Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday I had my private lesson teacher (Prof. Trent Kynaston), play my "new to me" 1961 Conn 10M. He absolutely loved the sound of the horn, I bet he would have considered buying it if I offered to sell it, but he discovered an interesting quirk which led me to learn a new tuning technique I had never used before.

In the past, I've always just tuned to specific pitches. Someone plays a note, I match it and adjust until I'm in tune.

With Kynaston's method, he played either a D or C on the instrument (I forget which), and then played the overtone. When the main pitch and the overtone were in tune with each other (Done via adjusting the mouthpiece), almost the entire sax would be in tune. This worked perfectly on my Selmer alto, when I tried it, and just using our ears, I later discovered that we were spot on with a tuner throughout the range of the instrument.

On the 10M, neither one of us could get the overtone in tune with the real pitch, which must just be a quirk of that specific horn (to get the overtone in tune, the mp would have to be pushed in very far, and the real pitch would go very sharp. Just tuning to the tuner, he could get the main notes to play in tune through the whole range, it was just the overtones that were screwy.

I had never thought to tune to the overtone before. This may take over as my main tuning method, as it's much easier to hear and faster than other methods I've used in the past.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
That's really an interesting idea. I'll try that with my alto as well.

It's good to hear Trent is still Teaching. Years ago, and I mean like over 30, he came to our school in Roseburg Oregon and did a clinic and concert with us. He was a personal freind of our band director. Played some very nice classical selections and had great Jazz chops as well. Keep studying with him, he'll keep you improving.:D
 

·
Forum Contributor 2008/Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,295 Posts
The principle behind that is that you bring the horn into tune with itself. This brings the natural tuning of the instrument out and will slap it into tune regardless of temperature. I wonder if the case with your Conn is a "mouthpiece match" situation. Did Trent use his own mouthpiece on the horn or did you guys try different mouthpieces?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
He used his own mouthpiece, which could be it. I'm not going to have much time for tenor playing over the next couple days, as I'm trying to lock down some audition music on alto, but I'll experiment with my own.

Gbelair, Trent definitely keeps busy. He's saxophone and jazz prof at Western Michigan University. I'm not studying with him there, I'm actually a music major at another Michigan college, but I'm trying to fit in lessons with him whenever I get in the area (probably going to be once a monthish, hopefully). I did study with him on a weekly basis through the past year, and my playing has improved sooooo much. I'm hoping he's still around teaching for a few more years, as I'd love to get my master's with him, but...who knows. His classical playing is excellent, and I've really enjoyed his jazz playing. If you ever get a chance, take a listen to some stuff by the Western Jazz Quartet or newer stuff from a group called Opus 21. He plays with both, and it's great stuff. I'd be happy to send out a couple mp3's if anyone's interested. He also does some composition, I believe.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,076 Posts
rs1sensen said:
Yesterday I had my private lesson teacher (Prof. Trent Kynaston), play my "new to me" 1961 Conn 10M. He absolutely loved the sound of the horn, I bet he would have considered buying it if I offered to sell it, but he discovered an interesting quirk which led me to learn a new tuning technique I had never used before.

In the past, I've always just tuned to specific pitches. Someone plays a note, I match it and adjust until I'm in tune.

With Kynaston's method, he played either a D or C on the instrument (I forget which), and then played the overtone. When the main pitch and the overtone were in tune with each other (Done via adjusting the mouthpiece), almost the entire sax would be in tune. This worked perfectly on my Selmer alto, when I tried it, and just using our ears, I later discovered that we were spot on with a tuner throughout the range of the instrument.

On the 10M, neither one of us could get the overtone in tune with the real pitch, which must just be a quirk of that specific horn (to get the overtone in tune, the mp would have to be pushed in very far, and the real pitch would go very sharp. Just tuning to the tuner, he could get the main notes to play in tune through the whole range, it was just the overtones that were screwy.

I had never thought to tune to the overtone before. This may take over as my main tuning method, as it's much easier to hear and faster than other methods I've used in the past.

I learned this technique playing guitar -- many guitarists tune this way as a matter of course. Works on sax too.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,531 Posts
Reedsplinter said:
I learned this technique playing guitar -- many guitarists tune this way as a matter of course. Works on sax too.
Except that, on guitar, tuning to the harmonics is dependent on the saddle adjustment at the bridge. If that's nailed, you're good to go. Mostly...

Ever see the ol' rock and roll t-shirt "Tune it or Die!"? I love that logo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,957 Posts
I was taught this tuning method using middle C and matching with the first overtone of low C. I presume it was also a C that Prof. Kynaston was using.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,875 Posts
I remember getting really frustrated in college because I couldn't match the overtone to the regular fingering (tuning wise), or when I did it was like 10 cents sharp. My teacher eventually told me that it was OK and that it wasn't supposed to. Or maybe it was a quirk of the horn. I don't remember what sax it was but it could have been the Keilwerth. The bigger bell might make something like tuning to the overtone unreliable.
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,216 Posts
It works on my Yamahas, but doesn't do well on my selmers.

n.b. Glad to see you're back to playing, Agent27. How's the hearing?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,875 Posts
hakukani said:
It works on my Yamahas, but doesn't do well on my selmers.

n.b. Glad to see you're back to playing, Agent27. How's the hearing?
Not back yet, there's still packing in the middle ear that needs to finish dissolving first. I go back for a hearing test in 2 months.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
769 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Agent27 said:
The bigger bell might make something like tuning to the overtone unreliable.
An interesting thought, especially since my 10M also had the same issue, although 10Ms are notorious for being finicky.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,076 Posts
Dr G said:
Except that, on guitar, tuning to the harmonics is dependent on the saddle adjustment at the bridge. If that's nailed, you're good to go. Mostly...

Ever see the ol' rock and roll t-shirt "Tune it or Die!"? I love that logo.
Absolutely right about the saddle adjustment.

And yes, I remember those T-shirts. Also the constant refrain: "we tune because we care." Usually said just before somebody else said, "That's close enough for rock and roll" or "R&B" or "jazz" or "government work."
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,531 Posts
Reedsplinter said:
Also the constant refrain: "we tune because we care."
I first heard that from Doc Watson. Thanks for the memory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,031 Posts
With Kynaston's method, he played either a D or C on the instrument (I forget which), and then played the overtone. When the main pitch and the overtone were in tune with each other (Done via adjusting the mouthpiece), almost the entire sax would be in tune. This worked perfectly on my Selmer alto, when I tried it, and just using our ears, I later discovered that we were spot on with a tuner throughout the range of the instrument.
Doc Tenney first told me of this tuning method a couple of years back and I've also found that it works well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
rs1sensen said:
With Kynaston's method, he played either a D or C on the instrument (I forget which), and then played the overtone. When the main pitch and the overtone were in tune with each other (Done via adjusting the mouthpiece), almost the entire sax would be in tune. This worked perfectly on my Selmer alto, when I tried it, and just using our ears, I later discovered that we were spot on with a tuner throughout the range of the instrument.

.
So was the primary note low C :line0: or middle :space3: that you fingered? Then I am assuming you blew the overtone from there without changing the fingering, is that correct?
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
I've been using this for about 15 years or so. I don't always get all the notes in tune with each other but it's a good chop/ear exercise and is very good for sound development. I've always wondered what happens if you get (hypothetically) the horn in tune with itself but that the entire horn is a little low or high. The devil's in the details. Whatever.

I'll tune my sax this way on occasion but I only use it in a relative sense. You still have to make sure that the entire horn is up or down to pitch. Also, I don't tune to one tone but to the entire first octave chromatics.

This is in Dave Liebman's Personal Sound materials. Can it be a Joe Allard technique, then?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
I had read about this method in a bore modification article by repairman Jim Gebler. He may have gotten it from acoustician Arthur Benade, author of "Fundamentals of Musical Acoustics", while a student of his. I use it on my 1920 True Tone alto but the overall pitch goes sharp, so I pull the neck out to correct this. This is the method recommended for tuning the sax by Arthur Benade likening it to the reed and bocal on bassoon, and the reed and staple on oboe relationships. They don't move their reeds to tune, they move the assembly in or out of the instrument. Our mouthpiece to neck relationship has the same importance to the instruments tuning as this reed/bocal and reed/staple relationship. Tuning the first overtone of low C to middle C as a guide is used mainly because supposedly the scale built in tune on the sax is C and the accidentals were factored in later. If the C above middle C is sharp (or flat) after tuning the middle C to the overtone C you have a mouthpiece volume to missing part of the cone mismatch. This can be corrected in the neck or with another mouthpiece with a different chamber volume. When all three C's are in tune with each other you tune to the rest of the world at the neck to body linkage. This works with many horns but I have encountered some (King come to mind) where this didn't work at all.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
this makes sense to me. i've never heard of it, but have often wondered if something was amiss. this may be what i was looking for.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,049 Posts
rs1sensen said:
On the 10M, neither one of us could get the overtone in tune with the real pitch, which must just be a quirk of that specific horn (to get the overtone in tune, the mp would have to be pushed in very far, and the real pitch would go very sharp. Just tuning to the tuner, he could get the main notes to play in tune through the whole range, it was just the overtones that were screwy.

I had never thought to tune to the overtone before. This may take over as my main tuning method, as it's much easier to hear and faster than other methods I've used in the past.
Was the micro-tuner adjusted properly?
I also use this method on my Martin alto and it works perfectly now that I have my horn properly set-up and voiced ie: pad heights.
If the two notes are in tune but the overall pitch of the horn is out, then maybe look at the way your horn is set up. could help, might not.........
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top