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a' does not play well on Alto

bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
As some of you might have read, I recently bought a Bauhaus-Walstein alto which, although a great instrument right out of the boy, needs some tweaks.
I still got no SaxDoc at hand so I have to do some "easy" things by myself or at least learn to determine whether it's the instrument or me.

I found that some auxiliary spacing screws, the type that keep other holes closed, did not do their job correctly. They had to be adjusted a little to keep them closed, even if I finger carelessly. No big deal.

I did reseat and glue a little cork on the c' lever that went off a little and in turn did not close the necessary hole completely. Much better c' now.

One thing still puzzles me:

I have troubles, playing a clean a'. With two out of three mouthpieces (a Rico Graftonite A5 and the "supplied one", I almost get no tone at all, just as if it is stuffed. The third MP, a Brilhart Special Ebolin allows me to play a decent a', but it still muffles a little.

The a#, b, c notes are clean, as are the g# or g. The entire low octave has no problem but just this one tone.

The Mechanic is quite easy for this tone and all holes seem to fit tight with no leaks. Nothing to adjust too.

Is it just me?
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
I found exactly that too, which is why I returned the one that I tried. Having said that I find the same on many modern instruments (I've only ever played vintage ones) but the BW was by far the worst that I tried of a few models - the worst one for me, that is.

And I know it was me, as the same instrument was played by someone else (whilst I was there) and it played fine.

So it might be something you need to 'adjust' to as I suspect the instrument is fundamentally no worse than others - and most here would say it's better.

regards, Phil
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,980
Location
The Athens of The North
When I took up the sax I had that problem with the middle D as well as the A, or the G, in my case. My teacher told me that I would get used to it, and I did. Your sax is probably fine. Do not screwdriver anything just yet.

I reasoned that if the entire low register was OK there could be nothing wrong with the instrument. You'll get used to it. Enjoy your sax.

Jim.
 
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B

bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
I reasoned that if the entire low register was OK there could be nothing wrong with the instrument. You'll get used to it. Enjoy your sax.
Clean and beefy bottom register, down to the Bb. Seems that it would be time to go shopping for a proper Mouthpiece that is not that sensible with the a' and even more practice. The best one so far is the Brilhart. Unfortunately it's not mine.

On the other hand, that's just the MPc I was starting with and which I played the last 7 months, so maybe it's really a "not used" problem.
 

Lloyd

Member
Messages
208
Location
Hertfordshire
I've got a Rico Graftonite B5 sitting in my drawer. I couldn't get on with it as I found it really restrictive, like trying to blow through a straw. I now use a Meyer, which is much better. Spend an hour or so in a shop trying some different mouthpieces until you find something you are comfortable with.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,045
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
Bebob99,

try checking your octave mechanism, as its at middle A when the transition from crook octave to body octave occurs i.e. body octave pip key closes and the crook pip key opens.

check that the body pip key is fully closed when you play middle A

you can check this using a strip of cigarette paper, press G so that the pip opens, place the paper under the pad and on the pip, release the G key and now gently pull on the paper, if its not tight and you cant feel much resistance then either the mechanism or the pad or both may need adjusting.

you are best doing the paper test when the instrument is dry as the paper could stick to any moisture on the pad.

NB when using cigarette papers cut of the glued edge first!
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
try checking your octave mechanism, as its at middle A when the transition from crook octave to body octave occurs i.e. body octave pip key closes and the crook pip key opens.

check that the body pip key is fully closed when you play middle A
oops. Seems as I did not express my problem with the right words. It's the "a" WITHOUT the octave key.

But as it happened, yesterday it all went well during my excercises. Almost clean "a", even with the "difficult" Graftonite. Obviously it's really me and not the instrument. I will see how it is this evening with the teacher.

I will eventually try the "cigarette paper" test, as soon as I can get myself buying one. As a declared non-smoker I have a little aversion against all that "smoking stuff". :blush:
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
I will eventually try the "cigarette paper" test, as soon as I can get myself buying one. As a declared non-smoker I have a little aversion against all that "smoking stuff". :blush:
I don't know why these bl*^dy smokers have to go burning saxophone feeler gauges any way! >:)
lights blue touch paper (with Irish gas detection device) and retires!
 
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