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SYOS

Tone Altissimo G

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
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3,066
A few month's ago I posted my attempt at Dexter Gordon's solo on Watermelon Man, where I failed utterly to hit Alt. G. I've been practising ever since and still can't get it, and now I've been challenged to play Money by Pink Floyd, which, of course, uses Alt. G - in fact, it's probably the most iconic part of the solo.

I'm obviously missing something. There's no point spending hours practising something if you're practising the wrong thing. Dexter hits this note with an unbelievable ease so I should be able to hit it after some serious practise.

What did you practise to become able to hit this note?
 

jimmylh

Well-Known Member
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1,019
I can hit it, but I can't do it fast enough to hit it in a song. I hold down B2, the side Bb key and I barely crack open the front F key I think it's called. (the key over the top B) Seems to make no difference if I press the octave key. Even sounds a little stronger without the octave key. Takes me about 5 to ten seconds to get it to speak loud and clear. Useless in a song. If only I could hit the G and the A reliably and quickly, I could play a whole host of songs the way they were written.
 
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fibracell

Senior Member
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602
alto is a lot easier than tenor. On tenor you can use the B and the top f# key - it should come out fairly easy on tenor. The usual fingering on tenor requires more work, and needs to be voiced in the right way. I would start doing the mpc exercises. Once you can hit a top F and bend it down a 4th using you oral cavity, you'll get a good feel for voicing. Then practice overtones until you can get Bb4 to C#4 off the bell notes. Then you should be able to hit that G!! You can also 'flick' into G from the F# fingering, simply by lifting LH2. And, if you do all this meaty stuff, as an added bonus you sound will also get much better!
 

jbtsax

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If you adjust the front F to open the F palm key just about the thickness of a paper match (1.5mm) the altissimo G fingered with just the front F will be much easier to play. (A tip from Eugene Rousseau in his book "Saxophone High Tones")
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,902
Buy a soprano?
Hmm...
Every time you've got a G coming up you whip out the sop. Dick Parry used to do a very bari to tenor change in Wish You Were Here (I think) but this introduces a whole new level of difficulty.

Anyway.
My standard G3 fingering on tenor is x--/--- with side Bb and high F#
which is not a lot of use unless you have a high F#
The other that I use now and again uses the alt top F fingering but without C fingered, ie. just the alt F key.
At least most saxes have that key.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,902
If you adjust the front F to open the F palm key just about the thickness of a paper match (1.5mm) the altissimo G fingered with just the front F will be much easier to play. (A tip from Eugene Rousseau in his book "Saxophone High Tones")
True - but on my tenor it makes alt F rather flat.
 

jbtsax

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7,604
True - but on my tenor it makes alt F rather flat.
True it's a trade off. F can always be played with the palm keys if the note is long enough for the pitch to be critical. Rousseau presents this as an easy way to learn how to voice high G. Once the player gets that down, then the key can be opened to its regular height so the front F and front E are clear.
 
OP
Veggie Dave

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
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3,066
@Veggie Dave I don't do the altissimo in Money and no one has ever mentioned any thing or said it sounded wrong so get out there and give it a go!
Thankfully it's not for a gig, I just really, really want to be able to play it. Plus, this one note is not going to defeat me! ;)

In fact, it's the reason why I did the last song I posted - it's Floyd-esque without Alt. G. Hmm, although thinking about it, I really needed Alt. G for that, too.

I just need this damn note!
 

jonf

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3,673
. On tenor you can use the B and the top f# key - it should come out fairly easy on tenor.
This is the one I use, and it's very easy on my Yanagisawa tenor with modded (big baffle added, chamber increased in size a bit) Otto Link STM 10 and an RJS 2S reed. Alt A is pretty straightforward with that combo too, needed for the sax solo in Brown Sugar. However, for each of these (particularly alt A) I find that thinking the note in my head, rather than just playing it really helps.
 
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Veggie Dave

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
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3,066
So many questions to answer. :)

Right, had another go this afternoon.

The fingering that gets me closest is B, front F# and side Bb - if I'm not mistaken, the same fingering Nick and Jimmy use. Slurring up from F I can even get it to sound really strong, however, it's flat. Really flat. Playing high F, F# and G, they're all slightly flat but G is really F# and a half.

I suppose I can hide some of the flatness with vibrato, but flat's always going to be flat.

I'll be doing fibracell's exercises to try and improve matters.

And to answer the other question, I play a Trevor James Classic II. No posh horns here. ;)
 

fibracell

Senior Member
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602
I can vividly remember not being able to do do overtones, that D would never come out from low Bb, but you just keep at it (and drive everyone nuts), do the mpc exercises, and it will come - I thought it was never going to happen - those great bends that players do on altissimo A etc.

G is a hard note on tenor - but keep at it, and things will start to fall into place.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,902
Are F and F# flat when played with the usual fingering (palm keys)? What's the tuning like on the rest of the sax?
This may well not apply to you - but beginners that have too tight an embouchure don't push the mouthpiece on far enough cos if they did they'd be sharp over the middle range of the sax. Unfortunately they haven't then got the gob strength/skill to stop the highest notes from being flat.
 
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