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As a beginner, I find maintaining my embouchure very difficult. Airy sounds. Help

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BevJ

New Member
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25
Thank you Gasax, I am not able to confirm whether the Yamaha 4C is a jazz MPC or not. It came with my Sakkuju Deluxe tenor so I just assumed it was a beginner's MPC. I've found your response very helpful. Thank you. I will most definitely keep practicing.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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1,409
Thank you Gasax, I am not able to confirm whether the Yamaha 4C is a jazz MPC or not. It came with my Sakkuju Deluxe tenor so I just assumed it was a beginner's MPC. I've found your response very helpful. Thank you. I will most definitely keep practicing.
The Yamaha 4C is a beginner’s mouthpiece. It’s the standard Yamaha includes with new horns. It is one of the better choices to learn on.
 
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Hipparion

Member
Messages
242
This is the first time I see the suggestion that a Yamaha 4C may be too wide and could be not well suited for a beginner with a classical sax sound in his/her mind. That's quite a surprise...

It is my understanding that the Yamaha 4C is just as wide as a Selmer C, but maybe I am wrong ? Eventually the other suggested mouthpieces may have a more pleasant immediate sound though, and that's for you to decide indeed.

If you want to explore mouthpieces then by all means have fun with that (the models suggested have quite the good reputation, with good reasons), but keep in mind that your personal progress on one given model (by blowing the thing) will make a bigger difference (especially at the beginning) and be more gratifying than fiddling with pieces of gear.
 
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BevJ

New Member
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The Yamaha 4C is a beginner’s mouthpiece. It’s the standard Yamaha includes with new horns. It one of the better choices to learn on.
Thank you GCinCt, I just couldn't understand why I am experiencing such difficulties with F major and Bb major scales, I had no problems with A, D, C & G. I just have to presevere and keep practicing along with embrochure exercises.
 
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BevJ

New Member
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This is the first time I see the suggestion that a Yamaha 4C may be too wide and could be not well suited for a beginner with a classical sax sound in his/her mind. That's quite a surprise...

It is my understanding that the Yamaha 4C is just as wide as a Selmer C, but maybe I am wrong ? Eventually the other suggested mouthpieces may have a more pleasant immediate sound though, and that's for you to decide indeed.

If you want to explore mouthpieces then by all means have fun with that (the models suggested have quite the good reputation, with good reasons), but keep in mind that your personal progress on one given model (by blowing the thing) will make a bigger difference (especially at the beginning) and be more gratifying than fiddling with pieces of gear.
Thank you Hipparion, you are the 2nd person to confirm that the Yamaha 4C is a beginner's MPC. As you have suggested, practice is key. I'll just keep going. It can't get any worst right
 

MarkSax

Member
Messages
140
Thank you Mark, what would be considered as a softer reed? My cane reed is 1.5 and the plastic coated reed is 2.5...
Since you’re already using a 1.5 cane reed on a Yam 4C I’d say stick with only that. Leave the plastic for the moment. Place the reed on the mpc and adjust on the sax neck blowing an E whilst at the same time keeping a relaxed embouchure, top teeth on the mpc and bottom lip slightly curved onto the bottom teeth. I think your muscle memory needs to forget the plastic. Once you’re happy with your note production stick the neck onto the sax body and play long notes tonguing Low D to high B keeping the same embouchure as when practicing with just the neck; muscle memory should help. Play your scales exercises 20 minutes, break, 10 minutes, break, 10 minutes freeplay. Do not bite to achieve the correct pitch but relax ( for low notes) or tighten ( for higher notes) the embouchure as you play. Stick with that mpc reed combo until you start going sharp because your jaw muscles are becoming stronger, tighter.. ( that will take a few months) Then move onto a 2 cane reed. You shouldn’t have to go above 3 with the 4C. Do not keep switching between different reeds and mpcs when starting. Good tone production is not how wide the tip or how hard the reed are but how your embouchure, breath control and tonguing deliver the note...amongst other things that you will discover on this splendid voyage. Enjoy the adventure.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
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Hey Saxyjt, being new to this forum, I didn't realise I had typed my question in the title box until I tried to post it. So ended up typing it out again and forgot to delete contents in title. But thanks for noting. No message massaging, just a simple error on my part..

The first thing I will ask my tutor to do at my next lesson is to check my sax of any leaks. Thanks for advice, very much appreciated.
Edited :)

Jx
 

randulo

Playing alto 2.25 years
Subscriber
Messages
3,757
@BevJ this video may be of help to you. Many problems like airy sounds, squeaking and instability are caused by reeds not being properly placed on the mouthpiece.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yMOZbAHp6U

There are dozens of explanation about placing the reed on the mouthpiece. By the way, as others have said, the 4C comes with Yamaha saxophones and is designed specifically to be good for players starting out. It presents no particular challenges or aptitude for any specific genre of music. I played mine for many months.
 
OP
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BevJ

New Member
Messages
25
Since you’re already using a 1.5 cane reed on a Yam 4C I’d say stick with only that. Leave the plastic for the moment. Place the reed on the mpc and adjust on the sax neck blowing an E whilst at the same time keeping a relaxed embouchure, top teeth on the mpc and bottom lip slightly curved onto the bottom teeth. I think your muscle memory needs to forget the plastic. Once you’re happy with your note production stick the neck onto the sax body and play long notes tonguing Low D to high B keeping the same embouchure as when practicing with just the neck; muscle memory should help. Play your scales exercises 20 minutes, break, 10 minutes, break, 10 minutes freeplay. Do not bite to achieve the correct pitch but relax ( for low notes) or tighten ( for higher notes) the embouchure as you play. Stick with that mpc reed combo until you start going sharp because your jaw muscles are becoming stronger, tighter.. ( that will take a few months) Then move onto a 2 cane reed. You shouldn’t have to go above 3 with the 4C. Do not keep switching between different reeds and mpcs when starting. Good tone production is not how wide the tip or how hard the reed are but how your embouchure, breath control and tonguing deliver the note...amongst other things that you will discover on this splendid voyage. Enjoy the adventure.
MarkSax, Thank you!! No more switching between reeds. I will stick with the 1.5 and take on board your sound advice. I am looking forward to developing, I know it will take time but as the saying goes - practice makes perfect.....Have a great day..
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,648
Interesting that sharp keys presented no problems but flat keys do. This may just be a pitching problem. Your ear and embouchure may need time to synchronise.

All keys have their personality or mood. Practice is all that is needed to tune your ear and embouchure. Four hours a day for a decade or two should iron out any problems ;)
 
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BevJ

New Member
Messages
25
Interesting that sharp keys presented no problems but flat keys do. This may just be a pitching problem. Your ear and embouchure may need time to synchronise.

All keys have their personality or mood. Practice is all that is needed to tune your ear and embouchure. Four hours a day for a decade or two should iron out any problems ;)
Thanks Colin the Bear, it is strange that some keys are a breeze whilst the struggle is real with the F & Bb.. Thank you for reaching out, very much appreciated! Keep safe. :)
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,594
I stand corrected, yes Bb. It is very challenging but for some reason my tutor thinks I can do it... I am going to try turning back early and see how I get along. Thanks for the advice.
Bb is tough if you’re new to playing as it requires the bell notes of Bb and C, which will be much harder to to sounds than D.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,327
Bb is tough if you’re new to playing as it requires the bell notes of Bb and C, which will be much harder to to sounds than D.
This is why I am wondering if there's a leak....which I suppose will be determined come OP's next lesson.

Indeed some, if not many, beginners have a 'harder time' with low C and below - and sometimes this is simply the result of undeveloped embouchure and mismatched reed strength or tip opening.
But a 4C is a good tip, and a 1.5 or 2 reed should be a gooid match for the 4C ....

If one cannot legato down from a D to a C and below...while maintaining the same airstream and embouchure, sometimes this can be the horn, not the player.

As noted earlier by others, the fact that the horn is 'brand new' doesn't mean it isn't leaking, is all.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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7,586
Thank you GCinCt, I just couldn't understand why I am experiencing such difficulties with F major and Bb major scales, I had no problems with A, D, C & G. I just have to presevere and keep practicing along with embrochure exercises.
This is quite common for beginning players. In the scales of C, G, and D you do not need to use or learn "extra" keys other than the six "stack keys". Once you move to the flat keys, there are other keys you need to learn to add such as the side Bb and the Eb. Once you master the A scale with the added G# key, the Eb scale which includes Ab which is the same fingering should come more easily.

I think most of the difficulty with flats and sharps has to do with familiarity. Beginning flute and trombone players are just as uncomfortable playing in keys with sharps as alto sax players are playing in keys with flats.
 
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BevJ

New Member
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25
This is quite common for beginning players. In the scales of C, G, and D you do not need to use or learn "extra" keys other than the six "stack keys". Once you move to the flat keys, there are other keys you need to learn to add such as the side Bb and the Eb. Once you master the A scale with the added G# key, the Eb scale which includes Ab which is the same fingering should come more easily.

I think most of the difficulty with flats and sharps has to do with familiarity. Beginning flute and trombone players are just as uncomfortable playing in keys with sharps as alto sax players are playing in keys with flats.
Thank you Jbtsax, I have started to exercise my fingers over the Bb scale minus the neck, just to get used to the movements.
 
OP
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BevJ

New Member
Messages
25
This is why I am wondering if there's a leak....which I suppose will be determined come OP's next lesson.

Indeed some, if not many, beginners have a 'harder time' with low C and below - and sometimes this is simply the result of undeveloped embouchure and mismatched reed strength or tip opening.
But a 4C is a good tip, and a 1.5 or 2 reed should be a gooid match for the 4C ....

If one cannot legato down from a D to a C and below...while maintaining the same airstream and embouchure, sometimes this can be the horn, not the player.

As noted earlier by others, the fact that the horn is 'brand new' doesn't mean it isn't leaking, is all.
Thank you. I spoke with my tutor and he said it's possible there is a leak, will check it out tomorrow.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
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8,755
If it's the bell notes giving trouble the problem could be G# lifting. Try giving the screw on that a quarter turn.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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7,586
In most elementary band and method books for saxophone notes above high C and below low D are not introduced. They don't appear until book 2 or the "Intermediate" book in the series or even later. At this level scales are typically presented in just one octave up and down. At this stage of learning there are a host of skills that have much more priority than trying to get a low Bb to come out.
 
OP
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BevJ

New Member
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25
If it's the bell notes giving trouble the problem could be G# lifting. Try giving the screw on that a quarter turn.
Thanks for that but I'll let a technician have a look at it. Whatever the issue is I know it will get sorted by this weekend, hopefully!!
 
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