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Discussion Starter #1
I've read threads talking about the proper way to tune, and I don't really understand what they're getting at. I know tuning concert A, getting it in tune, and hitting the ground running is incorrect.

The process I read had something to do with getting b1 and b2 in tune using the b1 fingering? Can someone explain this to me like I'm a 5 year old? Because apparently I am :cry:

Problems I'm seeing on my setup (mauriat 66r tenor, barone jazz 7*, and RJS 2H reeds) are very sharp E2 which is common I guess and my upper register is kinda all over the place but tends to be on the sharp side (especially b2, wow).

Want to try the "correct" way to tune and see what that does. Thanks.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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Push in, play a softer reed and stop biting would be my suggestions.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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I've been trying to find that article on tuning to low B but can't. Usually the net result with that is you push the mp on and loosen the embouchure. There do seem to be some widely divergent views on this. I did come across this rather cool quote on another forum which does sound like Ronnie Scott:

I can't remember when I heard it or who it was, probably Ronnie Scott, but they were tuning up and said "that's close enough for jazz".


EDIT: Not much going on so I researched that "quote" (it's actually more of a proverb).
 

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Forum Contributor 2010-2016
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Back in the days before keyboards, when we had to get in tune with pub pianos, I used to tune my tenor to concert F (fingering G). For me this was the best compromise. As Iplayed up the horn I got a bit flat and as I went down I got a bit sharp. If the piano was particularly flat, and so many of them were, I just wouldn't play clarinet. The tenor seemed more accommodating and easier to adjust on the fly with the embouchure. It's when I stopped thinking of myself as a clarinet player who doubled on sax to a tenor player who owned a clarinet!

Even today when tuning to factory made A440 keyboards, I can't get out of the habit of asking for an F. Because tuning to concert A is either using not enough or too much of the horn. It's my version of striking a happy medium (as the man said punching the laughing gypsy fortune teller).
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I've read threads talking about the proper way to tune, and I don't really understand what they're getting at. I know tuning concert A, getting it in tune, and hitting the ground running is incorrect.
Sometimes this is fine.

Other methods discussed here are often for troubleshooting if something is wrong (e.g. biting too much or mouthpiece mismatch)

My preference is to tune to a note, then push in a little bit which forces me to either relax or play sharp.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Learn to tune by ear - If you can't hear that you are sharp or flat it's impossible to stay in tune as you play...
You know, I almost think I do adjust things on the fly as I go, but would rather get it "right" and see what that does from the get-go.
 

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Try this:

1. Tune your low F# (E concert) with the tuner by the mouthpiece placement on the cork.
2. Play your mouthpiece and neck alone with that setting and adjust the embouchure to play that pitch (E Concert).
3. If you have to make a large embouchure adjustment, move the mp a bit on the cork and do steps 1 & 2 again.
4. Once the mouthpiece + neck and the low F# match the tuner, check high F# both with and without the octave key.
5. Once that octave is well in tune without an embouchure change, finger low B natural and overblow to the 3rd harmonic F#.
6. Make small adjustments moving the mouthpiece if necessary to bring the F# octaves and the low B harmonic in tune.

This process is based upon finding the correct mouthpiece volume and at the same time producing the optimum pitch on the mp + neck.
On alto and bari the same system works using A concert to tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I just read this, and that is what I was referencing so thank you. I understand what to try, but what I don't understand is why pushing in when sharp in the upper register would "lower your pitch center". Wouldn't this raise it, assuming no changes are made to embouchure/throat/tongue? I read that paragraph 3 times and don't think it's really explained well (or I don't get what he's saying, either way).

If I'm correct, let's say I tune B1 and it's 10 cents flat. Ok, push in until it's not. Then play B3 and see where it is. Shouldn't it be more sharp than it used to be because I pushed in? I get everything else he's saying, that if the pitch center is too high then bending pitches higher or lower gets harder etc etc... but why/how does pushing in LOWER the pitch?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Try this:

1. Tune your low F# (E concert) with the tuner by the mouthpiece placement on the cork.
2. Play your mouthpiece and neck alone with that setting and adjust the embouchure to play that pitch (E Concert).
3. If you have to make a large embouchure adjustment, move the mp a bit on the cork and do steps 1 & 2 again.
4. Once the mouthpiece + neck and the low F# match the tuner, check high F# both with and without the octave key.
5. Once that octave is well in tune without an embouchure change, finger low B natural and overblow to the 3rd harmonic F#.
6. Make small adjustments moving the mouthpiece if necessary to bring the F# octaves and the low B harmonic in tune.

This process is based upon finding the correct mouthpiece volume and at the same time producing the optimum pitch on the mp + neck.
On alto and bari the same system works using A concert to tune.
Ok, so tune F#1 until it's @ 0. Then take off the neck and see if I can play an F# in tune, without major adjustments to embouchure. IF it requires a ton of adjustment then which do I "correct"? Let's say I get it in tune on the horn, then play neck only and it's 20 cents sharp with the same embouchure... do I adjust the mpc on the cork at this time until it's at 0 and then put the neck back on the horn and see where F#1 is?

I'm sorry these processes confuse the ever loving crap out of me. I'm going to try them tonight and see what I get, but on paper it seems counter-intuitive.
 

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... but why/how does pushing in LOWER the pitch?
Because you can relax, and not squeeze up flat pitches. If you pull to compensate for pitches that are sharp (due to excessive jaw pressure), then you will inevitably have flatness in certain regions of the horn (low D, middle A, Bb, B, C, C#) that you will try to raise by using even more jaw pressure. That general tightness will translate into a scale that gets sharper and sharper as you move into the upper register. If you push in and relax, you are allowing the instrument to play in tune with itself, with a minimum of jaw/embouchure change required to "adjust" flat/sharp pitches.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Because you can relax, and not squeeze up flat pitches.
Very true, but I have found there is a limit to the amount it's feasible to relax. In which case the remedy may involve trying different mouthpieces as well.
 

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Very true, but I have found there is a limit to the amount it's feasible to relax. In which case the remedy may involve trying different mouthpieces as well.
This is true for sure. If Buddy Lee is anything like me, though, it's pretty amazing how the tendency to play sharp, especially in the upper register, just kind of creeps in. For me, the impulse to "bite up" is something I think I picked up on my own, and it has become really deeply ingrained as a habit. Very frustrating!

One thing I've been wondering about: is the start of a practice session the optimal time to tune up, or is it better to warm up for a bit first?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
While on the subject, in your experience, what have you found is an acceptable amount to be off? 5 cents either way? 10? Does it depend on other facts such as the note itself and what it's being played with in context (like if a guitar is playing a concert E and you're playing a third above)?
 
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