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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

So I bought an RPC 80B a while ago, to be used on my Cannonball BBSS alto.

The thing is I just cannot play it in tune for long. I use ZZ 2.5 reeds on it. It's very very free blowing mpc, but checked against the tuner every note is about 25% sharp (well when I say 'every'....from low G down they are pretty much okay).

I tried pulling out, but even if it's hanging at the edge of the neck it's still pretty sharp, and low notes start to suffer. I tried loosen up the jaw, but just can't bring it down even when my lips start to leak air; tried open throat more, while it seemed to help, the tone sound dull and lifeless. What's confusing me more, is that my internal "pitch" seemed to move up: I think it sound lifely and brilliant enough, when actually I'm playing sharp.

My writing looks as confusing as my mind is now. :faceinpalm:
Can anyone provide some methods or direction to help me identify the problem?

Thanks!
 

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Have you been able to play this Cannonball alto reasonably in tune with a different mouthpiece ?

Some mouthpieces just don't match some horns very well. But also, some people just don't match some horns very well - I have a lot of trouble playing in tune on Keilwerth and Mauriat altos, but I play in tune on Selmer, Yanagisawa, Walstein and Buffet. And for me, that happens with a whole range of different mouthpieces, from classical to really high baffle pieces.

A couple of suggestions for you:
1. Tune up on more than just one note on the horn and try to make the tuning position on the cork the best compromise to get the horn pretty much in tune everywhere. It might be a little sharp in places and a little flat in others, but that's OK.
2. Don't get obsessed by looking at the tuner. Once you have tuned up, put the tuner away and then play with other instruments or backing tracks or just listening to intervals on your own horn, to try to tune with your ear rather than your eyes.
3. It can take some time to adjust to a new mouthpiece, but this process is much harder if you are swapping back and forth with different pieces.
4. Could you move up in reed strength a bit ? A harder reed should help with intonation, and if the mouthpiece is as free blowing as you say, then it could be time for a change.

Good luck

Rhys
 

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1. What mouthpiece (brand, model, and tip opening) were you playing on this sax before you got the RPC 80B?
2. What reeds were you using with the previous mouthpiece?
3. What results did you see on your tuner, when using the previous mouthpiece and reed combination?

I am wondering if the new RPC mouthpiece might have a larger tip opening, and wondering if you might be biting now when playing on the RPC.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies, guys.

Before the RPC I've been using a stock Meyer RC with ZZ 2.5 reeds and intonation is pretty much accurate on the CBall, with tendency to be sharp 5% at palm keys. I had played a Brilhart Tonalin 4, a Brancher J19 and a Link STM 6* on it and they have to problem. I had briefly tested high baffled pieces on it, but none so far gave me the headache.

I think I may be biting because the same pressue I apply on Meyer will be too much on RPC. RPC is much less resistant than Meyer. Be it facing error/ chamber design/ tip opening, I don't know. I loosen up a bit when playing the RPC, but it doesn't help...maybe I'm still not relax enough. I don't feel any pain in my lips though.

As for reeds I can try moving up to ZZ3. Briefly tried it on RPC and didn't like it, but then it could be the reeds are not good. Those ZZ3s are old.

The last bit about tuning by ear is the most frustrating part. When playing along with background music I can adjust more (still not spot-on), but when I play it alone it's plain 25% sharp. I kinda feel like I hit the sweet spot, as if my internal ear is tuned -- and it's sharp. On tenor/soprano, I have in-tune "sweet spots".

I can do some more test tomorrow night, will post an update if I find sth.

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
For an update...last night I tested with a ZZ3 which was kept in a reed case for "gig" purpose and it plays very good on the RPC. Same brilliant sound.

And I found the mpc to "slide" slightly onto the neck when I play, that's because I sanded down the neck cork quite a bit to accomodate for a Brilly. The RPC is now too loose on the neck cork. I can tell that 5 minutes into playing, the mpc would be pushed into the neck more than it should be. Wrapped some paper towel on the cork and the mpc stays tuned, intonation is much more accurate (save for its larger tip allows more flexible intonation-wise).

Thanks again to all of your help.

ps...I wonder if this thread should be in "Alto Mpc" subforum instead of "Tone Producing". Would moderators please help? Thanks.
 
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