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Discussion Starter #1
Benade claims that woodwinds with greater harmonicity require less input energy from the player in order to respond. In other words, the harmonics being closer to whole number multiples of the fundamental are more "efficient" and waste less energy when they combine to produce what Benade calls the "regime of oscillation" which is simply the fundamental and all of its harmonics. This may be part of the answer.

Another possibility might be the size of the bore of the instrument. This is an area more commonly discussed among brass players who are more sensitive to the bore dimensions since their instrument is a solid tube, unlike the saxophone which is full of holes like a sieve. :)

In another thread "American made" saxophones are said to be more "free blowing" than the French made Selmers and their Japanese counterparts, which raises the question "Why"?
 

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Another possibility might be the size of the bore of the instrument. This is an area more commonly discussed among brass players who are more sensitive to the bore dimensions since their instrument is a solid tube, unlike the saxophone which is full of holes like a sieve.
Not just bore size, but also bore taper. Fwiw, this is from the Kessler Music website:

Yamaha offers 2 models in the “Custom” line with the Custom EX and the Custom Z. A common question with customers is “what’s the difference?!”. There is a common misconception that the Z is a “jazz sax” and the EX is a “classical” sax. In reality, they are both equally equipped for all musical styles and genres. The difference in these 2 models is the bore taper.
  • Custom Z – This is a bore that expands at a quicker pace in the body tube. This produces a free-blow that offers a broader tone and quick response.
  • Custom EX – This bore has a less drastic expansion. This will allow for a little more tonal compression leading towards a bit higher resistance but a more complex, mellow tone.
 

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Henri Selmer Paris Mark VII Tenor 316xxx
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This could get pretty cerebral pretty quick, there are so many puzzle pieces. I would think things like post on body key work versus ribbed construction or mini-ribs would make some difference. Annealing of the brass and thickness / qualities of the lacquer must affect it too? I would think neck design and bore dimensions / bore taper would be huge. Comparing one horn to another for “free-blowing” response seems like a fool’s errand because they would have to be regulated the exact same way to compare. When a horn is too resistant for me I usually just drop a half size down for reeds to get an easier response. Unless it’s a real lemon.
 

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I’d be interested in knowing just what “free-blowing” is supposed to mean. I mean, I think it is pretty clear and straightforward from the term itself, but recently I had to scratch my head about this . . . .

I recently saw a comment, probably discussing a mouthpiece (though possibly a horn or maybe even a reed; I don’t recall exactly which thread it was in), where something was deemed by the poster to be both more free-blowing as well as more resistant.

I had always (naively?) assumed that free-blowing meant the same thing as less resistant, ie., requiring less effort, less air pressure, less force in blowing.

It just didn’t make sense to me that at the same time something could be more free blowing yet also more resistant. Is that not a direct contradiction?
 

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Henri Selmer Paris Mark VII Tenor 316xxx
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I’d be interested in knowing just what “free-blowing” is supposed to mean. I mean, I think it is pretty clear and straightforward from the term itself, but recently I had to scratch my head about this . . . .

I recently saw a comment, probably discussing a mouthpiece (though possibly a horn or maybe even a reed; I don’t recall exactly which thread it was in), where something was deemed by the poster to be both more free-blowing as well as more resistant.

I had always (naively?) assumed that free-blowing meant the same thing as less resistant, ie., requiring less effort, less air pressure, less force in blowing.

It just didn’t make sense to me that at the same time something could be more free blowing yet also more resistant. Is that not a direct contradiction?
Free blowing has to be speaking about ease of response. Otherwise it’s meaningless to me. Student models always seem more free blowing and pro horns (especially French ones for me) are more resistant. I also correlate resistance with “darkness” usually. Like less resistant horns like a Yamaha student model seem “brighter” than a Selmer, let’s say. I guess something could be relatively free blowing with just enough resistance to allow you to shape your sound more? (More with mouthpieces I think) Generally, I’m with you - a horn can’t be free and resistant at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
For me "resistance" means something you have to "push against" in order to produce a certain level of volume or intensity. The less resistance, the less breath support (pressurized air) it takes to achieve the same level. Another way to say it is some instruments require less "energy" to play than others. I think it is easy to get hung up on semantics on a topic like this one. For example: Is free blowing the same as little or no resistance? I don't know.

My interest is primarily focused on what principles of acoustic design make one saxophone more "free blowing" than another played with the same set-up?
 

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Why do people on the forum say fwiw? I mean I could add 'fwiw' at the start of every sentence i write. The term has no place in the English language. It's he only term more useless than "It is what it is", IIWIS.
 

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The most free blowing instrument I have ever played was the YAS-875EXII. This leads me to believe it's a combination of everything mentioned. Proper bore size, harmonics balanced evenly, and balance of construction.

Fwiw, free blowing to me is just least impedence to achieve tone and response. Resistance is an impedence to achieve tone/response, so yes, I find them correlating.
 

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Clarinets, once set up properly, can play easily from low e / eb to g4 way above the staff. The cylindrical shape of the
Clarinet makes this possible. I would think that the "plumbing" of a Sax would be a factor in whether or not it is
free blowing. The example of the Clarinet shows how much the bore, taper etc. can be an influence. I think very little has to do with the materials i.e. brass vs bronze vs silver. I do think the material does influence the sound, though.

The mouthpiece / reed has much to do with free blowing. Try a Conn Eagle mouthpiece.
They can be had in the Alto version for as little as $10.00 on Ebay. Lot's of resistance, however, played with a really soft reed gives you the 20's and before sound.
 

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Why do people on the forum say fwiw? I mean I could add 'fwiw' at the start of every sentence i write. The term has no place in the English language. It's he only term more useless that "It is what it is", IIWIS.
Disagreeing, fwiw leads to an opinion or personal experience, which may differ from others. Adding fwiw is a good way of keeping a reader informed that there may be contradictions , but it is a personal statement.
 

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I don't think the saxophone world is ready for this discussion. First, terms need to be defined objectively. Then data needs to be not just gathered but published about the design of various saxophones and measurements taken using instrumentation of quantifiable effects. Then multiple players can test various instruments in a controlled setting and we'd start getting somewhere.

Right now there's so much mythology floating around it's hardly worth trying to think about these issues because half of what you're trying to integrate is widespread myth, for instance all the people who think they recognize a 'big bore' in a given saxophone's sound.
 

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I had always thought my Selmer Super series Tenor was incredibly resistant until I had it overhauled.
Now I realise it was just leaking causing the resistance.
Adding and reducing resistance is something I do with mouthpiece and reed choices.
I’m sure not all resistance in a horn is due to leaks, but I’m also fairly sure that a lot of what people refer to as resistance is caused by leaks.
Neck tenon leaks are an often overlooked cause for a resistant horn.
Key heights may even be something that has an effect on a feeling of resistance.
Resistance and stuffiness are also something that could be confused with one another.
 

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Henri Selmer Paris Mark VII Tenor 316xxx
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Why do people on the forum say fwiw? I mean I could add 'fwiw' at the start of every sentence i write. The term has no place in the English language. It's he only term more useless than "It is what it is", IIWIS.
FWIW, writing “FWIW” isn’t worth anything at all in most applications. The only thing I could think of where it makes sense is like “You didn’t win anything on Jeopardy but - for what it’s worth - we have a board game version for you to take home as a consolation prize.”
 

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Disagreeing, fwiw leads to an opinion or personal experience, which may differ from others. Adding fwiw is a good way of keeping a reader informed that there may be contradictions , but it is a personal statement.
+1

For me, it either prefaces a personal opinion (as @J-Moen says above), or some other piece of information that I find relevant, but that I realize the reader may not find quite as relevant or authoritative. That is, it can replace or subsume IMHO, BTW, and/or FYI.

In @LostConn's post above (which I assume prompted the complaint) it was clearly meant to point to a source (Kessler's) that seems to provide relevant information, but might not be viewed as authoritative (i.e., "this is what Kessler's site says, for those who put stock in it").

It's a way of anticipating and forestalling sniping answers like "that's just your opinion man", or "Kessler doesn't know anything" that abound on the internet.
 

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In engineering school we learned about turbulent and laminar flow. I wonder if these characteristics influence "resistance."
 

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Of all of the horns I've played I can say for sure that the R&C tenor is majorly different. I think it's the largest bores size (well, the largest I've ever played) and the feeling is that it "sucks" the air out of you. Playing with the same mouthpiece on a Borgani J (also large bore), Martin III, King Super 20, Yanagisawa 991, Yamaha 61, Grassi 2000, all had resistance compared to the R&C. No doubt that you can probably create resistance with a different neck or mouthpiece, but the bore seems to make a difference when the mouthpiece and reed are the same.
 

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Henri Selmer Paris Mark VII Tenor 316xxx
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+1

For me, it either prefaces a personal opinion (as @J-Moen says above), or some other piece of information that I find relevant, but that I realize the reader may not find quite as relevant or authoritative. That is, it can replace or subsume IMHO, BTW, and/or FYI.

In @LostConn's post above (which I assume initiated the complaint) it was clearly meant to point to a source (Kessler's) that seems to provide relevant information, but might not be viewed as authoritative (i.e., "this is what Kessler's site says, for those who put stock in it").

It's a way of anticipating and forestalling sniping answers like "that's just your opinion man", or "Kessler doesn't know anything" that abound on the internet.
FWIW, all of this discussion of FWIW (including my participation) is off topic. <smile>
 
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