Adding Mass to Improve Sound

The Effect of mass on saxophone sound

This experiment came about due to some recent speculation that adding mass to the saxophone will have an effect on the sound. Somebody somewhere (don’t ask me who) suggested that the neck brace on a Conn 10M was the ideal vehicle. You could add some weight there and adjust the position. We already know of certain gizmos such as heavy tenon receiver screws and Klangbogens that add mass, and claim to improve sound so why not try this DIY method?

The test was conducted in collaboration with my glamourous assistant, Stephen Howard. He adapted a 150 gm lead weight (which was probably a bit of fishing tackle). It had a couple of screws and a fastening bracket, so it could be slid up and down the neck brace.

So I will leave it up to you to listen and decide for yourelf on how this improves (or changes) the sound.


Lead Weight in different positions on neck

Adding mass to the neck of a Conn 10m
Conn 10M with weight attached

This was a (single) blindfold test. Although I did could not see the weight, my assistant Stepehn who placed the weights, did know which was which. A more rigorous experiment would have involved double blindfolds, one for each person.

The experiment involved adding a lead weight to three different parts of a saxophone neck. The weight was recorded twice for each position (near the mouthpiece, far from the mouthpiece and midway)

If there is any significant difference in sound caused by the weight or the position of the weight, then even if you don’t know what the different sound should be, you should be able to arrange them into discreet pairs of files, each pair containing two identical sounding files.

Example 1

Example 2

Example 3

Example 4

Example 5

Example 6

Example 7

Example 8

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