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Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2019-06-16 01:39

I'm a clarinetist. How ever, I've tried playing a new Bb Tenor Sax, a new straight Bb Soprano Sax. Both of these instruments were 40 cents flat and that's why I returned them for a refund. I've asked some sax players on facebook and they've told me that my embouchure was too tight. I had 3.5 reeds and top of the line mouthpieces. I'm hoping to hear from those of you that play sax and can tell me what I was doing wrong. I really wanted those saxophones.

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 Re: Embouchure
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-16 03:39

Simplistic as it sounds, it may have been how far you had the mouthpieces pushed in on the neck corks. One of the things I've discovered over the years about sax mouthpieces is that they tune very differently from each other. I have one tenor mouthpiece that needs to be pushed in as far as it will go - the end of the bore where the throat starts is the limiting factor, not the cork, which still has another 1/4" or so left. Two other mouthpieces on the same tenor need to be in only about 1/2" and I needed to build the cork up with Teflon tape even to try them. I have several alto mouthpieces that have similar differences.

Some of the difference is the overall length of the mouthpiece - the one that goes in all the way is longer than the the other two. Likewise, one alto mouthpiece that goes in considerably farther than others is quite short by comparison. But there are also differences in bore and chamber size that can account for different internal volume from one mouthpiece to the other.

Things in the sax world are a lot wilder and woollier than they are in the realm of clarinets.

I would expect that an embouchure that's too tight would more likely drive the pitch up. A "top of the line" mouthpiece (it's hard to know what you mean) could have a range of very different facings that could make a 3.5 reed too hard, too soft or just right (and it might make a difference what brand and model reed you were using). If it was really too flabby a reed/facing combination, that might have kept you from applying enough pressure on the reed to keep the pitch and sound focused. Of course, you need to take in more reed with a sax than with a clarinet.

Of course, unless you know who the FB sax players are, you have no idea how reliable their advice is, and they aren't getting any aural clues to the problem that would come from hearing you play. I doubt if there are any major, reputable sax manufacturers who market saxes that are consistently 40 cents flat.


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 Re: Embouchure
Author: hans 
Date:   2019-06-16 07:35

I agree with Karl: an embouchure that's too tight would be more likely to drive the pitch up and the mouthpiece needs to be pushed further onto the neck if the instrument is flat.
Be sure to use extra cork grease to avoid damaging the cork on the neck if it requires much effort, especially with a brand new instrument.

If you tried them for a only short time, you could try renting a sax for a longer period to get more accustomed to it.


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 Re: Embouchure
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2019-06-17 01:32

I'm in awe of what you've shared. I've had to lay down 24 hours and then finally come back to comment on what you've shared. You've truly lifted a burden from me with your words!

Thanks for your knowledge about saxophone. I've got to confess that I play Eb Sopranino Sax and I don't have a problem with tuning so bad. Now I've only used a tuner when I was in public school and college. I use a tuner, other wise, when I'm checking to see if a woodwind instrument is in tune, like I've shared, about the other saxophones. I really try to be only in tune with the recordings since I record my playings and post them online. If I'm in tune with the recording and other instruments, then that's all I care about.

I've written a great deal about that curved Bb soprano sax. I traded it in for the sopranino. Turns out that the curved soprano was in the key of A. I'd ordered a straight soprano from the music store but they shipped me the curved. That was wrong but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I really wanted the sopranino, which I got from another retailer.

I didn't know all that about the sax, tuning it and all that about the mouth pieces. According to you, seems like I had a bad reed/mouthpiece combination. I had the mouthpiece pushed in all the way but still 40 cents flat. I tried to lip it up but then I was biting and it didn't change the flatness.

I don't really have tuning issues with the sopranino, other than natural tuning tendancies with the instrument. For the most part, I'm in tune with my keyboard recordings and vocals.

Once again thanks for your advice and knowledge about this.

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 Re: Embouchure
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-06-17 02:49

EbClarinet wrote:

> Turns out that the curved
> soprano was in the key of A. I'd ordered a straight soprano
> from the music store but they shipped me the curved.

This is a new one for me - I've only heard of or played soprano saxes, curved or straight, in Bb. I've never heard of a sax of any size pitched in A. What make was it?


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 Re: Embouchure
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-06-17 02:54

An associate of mine has a straight soprano in C. He plays oboe parts in concert band.

..............Paul Aviles

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 Re: Embouchure
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2019-06-17 04:06

I don't know the make or model, but there are a few soprano saxes made in A. The company who wanted it told me this. Not very many were made. They are extremely rare though

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