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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I'd like to think I'm a (reasonably) seasoned player, but I'm having some big issues with tuning since my trumpet buddy has bought a new horn and as you can imagine it's driving me absolutely mad.

I play most of the time in a section with said trumpeter, and 'till now we've been ok tuning-wise. He recently bought a Taylor Custom and it's pitch has been BANG on and loud too. Only trouble is, it seems like my upper and lower registers have become sharp while my mid range is flat. Sometimes, especially when playing in C# and Eb my tuning is all over the place and it's doing my head in. Gigs and rehearsals are loud, like crazy loud and whilst IEM's have helped a little I still find I'm blowing as hard as possible to get some feedback over the rest of the funk leviathan.

I've been experimenting a bit with mouthpieces over the past 6 months to try and get more volume to match the trumpet which may have something to do with it and I've gone from 2.5 Vandoren ZZ's on a 6* Lawton to using 2 Vandoren V16s on a C* Selmer Jazz one all on my Series II Tenor sax.

The low register used to be really tough to get to speak and now that's improved with the lighter reed, but the top end is very thin and sometimes doesn't come out so well. I also think my tone has suffered greatly. Also, I've noticed my tuning is now pretty off on my other horns, sop, alto and bari to a lesser extent.

Can anyone suggest some solutions, exercises that might help, or some way of testing if it's partly the horn to blame? I'm about ready to quit!

I'd really appreciate a hand,

Dan
 

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More than likely it's not a problem with your sax. Tell your trumpet playing buddy that you're happy as crap that he's got a new horn, but he has to pull it in a little.
Trying to compete with a 'balls to the wall' trumpet player is NOT going to help you with intonation, tone quality, or your hearing. :)
 

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I'm not surprised that your intonation is wonk and your upper end pitches are thin - that's a way-light set up, especially if you are trying to play LOUD.

How did you arrive at that not-so-happy place?
 

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It doesn't sound wise to me to change your playing habits because your pal has changed his horn... he is probably playing way too loud for the section to work so -I think- it's his job to improve his playing.

Said that: your setup looks like it's too light for your needs, as Dr G pointed.
 

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Agree with all above comments. To rehearse at ear splitting volume is madness in itself ---the tpt man has ego problems and seems childish. SA80's have no serious intonation problems, and are very versatile horns. Playing a Selmer C* m/p in such a setting is also a complete waste of time--it is not 'the right tool for the job' --the Lawton would be my choice or, a good Berg or Dukoff.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys,

As far as Captain Trumpet goes, he's not trying to be flash I don't think, it's just a way way louder than he's used to but, being funk everyone loves his new LOUD sound grrrr. To be honest we're all trying to match the drummer but I've had words in the past to no effect hence going IEM! I've had gigs where the vocal monitor is so loud the vibrations when he gives it stacks in choruses are making my reed cut out and buzz. Absolutely mad.

I didn't think it was the horn's fault either, I'd figured user error but I've swung back and forth every year or so from Lawton 6* to Vandoren ebonite C* to Selmer C* on differing reeds as I'm really in the dark about the 'right' setup for me and after a few weeks of bliss after the change I'd find my playing going to pot. I just felt like my tone was too thin or my low notes/high notes weren't speaking very well and I was getting a lot of split notes with thicker reeds. Spoke to some of the local colour, and it seemed a lot of the players around my way are on 1.5's to 2's and this shocked me so I thought I'd give it a whack. It did stop me splitting notes but something hasn't felt right since.

I play funk, jazz and classical and I find the lower volumes of jazz and classic do improve things but I still feel like I'm on a tonal tightrope at the moment. Any tips on getting comfortable with stronger reeds? I always feel like I'm blowing a damned tree trunk above 2.5 and I guess that's just me not putting in the hours on the long tones?

I really appreciate the knowledge!
 

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If you're willing to 'sacrifice' a couple of harder reeds you can try to do a little 'tweaking'.
Take one of the 'harder' ones and do a bit of sanding at the top of the heart just behind the tip. Then sand a little on both sides of the heart. The sanded area will resemble an upside down V. Sand a little, test, sand more if needed, test, repeat if necessary.
This will make the reed a bit more responsive and not sacrifice too much of it's ability to stand up to loud playing.
I use 1000 grit wet/dry for sanding reeds.
 
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