So the latest thinking, supported by numerous items which have appeared on the market seems to suggest that the area where the body meets the neck of the saxophone is somewhere that leaves room for improvement, in terms of stability of tone. So, we have had the emergence of the Klangbogen (translating as soundbow I believe) from Reedgeek, the Tone Tablet, from the Corry Brothers, and various replacement heavy mass neck screws.
I haven’t had the opportunity to try any of the replacement screws, but I’m now stocking the Klangbogen, and the Tone Tablet. These items are placed into the lyre holder, (you know, the other screw, opposite the neck screw, that nobody uses, unless you play in a marching band) and supposedly stabilise this area, which is where vibration/energy can be lost from the instrument.
I say supposedly, as this will no doubt be a discussion which allows both points of view, just like ligatures, where some say they make no difference, some say it makes the world of difference.
Me? I’m a “yes”, definitely. I bought just a couple of Klangbogens when I got the Reedgeeks in stock, just to see. When I tried them on my MKVI tenor and alto, I immediately had no doubt that they made the horn focus, and become more even. No doubt. I took it off and put it back, several times, and I was convinced of the difference. I tried it with a few colleagues, in case the difference was only in the ear of the player, but as a listener also, the difference was noticeable. The first 2 players/friends who tried them (skeptically) wouldn’t let me have them back, so bought them, consequently, I haven’t had one to use, until now, as I’ve taken delivery of some more.
Like the ligature (and mouthpiece I guess) argument, some people will always say that the player may feel the difference, the listener won’t hear it. Whether this is true or not, my point of view is, if the player can feel it, isn’t that enough reason? Our sound is everything, and what we constantly agonize over, so if it makes you feel it’s better, that’s good enough??
For me though, the sound of the instrument is certainly brought into focus. The Klangbogen fits on the sax quite unobtrusively, hardly noticeable.
The Tone Tablet makes a more subtle difference. It’s a small oblong piece of silver that fits in the lyre screw in the same way, but small enough not to be seen at all when it’s in. A more subtle difference than the kb, but it’s about one third of the price.
Don’t ask me about the science of these gadgets, don’t have a clue, although both makers have carried out tests using equipment Where you can see the wave forms of the sound, but my ear tells me that it’s worth checking this stuff out.
Just when you thought life was complicated enough with “which horn/mouthpiece/reed/ligature” etc. although I think it’s different in this case, any set up can be improved, I’d say.
Ultimately, it’s the players concept of sound that matters most of course, but a little help doesn’t ever hurt.
If you’re passing the shop, why not come in and try either/both? Klangbogen priced at £53, tone tablets at £15