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Discussion Starter #1
I've read that a few people have already expressed several times the view that Vintage Baritones can be very picky when it comes to mouthpieces. Many favour very open mouthpieces which allow the piece to be positioned fairly normally on the neck while some seem to need to be positioned so out that they almost fall off the neck (I have read and heard of people having their necks modified with extra tubing to solve this problem).

I have this early Conn Pan American stencil branded Bruno co. New York, from Bb to Eb ( Low pitch, no doubt about it ,as it is indicated on the horn) . However, I have not much experience with Baritones in general and I am having a go at this. My tuner works fine with my tenor and my alto or the occasional soprano.

Why am I telling you this? Well because if I play a F# I thought I would have a Concert A right? Like on a Alto. Well, If I play a F I have an A!:? :?


Is there something I am missing? I am prepare to put up wit this I mean it is like playing an instrument in a different key but how is this possible. Again I have read on this forum of other people with similar problems on Vinyage Baritones but the question how's it possible:? :!:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I guess that must be the problem...... the mouthpiece I am Using is a metal King 4, the chamber looks big but I hear that Old Ebonite mouthpieces were much bigger.
 

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On the old Conn baritones the neck is too short for most modern mouthpieces. Those horns were made for long mouthpieces with large chambers, so when you use a mouthpiece with a short shank, the horn will be VERY sharp. This sounds like what is happening. When I got my 12M I was using a metal berg and to be in tune the piece was hanging onto the cork by 1/2 and inch. I tried some other pieces that were longer and intonation improved, but to get it where the piece wouldn't fall off the neck I put a 1/2 inch extension on the neck. This work perfectly and enables me to use whatever mouthpiece I want. I think on your horn you have the octave mechaism wont let you pull the neck out of the receiver a little to help.
 

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I've seen pictures of Mulligan and Harry Carney, too where the mouthpiece looked like it was about to come off the end of the cork. This seems to be a real issue with the Conns.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks ! :) this is really helpful so you say that I have to have some tubing soldered to the original neck.....mmmmmm...or I could look for a different mouthpiece.......(I do not particularly like this one.....)..
You are right I cannot pull the neck because (which is not on the neck but on the body of the saxophone....very old model.....) the octave mechanism won't work anymore
 

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Could be you have a high pitched instrument, I don't know when they stopped making high pitched horns, but I had a high pitched soprano once, it was more or less in the key of B.

It's true many people have a little extra tube added to the neck of old Conns. Whereas it will make your F# more like a concert A, it could play hell with the high and low notes' intonation.

Here's a true story though: I had a lovely Conn 12M that I used at college with an old Slant sig Link mouthpiece. I then put it away for several years while I went on the road playing tenor. After a while I decided to use it again. I took it to a shop and tried some different mouthpieces, finally settling on a Lawton. After a while I found that the intonation just wasn't good enough for more demanding sessions so I bought a MKVI and advertised the Conn for sale. The buyer, a relative beginner young lady with her mum, tried it out turned up and bought the horn on the spot. Then asked me to play a bit for them. I picked up the old Link and tootled a bit, realised that the horn suddenly blew perfectly in tune. At that time it had never occurred to me that a mouthpiece could actually be the reason a saxophone was in tune or not. Anyway I had to let her have it as the deal was done, I was left with a crappy old MKVI that I sold on quite quickly and regretted letting tha bari go ever since.

So an expensive lesson in how important a mouthpiece is for intonation, especially with old Conns.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pete Thomas said:
Could be you have a high pitched instrument, I don't know when they stopped making high pitched horns, but I had a high pitched soprano once, it was more or less in the key of B.
.
Nice story Pete! However, as I did say, it specifically says L ( low pitch) by the serial number....so I am in luck (have done the high pitch thing, once never make the same mistake twice!), I just need to find the right mouthpiece......:cool:
 

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I have never played any mouthpiece that made the horn play in tune without having the piece at the very end of the cork. There is maybe one out there that will fix it, but I haven't foudn one. The little piece I soldered on works perfectly. I played another original 12M neck without an extension and found there to be no difference. The only issue could be the opening taper of the neck.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
how " little" is the piece that you've soldered on? How did you solve the taper problem and what mouthpieces have you ever tried on your Conn?

I think I'll be trying the Mouthpiece thing beforehand because as I said I am not enamoured with the current one anyway (for those who solved the problem........ any chance I can use something Cheap like a Yamaha or a Rico at least for the time being?)
 

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Try a Rascher. Or a Caravan. I personally dont like the Caravan but hey whatever float your boat. And JunkDude.com has got an old Double Chamber piece that would be AMAZING! On that bari.

Those are my experiences with a Conn.
Harry
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks, but it is no longer in stock.......
 

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Discussion Starter #13
any advice among the less unusual (and expesive ) stuff?
 

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I have actually had to go to the extreme of sawing down my Berg Larsen mouthpieces to shorten down the shank so as to bring my Yamaha YBS 62 into tune.

I play a fairly open mouthpiece, with fairly soft reeds (2.5 to start, 3.0 if there are more than three sets), and (aside from the need to keep the radial angle of the mouthpiece tip at the right setting to avoid chirping) it works just fine, thank you.

I also had the bulged neck cork replaced by some harder sheet cork. It makes for a better fit and it has worn better than any standard neck cork I've ever used.

I like the Bergs because I need to cut through a lot of brass in the R & B stuff that we play, and they allow me to power along compared to a pickle type mouthpiece. The only problems that they have caused is that my wrecked teeth (land mine explosions in RVN left many of them badly cracked) have bored through the bite-plates and thus have required replacement now and then. Other than that, they're just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
mmmmmmm! very interesting indeed, how did you go about reducing the length of the mouthpiece? Trials and errors or informed guess? Would you reccomend this for my problem (can't work out if reducing the legth of the piece would equal the extra lenght of the neck which seems to be necessary)? Bear in mind that with the current situation I can't place the mouthpiece in the position it shoud be at because it would fall off. Extending the neck is an option I am considering but only as a last resort.
I will look for a Bari piece tomorrow but only if it doesn't cost too much, otherwise I'll sell the damn thing at a loss to prevent further expenses.
 

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I followed a trim a piece at a time policy, taking off first about an eighth of an inch, and finishing up with a total reduction of 3/8 of an inch over all. Once I reached that figure, I then shortened up the other two identical mouthpieces accord陇脝1 W庐脝1 W赂脝1 W脗脝1 W脤脝1 W脰脝1 W脿脝1 W锚脝1 W么脝1 W镁脝1 W脟1 W脟1 W脟1 W&脟1 W0脟1 W:脟1 WD脟1 WN脟1 WX脟1 Wb脟1 Wl脟1 Wv脟1 W鈧1 W艩脟1 W鈥澝1 W啪脟1 W篓脟1 W虏脟1 W录脟1 W脝脟1 W脨脟1 W脷脟1 Wthe Berg-Larsen logo engraving. Of course, this may differ on different years production...

I started out my "guesstimate" by noting the difference in tuning when the mouthpiece was advanced up the cork, then I pro-rated the rate of change and came up with the target figure. Only then did I start the cutting, this on a mouthpiece that the bite plate was about worn through. (I have horribly messed up incisors from RVN mine explosions).

I played it safe by taking small cuts each time on the first mouthpiece, instead of trusting my calculations. You can always take more off, but you can't easily add it back on. Even working freehand, my training in machine shop stuff stood me in good stead, and the cuts were easy enough to work through without any haggling of the trim line.

The final cut took off just about what I had originally estimated, thereby bringing theory and experiment neatly together at the end of the process. Then, it was cut the other two to length and - voil谩 - a perfect final result.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
very interesting indeed......... but I was reflecting on this matter today, and please, correct me if I am wrong.....this is the situation as I see it....if I put the mouthpiece where it should be from a visual point of view on the cork I am too sharp of almost half a tone, I should back off approximately at the end of the neck to play in tune....but it is obviously impossible because the mouthpiece would fall off this way......
Ok, if I cut the mouthpiece wouldn't I be sharper than I actually wan to be?:? :? :? . I should (I think) leghten the mouthpiece if I could....Iam very puzzled!:shock:
 

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Yes, you need to go the other way. However, I'd try other mouthpieces before I start either adding or subtracting from the instrument length.

The older vintage horns (those from Conn and the stenciled companies) work better intonation wise with the correct mouthpiece. As these are relatively uncommon to find these days, I would first obtain a "stock" (for Conn horns if that is the brand under consideration) and try playing it with same. If it corrects the intonation problem, then I would convert over to the appropriate style of mouthpiece.

My artist level Conn alto from the 1920's does not play well with metal mouthpieces of the modern day, but works just fine with a "stubby" one that's period appropriate.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I too thought this to be the best course of action to undertake. I am going to look for some sort of ebonite mouthpiece tomorrow, the ideal thing would be a really old monster, but I don't know if I can find one. I have found many vintage mouthpieces in antique shops (it is amazing what you can find n these...)but never a Baritone since Baritones vintage or not aren't all that common altogether. Thanks!

P.s. My Horn looks like a Conn Wonder improved of 1920 but the Pan american stencil version.....
 
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