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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a new old Buffet Crampon (Dynaction) low A bari and have been messing around with key heights and stuff to make it play like I want, and was trying to address the age-old bari issue of the weak/flat low B and Bb to get the most out of the horn. Now of course, there's a limiting point at which the openness of the key stops making a difference, and you're going to get what you're going to get no matter how open the key, but I found that point to be farther than is allowed with the key guards in place, even with the felts removed completely. When I took the bottom 2 keyguards off, I'm able to get just slightly but noticeably more out of those notes. I left the guard covering the B key attached because the low C and C# seem to already be getting maximum venting whether the guard is on or off.

Does anybody ever do this, or am I completely nuts? Have I just been spoiled by playing Bueschers (alto/tenor/bari) with rear-facing bell keys and no guards that I've grown used to the sound of opening to ridiculous heights?
 

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Well, I would suggest playing lots of long tones and interval exercises and learning how to manage the notes in question. Every single instrument has some "wonky" notes and it's your job to learn how to make them consistent with the others. I very much doubt that a high quality instrument like your Buffet baritone needs its fundamental design changed.
 

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The general "rule of thumb" is that a key opening of more than 30% of the diameter of the tonehole has no increased effect upon the venting or intonation. This roughly corresponds with the "end correction" of the note that radiates from that tonehole.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm not sure what you mean by "end correction," but that is an interesting stat about the 30%. I measured the bottom two toneholes compared to the key openings, and the openings are not even up to that 30% mark with the way I have them now, they're about 1-2 mm short. As they are now, they play very well in tune without any embouchure/voicing adjustment, so it seems to me that the "fundamental design" of the horn has them under-vented as a trade-off for having them guarded. Or maybe mouthpiece could have something to do with it, I mean I am using a modern mouthpiece (Barkley Hybrid Jazz) on a vintage horn so maybe it would be better in its natural state with an older piece, I don't know. In any case, Dr. G, you might say I'm "going for the tone".....and turf3, here's some long tones forya ;-P

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F05YfUA4Hcg
 

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Well, if you're determined, I would simply raise up the key guards; get some little pieces of brass and drill two holes in each, using them to raise up the mounting points of the key guards. This way you still have protection for the keys, and you can reinstall the felts and have something controlling the "up" position.
 

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In a related topic, when I get a horn in, I make sure the low C and the low Eb keys have only the thinnest bit of felt on the key guards so that the keys can open way up. For me this opens up the sound and I’ve been doing it this way forever.
I’ve never done it on the low B and Bb keys, but I would certainly say go for it and see what happens. If everything is in tune and you like it better, do it your way.
 

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Listen to me. You are barking up the wrong tree.

If you set the horn up with perfect adjustment, great pads, tone holes and everything else and your bell notes are still stuffy, you need to have the horn disassembled and check the bell-to-bow and bow-to-body braces. Almost guarantee you have major leaks under these places. You need to solder with a good solid bead all around and reassemble. Another weak spot could be the neck receiver. Make sure the neck fits perfectly AND snugly with no play. I also had a new neck receiver fabricated on a lathe. After MANY years of struggling with my old low A Conn DHJ Mod Bari, did this and it solved the problem Damn thing plays effortlessly down to low A now. Thank God I went to Charles Gray, the Sax Whisperer himself, for a 2nd opinion. He Da Man!
 
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