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Thread: Yamaha 642 Neo Intonation Difficulties

  1. Yamaha 642 Neo Intonation Difficulties

    Hello All,

    On my neo I can't seem to center the C# below the staff (treble Clef) as 1-2-3 is terribly sharp (no surprise) but 2-4 brings that note so flat it is almost unusable. What I normally do is just use 1-2-3 and lip it down the best I can but its still not good. Anybody else have this issue with Yamaha horns? I used to play a king 2280 and 2-4 worked great. I also have 2 Wessex Dolce's which are clones of the Yamaha that do no better than the neo so I'm wondering if is a Yamaha design issue or is it just me.

    Also, another issue I am fighting is the B-flat below the staff is really flat and after my chops get a little tired that note comes out really muddy and uncentered. What's odd is its only this note that sounds so bad after being a little fatigued. I'm pretty sure this is just me, but any advise on how to correct this would be welcome.

    Thanks so much.

  2. #2
    The change from non-comp to comp can be a challenge for a while. The response is different for one thing. And as you discovered, so is the intonation.

    Many 4-valve compensating euphonium are flat on the C# (concert B). I THINK that is because it is hard to make the 2nd valve compensating loop short enough. It is the little near-vertical on the back of the 2nd valve, and it has to make a full 180 degree turn and also attach to small projections that come out of the valve block. But that is a little more length than the C# needs.

    The flat Bb is something I have seen, but I don't recall it being a problem on Yamaha compensating horns. Do you know the horn is clean inside, has not big dents (in small tubes especially), and has not obstructions inside. I once play-tested a Besson Prestige and it was not comfortable to play. It turned out a little packing material had sneaked in a gotten lodged somewhere. The same thing happened to a Big Mouth Brass display horn at a conference a couple years ago.

    Your 2280 was not compensating. So if you tune the 4th valve to be solid on the D (concert C) then the C# adds 2nd valve and will be a little sharp, in theory, at least. The 2nd valve is long enough to lower the C open note by a half step. But when the 4th valve is down, you are not playing a horn in G (F concert), and the 2nd valve is too short to give a full half step. So it's a huge change on that note especially from non-comp to comp.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  3. Thanks for the response Mr. Werden. What you mentioned about the mechanics of the compensation system makes sense as to why concert C# can be flat. What do you and others do to play that note in tune? I should have clarified that I've had my neo since 2012 so its not really a factor of me getting used to the horn. It is possible I've picked up bad habits that may be a factor in my poor intonation on that note.

    As far as the Bb, the horn is in like new condition and I keep it very clean on the inside with regular baths and maintenance. The fact that I have trouble on my both my Wessex Dolce's as well on the low Bb almost makes it certain it is me. I can't seem to find an alternate fingering on that note or I would try that. I think I've read somewhere before that around that range on euphonium a pivot needs to take place with the embouchure, and if there is some validity to this could this be part of my issue and if so how to correct? I have a good low register range down into the pedals but just this note on my horns is problematic especially when I'm a little fatigued.

  4. #4
    What mouthpiece do you use? Some brands, such as Schilke (not all models) stick out more from the receiver and that could affect intonation in some ways.

    On my Besson and Sterling I had to just lip up the B. You can get used to that, but it takes a while because you have so far to lift it.

    On my Adams E3 I don't have to work too hard. Here is a chart comparing my intonation on the Adams E3 (taken on a display horn, before I played the E3) and a Wessex Dolce (also from a display horn).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  5. I am currently using a DW SM4 after recently switching from a DW 4.5AL Heavy Top. I also have used different Schilkes with similar results.

    After looking at your intonation chart I see the display Wessex was around 20 cents flat on B2 where I am approx. 25 cents flat, so pretty close. I'm glad you mentioned you had to lip up that note on previous horns so that is what I will aim to do.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eupher1971 View Post
    I'm glad you mentioned you had to lip up that note on previous horns so that is what I will aim to do.
    It'll be hard at first, but that range is usually pretty flexible/bendable. You'll get there!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  7. I have had this same exact problem on my Wessex. The only way I can get concert B natural in tune is with all 4 valves down, but the tone with this valve combination is, well, horrible. Usually I just use the 24 combination and try to lip it up. My concert C behaves similarly to concert B - 13 is quite sharp and 4 is quite flat. These tuning tendencies haven't really caused a problem for me. They're just annoying
    T.J. Davis

    Wessex Dolce
    G&W Kadja

  8. #8
    I've had my Neo for almost a year now and when playing in a brass band setting I've never noticed an issue with the pitching of either of those notes but when I was first setting the starting point for my slides when I first got it I couldn't set the 4th valve slide in a position where it statisfied all the notes (playing each note on its own without my brain using previous notes as a pitch reference) where I typically use the 4th valve. I can't remember the specifics but I ended up leaving the 4th valve tuning slide in a compromised position (think I made sure the D just under the treble clef stave was just about right and I could still play everything else on that valve in tune without too much effort). I also seem to remember the B not being exactly perfect on the tuner but as I have said it hasn't been a problem in a band setting.

    I haven't helped much but I guess my point is that I think your probably right about the pitching down there.

    As Dave has already said mouthpieces can have a big effect on relative tuning, I used to play on a Bach 5G on my previous Euphonium which sharpen everything up but not in a even way (some notes were more affected than others), it meant more lipping for me but for others I guess it might mean less lipping (playing on a K&G now which is very similar in the amount it sticks out of the reciever to a DW). I haven't used the mouthpiece much that came with the Neo but it might be worth an experiment with a Yamaha mouthpiece, if you have use of an appropriately sized one, to see if you get the same issues.

  9. Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    I haven't used the mouthpiece much that came with the Neo but it might be worth an experiment with a Yamaha mouthpiece, if you have use of an appropriately sized one, to see if you get the same issues.
    I agree, I am experimenting with other mouthpieces to see if there is an improvement in intonation on these notes. Luckily I have acquired many mouthpieces through the years so I don't have to buy any at this time for my experiment.

  10. How is your overall embouchure? I find that when I have not been able to practice for awhile due to day job and other requirements of time, my open concert Bb (BBB style transposed treble clef middle C) tends to go flat on all the brass I play, whether trumpet, baritone, euph, or tuba. Once I am back in shape, the flat open concert Bb in whichever octave for whichever horn, goes away and comes back to pitch. This is after, historically through all the horn and mouthpiece "safaris" over the years and having settled on combinations of mouthpiece and horn that work for me. Your mileage will vary.

    I understand the concerns about the comp loops that may drive a particular note flat due to the physical limitations of getting the 2nd valve comp loop short enough. The typical horn for this situation is the B&H/Besson brass band three valve baritone horn, which yes, due to the physical limitations of getting the second valve comp loop short enough is an issue. But on a four valve comp euph, that comp loop, by the math, has to be longer, because it is compensating for the 4th valve, not the 3rd valve. Moreover, look closely at Dave's overlay chart: the Dolce on the concert B nat is not as flat as the Adams.

    Emperor's new clothes: despite the Yammy Neo being touted as "the best euph" in the marketing, with a price tag to match, I don't think it is any physical limitation in the tubing. I believe it is a miscalculation by Yamaha as to how long that 2nd valve comp loop should be and where braces should be placed. I would return the horn and ask that it be re-engineered since other makes and models are not flat on either the open Bb (BBB transposed treble clef middle C) and not "that" flat on the B nat (C# transposed treble clef).
    Last edited by iiipopes; 01-26-2018 at 07:22 AM.

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