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Thumbrests & Straphooks

Discussion in 'Material Matters' started by pete, Jul 22, 2010.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    ... that is, "Pete's third thread regarding Yamaha Ad Copy." :D

    So, I found out that Yamaha had started their own blog. That's the good. The bad is that I found a lot of stuff that I'd call "questionable." This is one of those things and I hope that one of y'all can provide more info.

    Here's the quote:

    This quote was taken from this blog post regarding the 82Z.

    In my opinion, this is Yamaha's marketing answer to Cannonball's mysterious, patented "resonance stones" in the Stone Series of instruments. I don't think there's any info that can back up Yamaha's (or Cannonball's) claim ... or is there?

    I've mentioned that I've read some articles that the flute tone (yes, I know: different instrument, but bear with me) is affected by the instrument's overall weight and wall thickness. That's all well and good, but at the very least you're talking about changing the material of the flute's headjoint or entire horn's body. Not less than 1% of the horn, which would be about the percentage area that the thumbrest/straphook takes up on a sax.

    I'd love to see a study anywhere on this. Personally, I've had a sax that the left hand thumbrest broke off of a sax and I replaced it with a mother-of-pearl button (as in, "A button that was found on a 1970's era shirt"). I don't remember any tonal change. I also used rubber padding on my Bb clarinets for the right hand thumbrest. I also don't remember any tonal change for those horns, either.

    Now, I know that there are a lot of sax players out there that do have aftermarket right-hand thumbrests and some of you have aftermarket straphooks, too. Have you noticed any difference in your horns? Anyone have any scientific proof that says that changing these things makes any tonal difference?
  2. Carl H.

    Carl H. Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    Let me check something...
  3. Steve

    Steve Clarinet CE/Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

    changing the thumbhook ? errr ... interesting .....

    with the stone series .. i would guess that Cannonball has that research and probably won't share it ....

    I liked their original BBGS horns .... never tried a current one .. stoned or not :p (me or the horn)
  4. Yanagisawa puts little projections on the body side of the thumb hook to keep the hook from full contact with the body. They claim this allows the body to vibrate more freely. Although I am an admirer of Yani, and have a tenor and a bari with this feature, I seriously doubt that it makes an audible difference.

    Yamaha? As competition increases they seem to journey farther and farther into la-la land.

    Cannonball? Already there.
  5. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    You have opened a real can of worms with the topics of cryogenic treatment of saxophones and whether mass added to the outside of the body or neck tube affects the soundwave inside.

    I don't have my regular computer because it is in the shop getting a bigger hard drive, so I can't quote specific studies, but the latest one to study the effects of wall vibrations in saxophone like woodwinds found those effects to be very insignificant.

    From the point of view of many scientists, since wall vibrations have such an insignificant effect upon the emitted soundwave in the first place, then anything that purports to change the degree of wall vibrations whether it is adding or taking away mass, or "relaxing" the stress of the metal through cryogenic treatment does not produce any significant change in the sound.

    I'll have more to add when my computer gets back---hopefully later today.
  6. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    You went a couple steps further than I've gone. I didn't mention cryo ... yet. :D

    If you don't mind, a separate thread should be made for that.
  7. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I was thinking about furring a project instrument of mine. If nothing, then a reverence to Meret Oppenheim...
  8. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

    I agree, however the link you provided was all about Yamaha's cryogenic treatment of saxophones. The metal thumb hook and thumb button were developed to be a part of the cryogenically treated model.

    The latest and most comprehensive acoustic study on the topic of wall vibrations can be found at this link. For those who don't want to wade through the entire text, the abstract and the conclusion sections give the basics of the study.

  9. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

    I have long contended that most of these supposed innovations do little if anything to impact the sound of the horn. What they do to a large degree is change the feeling in the hands. From there it is largely mental. If you feel like the horn resonates and you like that then you are likely to play more confidently.
  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    Yah, I know. I couldn't do a direct link to just the thumbrest portion.
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