martin isn't old enough. Could this be at all related to the history of A440 and how it was a UK-Nazi proposal that was set before the standards committees just before WWII broke out and thus the manufacturers were left split, the French and Italians on one standard, UK and Germany on another, and post-war the jazz boom fueled by G.I.'s returning with largely UK and W.German gear that they plied in their jazz trade?
 

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Not positive on the politics, but Europe was (and is) generally A=442, and the States is at A=440.

Here's me on my 1926 King "Improved" on "Kansas City". It starts at about 7 min 16 sec in. https://soundcloud.com/nissanmarkvii%2Fisaac01-20110612-142543
The mouthpiece is a Drake Custom Ceramic at .115 . It was modeled after a Berg Larson SS 120/1/SMS.
 
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