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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,
Now that I've gotten the whole botched repad issue taken care of, I've found myself in a different kind of pickle. It seems that my old Pan American plays horribly sharp according to my nifty Seiko tuner. Here's what I've tried to rectify the problem:

First I put on a harder reed (3). Better, but still sharp.
More mouthpiece-sharp, Less mouthpiece-sharp.
Loosened up the old 'clarinetists embucheure'-sharp.
Pulled the mouthpiece almost off-sharp.
Pushed the mouthpiece in till it didn't wobble and started pulling the neck up- better, still a hair sharp.

The only thing I haven't done is change the battery in the tuner, or check the tenor against my clarinet, which is usually dead nuts with the tuner. This is hard since I can only play 1 instrument at a time!!!

FYI It's wearing a nickle neck and a King 2 mouthpiece.

Have I missed something?????????
 

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Is this the one you just had the nightmare with getting it serviced? If so, have you considered the possibility that the tech might have hacksawed a centimetre off the neck just to mess with you? (just kidding, bandmommy :twisted: ;) ) Did this instrument ever play in tune? If so, what has changed? If no, experiment a little with reeds and m/ps, maybe? My instinct would be to go softer and more closed and see what happens (but, hey, i'm starting to realise that that's my answer to vitually every sax problem there is!) :)
 

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If you were playing a sax with leaks for awhile, you may be used to more resistance. You may be clamping down after the overhaul without realising it because it feels right and going sharp. I had this problem when I went from from my really leaky 1932 Conn tranny alto to my overhauled 1935 Conn. Leaks also make it play flat, so you may have had to lip it up a bit before the overhaul.

Check out Phil Barone's Tone Production thread part 1.

Oh yeah check that there is nothing stuck in the sax. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah Rooty, Same sax.
I really couldn't tell if it played in tune prior to the repad. TOOO many leaks. I bought it and sent it straight in for work.
I started on a 2.5 and went to a 3 reed. Alas I only have the King 2 hard rubber mouthpiece that came with. I'll try to get a loaner or two from a buddy and see if that helps.

Saxland, I did mention that I loosened up the old embuchure. I've been playing clarinet for 36 years, Alto for 20, and teaching both for 10. I think I know the difference between the two. Yes, I've had specialized teachers for both instruments. NO bad habits. Rich, full, and round is my 'signature' sound. I've been accused of playing everything 'too pretty'.

If there were something stuck, I would have trouble in other areas. But I'll put a light through it just to double check.

This is my first tenor and it's really starting to make Bandmommy think Wendal put a curse on it after he had to put it right!!! :evil:

Back to the mines, I'll see what else I can do to get this sultry beast in tune.
 

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There was a Yamaha education series article on tuning and mouthpiece postion I found very interesting. I've found this tuning technique to work quite well. It can be found HERE
 

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bandmommy said:
Saxland, I did mention that I loosened up the old embuchure. I've been playing clarinet for 36 years, Alto for 20, and teaching both for 10. I think I know the difference between the two. Yes, I've had specialized teachers for both instruments. NO bad habits. Rich, full, and round is my 'signature' sound. I've been accused of playing everything 'too pretty'.
A tenor embouchure is different from an alto embouchure. Try loosening up more, using a softer reed, blowing harder, taking in more mouthpiece and embracing the bigger, louder, grittier sound of the tenor. Don't try to preserve your alto tone on tenor. Develop a new one! I have a friend who is an absolutely outstanding alto player, who, like you, is often accused of playing "too pretty." He plays with a "Teal"-style embouchure (pointed chin, corners in, about a centimeter of mouthpiece in the mouth), and whenever he picks up my tenor, he's a bit sharp, waaaay quiet and and just a little too soft and fluffy. He's definitely not a bad saxophonist or musician (better than me, that's for sure!), he just doesn't have tenor experience. Spend time with it and blow harder.

I obviously don't know your whole situation, but if a long time clarinet and alto player plays sharp on tenor, that would be my assessment of the situation. You can take this all with a grain of salt if you want, but I've been learning tenor for the last three or four years and am primarily a clarinetist, and these are the things that have worked for me.

If you feel like you're doing those things already, try a large-chambered mouthpiece like a Link.

Have an experienced tenor player play your horn with your mouthpiece against a tuner. If he's got the same problem, have him try it with his own mouthpiece. If the problem still exists, then it's the horn. If changing one of those factors (player, mouthpiece) solves the problem, then you've probably diagnosed it.
 

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Do some process of elimination.

Play several different tenors. Do you play them in tune? Yes? It's the equipment. No? It's you.

Have other tenor players play your tenor. Do they play it in tune? Yes? It's you. No? It's the equipment.

If it's you, get yourself to a good teacher. It it's the equipment, and changing mpcs doesn't help, get the tenor to a qualified technician.
 

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Conn 10Ms can be mouthpiece sensitive, and I assume Pan Ams also would be. Large chambered pieces (Link, Broadus, etc) tend to tune well on 10Ms. I'm not familiar with the King mouthpiece.
 

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Mommy,

As a couple of people her have alluded to...a larger chambered mouthpiece will help bring pitch down. This is the one thing that I fought for YEARS with my Balanced Action Tenor until I finally realized that I HAD to use larger chambered mouthpieces. I can't even begin to tell you the laundry list of mouthpieces that I tried to use that were almost all wobbling around on the end of my neck like a bobble head doll...
 

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Have you done the mpc alone to check pitch, it should be a concert G, get that and it will help you with the appropriate pressure. also make sure you are taking enough mouthpiece.

just my buck 3 eighty.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK, Here goes,,,,,
This is my first tenor of my own. I've played on borrowed tenors for a few(8) years.

I take in about 1/2 of the beak. Embuchure is LOOSE, almost to the point of drooling. I can blow the balls off a fly at 50 yards. I don't like the sound of reeds softer than 2's on Alto, Tenor, or Bari. Yeah, I can play all 3 well enough to teach privately at the Middle/High school level. I interviewed with the band director before I started teaching. I passed the senior level playing test with flying colors.

Next step is to have daughters #1 and #2 give it a blow.

The sax just came back from the shop. No gurgles, No stuffy notes. For those of you who are unfamiliar with me, check out "Botched repad by Vulgar tech"

I've got a call in to a tenor buddy to borrow a couple different mpc's. Tenor buddy is my old sax teacher.

Bandmommy is determined to get this horn playing in tune. I've gone through H*!! to get it this far and I'm not giving up on it now!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hi retread,
My Pan Am is sporting a Martin tube.
If I'm going to have to go to a large chamber mpc,,, What are some good suggestions for AFFORDABLE mpcs. Bandmommy ain't made of money 'ya know.
 

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I don't know the background of this sax, but here are some random thoughts and questions....

-Is the old Pan Am a low pitch instrument? An L above the serial number would indicate it is.

-Have you checked the calibration of your tuner lately to see if it is on A=440?

-You mention a nickle neck. Is it the original neck that came with the sax? If it is a custom neck with a different length or volume, that might be contributing to the problem.

-What pitch do you make playing the mouthpiece alone? Concert G (or slightly lower) is the usual recommendation for tenor. Concert E on the neck and mouthpiece together is another target pitch that can be useful as a starting point.

Good luck with your intonation quest. Let us know what you find out so we can all learn from your experience.

John
 

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bandmommy said:
Hi retread,
My Pan Am is sporting a Martin tube.
If I'm going to have to go to a large chamber mpc,,, What are some good suggestions for AFFORDABLE mpcs. Bandmommy ain't made of money 'ya know.
The neck may well be your problem. It could be a little too short for the Pan Am. I know a neck can be extended. What that would do for the overall intonation of your tenor, I don't know. Is every note now more or less equally sharp?

If you can, try a Link Tone Edge (HR) mouthpiece. Musicians Friend lists them for a little under $70, and they're a good match for Conns. If that solves your problem, great. If not, it might be the neck.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The Pan Am is roughly a late 50's to mid 60's vintage. Definately low pitch.
The neck being original,,,Who knows, I bought the sax used. Ser#'s match.
Tuner is set at 440.
Dog howls when I test the pitch of the mouthpiece. He's flat! Screws everything up.
Daughters #1 and 2 are afraid of 'Mommy Germs'. That is until they need to use the sax.
Ran a light through to see if there was something stuck. Yeah, Right, Clean as a whistle.
Played again after the temperature dropped below 85 in the house,,,,, Only 3 cents sharp. (House was built in the 1800's, no AC)
I'll still try a large chamber mpc and maybe swap necks with tenor buddy.
I'll get this figured out.

Anybody know how to lift a curse?
 

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bandmommy said:
The Pan Am is roughly a late 50's to mid 60's vintage. Definately low pitch.
The neck being original,,,Who knows, I bought the sax used. Ser#'s match.
Tuner is set at 440.
Dog howls when I test the pitch of the mouthpiece. He's flat! Screws everything up.
Daughters #1 and 2 are afraid of 'Mommy Germs'. That is until they need to use the sax.
Ran a light through to see if there was something stuck. Yeah, Right, Clean as a whistle.
Played again after the temperature dropped below 85 in the house,,,,, Only 3 cents sharp. (House was built in the 1800's, no AC)
I'll still try a large chamber mpc and maybe swap necks with tenor buddy.
I'll get this figured out.

Anybody know how to lift a curse?
If your house temp was well over 80, it's no wonder you were sharp. I was taught (but cannot prove) that wind instruments were designed as if they were to be played at a 72 degree room temperature.

I agree with the recommendations for softer reeds (like 2.5), checking mouthpiece pitch, and possibly a large chamber tenor mouthpiece, the most common and affordable of which would be a hard rubber Otto Link. Since you are an alto/clarinet player until recently, I'd recommend the facing of the Link to be in the 5 to 6* range.
 

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awholley said:
If your house temp was well over 80, it's no wonder you were sharp.
Ditto here. bandmommy, the pitch of brass instruments goes up with the temperature (and conversely).
Since you are an alto/clarinet player until recently...
Ooops, didn't notice this. I don't want to back-track on your other posts (forgive me) but if you are transiting from alto and clarinet to tenor it's entirely possible that your embouchure is too tight, as well as your throat being a bit closed off.

Make sure the angle of the neck/mpc into your mouth is not too high, that your throat is open, and that your embouchure is looser than on the clarinet and alto. Play your mouthpiece exercise and then do it with the mpc on the neck.
 

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awholley said:
If your house temp was well over 80, it's no wonder you were sharp. I was taught (but cannot prove) that wind instruments were designed as if they were to be played at a 72 degree room temperature.
Check! (good call awholley and bandmommy!). It really is pretty shocking what a difference temperature can make with tuning. (I'm not saying there are no other relevant factors here.) As an aside: I've not much experience of playing outdoors but I often find it rather amazing that marching bands/brass bands etc don't have more problems with tuning than they do.. re Is it too late to nominate "I can blow balls off a fly at 50 yards" bandmommy? Yes, I hope so, she's too good. :;
 
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