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This is the second time I've seen a neck brace on a tenor.

http://cgi.ebay.com/King-Super-20-T...9QQihZ013QQcategoryZ16234QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

The first time was on Kirk Whalums horn. He said it made a difference in the way it played. More responsive. I've considered doing it to a Chicago B&S I have to see what it did.

Any other serious mods to try? I don't want to put anything on the metal. Part of the fun of this horn is I can polish certain parts and change the look of it periodically. Now it has a shiny bell and the keys are dull.

I'm not worried about keeping the B&S totally original. It's factory unlacquered, great horn, and I want to experiment on it. I have a really good tech so any mods will be done right. I was also going to replace the plastic, left hand thumb rest with a metal one and replace the strap hook with a "U" shaped one (it just feels sturdier), and move it over to the left a bit so the horn hangs better on me. It already has a metal thumb rest for the right hand. From my own experience, the metal transmits the energy into my thumbs more efficiently, which I like.

Nothing electronic. I'm not going to do it all at once, and I may remove some of the mods after I see what they do. It already has the factory, non-stick G# key which works pretty well.

I don't want to do anything I can't reverse.

I'll even post what I feel about the mods as I do them.
 

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I thought the idea of a brace was to keep the neck from pulling down? I guess I could see how adding mass could make the sax resonate more, at least from the players perspective.

In my tenors I have changed the location of the strap hook so the sax doesn't bust me in the mouth, and will be replacing the RH thumbhook with a more comfortable adjustable one and adding a G# no stick mechanism in the near future. Other than that I've been toying with the idea to add some adjustment screws to the G# bridge and A keys and adding a custom octave key to the neck.

I plan on eventually doing a full on custom project involving all of the above plus some custom key mods. Underslung octave, custom bell brace, double ribs on the low C and custom fabricated palm, side and pinky keys. Might even turn the bell to the left ala a dolnet M70.:D These would of course non reversible mods.
 

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A lot of the earlier Kings had fairly elaborate braces on the necks, e.g.
http://www.shmuelyosef.com/Saxophones/Zephyr_281xxx/Details.jpg.

The one that Saxquest is selling has an aftermarket brace...if I look carefully, I can convince myself that this neck was pulled down and straightened. This always leaves the neck weak and an added brace prevents recurrence. King added a brace to the silver necks again after discontinuing the brace briefly on the early S20s.
 

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It is well known in the brass community that the position of braces on the leadpipes of trumpets can have an noticeable effect on the tone and response of the instrument. I don't know if adding mass at certain places along the outer circumference of a sax neck would have similar effects since the wall material is much thicker than on a trumpet and the volume inside the bore is much larger. Who knows? Cannonball swears that putting an oval stone on the neck right above where it goes into the receiver makes a difference in the sound and response.

Please let us know what you discover as you experiment with the neck braces. This is an interesting topic.

John
 

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jbtsax said:
Cannonball swears that putting an oval stone on the neck right above where it goes into the receiver makes a difference in the sound and response.
I don't know if they are serious or not, but either way.... hahahahaha!!! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
jbtsax said:
I don't know if adding mass at certain places along the outer circumference of a sax neck would have similar effects since the wall material is much thicker than on a trumpet and the volume inside the bore is much larger. Who knows?
Kirk Whalums braces were not symmetrical. They were attached at different locations on the neck. He claimed that helped transmit the energy better and was stronger as well (not that its strength was an issue in using the brace).

I'll keep you posted on my mods.
 

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spiderjames said:
I guess I could see how adding mass could make the sax resonate more, at least from the players perspective.
I think it would be the opposite. In the world of experimental designs for brass instruments (like the heavy Monette trumpets used by Wynton Marsalis and others), the idea is that more mass increases projection. Less mass (removing all the braces on a trumpet, and using thinner, lightweight tubing) makes for a very freely vibrating instrument. That creates a very lively sound in the immediate vicinity of the player, but decreases the projection, making it more difficult to "fill the hall" with sound.
 

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griff136 said:
braces like the example shown are usually put on silver crooks to give them added strength.
Agreed.

griff136 said:
adding braces to improve the tone of the instrument is pure conjecture IMHO .
If it did improve the tone would we not see it on all selmers and yannis etc and on brass crooks?
"improve" the tone would be subjective at best. I do think that braces, or changes in the mass could "change" the tone or other characteristics. Perhaps the "changes" in tone/projection etc. made by neck braces or other mods are not seen as "improvements" by enough people for Selmer or Yani to bother with them.

I certainly make no claim of being an acoustician! :D And saxophones are a very different beast than trumpets (thank goodness). About 25 years ago when I first got to know Dave Monette (trumpet maker mentioned in earlier post), his earliest experiments in modifying Bach trumpets included removing ALL possible braces from the instrument, and dipping the bells in acid to make the metal as thin as possible. Besides ending up with a VERY fragile instrument, it made for very lively, resonant horns, and many local players (jazz and classical) were very excited about playing them.

Then a few years later Dave had an epiphany and decided that he had been heading in the wrong direction. That's when he started making his instruments heavier and heavier, and started adding more and more brace-work. Granted, Monette's concepts are not universally embraced (so to speak) by the trumpet world, but Bach and Yamaha (and others) have started offering "heavyweight" horns in addition to traditional and "lightweight" horns.

It only makes sense to me that if we're dealing with a vibrating tube of brass (saxophone or trumpet), a change in bracing or thickness or mass or alloy would somehow affect the sound coming out of the tube. I could be wrong. It's happened before. More than once! ;)
 

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Adding mass to the neck or bridge of a guitar can improve its resonance and therefore its sustain. the idea being that once the denser materials are put into motion they will stay in motion longer due to the increase mass. A guitar body has a more direct impact on the vibration of the strings than a sax body does on the vibrating column of air. In the above example I doudt it would have any effect on hay or the other. If it is soldered well to the neck the unit would vibrate together as one.

Seems to me that if the body of the sax is vibrating too much it would be pulling some of the energy from the air column and projection would definitely decrease. On the other hand if the player is feeling the resonating sax in his hands that could be a positive thing that would affect his playing in a positive manner.
 

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spiderjames said:
Seems to me that if the body of the sax is vibrating too much it would be pulling some of the energy from the air column and projection would definitely decrease. On the other hand if the player is feeling the resonating sax in his hands that could be a positive thing that would affect his playing in a positive manner.
That's how it seems to me, too. That (I believe) is why some trumpet players don't dig the Monette trumpets: the lighter weight horns are more immediately gratifying for the player, as the horn freely vibrates and the sound fills the area around the player (perfectly usable if you play in a situation where you are always miked, either in the studio or on a rock/pop gig). I don't know the stats, but I'm guessing that the majority of players using Monette's heavy horns are playing in "acoustic" settings, like an orchestra playing in a hall. They're willing to trade a little of that immediacy for better projection. Different strokes for different folks. And different tools for different jobs.
 
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