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Its pretty simple if you think about it.

The bigger the chamber is, the more airflow can go through it. This allows for more volume on the sax. Its the reason why tenor saxes, Bari saxes, and so on... have more volume. Naturally, the bigger the sax is, the bigger the sound is. But it will take more breath to get a sound out of it.

As for tone, there are a lot of factors that come into play when you play. In my opinion, most of the tone comes from your embrochure on the mouthpiece, but chamber size does affect the overall sound that comes from the sax.

That was just a basic explanation. You'd have to talk to someone with years and years of experience to get the whole thing on chamber size.


-The AOM Saxist-
 

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This from :
http://www.beechler.com/tips.htm
If you google around you can find more similar descriptions.

Small Bore

The design of this bore enhances the higher frequencies of the instrument. The medium high baffle induces a fast air column which generates a powerful and brilliant sound rich in overtones. The embouchure can be shaped to favor the highs, creating an intense buzzing sound, or shaped to favor the lows, creating a mellow and vibrant sound. The flexibility of this chamber allows a player to: easily blend with other instruments, including brass, play lead over a section of other saxophones, or solo over a full band or combo.

Medium Bore

The design of this bore favors the medium high frequencies of the instrument. The open style baffle induces a medium fast air column which reduces the available power and brilliance giving a subtle flavor to the sound while maintaining an ease of projection. This chamber is suitable for saxophone sections or soloing with a combo.


Large Bore

The design of this bore favors the low to medium high frequencies of the instrument. This style of baffle induces a moderate air speed which lends itself to producing a dark sound suitable for close-miked or classical situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the responses. So..... If I am looking for a darker, quieter, jazz sound similar to Paul Desmond. Which mouthpiece would you recommend?

shane
 

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Desmond used a MC Gregory Model A 4a 18 mouthpiece for most of his career.
 

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Desmond played an MC Gregory which has, I believe, little or no baffle and either a medium or large chamber. Desmond also played with a fairly small tip opening and a fairly hard reed. I think of his tone as smooth and bright, but not edgy.
 

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With a Morgan Jazz 7M and Francois Louis Reeds #3 or La Voz Medium on a King Marigaux silver plated alto I obtain a tone in the same ballpark as Desmonds. Desmond played a Selmer Balanced Action.
 

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Every question has a simple, easy-to-understand, wrong answer.

Accoustic science is not as intuitive as aerodynamics and fluids. Most simple analogies in use on what is going on inside a mouthpiece are not correct.

How sound is reflected off the reed and all the 3D surfaces in the mouthpiece is more important than streamlined flows through the mouthpiece. Flow is only important in that it sets and keeps the reed vibrating so a standing wave can be maintained inside the sax. More flow increases the amplitude of this wave by making the reed vibrate with more amplitude. It does not push the sound through the sax, though this is kind of what it feels like for the player.

Chamber size will effect tone, sound volume (and projection), and intonation. Some like to debate that volume is not the same as projection. But I do not think you can change one without the other.

A larger chamber will sound darker and have less projection because it is has fewer frequencies in the audible spectrum. The larger chamber volume (size not sound) will make the sax a little flatter unless you retune by pushing it in farther. After you push it in, the high notes (palm keys) will be a little sharper than they were before and/or your low notes will be a little flatter. This could fix an intonation problem or create one. Usually the change is minor enough that you can adjust with your embouchure.

The book: The Saxophone Is My Voice by E. Ferron is very good on basic sax accoustics without getting too technical. It also has a lot of sax repair info in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thank you MojoBari. Forgive all of my questions but I am real novice. So will the large chamber be louder or softer?

shane
 

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shane1 said:
Thank you MojoBari. Forgive all of my questions but I am real novice. So will the large chamber be louder or softer?

shane

You need a larger tip opening with a large chamber to be able to produce a more cutting sound, because the air moves through the horn more slowly and produces less high harmonics. Most classical pieces have large chambers (especially if they are Rascher-style) and most jazz pieces have smaller chambers.
 

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The Gregory does have a large chamber and the sidewalls are scooped out like the oldies. You may also consider an older Geo. M Bundy as some of these are quite nice in the style of the Gregory. I recently sold a 4A-16 on ebay for $370 and you will pay even more for an 18.
I have been going through a search this week for a large chamber soprano mouthpiece. I have been working on a King straight soprano that gets the dreaded gurggle from D down with any of my modern pieces. The old King tubby that came with it has a giant chamber and is flawless all the way down. With my Selmers, the gurggle starts at low D but if I tune down about 20 cents, it is great. I have had this come up for over 40 years and pieces like the old slant FL Links correct this due to the large chamber.
Bottom line....The large chambers are friendly to the low end of some vintage horns.
 

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shane1 said:
Thank you MojoBari. Forgive all of my questions but I am real novice. So will the large chamber be louder or softer?

shane
All other things being equal, the large chamber will sound softer. I believe it have more to do with the way sound is reflected off the curved walls than it does with air speed.
 
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