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2nd octave breaking to fundmental tone - Buescher 400 tenor

minnsax

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I have problem with my Buescher 400 (379xxx) tenor. Certain second octave tones like fourth space E and Eb want to break to the lower octave unless I back way off on the air or make some other major embouchure adjustments. Same behvior with all my mouthpieces. There doesn't appear to be any obstruction in the first octave vent. No problem once above top line F/F#. I also do not have this problem on my other tenor- Buescher aristocrat series III. Any thoughts on this before I take it into my tech? Thanks
 

jbtsax

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This is a very interesting question. What makes it fascinating is the fact that for almost all saxophones the fundamental of the lower notes on the instrument is weaker than the first 2 or 3 overtones. See UNSW Saxophone Spectrum. This causes the lower note to want to jump to the higher octave---not the other way around as was described. It may be an octave vent position problem, but the problem with this analysis is that the body octave vent is usually set at the ideal position for the note F. Your E is only a half step away from this "ideal" position so the octave vent "not working" for this note would be unusual.

Something you might try.

Play E2 and Eb2 as overtones voicing the notes in this octave without using the octave key. Do this at f and ff and see what happens. Then play them at the same volume starting without the octave key and adding it while holding the note.

Another part of the puzzle may be the input pitch into the saxophone. Play just the neck and mouthpiece as you normally play and see what pitch is produced. This also may provide a clue as to what is happening acoustically. If you have pushed a pipe cleaner through the body octave vent and it is clear, I would be very surprised if there is a mechanical reason the sax is acting in this manner.

If you discover you sax just plays all of its lowest notes this effortlessly---how much would you sell it to me for? ;}
 

minnsax

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2
The E and Eb sound, but there is also a strong difference tone that is in the sound and it gets stronger the more you blow. I cleaned the body vent tube- that helped a little. I also tried the 400 neck on my Aristocrat II- no problems. Also tried the series II neck on the 400 and got the same behavior. So I think we know that the neck is not the issue. I have several very good techs near me- they will come up with a solution.
 

jbtsax

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Thanks for the reply. Please keep us posted as to what, if anything, the tech finds that may be causing this phenomenon.
 

SaxyMalcolm

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Peebles, Scotland
It could be a problem with your octave mechanism or as jbtsax suggested you may need to voice the notes more. Try signing the E and Eb pitches and then play the notes on the sax without adjusting the shape of your throat. If this helps then lots of harmonics practice is the way to go, also mpc practice/flexibility by blowing different pitches on the mpc alone will help.
 

Roy Harrison

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Cambridge, UK
I have experienced something similar on a brand new Yanagisawa YSS-875EX and just recently on a Yamaha YAS-26. The second octave D is OK, but the E and F are unstable with a lower octave component. The G is OK too. For the E and F, if I make some changes with my tongue etc I can stabilise them, but with my own instruments, I don't tend to change my embochure from D to G and have good results. The side octave key seems to be opening by a good distance (and after all the D and G are OK).

Does anyone know any adjustment issues that may lead to this phenomenon please?
 

Roy Harrison

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Cambridge, UK
Thank you - I will try this out on the YAS-26 tomorrow. (I no longer have the soprano to try.)
 

Roy Harrison

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Locality
Cambridge, UK
Reporting back:
I re-assessed and it really was only the second octave E that needed me to do more work with my tongue to avoid it sounding like the side octave key wasn't doing its job. I followed Colin's advice above and ensured the side octave pip was clean which it seemed to be - the instrument is in pretty good condition. I tried an experiment where I used the palm key F (or alt-F would do) to vent instead of the side octave key and this demonstrated a very clear E (when opened the correct amount). So, it looks like if I was keen and confident (reckless?), perhaps widening the side octave pip hole diameter would make a difference, but there is no way I am going to experiment with that :). So, I think this "weakness" of the second octave E is something the regular player of the instrument could deal with and highlights that perhaps my usual tongue position is fine for my own instruments, but may be a little too forward / low for this particular instrument design (the positioning is very fractional of course).

Thanks for your interest and help!

Roy
 

Roy Harrison

New Member
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11
Locality
Cambridge, UK
This is just to add that if I could edit the above, I would replace "was keen and confident (reckless?)" by "had the luxury of being able ot experiment".
 

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