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Just out of interest, are there any other SOTW members who play the Hot Fountain Pen? or something similar.
I have been working on making something similar since Oct 2010. The Maui Xaphoon (and its plastic brother) are direct descendants of the HFP, same holing, same fingering. Mine, the Hot Water Pipe, is slightly different (see img).



The reason it sounds so low with such a short tube is that it partakes of Clarinet acoustics, not sax acoustics. Saxes are conical bore instruments (along with oboes, english horns, and bassoons) and the wave length of the lowest note is equal to (about) 2X the length of the tube. The clarinet is a closed-end cylindrical bore, and the wavelength of its lowest note is about 4X the length of the tube. You get a lot of bass per inch with the cylindrical bore. You also get only half the overtones (you get the odd ones).

The other big difference between them is that the Conical bores overblow at the octave, which keeps everything nice and consistent for the second register, fingering-wise; whereas the Cylindrical bores overblow at the 12th, which means that your second register begins at the fifth note of the octave, giving the little horn quite a range. I can produce reasonably musical notes over a 2-octave range, and a few more notes (completing the second register) that are neither reliable nor particularly musical.

The physical limitations of these type of instruments are three:
- the lowest note you can achieve, limited by how far apart you can spread your fingers and still play. With my medium-sized hands for example, the longest practical tube would get down to about an A 220.
- The highest-pitched instrument you can make is limited by how close you can get your fingers together. A horn starting low on C 256 is about the practical limit with anything I've tried.
- The other limit is in how large a tonehole you can cover with your fingertips. The larger the hole, the richer the sound, but big toneholes bring all sorts of interesting problems, too.

The musical limitations are largely dependent on skill, as Rollini proved.

I use a Bb clarinet Mpc with a fairly large tip opening. And Eb clarinet Mpc might work better, but I haven't tried. The beauty of the Bb clarinet Mpc is that it fits perfectly into a 3/4"-to-1/2" copper pipe coupling.

It's been an interesting if frustrating pursuit. A bitch getting intonation right, and finding the proper holes sizes so that it will cross-finger. The original HWP achieved all its sharps and flats through half-holing, and you have to be awful good to land a half-hole accurately coming down onto the hole. (Pulling off the hole is fairly easy.) Cross-fingering solves that problem, but it seems to require fairly small tone-holes, so there's a tradeoff between rich tone and physical playablility. I still haven't solved this problem completely, and I'm on tube #22.
 

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Well, I haven't quite solved it in 22 tubes, unfortunately. Cross-fingering still sucks on it. The first 12 tubes were 1/2" PVC pipe, which is wonderfully easy to work with. You can tune the holes with a pocket knife. But I didn't like the tone that much, and making half-holes on it was a bitch, so I switched to copper. Turns out I had to trial-and-error my way through all the hole-placements again, because the thickness of the PVC had the equivalent effect of placing the holes lower on the tube (but I didn't know that was the cause, at the time.) The PVC tube wall thickness is about 3/32", and the effective air column extends to the outside of the hole. 3/32 is a lot of difference it tuning.

Square tube would make a tough fit for the mouthpiece. The idea of the HWP is that anyone with enough patience could make one out of standard pieces of pipe with virtually no modification except drilling the holes. (In truth, I actually cut about 1/16" off the top of the 3/4"-1/2" adapter, too.)

I had HFP measurements provided to me by a generous soul, and they were helpful as a starting point. But the HFP is considerably shorter
than my Bb tubes, yet it's also tuned to Bb. I am puzzled by this, and would .like to know more details about the HFP dimensions.

The HWP has a register hole on the back next to the thumb high E hole. Works quite well. That's how I get a complete 2 octaves (minus the high F# - there is no way to play that note that I can discover). I believe the HFP just uses the high E hole half-holed as a register key.

A must confess that after 22 tubes, I am rather frustrated and beginning to wonder if the whole thing is worth it. It's a lot fo fun to play when it's working, but the ones I've had so far only work within severe limitations (like it was very difficult to play in all but a few keys).

When I actually solve it, I'll post a sound-sample.
 

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As I said, the point is to make it out of standard parts. Besides, what you're suggesting amounts to starting over again. Every change - inner diameter, wall thickness, mouthpiece, hardness of reed for heaven's sake - seems to affect tuning. Since I don't have tools to bore an exact duplicate of the HFP, and I don't have access to the tiny mouthpiece, it seems like that would be more work, not less. Nice thought, but I don't think it's practical.
 
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