Over the last few years we have seen a multitude of so-called sound enhancing accessories, from the Swing Chip to the leFreque, the Klangbogen to the Heavy Mass Neck Screw. Do they work or is it all in the mind?
Placebo or a real acoustic breakthrough in saxophone tone production?
How the Sound Snake works
The first thing we need to do is bust the “pseudo-science” myth that so many sound-enhancing products seem to rely on: the vibrations of the saxophone body.
No. The saxophone does not vibrate!
Unlike percussion and string instruments, the body of a woodwind instrument such as the saxophone does not (and should not) actually vibrate or resonate significantly – if it does there is something wrong. The body of the saxophone is merely a container for the air column, which is where all the vibratings go on. It has been scientifically proven that vibrations in the wall will have a negative impact on the standing wave in the air column
This is so well documented by all acoustic scientists that it is hard to believe that in the 21st century the myth of the resonating saxophone still persists. And yet it does. Could it be that perpetuating this myth is a marketing ploy by the purveyors of all those so-called tone enhancing gizmos? I sincerely hope not. They wouldn’t lie would they?
“So,” I can hear you asking, “if the saxophone body vibrations is so much hokum pokum, how does this sound enhancing Sound Snake product work?”
The answer is simple. In many cases the saxophone body can actually vibrate a tiny amount. However these are bad vibrations – what in scientific terms is referred to by acousticians as “bad vibes, man.” What these bad vibrations do is to nullify the actual “good vibrations” of the air column. This is due to phase cancellation at the third and sometimes fourth nodal points, and in extreme cases the fifth hypernode.
Enter the Snake
Although the Aztecs weren’t aware of the science, it seems they weren’t daft. The Sound Snake, when placed appropriately, serves to anti-nullify the effects of that vibrational nullification of the air column. In layman’s terms, this means that the snake sucks out the bad vibrations and disperses them to where they can do no acoustic harm.
After years studying the great acoustic scientists, thousands of hours of disciplined blind, double-blind, triple-blind and quadruple-blind testing, we discovered (as luck would have it) that the ideal position for the sound snake was literally staring us in the face: the lyre holder.
So there is no need for drilling or sticking: simply shove it in your lyre holder, tighten the screw and Bob’s your uncle.
After fitting to your instrument, it can be conveniently shaped for maximum benefit. In fact the shape and orientation can have a significant effect not only on the sound, but also on the emotional response and genre of your playing.
The Sound Snake is hand made in the UK using a special alloy of indigenous metals, selected not just for the stunning visual aesthetic, but also for their vibrational transferral properties necessary for complete nullification of the bad vibes. Do not be fooled by cheap imitations made from other materials.
Different types of tonal enhancement
Out of the box, the default snake is coiled rather like, well, like a snake. As you may imagine, straightening it will have the effect of “opening up” your sound. But there is no need to stop there. The instruction manual contains helpful illustrations that enable even the absolute beginner to achieve the entire gamut of available sounds, emotions and even genres. Just imagine, no need to ever practise long notes or tone exercises again. Ever.
Hear the difference!
These audio clips were carried out under ultra scientific conditions. Can you tell the difference? It is quite subtle but you may hear how the Soundsnake adds a dark brightness, opens up the sound and expressiveness.
For a limited period only you can receive a free bottle of Snake Oil, only £19.99 extra
Not guaranteed to do actually do anything.