All profit supporting  special needs music education

Beginner Avoiding gap through octave key

SaxMart

Member
Messages
136
Locality
Kent England
Hi Just getting back into playing after many years lay off. Embouchure is starting to improve but struggling with the gap and false A when slurring through octave key from C C# to D any hints please thanks
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,828
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
The 3rd finger of the left hand is a bit late closing the G key which allows the neck octave to open momentarily when the thumb key is pressed. The solution is to practice slurring from C to D slowly "leading" with that finger. Gradually build up speed as you build finger coordination. It is also important to use a "rocking" motion with the thumb on and off the thumb octave key.

Great question. This is a common problem for those starting out, or starting up again.
 

aaronrod

Member
Messages
42
If you haven't had your sax looked at by a technician in a while, I'd take it in - if there are any leaks, it makes 'bridging the gap' a lot harder than it has too be!

If the sax is ok, I found the attached exercises to be invaluable when I started on baritone. I had trouble getting the middle D out (it kept breaking up to the A), but after a week or so I found I had much greater control. You may also want to try this exercise with a tuner.
 

Attachments

  • Pivot-Around-Middle-C.pdf
    476.7 KB · Views: 60

SaxMart

Member
Messages
136
Locality
Kent England
Thanks for the advice that's great, I guess the key as you say is "Slowly" and patience (now how do I practice patience ha ha)
Marty
 

SaxMart

Member
Messages
136
Locality
Kent England
Thanks for the advice and the exercise will keep you posted on progress
Marty
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,828
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Another thought occurred to me while re-reading this thread. The OP didn't mention the type of instrument he was playing on. On some saxes, especially tenors, the D over blows to the next overtone which is A quite easily. This may be a part of what is happening besides a mechanical cause. If this is the case, it means the back of the tongue is too high. An easy solution is to mentally aim the airstream toward the LH thumb when you play D.
 

SaxMart

Member
Messages
136
Locality
Kent England
Another thought occurred to me while re-reading this thread. The OP didn't mention the type of instrument he was playing on. On some saxes, especially tenors, the D over blows to the next overtone which is A quite easily. This may be a part of what is happening besides a mechanical cause. If this is the case, it means the back of the tongue is too high. An easy solution is to mentally aim the airstream toward the LH thumb when you play D.

I am playing a King Zephyr alto, vintage late 40s early 50s I believe. I have noticed when I go from the C or C# to the D the crook octave vent briefly "blips" so I think the late G finger is the prime cause so lots of slow practice as you suggested seems the way to go thanks
Marty
 

aaronrod

Member
Messages
42
Another thought occurred to me while re-reading this thread. The OP didn't mention the type of instrument he was playing on. On some saxes, especially tenors, the D over blows to the next overtone which is A quite easily. This may be a part of what is happening besides a mechanical cause. If this is the case, it means the back of the tongue is too high. An easy solution is to mentally aim the airstream toward the LH thumb when you play D.

This is a HUGE issue on baritone sax, that took me months to work out when I first started playing (bari that is, not sax)...and still affects me over a year later if I lose focus. Thanks for the tip of visualising aiming for the LH thumb, I'll give it a shot!
 
Messages
326
Locality
Manchester, England, England
That was one of the problems I had with the Jericho tenor I briefly owned (and returned) - I got a nasty squawk doing the transition to D2. It may well have involved a short blast of the A overtone, I was never quite sure.

I was fairly sure it was a tendency of the sax, rather than me though. There were some mechanical problems involving key alignment, according to the repairman I showed it to.

I can see how closing the third finger slowly would be a cause of that though. I don't think I'm prone to that, but maybe the sax was - I guess a small leak on the G key, or something making it harder to close fully than the others - or a small leak in one of the palm keys, could probably cause the problem.

One thing I do have a tendency to do is catch the F palm key unintentionally, especially playing down to a G from any note that involves closing fingers on my left hand. I just have smaller than average hands, and shorter than average fingers, I guess. Some people like palm key risers - I'd prefer if they were lower.

That probably happens in both octaves but I notice it more playing the first octave G - it tends to overblow to a higher note / squawk, when I knock the palm F by accident.

I've actually bent that key towards me a little on my main alto, to stop that happening so much. I noticed I was doing it on my new C melody too, so that one might be next.
 
Last edited:

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,913
Locality
Just north of Munich
It can be the sax. But it's also the players. Fingers must go down together, breath must change, all in exact coordination. If you get it right on one sax, then switch to another, it goes pear shaped, unless they're set up identically, and even then going from tenor to alto will still catch you out.

It's practice, practice practice until you become familiar with each sax.
 
Messages
326
Locality
Manchester, England, England
Yep. In my case, it's usually both - none of my saxes are perfectly set up, and I still have a lot to learn about playing them.

That's part of the fun, for me though. If I was already really good at it, I might not find it so interesting.
 
Top Bottom