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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #1
I have an issue with G# just above the Staff on Tenor. When I jump to it from anything in the Palm keys it cracks the harmonic.

I am certain that it has to do with the fact that it is the 1st note to be played using the Body's octave Pip - and thus being the one furthest from a perfect acoustic placement of that peticular pip.

Now, I can solve the issue by voicing it differently, however I was wondering if anybody had a mechanical solution to this issue.

The obvious one is to move the pip -and... um..... I dont see that happening anytime soon.

Who has other ideas or proven solutions?

Thanks,
Charlie
 

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What do you mean when you say "it cracks the harmonic"? Do you get the D# above the high G# or does the G# sound the octave below as a multiphonic? Also does this happen at all dynamic levels or just when playing very loudly? Thanks.


John
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #4
Pip is clean - and yes it cracks to the D# above G#. It happens with the slightest of change in voicing. A is more Stable - and as you go down - it becomes more stable again.

Charlie
 

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You're certain that the upper pip is seating quickly and properly when you make the transition from it to the body pip? And you're certain that the palm keys seat immediately? Forgive me for such questions but I know on my old Buescher pre True Tone I was tormented for years only to discover that the D palm sealed perfectly under the palm keys spring- but did so only after a half second or so. It'd contact the tonehole slightly irregularly and leave a hairline leak for a fraction of a second before settling in. This led to similar issues with cracking when going down but not when playing under other circumstances and caused me no end of aggravation. Leaklights only revealed it when I specfically let it close while watching- and it olny leaked for a very very short time. Normal checking showed it perfectly closed. But that fraction of a second was enough. Analogous to the "if I can make it seal by really tightly gripping the pearl does that count as a leak?" on a normal stack key but a little more insidious.
 

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What interests me when issues such as this come up, is that I have serviced a wide range of models of sax. I play test them when I have finished the work. On sax I am self taught, and have significant playing and pit performance experience, but not a particularly accomplished player.

Yet I have never encountered such problems as the one described.

So I am inclined to believe that the problem is either due to a leak, perhaps as suggested above, or the player (embouchure, mouth cavity, &/or breath pressure), rather than the placement of an octave vent.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #7
Trust me - The horn is tight. I know as a repair tech myself that it is easy to look at this situation and say - he's wrong, he's missing a leak or his embrosure is messed up or similar. Believe me or not - I can subtone down to Low Bb - Neck is tight - everything is sealing.

I dont know if this will mean anything to credit my abilities - I just did a complete overhaul on Dr. David Wright's Transitional Conn Alto. Long story short he was blown away and claimed that it never was so quiet and easiy to play. I know painstaking pad jobs.

I thought at 1st that it cracked the moment when I start to switch fingerings and that fracton of a moment when both vents are open at the same time. I closed up that octave action - and no dice - I can start the G# and voice the harmonic easily - too easily for my taste. (as well as everything lower - but not to the same degree as the G#)

I can play the horn fine as is. This is just a tendency. I have a former student with the same horn with the same problem. Another friend (pro player) has the same problem playing my horn (and my former student's).

This can be solved with voicing and thats how I am getting around it.

Let me explain the issue another way. Imagine playing the overtone series. Have you ever experienced one horn speakes the series easier than another? Well - from Octave A up the overtones are in a comfortable place - and from Octave G# down they will jump to the next overtone extremly easily.

Maybe I should change around how I am looking at this.

What mechanical factors determine how easily a overtone is produced - all things equal. Meaning - no leaks - why will one instrument produce an overtone easier than another? I think My answer lies somewhere there.

C
 

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I find it odd that you haven't mentioned the make or model of the horn...there is certainly a wealth of information available here about specific models and their quirks...
 

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Take a thin flat spring that is tapered (almost all of them are). The narrow end of the flat spring should be narrower than the inner diameter of the body octave key tube. The wide end of the flat spring should be at least as wide as the tube's inner diameter. The spring should be straight, not curved. Cut a length of the flat spring about 1/4" long, wide enough to go entirely into the octave tube and wedge itself just below the top of the hole.

Re-install the octave mechanism. If it doesn't improve the problem, get rid of it!

Alternately, use a cork pad on the lower octave key. Insert a short (1/4", maybe slightly longer) point from a needle spring throught the pad so that the pad, when installed, has a short needle protruding into the octave tube, even when the pad is open all the way. If this doesn't work, get rid of it!

The easiest solution is to use a softer reed, a looser embouchre, and more air.

My MYSPACE site:

http://www.myspace.com/saxpsychosis
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
What interests me when issues such as this come up, is that I have serviced a wide range of models of sax. I play test them when I have finished the work. On sax I am self taught, and have significant playing and pit performance experience, but not a particularly accomplished player.

Yet I have never encountered such problems as the one described.

So I am inclined to believe that the problem is either due to a leak, perhaps as suggested above, or the player (embouchure, mouth cavity, &/or breath pressure), rather than the placement of an octave vent.
Gordon, maybe you'd be surprised how some problems don't bother some and very disturbing to others. For example problems related to octave tube are like this. I had a very obvious problem on my bass clarinet, and enlarging the register tube hole fixed it, and other professional players playing the same model agreed about the problem, but some don't even agree there is a problem! What you play is important, for example, I don't think orchestral players would notice the problem I had because I don't think it exists much if at all in orchestral music.

For the problem described by the first poster - It sounds more like a problem in playing that you just need to overcome. Unless, you also notice a problem with the second octave G# also when jumping to it from low notes? If you do, I recommend to try Curt Altarac's pentyhose method (a friend of mine tried to change size and location of the hole and it didn't really help much). If you don't, then you can still try the pentyhose method, it can't hurt, but most likely it is just something that you will improve by practicing. I'm just saying based on my own experience with influence of size and location of octave/register tube on some notes in specific ways of playing. I've never actually noticed the exact problem you describe on any instrument, so it could be something that I don't know.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #11
Saxtec - You may be on to something. A very well respected Repair Tec Mentor of mine had the same suggestion of a wedge in the pip. So far thats the kind of thinking I am been looking for. I like the cork pad / Spring Idea as well. I will let you know of the results.

Shmuelyosef - You are very observant on my lack of horn Make and model. I have learned the hard way that in a situation like this - providing that kind of info only leads to people posting opinions and not facts about what they think. All horns are brass tubes with holes and pads - This is a question that doesnt need that info - it's an acoustic question.

clarnibass - again I will say I am able to solve the problem by voicing and overcoming it is not an issue - it's done - I am just looking for a way to stablize out that note. I saw Curt's pantyhose method - but thats more for sound comming out the pip. I may still try it anyhow. I actually have an e-mail into Curt and am awating his answer on this subject.

I'll keep you all posted - Thanks for the responces.

Charlie
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter #12
UPDATE!!!!

So taking the wedge idea - and quickly realizing I can fire up the lathe and make a rod with a slight taper and a hole through it for an insert easier than a wedge (just because its so tiny) - That is what i did.

I would say 70% of my issue is solved which I think I will stop for now at and give it a gig test tonight.

Saxtec - you Da Man (at least on weekends :) )

Thanks!!!!
Charlie
 

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I would like to know the make and vintage of the sax so that if one ever comes across my bench, I can watch for that problem, and try the solution you found.

My limited understanding of acoustics has me believe that the internal "geometry" of the saxophone determines the strengths and weakness of the harmonics of each note produced. Whenever a higher harmonic becomes stronger than the next lower one, conditions like you describe or warbling can occur.

When the body octave key works properly, opening the vent disrupts the low G# soundwave causing it to weaken so that the stronger first harmonic high G# can take over. In your case, it sounds as if the fundamental low G# is disrupted in such a way as to cause the second harmonic D# to be equal to or slightly stronger that the first harmonic. This causes the high D# to want to sound unless the player "coaxes" the G# out by adjusting the voicing. Perhaps Toby can shed more light on the subject or tell me that I'm wrong.:)

John
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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I thought the pantyhose trick was supposed to have the same effect as the wedge.

What seems odd to me is that both tricks seem to have been used to 'solve' some rather different problems. Dare I say it... it makes me give a little time to wondering about the placebo effect.
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
I thought the pantyhose trick was supposed to have the same effect as the wedge.

What seems odd to me is that both tricks seem to have been used to 'solve' some rather different problems. Dare I say it... it makes me give a little time to wondering about the placebo effect.
I have had first hand experience with a Mark VI Tenor that had a very airy sounding high A that was fixed using the "panty hose trick" and the effect was dramatic. Myself and others played the sax repeatedly with and without the pip opening covered, and the note was much more clear when the pantyhose slightly restricted the air coming out of the vent.

A Yamaha YBS 61 that I repaired for a customer had a very unstable high G that was helped considerably by inserting a small teflon tube into the body octave vent thereby reducing its diameter.

I have heard of clarinet repair specialists who use the "wedge" or "splitter" in the register key vent to eliminate the "grunting" on notes in the high register. A variation of this to install a cork pad with either a needle spring or a piece of round tooth pick in the center that goes into the vent tube. I have also played a Buffet clarinet with and without this (toothpick) installed, and the difference was quite real.

I have not heard of the pantyhose and "wedge" solving the same problem in any of my "travels". Making changes inside the instrument bore, vents, and toneholes to alter the soundwave should not be confused with the more questionable practice of adding weights to the outside or freezing the brass to "improve the body's ability to resonate". :D :D :D

John
 

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John, I had the same experience. The pentyhose on a Mark VI with a weak and stuffy A fixed it a little, but enlarging the tube slightly helped even more (it wasn't a great VI in general though). Sure some is placebo, a lot of things about instruments sometimes have that, but there is no doubt that these modifications help for certain problems (also depending on the player, some wouldn't have a problem others have on the same instrument/mouthpiece).
 
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