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Hi,
Yes, everything is opened more, but the low notes in particular, are as open as they can be for me.
The trick is to get them as open for me as I can, but still be able to roll the finger from the low E flat to the low C properly.
Just my personal taste.
 

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It possibly makes a change only for the player's ears. (Or mind!)
 

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I think it might make a difference but I wonder about becoming more spread and still as mentioned earlier...a bit uneven in the scale. Though players could grow to compensate for those changes.
 

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It possibly makes a change only for the player's ears. (Or mind!)
Maybe, maybe not. Try going the other way; lower your keys to the max and see how stuffy your horn becomes. I think this is something a listener would notice. Plus, the horn is unlikely to respond as well, so it will affect how the horn is played - also noticeable to both the player and listener.
 

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if you are looking for maximum projection, I would think the way to go is this:

find the opening/ height at which further opening makes no change in the note, i.e., there is no point in further opening. Many times, the first few degrees/initial movement of closing (arc?) of a key do nothing to the change the color or pitch of the note. That then, is wasted motion, so there is no point in having it at that height
 

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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??
I did on my 1953 sba tenor. I opened up every key except the palm keys to maximum. The result was a very free blowing horn that lacked definition and core. I have since then experimented a lot and lowered the action again. I came to find that (especially low c-b) is important as they dictate the flow and transition between notes of the entire horn. Every horn and player has their preference ofcourse.
 

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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.
Phil, I think by opening low c is the easiest way to enhance flow in the horn and transition between notes. Also give lower stack corks a few strokes with sanding paper to open it up. On a mk6 look for a pad opening of 8-9mm on right finger F.
 

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if you are looking for maximum projection, I would think the way to go is this:

find the opening/ height at which further opening makes no change in the note, i.e., there is no point in further opening. Many times, the first few degrees/initial movement of closing (arc?) of a key do nothing to the change the color or pitch of the note. That then, is wasted motion, so there is no point in having it at that height
+1
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
Re: TENOR on STEROIDS ... A simply way to boost projection and make the horn more free blowing

I did on my 1953 sba tenor. I opened up every key except the palm keys to maximum. The result was a very free blowing horn that lacked definition and core. I have since then experimented a lot and lowered the action again. I came to find that (especially low c-b) is important as they dictate the flow and transition between notes of the entire horn. Every horn and player has their preference ofcourse.
I agree with you Roger, low C and B are the most important keys to open.
I played my 2 tenors again today and it was a total delight since I opened the low C, B and Bb keys few days ago. Really "night and day" if I dare say so :)
 

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Opening the low Bb and B increases the venting of the notes B and C respectively (up to a point). Opening the low C increases the venting of the D and opening the Eb increases the venting of the note Eb. Opening keys that are more than 1 tonehole below the tonehole that vents a given note has no significant effect upon notes that are higher up the "tube". The proposition that opening the bell keys increases the projection and volume of all of the notes in a saxophone's range cannot be supported by acoustic principles of a woodwind "tonehole lattice".
 

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Opening the low Bb and B increases the venting of the notes B and C respectively (up to a point). Opening the low C increases the venting of the D and opening the Eb increases the venting of the note Eb. Opening keys that are more than 1 tonehole below the tonehole that vents a given note has no significant effect upon notes that are higher up the "tube". The proposition that opening the bell keys increases the projection and volume of all of the notes in a saxophone's range cannot be supported by acoustic principles of a woodwind "tonehole lattice".
I have to disagree cause if we focus on low C tone hole venting and speak tenor I think that this effect the tone quality of the tones in the left hand too. Try opening the c all the way and the transition between registers will be smooth and fast. Tone will be more spread and with less definition. Lowering the c key will increase focus and zip in the left hand.
 

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I have to disagree cause if we focus on low C tone hole venting and speak tenor I think that this effect the tone quality of the tones in the left hand too. Try opening the c all the way and the transition between registers will be smooth and fast. Tone will be more spread and with less definition. Lowering the c key will increase focus and zip in the left hand.
We do know that completely closing open toneholes downstream can have an effect upon the "timbre" of notes and the pitch if the tonehole is close to the primary tonehole that vents the note. Two common examples can be demonstrated by playing open C#2 and adding and removing the right hand, and by playing A1 and adding RH 3. However there is a difference between completely opening and closing toneholes "downstream" and increasing the opening just a bit.

A way to test the hypothesis that the opening of the low C key has a perceptible effect upon notes in the left hand would be to play C, B, A, and G one at a time as long tones while closing and opening the low C key. If the intensity or pitch of those notes changes, then the hypothesis is correct. As far as "transition between registers" is concerned it does make sense that when the D is fully vented and not "stuffy" that the transition between C and D will have a more homogeneous (matched) sound.
 

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Maybe, maybe not. Try going the other way; lower your keys to the max and see how stuffy your horn becomes. I think this is something a listener would notice. Plus, the horn is unlikely to respond as well, so it will affect how the horn is played - also noticeable to both the player and listener.
The idea is that the pad should open enough that the "friction" associated with the air whizzing in and out of the hole is negligible. Opening it further after that achieves nothing.
The fluid flow dynamics of poppet valves is well known.... Roughly 1/3 the diameter of the hole achieves good venting.
If the manufacturer relies on less opening in order to correct idiosyncrasies of tuning, at the same time introducing stuffiness... I'd simply call it bad design. tone hole diameter and location (etc) should deal with intonation.
 

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

.... Also give lower stack corks a few strokes with sanding paper to open it up.
IMO that seems too little to have anything but an imaginary, placebo effect.

..... On a mk6 look for a pad opening of 8-9mm on right finger F.
Yamaha are the only maker who provides specs. For f key, 8mm for alto and 8.4mm for tenor.
So yes, if your sax has been set up with say 5 or 7mm, then yes, that was misguided (unless to modify some crappy intonation!) and will benefit from increased venting.

The local Selmer importer opened a new carton direct from Selmer Paris, in front of us. A friend and I bought "identical" tenors - SA80. The venting of those stack keys differed by about 2mm.
That does not say much for Selmer's consistency, design precision, specs, standards, whatever.
 

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It possibly makes a change only for the player's ears. (Or mind!)
Absolutely agree. This is totally anecdotal. The placebo effect is alive and well. Not to disrespect anyone's experience, but such things must be tested in a controlled environment--with blind testing, before I will believe any of it. I know just how much I hear what I want or expect to hear, as expectation effect is very strong.
 

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One thing I understand from the literature on the subject and my personal experience is that when a key on a saxophone lacks sufficient opening the pitch is flat and the tone sounds stuffy. Opening the key by increments raises the pitch by small amounts and takes away a bit of the stuffiness. These effects continue until the key opening at the front is approximately 1/3 the diameter of the tonehole. Increasing the key opening beyond this point has no further effect on the tone or pitch. It simply gives the player greater key travel to contend with. I can't comment on what effect greater key openings have on the volume or intensity of the tone for players who play in a style requiring maximum volume, since that is not my "bag".

On this point, it would be relatively easy to follow through with Kymarto's suggestion of "double blind testing". A saxophone could be set up with removable self adhesive pads under the stack key feet which when in place provide a "standard" key opening, and when removed open the keys to the "max". Of course there would be no way of keeping the player unaware of the key openings because of the feel, but a group of experienced listeners several feet away could be polled on which trials sound louder.
 

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One thing I understand from the literature on the subject and my personal experience is that when a key on a saxophone lacks sufficient opening the pitch is flat and the tone sounds stuffy. Opening the key by increments raises the pitch by small amounts and takes away a bit of the stuffiness. These effects continue until the key opening at the front is approximately 1/3 the diameter of the tonehole. Increasing the key opening beyond this point has no further effect on the tone or pitch. It simply gives the player greater key travel to contend with. I can't comment on what effect greater key openings have on the volume or intensity of the tone for players who play in a style requiring maximum volume, since that is not my "bag".

On this point, it would be relatively easy to follow through with Kymarto's suggestion of "double blind testing". A saxophone could be set up with removable self adhesive pads under the stack key feet which when in place provide a "standard" key opening, and when removed open the keys to the "max". Of course there would be no way of keeping the player unaware of the key openings because of the feel, but a group of experienced listeners several feet away could be polled on which trials sound louder.
Your experimental observations jibe totally with the physics, which shows an reverse exponential effect on tone quality and pitch as the key is opened, with further changes in those qualities almost disappearing when the key clearance is 30% the diameter of the tone hole.
 

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A lot of folks report louder volume with more open keys. But at the expense of balance, and sometimes intonation. I've had the fortune to compare horns with high and low action, and did indeed experience more volume with high action. However, I concluded from observers and in front of mics, that these horns were only louder to me, and to my ears, there was no perceivable volume difference to folks 10' away. Its still very valuable however, in that you can hear yourself better!
 

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My opinion is that the saxophone is a very loud instrument naturally (it was designed to serve as an improved bass instrument for outdoor use in military bands). If I can't play loud enough I'd use a quality mouthpiece with good projection (probably a high baffle with large chamber); and if that didn't cut it, it would be because I'm trying to compete acoustically with electronically reinforced instruments. In that case, you've got to fight electrons with more electrons.

I am done with blowing my brains out and modifying my instrument in counter-productive ways, when what I really need is a microphone and amp.
 
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