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New Discovery - The Saxophone Is Conical

Discussion in 'Manufacturing and Construction Techniques' started by MartinMods, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. The new Theo Wanne "Mantra" tenor saxophone features a "new" innovation - a "constant taper" neck/tenon, aka, conical bore tenon. This is a significant acoustical improvement, something an accomplished player will notice as refined tonal focus, improved response, and more stable intonation. I have been playing on conical bore tenons for 30 years, and have been making/selling conical bore tenon replacements for 3. It's about time someone else started thinking. This is an exciting development.

    There are those (including established academic experts) who have strongly criticized this idea as being too insignificant and not cost effective - "If it was a good idea, then Yamaha would have done it already." Well, the history of woodwind instruments shows us that for the most part, their development has been the result of many such "small" improvements. As 99% of the input energy is lost to heat and viscous effects, no improvement in getting the most out of that remaining 1% can be considered too insignificant IMO.

  2. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I clad my barrel in fake fur for those extra smooth twelfths.
    I'm now contemplating polka dots on the bell for those 'pean folk tunes.

    Need I say that I occasionally disinfect my own bore with Single Malt?

    Oh yes, the term "mantra" always elicits this.
  3. On the subject of constant taper, it seems that many forget what I consider the most intrusive break in taper. The point is where the mouthpiece and neck first join. That step is a good millimeter all round. As far as the instrument is designed right now, the taper goes:

    Tip opening
    Baffel taper to
    Mouthpiece bore
    1 mm step
    Beginning of instrument bore
    Taper to bell

    If you ask my opinion (and you probably aren't), I'd like to see someone create a way for the mouthpiece baffle to taper to the beginning of the instrument bore (neck). Or, more importantly, extend the neck taper to the end of the mouthpiece baffle. I personally think that would make the low register easier to control, and probably the highs a bit sweeter.
  4. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Conn made thousands of neck tenons with internal taper starting in the 1920s. Nothing new.
  5. Good observation. I'm afraid there is no way around it. The mouthpiece must have a certain amount of volume for the lower first and second octave to be in tune with one another. That cavity volume must be within a certain range of length for the top end of the first register to be in tune with the respective end of the second register. There has to be a difference between the mouthpiece bore and the neck bore. The transition can be played with to some extent, but there's no getting around the constriction.
  6. Conn did many things that were abandoned for the sake of economics. I've heard about their tenon but never seen one. They produced the adjustable chamber/throat volume mouthpiece, which would fix 95% of all intonation issues if anyone knew how to use it. The inventor didn't know how to though and I've never seen any instructions.

    The majority of the saxophone owning populace won't notice any significant difference. One must have developed mature note voicing skills to realize the benefits, which for these players will be like day/night. Those who are on the road to developing those skills, will do so much faster. For the rest, their note voicing discrepancies will obscure the effects of the manufacturing refinement, before they can perceive it.
  7. Well, In my personal opinion, they should put the cork on the inside of the neck, and have a tube inserted into the saxophone to attach it. This way, it's at least a step down, instead of a step up, and would probably facilitate performance. As it is right now, air goes from your mouth, out (baffle), in (connection to neck), out (taper of the instrument). If the mouthpiece was attached to a tube that was inserted inside the neck, the air would at least be continuously traveling out because of the step from mouthpiece tube to neck.

    I guess another way to do it would be to have the tube on the mouthpiece have cork on it, and have the neck of the sax corkless. Oh the possibilities.
  8. I'm pretty sure the new Yamahas are doing the same as well.
  9. Go for it.
  10. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    didn't we just see pics of a couple old Conns like that ?
  11. Oh my, would that be a challenge. No only would someone have to design a new instrument, and new mouthpiece. But then they would have to convince someone like Branford Marsalis, Dan Higgins, Kenny Garrett, etc... that the horn was better than their cherished Mark VI.

    Warburton is altering saxophone necks now. The step still exists, but they can add baffels to the neck itself. So with this product you can have a baffel in the mouthpiece, bore, baffel in the neck, and then a sound wave that has hopscotched all the way through the horn. I don't see them catching on, because I tried to find a place to test them out, but there's not many that are Warburton sax suppliers, and even less that would carry these necks in stock. Warburton also alters the tenon, to make it tapered on the inside.

    You know, the tenon is so far down the horn, I can't believe these alterations really hold any water whatsoever.
  12. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    My old Conn...

    ...has an almost knife-like edge at the tip of the corked portion. It's sharp enough to cut yourself on if you were to brush against it hard.
  13. :) An unimportant mm of the air column does not exist.
  14. The next cool thing about this could be.............what's the advantage of designing your own horns and mouthpieces both?
  15. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Peter Ponzol. He's got a new horn that Antigua's making, the Pro One. Looks like they're competing at similar price points, too.

    My opinion is that the price point has gotten low enough for some folks to say to a company, "Please make a horn with the following specifications and design improvements." In other words, it's the next logical step beyond having a "house brand" sax.

    I'd like to know who's making the horns for Mr. Wanne. It's more because I look at the Pro One and say, "Well, Antigua's doing the production. They make some decent horns. I think I'll try one," rather than, "I don't know where they're coming from. I want the company making my horn to have some kind of track record."
  16. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    Interesting that you mention Peter. On of my tech's frustrations is replacing my neck corks to fit his mouthpieces. According to him, the shank is slightly conical, and makes for a difficult fit. He ends up using a thicker piece of cork than usual, and sanding it down just slightly outward from the ferrule.
  17. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Conical tenons are hell to refit for a loose neck joint. I hate them. (99+% of the professional players that I work with use cylindrical neck tenons. There'a a lot of bullcrap here to sell stuff.
  18. A question on shape, and if companies aren't doing this then they're doing it wrong:

    Wouldn't the outside of the tenon be cylindrical to fit into the sax body snug, but the inside be tapered to fit the bore? I know nothing of manufacturing, but that seems like the easiest, most accurate way to fit it.
  19. A real conical bore tenon is impossible to stretch I imagine. One would need to replace the receiver, but that's something Mr Wanne will have to deal with certainly.
  20. That's it.
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