Saxophone Forum


by Kounstantinou
(6 posts)
9 years ago

Big B Bari intonation

I've got a Big B Bari from 1955 that has certainly paid her dues, but has this sound that I've totally fallen in love with. The only problem is that she plays about a quarter step sharp consistantly through out her range, and thats with the mouthpiece just barely hanging on. She's had some damage to her foot that's been repaired, but is still evident. I first thought that she might have the wrong neck, but after looking at a few pictures online, the neck seems about right. I'm at a loss here as I just love her tone, but can't play her with others. She does need to be cleaned and is missing most of her lacquer (I call her Big Red for a reason). Any suggestions as to what can be done for her? Thanks.

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  1. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Big B Bari intonation

    It's possible that the key heights are set a bit high - or you don't have a good mouthpiece match - maybe you are using one with a small chamber or high baffle (or both?)

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    1. by Sax Mom
      (964 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Big B Bari intonation

      My Conn Tenor also plays consistently sharp. I solve the problem by raising the neck about 1/8 inch, and tightening the screw there. But do check into the key heights, although, if it plays sharp even when playing with all the keys closed, that won't solve the problem. By the way, my Conn plays fine with the original mouthpiece, which has a larger chamber. However, it has a chip, so I don't use it much.

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      1. by Kounstantinou
        (6 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Big B Bari intonation

        Thanks guys - I'll check the intonation with another mouthpeice. (I feel a little on the slow side with the suggestion about pulling the neckout a bit.)

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        1. by Kounstantinou
          (6 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Big B Bari intonation

          After changing the mouthpiece around and paying extra close attention to the intonation, I think you both were right - the mouthpiece was partially to blame and the pad hights seem to be the other culprit - thanks!

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      2. by WillDSpecs
        (9 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Big B Bari intonation

        I had a similar problem with an old sax. some notes were a quarter step flat. Not the whole thing, but just select notes (c# i remember being the worst culprit). what could i do to get it back in tune?

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        1. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Big B Bari intonation

          To surmise a guess, I'd need to know how your relative intonation was octave to octave (do C1, C2, C3 sound in tune with each other, for example). Once that is nailed, then I'd need to know what specific notes were flat or sharp by how much. Knowing nothing else, if C# is flat but everything else is ok, then I'd say your upper stack is set up a little low. Regarding relative intonation, how does C#1, 2, and 3 sound?

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          1. by Dave Dix
            (421 posts)

            8 years ago

            Re: Big B Bari intonation

            Its either mouthpiece , keys too open or could be the neck or top loop or neck crudded up restricting the air flow. Big B's have great intonation so get it checked out Dave

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            1. by Kounstantinou
              (6 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Big B Bari intonation

              Thanks all for the suggestions - I took her in and we discovered that her neck had been clipped. Really weird in my opinion, but the repair guy said he'd seen this before. He added some to the neck and now she sounds great!

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