Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 109 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've had my current tenor for 4 years. Today, by accident, not design, I played with the lyre screw taken out. The different in sound and articulation was huge. Without the lyre screw it was playing like a completely different horn, way better. I've read about nodes, the air column, the effect of heavy mass neck screws etc., which I always thought was snake oil-ish. I did 'with' and 'without' tests. The difference was slapping me in the face. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm now expecting a reply along the lines of ".....you didn't know that? That's the first thing you should do when you play play test a different horn".
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,538 Posts
You don’t say!

:whistle:

And now add to this the people whom sell heavy lyre ( liar ?) screws AND whom say that THAT improves the sound.:faceinpalm:

+ & - = 0

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,538 Posts
or they know something that Selmer doesn’t? After all they (Selmer) have been doing this just for a little over 100 years.:whistle:

Not too many people march with pro horns but some do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,259 Posts
Ok Grahamee. Let's put it to the test. You will need a blindfold, an assistant, and two or three sax playing friends. You will also need a hat or small bowl, twelve squares of paper, on which six have the word "on" written on them and six the word "off".

1. Get your sax set-up ready to play, and put on the blindfold. Hand your assistant the sax who will add or remove the screw or leave it the same as before based on the draw which is in random order.
2. Your assistant then hands the sax back to you, helps you connect your neck strap and you play a scale, 8 bar phrase, or whatever you like. You then verbally tell your perception to your assistant who makes note of what you said next to "trial 1" along with a code showing if it was on or off.
3. Continue this process until all 12 trials have been completed. Then remove the blindfold then look at the sheet with your comments after each trial and whether the screw was attached or not.
4. A helpful variation of this is to play behind a screen or partition and have your panel of listeners indicate on a sheet of paper whether the sound was the same or different from one trial to the next. This is even better if they don't know what is being done to the saxophone if anything.
5. The listeners can then take turns being the "player" with his/her mouthpiece set-up, and you can rotate to being a listener.

This is a very simple but effective way of removing the "placebo effect" and what I call "the self-fulfilling prophecy based upon expectations" (player believes silver trumpets sound brighter so he/she produces a brighter tone when playing one.) This experiment will reveal:

1. Whether the player has an accurate different "perception" when the mass is added in the neck tenon area, and
2. If so, whether there is a "sonic" difference to the listener several feet away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
214 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I'm going to try that. It may take a while. Also, I'm no teacher but I'm doing some mentoring with a beginner who is struggling with his sound. When we next meet, I'll get him to play his own horn blindfold, take his horn off him, take out the lyre screw (If there is one) and give it him back and ask him to play again. I'll do this 7 or 8 times and note his responses after each event. I'll be interested in his thoughts, feelings etc.

I'll say now, I've bought a heavy-mass neck screw. Used it when I first bought it, probably a placebo effect. After a while realised there was no difference in the sound and stopped using it and replaced it with a screw from a Selmer 404 lig. I don't really think that had an effect either. Removing the stock lyre screw has felt different, and to me and sounds different. It's just made me think and reinforce a thought that the higher up the horn ( i.e. closer to the reed, ligature, neck and mouthpiece) you make very small changes, the more noticable the effect. I'm scratching round for an explanation here.
 

·
SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
Joined
·
3,836 Posts
I had a similar experience with the cannonball reso-stone on the neck. Mine had literally fallen off, I scoffed at the chance to disprove the ridiculous claim. I glued the stone,back on and noticed a distinct difference, as did someone else who had no idea what I was doing...they thought I put a different mouthpiece on.

Still pisses me off to this day that I heard a difference.

- Saxaholic
 

·
Registered
Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
Joined
·
1,332 Posts
Why not just record an exercise with identical set-ups but with and without the lyre screw. Post them without saying which is which, and have members vote on:
1. Is there a noticeable difference and 2. Which do you prefer?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,654 Posts
Maybe the text should read "I was skeptical before they gave me free stuff, after that my sound has changed completely. It really opened up."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,951 Posts
View attachment 212504

I'm not doubting Chris Potter....
I am, unless we find out that he has a background in scientific investigations. Keep in mind that the entire training and experience of a professional musician are almost diametrically opposed to those of a scientific investigator.

I would also doubt Mr. Potter's statements on the best treatment for a medical condition, or on the high cycle fatigue life of stainless steels, unless some previously unknown qualifications were to come to light.

If Mr. Potter tells me something about playing music, I will pay a lot of attention.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,259 Posts
I'm going to try that. It may take a while. Also, I'm no teacher but I'm doing some mentoring with a beginner who is struggling with his sound. When we next meet, I'll get him to play his own horn blindfold, take his horn off him, take out the lyre screw (If there is one) and give it him back and ask him to play again. I'll do this 7 or 8 times and note his responses after each event. I'll be interested in his thoughts, feelings etc.

I'll say now, I've bought a heavy-mass neck screw. Used it when I first bought it, probably a placebo effect. After a while realised there was no difference in the sound and stopped using it and replaced it with a screw from a Selmer 404 lig. I don't really think that had an effect either. Removing the stock lyre screw has felt different, and to me and sounds different. It's just made me think and reinforce a thought that the higher up the horn ( i.e. closer to the reed, ligature, neck and mouthpiece) you make very small changes, the more noticable the effect. I'm scratching round for an explanation here.
Beginners have far too many issues with the fundamentals of tone production for this type of "experiment" to have any real meaning.

Acoustic science has established that although the walls of a woodwind instrument vibrate: 1) those vibrations are far too weak to be heard, 2) no "coupling" takes place between the wall vibrations and the sound wave in the air column inside the instrument. Putting junk on the outside of a saxophone may change the feel or perception of the person playing---especially if that person is intimately familiar with that particular instrument. However, no evidence exists that anything changes acoustically in the sound waves that are emitted from the instrument.

It is like a belief in "life after death". Many people believe in that based upon "faith", but to date there has been no scientific proof that "life after death" exists. I have nothing against faith, but it will take more than that to convince me adding something to the outside of my saxophone will give it more "resonance". ;)

Come to think of it, I believe that I hold the distinction for getting kicked off Sax on the Web "for life" more times than anyone else---5 at last count, and yet here I am back again. Maybe there is life after death after all. :bluewink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,331 Posts
I'm not doubting Chris Potter....
Why not? Do you think he's actually conducted a rigorous test of this product? Consumers should be highly skeptical of all celebrity endorsements.

I also do not believe that "really opened it up" is a meaningful statement.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,538 Posts
great players are great at playing but when it comes to hear and see things that may or may not be there we are all in the same boat.

Don’t confuse superior musicianship with being a superman.
 
1 - 20 of 109 Posts
Top