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Altissimo Register High F# or no High F#?

Fraser Jarvis

Senior Member
Ok just thought i'd chuck this one into the mix following on from Allansto's recent Altissimo fingering thread.
I recently bought a tenor without a high F# key (King Super 20) and find it easier to play from B4 up to G#4 (which is about my limit) i know the high F# key is not used for many of these notes although it can be if you so wish, for me the first official altissimo note F# comes easier and stronger using the side Bb key as opposed to the Selmer using the High F# key, forked E & F come out easier on the King as well, they were always weak on the Selmer, G3 to Bb4 are a struggle for me at the moment but again stronger when they do come out, i know a lot of if not most is probably down to set up but does anyone think the high F# tone hole gets in the way of the airstream in some way on these higher notes? what have you guy's found in favour of or against the high F# key, which do you prefer?
On my tenor I can get G3 using B key plus F# key, but it does sound stronger with the normal front F, side Bb fingering. On alto I don't use the F# for G3 or anything else upwards.
The other point is how easy is it to make the transition, and develop some useful licks and phrases. It can be awkward to make these licks using the F# key.
F# key all the time.

No. Why should it? Does high F or E get in the way?
just wondering that's all. Remember reading a few years ago over on sotw something about removing the whole mechanism and soldering up that tone hole, obviously for a reason wondered if this could have been that reason.
I have never owned a sax with a high F# key and have never seen the need for one since the "altissimo" fingerings on all my saxes work so well. In fact I realized the other day in the RSK4 thread that I don't even know which finger operates the high F# key. :oops:

I do know from my study of saxophone acoustics that even small changes in the interior geometry of the saxophone can have far reaching effects on many of the notes with nodes and/or antinodes in that area.

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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