Yesterday, I got a new
mouthpiece for my tenor serpent.
The website says, “My mouthpiece dramatically improves the
tuning and makes the sound more direct and precise.” After a
day of fiddling with it, I agree about the sound, but I’m not
yet sure about the tuning. Sam warned me when he shipped it
that I would have to add some dental floss. Sure enough, as it
came from the box, it’s quite sharp, so I added dental floss so
that it wouldn’t go as far into the bocal, and then it was
So one of the things I spent a lot of time doing today was
playing tenor serpent notes into a tuner. I was originally
using the gstrings
tuner on my android phone. But it’s been telling me from time to
time that it has been superceded by something newer and better,
so I decided to look into that. The reviews complained a lot
about some features that were missing in the new version, called
but enough people thought there were improvements, that I
decided to try it.
Sure enough, the tuning is much better. Gstrings was
occasionally picking up the wrong overtone, so I would be
playing a possibly out of tune E, and it would be telling me I
was playing A. It doesn’t look like Waves ever does that.
The missing feature is that if you’re asking it to play a note
for you, you can’t at the moment specify the
octave that the note comes out in. Gstrings would let you do
that, but if you didn’t have a speaker plugged in, the bass
notes were practically inaudible, so you were better off with
the octave it picked anyway. I did think about plugging the
phone into a speaker, but didn’t get around to it.
In any case, getting Waves doesn’t remove Gstrings, so if you
really want to do that, you still can.
One of the reasons to get a smartphone is to replace all the
little standalone electronic gadgets. I’ve had some problems
with things like a pedometer, which works, but drains the
battery too much to be usable. I’d say the phone does replace a standalone tuner pretty well.