NeoBass: Intonation Issues (Post 4)
I’ve been playing this “Conn copy” bass for over a week now and I’m more and more fascinated all the time. Sometimes I have gotten a little frustrated with it, but then I sit back and think to myself “Who gets to do this?” I mean, what a cool thing to get to do all this work to a Bass Saxophone without consideration for keeping it original.
I found some intonation problems now that the instrument is in the shop and playing well that are worse than I thought when I tried it at the show. There is certainly a big difference between this instrument and my Conn 14M Bass. The bell and the bow are the same including tone holes. The main body tube of the China Bass is the same as the 14M on the large side, but it’s about 1.5″ longer than the Conn Bass and the taper is much slower. So basically, it’s longer and bigger. The top crook is larger at the big end and the same size where it connects to the long tube before the neck. That tube and everything to the mouthpiece is the same as the Conn. That said, originally I thought I would be making this more like a Conn and doing some measurements to fix things by making them more like my Conn. Now it’s apparent that the best thing that I can do is work with this instrument the way that it is and see if I can make it a great Bass Saxophone; and one that has a huge sound. I’m totally stoked for this ‘new’ venture.
My next step to get this Bass blasting is to retaper the bore from the top crook to the end of the neck. One of the parts, is too long with the wrong taper. So I’m going to cut some off it and retaper it. The retaper is going to improve the sounds and give this bass much better intonation by lowering the pitch of the notes from A2 and above. The NeoBass has a bigger bore overall and when I increase the size of the bore retaper it, I think it’s going to sound like a giant Conn. That is, it’s going to have a bigger low end than a good vintage Conn Bass.
I’ve written the company and requested a few spare parts. I want to have these parts to retaper without fear of not being able to go back. I’m going to put this project on hold until I hear from them. And I’m going to put my solid silver neck back on my own Conn Bass and get practicing!