Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so i got the desired sba alto and i like it a lot, it is a joy to play except for intonation which i think it has to be tamed and worked on a longer period of time.
By now it is clear that lower notes are so sharp that they have to be lipped down as much as i can. For the rest of the horn first octave is almost ok, a bit flat on some notes. Second octave goes sharp again. I think that i could begin working my ear, embouchure, air support... until i feel more tuned with it. but i was thinking of any kind of help from experienced players here regarding mouthpieces, intonation training, tone hole mods(crescents), and what you think could be useful.
I lowered the height of the bell pads as much as i can to try to lower those notes but still sharp. Also put a cork inside the bell and seems to work but it dampened the sound a bit, and that´s not desirable on those horns i think, cause they already sound "smaller" than mark vis. Also i think using some alternative fingerings for lowering or sharpening as well as stabilizing some notes would be appropriate but again, i have no classical studies and i am not used to those fingerings.
As for mouthpieces i have two tonalins and some meyers. I am preferring the tonalin with the smaller tip opening, like .070.

Thanks for helping.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
40,795 Posts

·
Moderator
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
29,876 Posts
You are not the first person to have intonation problems with a SBA ( although there are also folks who didn’t )
I am very happy with the intonation on my SBA, but have had issues with BAs and MKVIs in the past so I don't think it's a general assumption.

I hate all the stuff with crescents, key heights and corks though, whenever I've tried that on a horn you fix one thing and break another. I would try different mouthpieces.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
40,795 Posts
I don’t like it either but OP has now changed so much already that it would be really difficult to know what is doing what. I was going to suggest to bring back the whole thing to 0 and play it “ as is” for a while, until he got used to it.

Frankly speaking the Music Medic solution seems to me way overcomplicating a problem that in general is not really that big to justify the immense amount of work which Curt seems to be putting in these things.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
29,876 Posts
I don’t like it either but OP has now changed so much already that it would be really difficult to know what is doing what. I was going to suggest to bring back the whole thing to 0 and play it “ as is” for a while, until he got used to it.

Frankly speaking the Music Medic solution seems to me way overcomplicating a problem that in general is not really that big to justify the immense amount of work which Curt seems to be putting in these things.

I've spoken to Curt about various tuning methods. I had an issue with my Buescher alto, and fixed it by using a Chinese neck that had a slightly smaller bore. He mentioned that making the bore narrower on Buescher altos is what he sometimes does. However I'd rather do it by finding a neck that works rather than messing with the original.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
My SBA Alto has no intonation issues. I am using a MK VI neck. Hope you work out your problem and enjoy a great horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
40,795 Posts
I truly believe that many intonation problems reported by new buyers of any given horn are largely due to the adjusting process that takes place when changing something radical.

Sometimes when I lay off playing for a while when returning to tenor my main instrument (let alone the soprano that gets played little these days) I experience intonation issues which disappear (changing nothing) as I re-get used to my horn.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
The crescents work and that's a fact.....like it or not. As far as "complexity" regarding them, it's not rocket science. I have a crescent on my low B tone hole on my Super tenor. Works like magic. I will say that if the tuning/intonation problems run more than 2 or 3 notes, I'd agree it's probably a bigger issue and more with the player and/or mouthpiece than the horn.

John
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
481 Posts
By now it is clear that lower notes are so sharp that they have to be lipped down as much as i can. For the rest of the horn first octave is almost ok, a bit flat on some notes. Second octave goes sharp again.
Experiment with mouthpiece position. If your first octave is flat try putting the mouthpiece further on the cork, allowing the 2nd octave to blow sharp- then you can work on embouchhure and airstream and you might find those two things are what is really causing problems. You can then practice reigning in the 2nd octave and you will be able to focus on the base issues. Assuming the horn is set up well of course. I think crescents are likely jumping the gun, and if you are using crescents to adjust for a problem that is technique based it's not a path to success.
Have your horn checked and get LH first octave B/A/C etc in tune and then apply hard work. Often it's a mistake to look to the horn to play in tune, usually, unfortunately, intonation is down to the player. But a working horn helps of course. Hope that's useful to you. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks friends,
i keep practicing. Of course could be me being the cause of bad intonation, at least sometimes. I know i have to work on supporting my air breath. When my best, i can manage second octave sharpness. However i can't deny that there is a flexibility in pitch on the horn itself. I have to be really careful. The low notes seem to be the least workable ones, i am thinking about opening pad heights and then put some crescent.
As for mouthpieces i don´t know what kind of piece will work best. I have a ny meyer, an eb meyer and two tonalins. The tonalins give me better intonation, don't know why.
Tomorrow i have a duo gig with a pianist and maybe i take the sba and record something to check later.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' bit of clarinet
Joined
·
7,425 Posts
…put a cork inside the bell and seems to work but it dampened the sound a bit,…
Putting a cork in the bow is not usually for intonation. Players do that so they can play low B and Bb without the note cracking or gurgling. And if the sound is dampened, use a smaller cork or cut yours in half (the length).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Putting a cork in the bow is not usually for intonation. Players do that so they can play low B and Bb without the note cracking or gurgling. And if the sound is dampened, use a smaller cork or cut yours in half (the length).
I tried two corks, the bigger one improved intonation there, maybe it was too big! Both made easier to hit the notes of course.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
3,409 Posts
I bet if you used a mouthpiece (Selmer)from the era it was made, 'airflow' or 'soloist' the tuning would be fine .......just a thought. The thing is people hanker after vintage horns, Selmer especially without really being aware of what was required or desirable musically when they were made.
Remember ,manufacturers make things for 'the here and now' not 50 or 60 years into the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I bet if you used a mouthpiece (Selmer)from the era it was made, 'airflow' or 'soloist' the tuning would be fine .......just a thought. The thing is people hanker after vintage horns, Selmer especially without really being aware of what was required or desirable musically when they were made.
Remember ,manufacturers make things for 'the here and now' not 50 or 60 years into the future.
Hope this does not end on another long mouthpiece hunting, i have been a victim of serious G.A.S.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
199 Posts
The issue may be in the placement of the bell keys. The distance from the bow isn't great enough in some of the early SBAs. I agree with Milandro. Bring it back to zero and work on those notes with guide tones.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
29,876 Posts
The crescents work and that's a fact.....like it or not.
Crescents will of course work if the tone holes on the saxophone are i the wrong place or are the wrong size, ie there is something wrong acoustically. Bt more often than not I have found them to not be so good when the horn itself is fine, but to cure a mouthpiece mismatch. For example a crescent in the low C hole, to brin down the pitch of a D2 will have the adverse effect of making D1 flat and/or stuffy. They often do work well on palm keys though (but so does key height adjustment)


I believe the Powell Silver Eagle was based on a king, but with toneholes moved presumably to counteract an inherent acoustic design fault.

Perhaps the SBA was discontinued and replaced by the MKVI in an attempt to solve a non perfect acoustic design. If so I find it odd that my SBA alto has better intonation than most MKVIs I've played/owned.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician
Joined
·
1,575 Posts
Stop using an electronic tuner. I won't bore anyone with what I've already written about this, but if you want to know, do a search.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
117 Posts
I have a very late sba. 54,xxx late. D1 and up are as in time as I'd like them to be. I have no issues that stand out to me. In fact plays as well in tune, if not better, as my yamaha 62 that I played for years. BUT, C and below are very far out. So much so that if reasonably perfect intonation is required playing in wind band settings I lay out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
990 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yesterday i took it with me for a duo with a pianist, i could not record the session cause arrived with so much little time. Just mount the sax and play. Have to say that i enjoyed the playing a lot, listened carefully the best i can and played a lot of notes held and almost everything sounded nice. I must admit that i need more training regarding tuning( i am playing and tuning a lot with drones lately) I asked also the piano player and he did not notice any intonation issue. I am going to record at home when returning my holidays. Of course low notes from D1 down are sharp and they have to be lipped as much as possible and supporting them like hell. D1 not so much but Bb is hell.
So there´s a lot of work for me until i feel confident on my playing. The sax can play fine, but its flexibility can be a trap for me when i am unsure of hitting notes in tune.
Another player recommended me a big chamber piece too, could this help apart from training myself as much as i can?
 

·
Moderator
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
29,876 Posts
Another player recommended me a big chamber piece too, could this help apart from training myself as much as i can?


It might. It might not. I would not spend money purely base on a recommendation, unless I was prepared for some inevitable trial and error.

Even then, you may get the perfect mouthpiece but not realise it immediately as often different mouthpieces need getting used to in order to maximise their potential. I wish I could offer something positive and infallibe bu if someone does you are best to use a pinch or two of salt.



I did have issues initially with my SBA, and sorted them out via mouthpiece, but I'd hate to say that what worked for me will work for you. Saxophones (especially vintage instruments) are different form each other, as are players.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top