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THE CONTRALTO SAX (key of C)

The Contralto is a unique instrument. I was able to find the correct dimensions for this new size horn by calculating from the bodies of Tenors and Altos. But that was only the begining. Many siginificant improvements were incorperated into the new horn.

NECKS AND MOUTHPIECES
The neck bushings of conventional horns are cylindrical when they should be tapered. This is because the neck must slide in and out of its receiver. What I did was taper just the inside of the neck bushing - leaving the outside of the bushing cylindrical for assembly/disassembly. The inside of the Contralto bore is now tapered throughout the neck bushing area as it should be. This means that the entire neck taper and length had to be changed as well.

Click to enlarge image


THE SILVER BODY CONTRALTO




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THE NECK controls the overall intonation of the horn and so after the neck was perfected, the toneholes of the body had to be moved to match these new intonation improvements. The amount of work involved was tremendous. But the result is that the shape of the Contralto brings out the tone-center of each note. Unfortunately, conventional Tenors and Altos may not be able to use this new tapered neck/bushing design unless a few of their toneholes are moved. My Tenors, Altos are provided with this improvement but conventinal necks cannot be used on my horns. You can use conventional mouthpieces on any of my horns and/or order a special corkless neck for my Oring mouthpieces.






MOUTHPIECE DESIGN
Mouthpiece development is an ongoing process. For all the attention that is paid to mouthpieces, it is amazing that one area of mouthpiece design could be so neglected. To see this problem, install the mouthpiece (without reed) onto a sax neck. Now look into the chamber and view the small end of the neck. What you see is the blunt end of the neck (surrounded by cork), protruding directly into the air stream right where it can do the most damage to the sound wave. This makes for bad acoustics. That dramatic reduction in size from the large mouthpiece chamber down to the very small end of the neck is a sound barrier. This sealing area has been improved on my mouthpieces by eliminating the cork (that’s right - no cork). The mouthpiece is still adjustable for tuning and is provided with an airtight, fool-proof, O ring seal. You get a more streamlined air and soundwave flow where it is most important - the inner surface of your sax where it meets the mouthpiece. The tonal spectrum is wider and more projection is available because the thick blunt neck end isn’t there to cancel out some of your good vibes - it has the effect of unclogging your horn. Another benefit is improved intonation. This is the result of a more consistent internal expansion starting from the tip of the mouthpiece and continuing throughout the rest of the horn. Of all the saxes in the world - only JS horns have this ideal shape. The shape forms the sound and these sonic advancements are apparent to the player and the audience.

FOR MY METALMOUTHPIECES
I use special lead free brass for the mouthpiece to avoid the lead poisoning danger of conventional leaded breass mouthpieces. A large chamber area expands from the tip to maximise at the bore and this is where the wide tonal spectrum comes from. The tone is FAT, round, warm and full of color. My unique design provides a larger chamber volume with a narrower, more comfortable beak or bite than is available on other mouthpieces. There is a slight roll over baffel near the tip but it is very minimal and is similar to the internal shape found on the early Links (see image at left).

THE WIDE TONAL SPECTRUM
The bell of the contralto has been slightly enlarged in proportion to other saxes. I have found that this increases the warmth and roundness of tone - augmenting the bottom end without subtracting anything from the high register. The upper register of the Contralto has been improved due to an ideal layout and location of the top tone holes. Unfortunately, many of the tone holes of conventional saxes are unevenly spaced, of improper sizes and imperfect in tone. These problems have been addressed and corrected on the contralto, offering a very wide and useful range.


JIM SCHMIDT
4480 North Academy ave.
Sanger, CA 93657
ph./fax (559) 875 0659

Email to jim@jsengineering.net

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SAXOPHONES
fingering chart | tonehole layout | the inventor | Contralto & mouthpieces
prices & ordering | Gold sax pads | tonehole files | order CD | home
FLUTES
prices & ordering | Gold flute pads | tonehole files | order CD | home | e mail