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Discussion Starter #1
hey guys,

bought a 1928 true tone sop today and am playing an otto link 6* tone edge. im liking the tone im getting but im having intonation problems, im playing quite flat even though the mouthpiece is all the way up the cork. any advice on how to develop my soprano chops to fix this or could it be a mismatch with mouthpiece and horn. im a tenor player so i play with quite a loose embouchure, could be the problem...

any thoughts/advice are appreciated
 

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Congrats on obtaining a superb soprano. I have one (straight matte silver serial 237XXX). Many modern soprano mouthpieces are just too long for the vintage sops because of that small rib upon which the upper octave pip rests. Pieces such as the Selmer S-80, Link STMs, and Morgan Vintage (my favorite piece for soprano) need to have their barrels cut off at the bottom about 1/4" or so. I've had that done to several of my mouthpieces and they play right to pitch on my TT. The Selmer Super Sessions are the right length (at least for me), so you may want to try one of those (I use a J-facing on the SS models). Hope this helps. DAVE
 

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As I recall, the Links tend to be on the flat side and the problem may be that the inside of the chamber bottoms out on the end of the horn. I had a Conn soprano that gurggled bad down low and if the mouthpiece was in quite far the gurggle was gone BUT the horn was way sharp. I got a Link and all was fixed. See if yours is hitting the end of the horn and if it is still too flat, you may need to go to a Selmer, Vandoren or other.
 

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I'm no expert, but you might ask Joe at "Soprano Planet". I'll bet he has some good advice.
 

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A buddy of mine purchased a True Tone soprano right around the same age as yours a few years back from a reputable dealer. The thing just played flat no matter what mouthpiece you tried with it. I could barely get it in tune myself cramming a mouthpiece all the way in and playing very tight, but it was no way to enjoy a horn. The dealer tried to tell my friend what mouthpiece to use, etc., etc... but on my advice he exchanged the horn for an earlier model True Tone and is still playing that second horn today with absolutely no problems whatsoever.

If you can return it, do it as soon as you are able. Some of them are just dogs.
 

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The only soprano mouthpieces I've seen that had too shallow of a barrel (meaning the neck of the saxophone bottomed out inside the mouthpiece BEFORE the horn could be brought to pitch) was Runyon . . . I have one. Most of the others (and I have a box filled with sop mouthpieces) just are too long in the barrel.

Specifically, I have two (had three) Link STM's - the metal ones - and they had to be cut down. Before the Super Sessions came to market, I had an S-80 G and a J shortened. When I got my Morgan Vintage 6 and 7, they too had to be shortened.

But once shortened, all of those came to pitch on a variety of vintage sops, including three late '20's TT straights. One old mouthpiece in my box, a Selmer hard-rubber scroll-shank, can actually slip over the rib under the upper octave vent, so if a longish soprano piece has enough inner-diameter in the barrel, it MAY be able to slip over the edge of the ribbing and still come to pitch. Otherwise, just have someone skilled with a saw cut off the bottom of your mouthpiece. Worked for me. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
so ive found that it plays remarkably in tune up til about B2 with the mouthpiece about 1mm past the cork. but the shank of the tone edge is quite long especially compared to more modern sop mouthpieces. whats the best way to bring those top notes in tune?

also im getting a bit of that nasal quality with my current set up, any advice on how to avoid it or would you just reccomend sticking with it and crap loads of long tones. after a dark tone aswell...
 

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Setting aside any "newbie" soprano embouchure concerns, I've found that some mouthpiece/reed combinations play the top notes better than others. I have a soprano (and it isn't my TT - that horn has the best high end of any of my sops) that tends to flatness on the high end. I can only affect that with a mouthpiece change. But before you start investing in mouthpieces, you may want to try different reeds, brands, strengths, and cuts to see if some play better for you than others. DAVE
 

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Tom: I use a Morgan Vintage 7 (listed at .070). I also keep a Morgan Vintage 6 (.065) and a Selmer Super Session J (listed at .069 but Joe Giardulllo recently measured two of my theree SS-J's and they measured .070 - significant? maybe . . .) in the case for circumstances that may require a brighter or more focused sound. I also prep my reeds and separate them for use on either the MV 6 or on the MV 7 and SS-J.

All three mouthpieces are the same length because I had the Morgans cut down to the same length as the SS-J. before the SS-J hit the market, I was using Selmer S-80 G and J, both cut down.

FWIW, I just bought another Morgan Vintage 7 which I will not cut down. I intend to use it on my modern sops where a shorter mouthpiece is not at issue. And for those of you who may wondering, both Morgan Vintage 7 pieces play the same - and are SWEET. DAVE
 

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I have a Buffet S1 sop that plays flat with most pieces. I have to get them less than an mm above the octave key to have a chance.

But I finally acquired an RPC that was nice and short. The mouthpiece rides about have way up the cork and it plays in tune AND has a wonderful full tone. Allowed me to get the tone out of my copper horn. I think Ron is making sop pieces again.
 

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I've seen more than one late 1920's TT soprano that actually had the foot of the top post ground off to allow the mouthpiece to slide on further. I think it is a real issue with these otherwise awesome horns. Even with this easy modification, there are some mouthpieces that are too long. I've had to take 10mm off the end of a Rico Graftonite soprano piece to get it to work on a TrueTone.

Here's a picture from saxpics.com that shows how close the top post is to the end of the horn.
 

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I have found that shortening the tube of a soprano will also make A2 and higher a lot sharper. I ends up moving the upper pip closer to the end of the horn.
 

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You have one of the best sopranos ever made in my view. I have one like yours, a late TT (mine is 1927); sometimes known as the 'series iv', with the roller G# key.

I second the Selmer Super-Session for this horn - just great!
 

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Soprano does require a tighter lip, but you ought to have another experienced soprano player try out your horn to see if it plays in tune for them. The experience I recounted above in post number 5 happened to a friend who also was new to soprano. When I tried it however... and I do have a Buescher True Tone myself... it was indeed a bum horn that was incredibly flat. Before you start chasing your tail, and buying this mouthpiece or that mouthpiece, make sure the horn is up to snuff. If not, return it if you can. That's what my friend did and the True Tone soprano he received to replace it didn't give him any such problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
i've pretty much sussed the tuning now. plays well in tune up to top C so im just working on that now. i've had 3 other people play it and none had intonation issues :)
 
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