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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
http://www.youtube.com/user/ClickRec#p/a/u/2/Vo5PzgTLUOM

What do you guys think of this? I never hear of this before and I play a SBA. I tune it a tad sharp but in this video he's talking about a quarter step sharp and lip down the notes to pitch. He says it changes the sound to be more open, louder and more edge.
I like the 2nd take better where he has pulled out the mouthpiece to be in tune. It seems more centered to me. The 1st and 3rd takes are brighter. What do you guys think of this. Anyone else do this?
 

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I don't play a Selmer, but I agree with you that the 2nd take sounds more centered, full, and just more overall tone. I've actually heard of this once from a tenor player (student) and I'm not so sure I fully agree. There's a reason they are not tuned this way to begin with IMO and exactly for the reasons stated: more full tone and centered. But it's an interesting option for some players.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Is this employing the Phil Barone embouchure concept of a super lose embouchure?

Secondary question for you guys that play like this........if you bite, how sharp can you get the note to go? So for instance, a middle "B" if I bite super tight I can go +20 cents. A high "B" I can go +30. I'm curious about you guys that play with an embouchure that's loose . How high do you go if you tighten up. I'm tightening until I feel pain in my bottom lip and that's it. (Don't do it until you bleed..........)
 

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I still think the best way to go is to have the horn in tune with itself, tuning the low B first overtone with the regular B2 fingering.
 

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I also prefer the 2nd one. I don't really agree with this approach but it better to be tuned slightly sharp than flat, it's easier to lip down and your not pinching the sound.
I play an early SBA so I don't know if it applies to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I still think the best way to go is to have the horn in tune with itself, tuning the low B first overtone with the regular B2 fingering.
I think he's doing that but one embouchure is tight and one is really loose. Here's another video where he plays an E major scale while fingering F Major. He's lippin it way down. Here's another video where he talks about it. http://www.youtube.com/user/ClickRec#p/u/9/T6mCim9b5Ng He says it gives the tone a quality it doesn't have otherwise.
 

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What he's doing is what I was taught for bassoon. My tone was kind of bright and thin, and so my teacher told me to open my jaw as far as possible without losing the seal on the reed. This made the inside of my mouth feel like I was saying 'ahhh', but my embouchure muscles were still tight. It had the effect (on bassoon) of rounding out the sound. I'm hearing sort of the same thing here...

Try closing your mouth and saying 'mmm', and then open your jaw while keeping your mouth closed--that's the sound difference I'm hearing.

If you mix that with a using a fast, instense airstream to raise the pitch back up--that's the sound I'm looking for.
 

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I agree with the concept of tuning a bit sharp, but there is a flaw here.

This video assumes you tune sharp with a "normal embouchure", then flatten the note by relaxing.

But what if your "normal embouchure" is already so relaxed you can't relax any more?

This seems to be aimed at players whose "normal" embouchure is quite unrelaxed, and so tuning sharp, ie pushing in a bit, is a way to force you to relax. This assumes you can hear how sharp you would be if you didn't relax.

This is something I would advise a student who has a problem of too tight an embouchure (for whatever it ist hey want to achieve), but not as a general rule.

The problem here is the statement "a Selmer should be tunes sharp". Why Selmer ? is it because they are generally more out of tune than other horns or what?
 

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Well he starts off by saying "it's always been my opinion" and to me that's all it is.

Simply play your MK VI or SBA (or any sax for that matter, his statement is something I've never heard of in my 50+ years of playing Selmer saxophones) in tune with a proper oral cavity and embouchure and there is no need to lip , loosen or tighten anything to get a great tone. Learn how to play any horn correctly when you begin and the only lipping you will need to do is for certain effects.
 

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I agree with the concept of tuning a bit sharp, but there is a flaw here.

This video assumes you tune sharp with a "normal embouchure", then flatten the note by relaxing.

But what if your "normal embouchure" is already so relaxed you can't relax any more?

This seems to be aimed at players whose "normal" embouchure is quite unrelaxed, and so tuning sharp, ie pushing in a bit, is a way to force you to relax. This assumes you can hear how sharp you would be if you didn't relax.

This is something I would advise a student who has a problem of too tight an embouchure (for whatever it ist hey want to achieve), but not as a general rule.

The problem here is the statement "a Selmer should be tunes sharp". Why Selmer ? is it because they are generally more out of tune than other horns or what?
Yeah, what does that have to do with what horn is being played? That would fall under the "tone production philosophy" catagory.
For "what it's worth" I always find guys who push in farther have more centered tone, and better intonation. I know thats a huge generalization, but I think the sax has an optimum length for it to be played in tune throughout the diffeent ranges of the instrument. When I see a cat who's a biter and plays way too stiff of a reed and he only has the mouthpiece on about an inch onto the neck cork I cringe before he even plays a note, and then he plays and I'm usually right in my assesment. When he tunes up, his tune-up note is very intune, but everything else ... sheesh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I agree with the concept of tuning a bit sharp, but there is a flaw here.

This video assumes you tune sharp with a "normal embouchure", then flatten the note by relaxing.

But what if your "normal embouchure" is already so relaxed you can't relax any more?

This seems to be aimed at players whose "normal" embouchure is quite unrelaxed, and so tuning sharp, ie pushing in a bit, is a way to force you to relax. This assumes you can hear how sharp you would be if you didn't relax.

This is something I would advise a student who has a problem of too tight an embouchure (for whatever it ist hey want to achieve), but not as a general rule.

The problem here is the statement "a Selmer should be tunes sharp". Why Selmer ? is it because they are generally more out of tune than other horns or what?
He's even more specific than Selmer in that he says early Mark VI and late SBA should be played that way. I have a 47... SBA so I don't know where that falls. I was just curious about what he was saying as I have never heard this before.
 

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He seems to explain more specifically which Selmers he is talking about in the second video you posted.

That first video makes me feel like I just walked in on someone's private lesson who was having trouble with playing too tight. Otherwise, it seems like he is assuming everyone but he plays too tight because of his comments about "where you would normally put the mouthpiece to play in tune" or something like that. How does he know where I put my mouthpiece? Also, his comment about "the horn isn't out of tune, you are" or something along those lines.

The man can obviously play the horn though, and if it works for him then great.
 

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All interesting comments and excellent discussion. Proof that YouTube and SOTW can be really useful. Keep in mind that the microphone is on my Mac, which is about as good as a 1970s telephone, so it is hard to hear the true tone of the horn. Also, I'm not playing sharp, I'm tuning sharp and lipping to the correct pitch. Most important, this is a technique I use for playing jazz, not classical. When I'm playing legit I use a JK SX90R NS with the mouthpiece and embouchure set where they should be for the given style.

Pete made a good comment: "The problem here is the statement "a Selmer should be tuned sharp". Why Selmer ? is it because they are generally more out of tune than other horns or what?" My opinion is yes, but in a desirable way. A late SBA and an early Mk 6 gets progressively but predictably sharp as you get higher on the horn. As a result, I find myself lipping down almost a quarter tone at the palm keys. This results in a unique tone that works for me. Also the altissimo pops out easier.

Just because it works for me doesn't mean it will work for you. Try it, not for 5 minutes, but here and there over a period of a few days or so. Then decide if it's for you and whether or not you should develop it. Agree or disagree, I appreciate and welcome all comments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
All interesting comments and excellent discussion. Proof that YouTube and SOTW can be really useful. Keep in mind that the microphone is on my Mac, which is about as good as a 1970s telephone, so it is hard to hear the true tone of the horn. Also, I'm not playing sharp, I'm tuning sharp and lipping to the correct pitch. Most important, this is a technique I use for playing jazz, not classical. When I'm playing legit I use a JK SX90R NS with the mouthpiece and embouchure set where they should be for the given style.

Pete made a good comment: "The problem here is the statement "a Selmer should be tuned sharp". Why Selmer ? is it because they are generally more out of tune than other horns or what?" My opinion is yes, but in a desirable way. A late SBA and an early Mk 6 gets progressively but predictably sharp as you get higher on the horn. As a result, I find myself lipping down almost a quarter tone at the palm keys. This results in a unique tone that works for me. Also the altissimo pops out easier.

Just because it works for me doesn't mean it will work for you. Try it, not for 5 minutes, but here and there over a period of a few days or so. Then decide if it's for you and whether or not you should develop it. Agree or disagree, I appreciate and welcome all comments.
HI ClickRec,
Are you saying it gets sharper when you are pushed in to be sharper or it gets sharper at the normal playing and embouchure set that you talk about. The reason I am asking so many questions is that I play a SBA 47... and always tune it right in tune with a firm embouchure but...........I have a EB HR link that I always feel plays better sharp. If I push it in so it's 20 cents sharp and loosen up my embouchure it sounds totally different to me. More vibrant and cutting. It's hard for me to play that way though because that isn't the way I normally play. When I saw your video it caught my interest because of that.
 

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This approach and concept was thoroughly investigated in Vanessa Hasbrook's Thesis entitled ALTO SAXOPHONE MOUTHPIECE PITCH AND ITS RELATION TO JAZZ AND CLASSICAL TONE QUALITIES

As someone else mentioned, it is not actually "tuning sharp" but setting the mouthpiece to where the instrument is in tune with a lower input pitch. My take on this is that when pushing the mouthpiece farther on the cork, it subtracts from the "equivalent volume" of the mouthpiece* required to match the volume of the missing cone in order for the sax to play properly. This volume is then made up by the player opening the oral cavity and putting less pressure on the reed with the embouchure allowing it to travel farther as it vibrates.

* In Benade's writing, the "equivalent volume" of the mouthpiece is greater than its measured interior volume, because of the distance traveled by the reed as it vibrates, and the effects of the player's oral cavity. In one of my acoustics tests I measured the equivalent volume of a Rousseau 4R to be 28% greater than its played physical volume using a "classical" embouchure and mouthpiece input pitch.
 
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