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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I just want to share with you a simple way to improve significantly the projection of a tenor saxophone.
I am not a sax technician, so I am sure some real knowledgeable people will jump in the discussion and add their expertise.

Here is the story:

Last year I bought a second-hand Selmer SIII tenor from a pro player in Switzerland. During the selling process her explained to me, along the discussion, that he asked his technician to open to the maximum the keys of the sax in order to have the best possible projection. When I tried the sax I was quite impressed by the horn and I bought it on the spot.

Few months later I decided to go for a "aero-gommage", which is basically a process to remove the lacquer of the horn. The horn was then completely re-assembled and adjusted by my tech in Switzerland.
I was happy with the result but after few weeks I had the impression that the horn lost a bit of the "kick" it had when I bought it. It was not as free blowing as before.
I then remembered what the previous owner told me and I did the following myself:

- open almost to the maximum the key guards adjusting screws and felt of the Bb, B, C and Eb low register keys.

The difference was immediate and absolutely impressive: the horn had much more projection and was more free blowing.
As a consequence of this, of course, the position of the mouthpiece on the neck has to be changed in order to keep the horn in tune. The mouthpiece must be pushed further on the neck by about 5mm in my case.

I can tell you the difference is unbelievable.
A simple trick that works and the sax still plays 100% in tune.
My SIII is back again. Best Selmer tenor IMO.

Any comment?
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

hm!!! interesting indeed! I wonder what happens if you do that on a "not-such-in-tune" horn like a Modern Selmer SIII... Like a Conn, martin, buescher, BA, SBA and, of corse, a lot of mark vi for example...

I might give it a try on my sa80 I though! What mp do you use? That lady was a classical or jazz player? And you? Jazz or classical?

EDIT: Just noticed you also own a BA... Would you do that on it??
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

Bro,
I do that with the key heights also.
25 years I’ve done it like that on my 10Ms and my Barone tenors. I don’t know if that would work on every horn, but it definitely works GREAT on the two I just mentioned. The don’t feel too open and the intonation is not affected negatively. Makes a big difference for me!
Thanks for posting this.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

The previous owner is a pro classical player. I am not a pro and I don't play classical stuff at all :)
I use a Theo Wanne GAIA 3 metal and also a 10mFan Black widow I just received.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

So you removed the lacquer, got the horn back and you noticed it didn't have the same "kick" as before. Then you remembered to open the keys up and presto! You're back in business. My question is, what did removing the lacquer do for you ...
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

New look, that's all :)
So you removed the lacquer, got the horn back and you noticed it didn't have the same "kick" as before. Then you remembered to open the keys up and presto! You're back in business. My question is, what did removing the lacquer do for you ...
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

Well, you can raise the action but it is also a matter of how a horn feels under your fingers with max high action. I have a Jupiter XO 2089 Artist tenor that came from the factory with a very high action, the highest I ever have experienced so far. Had great projection, but it was a long way to close the keys when playing. I ended up lowering the action. That's where it became apparent that Jupiter had overdone it as it could be lowered to some degree without any ill effect on the projection or intonation. The final regulation caused a small loss of projection but a significant improvement in feel. There might be a sweet spot lower than max opening up the action. Personally I prefer a nice feel under the fingers to maximum projection.

Alphorn
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

Yes, I just did it yesterday on my BA and same result: improved projection and more free blowing.
It is so simple to do ... try it on your horn and tell us what you observe?
You just need a large screw driver or use the blade of a kitchen knife and release the screws by let's say 3 turns. Check the outcome and if you are not happy nor convinced, just put the screws back to their original position.

 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

Fully agreed. In the end it is a question of player's preference.
Well, you can raise the action but it is also a matter of how a horn feels under your fingers with max high action. I have a Jupiter XO 2089 Artist tenor that came from the factory with a very high action, the highest I ever have experienced so far. Had great projection, but it was a long way to close the close the keys when playing. I ended up lowering the action. That's where it became apparent that Jupiter had overdone it as it could be lowered to some degree without any ill effect on the projection or intonation. The final regulation caused a small loss of projection but a significant improvement in feel. There might be a sweet spot lower than max opening up the action. Personally I prefer a nice feel under the fingers to maximum projection.

Alphorn
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

Do you find that you still get even response up and down the horn?

My key heights were lowered a little by my tech and I did notice a little less roar.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

I find the response very even, and the sound feels more open.
I don't like low key heights.....sure, its great for technique, but it just makes things feel stuffier for me.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

I dont feel like it became stuffy but the it lost some resonance..especially in the low end and a little it of volume overall. When I get time I might experiment with the bell keys. Im not going to mess with the others. I dont like working on things with moving parts.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

So.....most likely unrelated BUT: I see you are a 10M fan; sweet! I am an alto player (43 years) and play professionally, but like most, I play anything I can get my hands on...lol! I have a 1952 10M and have been tasked to play tenor this spring for a group I hang with. I have a nice mouthpiece, but the horn is SO dark! It has been suggested I switch over to a metal mouthpiece (have never been a big fan, but that's me). Do YOU have any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance!
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

Metal does not make for brightness. There are plenty of metal pieces every bit as dark as hard rubber. Conversely, there are plenty of hard rubber pieces brighter than metal. Its about the design of the piece more than material. Yes people will argue that material matters and perhaps it does a tad...but the real difference is in the design of the piece.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

+1
I find the response very even, and the sound feels more open.
I don't like low key heights.....sure, its great for technique, but it just makes things feel stuffier for me.
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

So.....most likely unrelated BUT: I see you are a 10M fan; sweet! I am an alto player (43 years) and play professionally, but like most, I play anything I can get my hands on...lol! I have a 1952 10M and have been tasked to play tenor this spring for a group I hang with. I have a nice mouthpiece, but the horn is SO dark! It has been suggested I switch over to a metal mouthpiece (have never been a big fan, but that's me). Do YOU have any suggestions for me? Thanks in advance!
One person's "dark and tubby" can be another person's "rich and strong".

I would not call a 10M with a rollover-baffle mouthpiece "dark". I have not had trouble projecting with a Meyer #8. You didn't say what genre or instrumentation, nor what you're currently using on your 10M. For anything softer than a loud big band (so, moderate big band, small group, but not rock and roll) I'd say a Link or Meyer hard rubber ought to get you there. If you really really need to cut, the old go-to was a Dukoff D7; but there are better-quality alternatives nowadays. You would want a large chamber but a high baffle, so you wouldn't have trouble with tuning. I have one of those old Dukoffs and occasionally pull it out when I need to compete with electric guitars.

(It also depends on your personal playing style. Some people just naturally play louder and more cutting than others. I'm on that end of the spectrum, having come out of north Texas (though I did not attend NTSU) in the 70s/80s, when/where sax playing was largely defined by people who studied under Jim Riggs at NTSU. I have noticed that players up here in New England play very softly compared to how they play in Texas.)
 

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Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

I find the response very even, and the sound feels more open.
I don't like low key heights.....sure, its great for technique, but it just makes things feel stuffier for me.
Hmmm. Perhaps it is a band-aid for the stuffiness caused by small leaks.

Do you increase the venting for all keys?
If not, do you notice a significant difference in sound for the notes involving those opened and those not opened?
 
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