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Discussion Starter #1
I want to give you guys a small heads up on the sharkskin technique I use inside the tone hole/chimney for increased projection and wider dynamic range.

I will in detail show and explain the technique, the theory behind and a hands on demonstration of how its applied to a surface and with what tools - on my upcoming DVD on sax repair - but since there was a bit of an interest regarding the subject I desided to show a photo of the surface and do a bit of explaining.

As you can se in the photos the surface of the tone hole is turned into a wavy shape, that spirals upwards counter clockwise.

The sharkskin surface increases the surface of the tone hole with as much as 130 % witch is return increases projection and helps the dynamic range of the tone.

We tend to think of a tone as a standing wave of a tone and its anti tone - but this is only true, if we think of a tone in 2 dimensions - witch by all means its not. A tone is a geometric shape that varies depending of the POV. How I best can describe this is: Take a recording of a Nightingale - play it back through an audiometer and you will observe geometric shapes much like the once found in human made crop circles. Do the same with recordings of a seagull and you will get nothing but static noise patterns....
If you care to se this for your self you can do another experiment. Put a metal plate over a speaker lying down and drop a pound of salt on the plate. Play some long notes and se how the sound produces shapes..... this is what I am trying to state.
So what has that got to do with a saxophone tone hole/chimney?

Well in order to produce the best possible tone with the clearest projection and the widest possible dynamic range my allegation is, that a non smooth surface produces a much better tone, gives improved projection and ads a wider dynamic range to the whole of the saxophone.

The technique dosent change the diameter of the tone hole it only waves up the surface - meaning that some points decrease the diameter and some increases the diameter - leaving the original diameter unchanged - thus having no impact on the tuning of the tone.
 

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So he spins rough-grit emery cloth inside the tone holes?

Will this work on drawn tone holes too?

And are there any recordings made before and after this procedure on the same horn with same setup and same player?
 

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Interesting indeed and not so far removed from some of Curt Alcatrac's experiments. I know for a fact that certain reso's 'shape' the sound but not always in a 'desirable' way.
Selmer's serie3 "Booster" neck does a similar thing but in my opinion adds a certain 'wildness' or raw edge to the sound.
This is not a new idea, back in the day when hot-rodding cars was the fashion, valve combustion chambers were 'gas flowed' and a blasted surface improved and enhanced gas/air mixture.
I have actually done similar things in mouthpiece chambers and Geoff Lawton and Lawrie Waldron also experimented with the 'golf ball' effect inside mouthpieces.
 

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Nuendosan, I think the roughing up of the inside of tone holes may well have an effect, because of the "boundary Layer" (consult Google) effects affecting fluid (i.e. air) flow (also teh reason why sharksin is rough for faster travel, and for the dimpled-golf-ball effect). But I cannot reconcile that well-known phenomenon with the reasons you are offering.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I know that its not a huge discovery, and a lot of you guys have done similar things to mouthpieces and sandpaper inside under vented tone holes - so I guess its just my personal technique.

Yes I have made some experiments especially on small F# side holes and some of them were ordinary drawn tone holes and it has a very noticeable improvement on the sound. The wolly chocking sound that comes from a small F# can be made to sound much clearer. I would be very cautious with the sharkskin technique in rolled tone holes because the rolled holes in them selves affect the sound a lot.

You need to apply the surface in a very specific way in order to get the right pattern - witch needs to have this spiral motion to it in order to work well. A lot of Martin saxes have some linear ripples probably marks from the making, but they tend to slow the airflow and give this smoky sound. What I wanted to ad was just projection and larger dynamic tonal range.

I will in detail explain, demonstrate and show this on the DVD. Here you will hear the instrument play as well - so you can make your own assumption :)
 

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You need to apply the surface in a very specific way in order to get the right pattern - witch needs to have this spiral motion to it in order to work well...
Why a spiral motion to the roughness? How does that affect the fluid flow? (Or anything else?)
 

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I don't know about the effects on sound, but I saw an interesting report the other day about other properties of shark skin. Scientists noticed that sharks, unlike many other sea creatures, don't have growths and/or parasites on their skin. They've begun experiments in replicating the pattern of shark skin on the surface of man made materials and subsequently tested for bacterial growth on the surface of the shark skin like material. The results were dramatic and they are considering the application of applying this technology in hospital environments to reduce the spread and growth of bacteria on high touch areas of the facility. Perhaps our instruments would be cleaner if their surfaces (inside and out) had the same characteristics.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
because air like water moves in a spiral motion. Take the standing wave and picture that in a 3 dimensional space - voila you have a spiral like motion. Our gene structure is also spiral like and some how it gives less resistance to a surface.

well at least I have had god results when the wavy surface has an up going spiral motion. I havent tried making the patterns in a down going pattern - well I guess that just contradicts my logic...

well minous... if my tone holes stay cleaner my pads should last longer - and that would be great :)
 

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Tone squares is not such a far fetched idea. My guess is that the holes are only round because of manufacturing limitations. Square would be much more costly to produce.

I just finished a repad on my "second" 1957 Kohlert, so once again I own two "identical" horns that have very close serial numbers. I haven't completed mapping the second horn's intonation, but so far it seems to have the same intonation quirks as the first horn. I'm hoping to mess around with cresents, shark-skin, etc. to see what can be done to improve intonation with one horn.

One of the issues I've wondered about actually relates to "square" tone holes in that I've wondered what part of the tone hole really effects the tone. For instance, does a cresent actually have to be cresent shaped? Why not straight across, creating a "square top" to the tone hole. How much of the cresent's effect is caused by the reduction in the tone hole size (so that a cresent could actually be placed on the side of the tone hole where it would be easier to attach).

Likewise, I have questions about the shark-skin effect. If only the top part of the tone hole tube is roughed up, does it have the same effect? Does shark-skin effect pitch or only stuffiness? Is the effect one that is noticable to the player but not so much to the listener?

Mark
 

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because air like water moves in a spiral motion...
I'm no expert, but I would have thought that moving fluid develops a spiral motion only in specific situation, and I would have no reason to suspect that a tone hole was one of those. Keeping it simple, does completely laminar flow along a straight, smooth-walled tube develop a spiral action?

Along such a pipe, the flow is greatest along the axis of the pipe. Down a plug hole, because the water is not deep enough, there is often little or no fluid along the axis, so this is quite a different situation, and this is where we see the spiral. I see no reason to believe that a tone hole behaves like a plug hole, i.e. with the flow of air least along the axis of that tone hole.

Another difference is that unlike a plug hole, where a spiral sometimes, slowly develops, in a tone hole the air is oscillating in and out at high frequency. I suspect there would be zero chance of that spiral developing.

Just IMO - thoughts off the top of my head.
 

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... One of the issues I've wondered about actually relates to "square" tone holes in that I've wondered what part of the tone hole really effects the tone. For instance, does a crescent actually have to be crescent shaped? Why not straight across, creating a "square top" to the tone hole....
A "segment" shape? I can't see why not. It is very likely better, because the ideal for a tone hole is to cut the tube right off, which results in a more complete version of what you are suggesting.

.. How much of the crescent's effect is caused by the reduction in the tone hole size (so that a crescent could actually be placed on the side of the tone hole where it would be easier to attach).
A crescent has two effects. One is to effectively make the tone hole smaller (which flattens a note, and makes it more stuffy). The other depends on where the crescents are placed, effectively moving the tone hole to a new location. So if the the crescent is placed at the blowing side, then it effectively moves the tone hole down the instrument, further flattening the note. If placed on the sides, then the tone hole is effectively not moved at all, just made smaller.

AFAIK it is this "moving" of the tone hole that has the greater effect on the pitch of the note, especially for the large-diameter, short-length tone holes that a sax has.

A good example all this is the tone hole under the C#/G# key of a clarinet. The tone hole is displace significantly up the instrument, to avoid the centre tenon. That raises the pitch. It is made smaller in diameter in order to correct the pitch. The result is in tune, but a relatively stuffy-sounding note. On a full Boehm system clarinet, the opposite is done, placing the tone hole in the centre of the tenon. The note has a fuller sound, but because of space restrictions, the pad is barely larger than the tone hole, which makes pad sealing just a bit more precarious. Pad installation has to be just spot-on.

End of waffle.. :)

Likewise, I have questions about the shark-skin effect. If only the top part of the tone hole tube is roughed up, does it have the same effect? Does shark-skin effect pitch or only stuffiness? Is the effect one that is noticeable to the player but not so much to the listener?

Mark [/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter #15
now we are finally getting some were :)

First the Sharkskin.... I have only tried it so far in 3 different saxophones - and there it was applied to the entire inner wall of the tone hole. Simply because the technique I use only can produce the right shape to ALL of the wall....?!

So far my conclusions are that under vented holes get rid of most of its stuffiness - probably because the increased surface... Tone character is not effected - but much better projection and easier to play very soft and very loud yet keeping the dynamics of the tone. I have not experienced any distortion of the tones. Yes both player and listeners notice a difference...

No change in pitch if.... the surface is applied correct - thus leaving the diameter unchanged.

Gordon - on my DVD I will illustrate in detail with animated graphic charts what I mean about geometric patterns in sound and how it moves inside a saxophone - not so easy to explain in words.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I dont se why not square tone holes wont work - in fact that would be very very interesting to hear more about. Do let me know - if you find anything exciting. There should be more guys out there experimenting with new ways of improving the sound of the sax :)
 

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"No change in pitch if.... the surface is applied correct - thus leaving the diameter unchanged."

The pitch is affected not only by the position and diameter of a tone hole, but by how easily the air can oscillate in and out of it. This is turn can be be affected by
- the "boundary layer" effects caused by the texture of the walls, along the walls
- turbulence caused by sharp bends and edges, modified by undercutting tone holes &/or rounded tone hole edges.
- obstructions such as pads and resonators.
- the length of the tone hole chimney. (This has dramatic effects for woodwinds like clarinets./oboes.bassokons with long, narrow tone holes.)
 

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Re square tone holes. It's all been done - on flute, by Monsieur Lopatin.

Image: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hYSFlhLQlBA/So1zuzt9rZI/AAAAAAAAALA/2NPn3N4apOI/s1600-h/altoflute.jpg

Text: http://www.lopatinflutes.com/panarticle.html

Google <flute lopatin square tone hole> for more.

Because of the human condition, placebo effects, auto-suggestion, etc, some people will always find a new innovation raveworthy and better until the excitement settles down and calmer evaluations are done.

Flutes and saxes have incredibly good venting compared with other woodwinds. Personally I'm not sure that square tone holes will contribute anything significant to that. After all, the lowest note on a flute, with its perfect venting, does not have a noticeably better tone or response than the second lowest note, with its round tone hole.
 
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