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Hi I play on a Custom EXII alto with a Rousseau NC4(non refaced) and I have a tuning issue with my middle E and F natural which are about 20 cents or more sharp and I needed help on how I could lower the pitch for it to be in tune. And please don’t just say “do longtones” I need a little more explanation. Thanks in advance!
 

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Normally it's D and/or Eb that's sharp. But one thing you could do is add pinky keys to lower the pitch. Probably low B key for E and low C key for F. You could also lower your voicing just for those notes if you're sustaining them.
 

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Yamaha's recommended key height for lower stack F is 8.4mm. I suggest you use a caliper and glue and stack cardboard and paper to build a measuring tool this thickness and place it on the tonehole at the outer edge. It should just barely touch the impression on the pad if the opening is set to Yamaha's specs. If you need to lower the RH keys to get this opening, remove the clothes guard, and keep adding cut post-it notes stacked under the F key foot to bring the keycup down to this opening. Each post-it note paper is approximately .1 mm thick. Next you will add just enough "spacers" under the foot of the E key so that when you press the E key there is no "lost motion" before it touches the backbar from the F# and it moves the F# key the instant it is pressed. Once you have eliminated the "lost motion" of the key, repeat the process for the D key.

Once the keyheights are set, I suggest that you check the tightness of your embouchure by playing the mouthpiece alone, it should be no higher than A=880 concert. Using that same embouchure, oral cavity shape and airstream, check the pitch of mouthpiece and neck apart from the saxophone. It should sound an Ab concert. If not, adjust the mouthpiece on the cork and "fine tune" the embouchure so that "tone producer" plays an Ab concert.

Next I suggest you check that mouthpiece placement on the neck cork by tuning F#1 on the saxophone using the same embouchure, airstream, and "voicing: used on the neck to produce Ab concert. Make a small adjustment if necessary moving the mouthpiece on or off slightly, and then recheck the pitch of the mouthpiece and neck alone.

When low F# is in tune, check the F# an octave higher first by "overblowing" without the octave key, and then with the octave key added. Be sure not to tighten the embouchure as you produce the higher octave. When these octaves line up nicely, finger low B natural and overblow to its 2nd harmonic which is F#2. The pitch should match the regular fingered F#. When F#1 and F#2 match pitch with both the regular fingerings and the low B fingering, your saxophone is mechanically tuned the best it can be. This sequence should put the F natural - Ab concert well in tune, and the E which is a tad sharp on most saxophones can be easily lipped down to pitch in the tempered scale.
 

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Next I suggest you check that mouthpiece placement on the neck cork by tuning F#1 on the saxophone using the same embouchure, airstream, and "voicing: used on the neck to produce Ab concert. Make a small adjustment if necessary moving the mouthpiece on or off slightly, and then recheck the pitch of the mouthpiece and neck alone.

When low F# is in tune, check the F# an octave higher first by "overblowing" without the octave key, and then with the octave key added. Be sure not to tighten the embouchure as you produce the higher octave. When these octaves line up nicely, finger low B natural and overblow to its 2nd harmonic which is F#2. The pitch should match the regular fingered F#. When F#1 and F#2 match pitch with both the regular fingerings and the low B fingering, your saxophone is mechanically tuned the best it can be. This sequence should put the F natural - Ab concert well in tune, and the E which is a tad sharp on most saxophones can be easily lipped down to pitch in the tempered scale.
That's a great approach. I use low B overblown to B2 to check with B2 fingered the normal way - if they are in tune, the sax is in tune with itself, and the rest is up to me. I'll add the low B overblown to F#2 to my arsenal.

The reason I like the low B => B2 approach is that these note use a small tube and a big tube, and getting those in tune with each other is key to keeping the sax in the general ballpark. Of course it assumes good key heights and regulation, and that the sax is constructed well to begin with.

FWIW, I've found that a lot of folks have to push in their mouthpiece to get the overblown B2 and normal B2 to match - normal B2 is often flat. That just means we are all biters!!!!
 

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Hi I play on a Custom EXII alto with a Rousseau NC4(non refaced) and I have a tuning issue with my middle E and F natural which are about 20 cents or more sharp and I needed help on how I could lower the pitch for it to be in tune. And please don’t just say “do longtones” I need a little more explanation. Thanks in advance!
For years I struggled with this on my Conn 12M (they are well known for sharp E and F). When I changed to a larger chamber mouthpiece, and the distance from the tip of the MP to a registration point decreased almost an inch, the middle E and F snapped into tune. So you may have something similar (mouthpiece pulled out too far thus throwing the whole scale out of whack, and causing a few individual wonky notes).

Try the exercises described, of matching short and long tube notes. I'm willing to bet your horn's "in tune with itself" position of the MP is considerably further in than where you're currently playing, indicating you need to lower your natural pitch point.

I suppose it's also possible you are pushed in too far.

As a last resort, try opening the low C# when playing middle E and F. Counterintuitive, but I find this flattens the middle E and F on most of my saxophones.
 

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As a last resort, try opening the low C# when playing middle E and F. Counterintuitive, but I find this flattens the middle E and F on most of my saxophones.
Thanks. I am going to have to try that. Generally speaking when one increases the venting of a note it raises the pitch (up to a point). Conversely when the venting is decreased, it lowers the pitch. A good example of this is when playing A2 and it is quite sharp it often helps to decrease the venting downstream by adding one or more keys in the right hand. Larry Teal in "The Art of Saxophone Playing" gives a list of "alternate" fingerings that are designed to help the intonation on specific notes.
 

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Thanks. I am going to have to try that. Generally speaking when one increases the venting of a note it raises the pitch (up to a point). Conversely when the venting is decreased, it lowers the pitch. A good example of this is when playing A2 and it is quite sharp it often helps to decrease the venting downstream by adding one or more keys in the right hand. Larry Teal in "The Art of Saxophone Playing" gives a list of "alternate" fingerings that are designed to help the intonation on specific notes.
Yes, I don't remember how I discovered this, as I said it's deeply counterintuitive, but I have had it work to varying degrees on my Conn alto, tenor, baritone, as well as a Martin alto, Buescher and Holton sopranos, and a Noblet bass sax.
 

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It’s common for these two notes to be sharp on most saxophones. I’m in the habit of automatically lipping these notes down. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. Looking at the larger picture, you should make an intonation chart for every note on your horn so that you’ll know it’s tendencies. Somebody here on the forum had a free template for that.
 

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It’s common for these two notes to be sharp on most saxophones. I’m in the habit of automatically lipping these notes down. I don’t even have to think about it anymore. Looking at the larger picture, you should make an intonation chart for every note on your horn so that you’ll know it’s tendencies. Somebody here on the forum had a free template for that.
According to Dr. Scavone, the body octave vent is located at the ideal location for F. That means the octave should be in tune when the octave key is pressed. In my experience F is a very solid pitch on the saxes I play. The farther away from this ideal, the sharper the note becomes when the octave key is added. For example D is 3 half steps away from F and is quite sharp, and G# is 3 half steps away and is sharp as well. I have read that the neck octave vent is in the ideal location for the note B, although that doesn't seem to be as cut and dried. The notes that are 2 half steps away which are A and C# are very sharp. Without adding more octave vents and keys this is the tuning compromise we have to live with---the nature of the beast, if you will.
 
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