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Thread: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

  1. #1

    Default Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I have a 1936 30M tenor on extended loan, and have read great comments about these horns. It seems common knowledge that these play extremely sharp, and I'm trying to figure out how to deal with it.

    If I pull out the mouthpiece enough to be in tune, low note response gets bad and gurgly. The cork is thin, so I'm using a strip of paper. And still the mouthpiece is a little wobbly out there. The low notes sound great with the mouthpiece at a more normal position.

    I should mention that I'm not an experienced tenor player, and that my embouchure might be partially at fault for the low note problems. But like I said, pushing in the mouthpiece pretty much solves it.

    I've had some work done on the horn, but don't want to spend a ton of money on a horn I don't own. So there could still be some leaks or other problems.

    One thing I've tried is pushing the mouthpiece in but pulling the neck out. This kind of works, but is not a great solution.

    I guess my questions are:

    Would different mouthpieces help at all? I've tried a Rousseu classical piece and a Berg Larsen metal jazz piece with about the same results.

    Would new cork help at all? That would eliminate the need for paper and maybe it wouldn't be as wobbly. But I'm thinking it's the position of the mouthpiece that's really the issue.

    How do others deal with this issue? My tech mentioned that he often used to put extensions on the necks of these horns.

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Technician BOPITY FUNK's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    You need a large chamber peice for these --basically a de-luxe 10m-- a Link or similar dont try a too big a tip opening either. These are great horns but were designed for the demands of a past era, if you want a modern sound play a modern horn.
    Regards BF

  3. #3
    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Admark View Post
    I have a 1936 30M tenor on extended loan, and have read great comments about these horns. It seems common knowledge that these play extremely sharp, and I'm trying to figure out how to deal with it.

    If I pull out the mouthpiece enough to be in tune, low note response gets bad and gurgly. The cork is thin, so I'm using a strip of paper. And still the mouthpiece is a little wobbly out there. The low notes sound great with the mouthpiece at a more normal position.

    I should mention that I'm not an experienced tenor player, and that my embouchure might be partially at fault for the low note problems. But like I said, pushing in the mouthpiece pretty much solves it.

    I've had some work done on the horn, but don't want to spend a ton of money on a horn I don't own. So there could still be some leaks or other problems.

    One thing I've tried is pushing the mouthpiece in but pulling the neck out. This kind of works, but is not a great solution.

    I guess my questions are:

    Would different mouthpieces help at all? I've tried a Rousseu classical piece and a Berg Larsen metal jazz piece with about the same results.

    Would new cork help at all? That would eliminate the need for paper and maybe it wouldn't be as wobbly. But I'm thinking it's the position of the mouthpiece that's really the issue.

    How do others deal with this issue? My tech mentioned that he often used to put extensions on the necks of these horns.
    No pitch or response issues on mine with Link, Brilhart, Dukoff 'stubby', or Tenney Jazzmaster mouthpieces--and that's with original pads, pending a Tenor Madness overhaul! Perhaps the Berg chamber isn't a good match. Can you find any place on the cork where you can readily slur in-tune octaves on G, A, B, and C? If not, and if they are stretched octaves, then you are likely playing much too tight. You need almost no lower jaw pressure--just enough to seal the read. Support more from the corner and, more importantly, support the sound with your airstream rather than with your face.

    JR
    I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass. - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
    jimromainmusic.com
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    I am a Conn-Selmer and Rico artist, and Membership Director for the North American Saxophone Alliance.

  4. #4
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Is the 30M that different to a 10M.

    These have superb intonation and are very mouthpiece friendly. This is not just my opinion, but also that of many players I know who have/had 10Ms and 30Ms. I've never heard of any common knowledge that they are sharp.

    Could it be to do with relaxing your embouchure?

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 Budget Explosion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Good to know a pro player can play his horn in tune (and so can all his buddies.)

    I had big problems with sharpness on my 10M when I played it with a Brilhart Tonalin. With a HR Link or Broadus, the intonation was very good.

  6. #6
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Budget Explosion View Post
    Good to know a pro player can play his horn in tune (and so can all his buddies.)
    To be honest, I've had many intonation problems. On tenor, most of them were solved by the Naked Lady.

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 Budget Explosion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Sorry for the snotty reply...this topic is a sensitive spot for me.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 HUTMO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I am getting the feeling that Pete and I are the only individuals who can play their 10M's in tune!!

    Try a different mouthpiece.

    Good luck
    Hutmo

  9. #9

    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I dunno how different it is from 10m, but my 30m always plays in tune. It's better than my alto, which is a modern horn. (Probably has to do with my not being as familiar with it... I doubt it's the alto.) I'm using a medium chamber mouthpiece at the moment, and the intonation is fine. I've jumped around quite a bit between mouthpieces though, and have never had a problem.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I had the same issues (sharp tuning and low note gurgling) on my 30M and 10M, however, once I started playing a Link and learned to relax my jaw, those issues went away. Try practicing your overtone series daily on lom B flat. Practicing those with a tuner really dialed me in in general. It'll just take some getting used to. For myself, I later switched to a Chu as I find these to be more friendly though........

    I tried some Bergs on those M's as well, sharp throughout! I suppose I could get used to it (my old teacher played this setup for 40+ years), but felt it would take too much work. Besides, I like the Link tone better!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I have a late 10M, 1962 that I dearly love. It sure isn't pretty but it can out play me. The one note that I always seem to have a problem with playing sharp is low C#. Anyone else have this problem. I usually l play with a 7* STM NY or Tone Edge 7*. I just just Barely get it into tune with the rest of the horn.

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    These have superb intonation and are very mouthpiece friendly. This is not just my opinion, but also that of many players I know who have/had 10Ms and 30Ms. I've never heard of any common knowledge that they are sharp.
    Not common knowledge. Just a common complaint. Everyone blows differently. I don't find my 10M to have bad intonation, but some mouthpieces will sit further out on the cork than others for the horn to play in tune; and if too far out, the low end (usually around D) will require more attention. I spent some time finding the right matches for my 10M, and even more time making not so great matches (but pieces I liked) work; and it was quite worth it. They can be fantastic horns. For some however, it might not be worth the hassle. Now some players are never going to realize this problem; either by how loose they blow or perhaps maybe they got lucky with the right mouthpiece right off the bat.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    My $0.02:

    The posters are right that these older horns need large and round chambered mouthpiece to play best in tune. Even the straight-walled Brilhart can be hard to play on the older Conn saxophones. (But I can be done as Charlie Parker played a Tonalin a least sometime with his 6M. But then again, I've heard recordings of Bird playing sharp in the upper register.)

    When you pull out the mouthpiece, you are adding volume to the horn. Some notes will play better in tune and the octaves will spread less, but your low notes will gurgle. I know some guys have the neck extended to solve this problem. You can experiment just by just inserting the neck less into the horn. It'll only work as a temporary measure, but I have found some good results this way with my RTH 10M and a very old Tonalin.

    The best mouthpiece I have found in regards to playing in tune on a 10M are very old Link style mouthpieces. I had Brian Powell work up a great old rubber piece for me. That and an old Master Link (also refaced) play the best for me.

    I do like the Brilhart enough to consider either getting a second modified neck, or having something like clairnet style tuning rings made so I can safely pull the neck about an eight of an inch out of the body.

    Love to hear what others have to say!

  14. #14
    Forum Contributor 2008/Distinguished SOTW Member Swampcabbage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I'll say this. It is a different kind of blow than a Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, Martin. I think it that sense it tends to feel more mouthpiece dependent. However, my 30M still plays quite remarkably thought I primarily play my VI. Occassionally I pull it out and it takes a little adjustment. It is not forgiving when it comes to air support. But, once I dial it in. Works great. I do tend to have to keep the mouthpiece about halfway on the cork where as I used to playi it at least three quarters in.

    It's hard to beat a good and zippy STM on it. I don't think you have to have a HUGE chamber mouthpiece. A decent quality STM works great (heck, I still love the Millenium's on it).

    Good luck, once you spend a little time with it, it will come to you.

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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    ok, i have a chu and a 6 and this is what i found that works... try this and let me know. first, relax your throat, second tighten your embouchure, and lastly, push in our mouthpiece...

  16. #16

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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    oh, i forgot something critically important think "WARM AIR"

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Quote Originally Posted by BOPITY FUNK View Post
    You need a large chamber peice for these --basically a de-luxe 10m-- a Link or similar dont try a too big a tip opening either. These are great horns but were designed for the demands of a past era, if you want a modern sound play a modern horn.
    Regards BF


    If you want to hear a modern player play a 10M VERY well in tune, and in a modern context, check out Jerry Bergonzi's record "On Again." It's one of several he has made using a 10M. Then there's early Jan Garbarek or Dexter Gordon -- 10M again.
    My point is that 10M's are easy to play in tune in ANY style of music, but you can't just put any mouthpiece on there. You have to use a medium or large chamber mouthpiece. The problem isn't the horn. Even a MKVI will be difficult to play in tune with some pieces.

  18. #18
    Distinguished SOTW Member and Great Bloke. Bootman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I never have any real issues with my 10M, it is very easy to play in tune with a Link. I have similar things with all Conn saxes Sops, Altos, Bari and Bass. You need a medium to large chamber mpc and to fill it with air support.

    Although I am not a big fan of the 30M, they do play very easily with the right mpc. My personal favourite Conns are the transitional models.

    If you are having problems, use more air support, change mpc and reeds combinations until you find something that works well for you. Also get your horn checked for leaks as this makes the biggest diference to how well the instrument plays!

  19. #19
    Gene's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    Try a Custom Conn Steelay with a baffle mine outplays my morgan just starting to get comfortable with it and plays better in tune very little variance between notes huge chamber.
    Last edited by Gene; 12-23-2008 at 03:50 PM.

  20. #20
    Forum Contributor 2008/Distinguished SOTW Member Swampcabbage's Avatar
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    Default Re: Conn 30M tenor tuning woes

    I'd also like to say that pad heights (a proper setup) can have a good effect on any horn. And when it comes to the 26 and 30, if there is anything out of whack on your set screws and you and/or your tech aren't comfortable with their proper adjustments (Which shouldn't be the case - but you would be surpised at how many techs are perplexed by their use and and decide to shim them with build ups rather than using them appropriately). Well, you could be in for tough ride. You have to take it to someone who knows how to set these up (like Les - but I'm still mad at him for moving so I won't say much more than that... ).

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