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Discussion Starter #1
I've played on and owned a number of saxes (of various sizes) that have had brass "sleeves" between 1-2cm in length soldered onto the interior of the (corked) mouthpiece end of the neck, and I've always wondered what exactly these were meant to do.

My hypothesis has been that they were meant to correct intonation--most likely the octave relationships of short-tube notes--but if that's so, why not simply change the shape/taper of the neck itself?

In nearly all cases, I'm pretty sure that these inserts were inserted as part of the manufacturing process (i.e., not added later). Unless the manufacturers are adding these to specific horns on an individual basis (which seems unlikely), why wouldn't they just change the neck taper during the neck forming process?
 

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Well, there's the exterior reinforcing ring on most horns, then there is the 'bushing' installed in many soprano necks for intonation purposes - other than that, I'm not aware of any 'sleeves'.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, there's the exterior reinforcing ring on most horns, then there is the 'bushing' installed in many soprano necks for intonation purposes - other than that, I'm not aware of any 'sleeves'.
It's this "bushing" that I'm referring to, though I've seen it on tenors and altos (one of mine has one) as well as on sopranos.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's a (usually metal) sleeve or lining for a hole of some sort, usually used as a bearing or insulating surface.

The fact that this isn't clear (and that the inserts I'm asking about don't actually act as a bearing), is why I simply described it as a brass sleeve insert. With regard to my question, it's simply a brass sleeve that is soldered (snugly) within the mouthpiece end of the neck.

The edge of the sleeve is typically between 0.5-1.0 mm thick, and the length of the sleeve (i.e., how far it protrudes into the bore of the neck) is about 1-2cm.
 

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Are you sure these haven't been installed to increase the length of the neck?

Have these all come from a similar part of the country? Maybe there's a technician who does this as an "enhancement" - like Emilio's red pads and sticker.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Are you sure these haven't been installed to increase the length of the neck?

... Maybe there's a technician who does this as an "enhancement" - like Emilio's red pads and sticker.
Yes, I'm sure.

First, they don't increase the length of the neck, they just reduce its inner diameter near the mouthpiece end.

Second, I've seen these on many brand new horns that I've tried in music stores; I'm pretty confident that they are factory installed.
 

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Yes, I'm sure.

First, they don't increase the length of the neck, they just reduce its inner diameter near the mouthpiece end.

Second, I've seen these on many brand new horns that I've tried in music stores; I'm pretty confident that they are factory installed.
Have these all been on a particular brand of horn, or are you seeing them across brands?
 

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I had a brass sleeve fitted in the neck of an R+C R1 Jazz tenor at the tip. The neck took enormous wind to blow and was untenable at the bottom end for all but the hardest blowers who tried it. Les Arbuckle fit the sleeve and it solved the problem.
 

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I've played on and owned a number of saxes (of various sizes) that have had brass "sleeves" between 1-2cm in length soldered onto the interior of the (corked) mouthpiece end of the neck, and I've always wondered what exactly these were meant to do.
?
These like those spiral threaded neck inserts that are supposed to stabilise the airflow or whatever?
Many of them are meant to extract money from the pockets of impressionable sax players looking for a quick fix in place of hard work and practice. Many such brass devices exist, not all are inserted into the neck.
 

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There is also the Neck Enhancer sold by Music Medic. The acoustics claims are a unsupported by scientific testing and are a bit dubious to say the least. I would be interested to know which manufacturers add this to the necks of their new saxophones. I have seen a few sopranos with a taper inside the entrance of the neck, but that is how they were made at the factory and not an "add on" of some type.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Many of them are meant to extract money from the pockets of impressionable sax players looking for a quick fix in place of hard work and practice. Many such brass devices exist, not all are inserted into the neck.
I don't think this makes sense in this case, since I'm talking about factory-installed inserts and most players (apparently) aren't even aware of them. This isn't the sort of thing that manufacturers advertise.

Have these all been on a particular brand of horn, or are you seeing them across brands?
I've seen these on a variety of different horns but I don't remember exactly which did and did not have them. These are very common.

On my own horns, I've seen them on Winston and Antigua sopranos, as well as on a Keilwerth Toneking alto. However, they are absent on my JK SX90/SX90R soprano and tenor, as well as on my Selmer USA Alto.

These are most noticeable and easiest to see on straight sopranos with removable necks, because you can see the step in the bore that they create by looking into the tenon end of the neck. They are a bit less obvious on altos and tenors, especially when the neck also has one of the "reinforcing neck rings" that 1saxman mentioned, but you should still be able to see the step created in the bore by appropriately angling the neck while peering into the mouthpiece end of it.
 

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On my own horns, I've seen them on a Winston and Antigua sopranos, as well as on a Keilwerth Toneking alto. However, they are absent on my JK SX90/SX90R soprano and tenor, as well as on my Selmer USA Alto.
That's quite a breadth of manufacturers. Thank you.

My best guess is that it is to strengthen a vulnerable region, and is compensated for by taper adjustments. It would be interesting to see how it correlates to the thickness and relative hardness of the neck material. If they were having forming problems, or failures in use, it would make sense to beef up that area.

Or it may have been an acoustic correction.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have seen a few sopranos with a taper inside the entrance of the neck, but that is how they were made at the factory and not an "add on" of some type.
I'm pretty sure that this is exactly what I'm talking about. As I've repeated several times, I'm not describing an add-on, but a sleeve that is soldered or brazed in at the factory. Moreover, they appear in other saxes (besides sopranos) as well, it's just that they are not as noticeable in those other horns.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I had a brass sleeve fitted in the neck of an R+C R1 Jazz tenor at the tip. The neck took enormous wind to blow and was untenable at the bottom end for all but the hardest blowers who tried it. Les Arbuckle fit the sleeve and it solved the problem.
So, mechanically, was this meant to solve a mouthpiece/neck impedance problem, or what? Did Les mention why he thought the sleeve would make a difference?
 

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Sleeves are common on most sopranos I've seen. They fix octave spread by reducing the bore more than a gentle taper would, while keeping the outside diameter consistent such that a standard cork will still accommodate a standard mouthpiece.
Pitch, response, and tone are further affected depending on the sleeve length, inside diameter, and open-end taper (or lack thereof).

View attachment 249234
 

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I use the term 'bushing' as a sleeve that really doesn't have a mechanical function - in mechanics they usually keep certain parts separate or are used to change diameters in a way, which is what we see here. On sopranos, they usually replace the normal neck-end reinforcement ring which traditionally has been attached to the exterior of the neck. So although the internal sleeve replaces the reinforcement, reinforcement is not why the sleeve is used - its just convenient to combine the functions in the one piece. Its function is to modify how the soprano plays. Sleeves in other necks are not known to me. I'd say if you've seen them in a non-soprano they are aftermarket.
 

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So, mechanically, was this meant to solve a mouthpiece/neck impedance problem, or what? Did Les mention why he thought the sleeve would make a difference?
The tip diameter was just too large for most players so it could not be blown efficiently. It was original but not a good design in my opinion, I had one honker friend who was comfortable on it but several other guys agreed with me, it needed more resistance. Les suggested the sleeve as reducing the diameter and allowing for an easier response and it worked very well.
 
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