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Bari Advice Please

Profusia

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So my first ever Bari came a couple of days ago (never even blown one before), and I'm experiencing some minor issues which I'd love to understand if are common or could be problems. Any Bari players out there remember what it was like when they first started and if they had any of these?...

1) Middle A. I find it very common to crack this or hit up an octave or just come out with horrible weak halfway tone which isn't sure which octave it wants to be in, especially when dropping down to it from middle D. Is this common, or just a case of developing my Bari chops (I play tenor to sopranino), or could it indicate a problem (leaks etc)?

2) Bottom C#. This is very slow to open - wondering if there's a spring that's too weak. It doesn't feel like a sticky pad I don't think. Anyone else encounter this? Its a G4M Rosedale. I have a similar issue on my G4M Rosedale alto but on a different note. Could this just be a set up issue?

3) Notes above top C (palm keys). Struggling to hit them at the moment, but assume its just about developing my Bari chops, plus maybe trying a stiffer reed. Am also using on it my first ever Legere synthetic reed (2.25).

Other than the above and a slight irritation with the neck cork which seems to leak a bit of spit underneath the cork I'm absolutely loving the beast. Absolutely loving the reed too apart from not being able to reach those top notes.

Thanks in advance for any tips or shared insight.
 

BigMartin

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Can't help with 1), I expect ome of the more technically minded people will be along shortly.

2) Does sound like a weak spring. Again I'll leave that to the experts.

3) The high notes need more air (with out blowing too hard, if that makes sense) than you might expect to get a full sound from them. You're essentially playing on a short wide bore tube. As ever it's imprtant to resist the temptation to tighten up the embouchure. Now I've got the hang of them Ifind them much easier on bari than on alto or sop.
 

saxyjt

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I don't remember the details, but for sure the palm keys didn't come out nice and easy to begin with. That will come fairly quickly I'm sure.

I also struggled with middle D as I remember it. But that's kind of a problematic note on many sax types.

I should play my baritone more than I do. I love it too!

It takes a bit of getting used to, but you'll soon be fine with it.

If it's new, it may have a few minor issues that need addressing like that C# spring or neck cork. Quality control may not be at its best.
 

nigeld

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2) Bottom C#. This is very slow to open - wondering if there's a spring that's too weak.

Or maybe the spring has jumped off the post, in which case all you need to do is to put it back.
Check whether the end of the spring is pressing tightly against a little post, or whether it is hanging loose.
 

jonf

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Very difficult to diagnose remotely.

1 Could be poor technique or a leak.
2 Could be a weak spring, or something out of whack causing the key to bind.
3 Could be a leak or poor technique.

I'd suggest you take it to a reputable technician and get it checked out as all OK. Then once that's done, you can only blame yourself.....
 

kevgermany

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agree with Jonf. Do you have an experienced player near you? My money's on leaks.
 

MandyH

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I'm not sure I know enough about saxophones in general to answer your questions, but will throw in this question:
Are you sure you are in the correct octave?
It is very common for someone playing Bari for the first time to pitch an octave high.
I advise friends to play the C above middle C - LH2 only - and then run down a scale for the octave to middle C. Also think of how you would sing that big low note and prepare your mouth, throat and diaphragm for that, then play the note.

Bottom A should should like a ship coming in through the fog!

My bottom C# opening is instant. It can take a while to sound, but that's a different issue. Is it sticking? Have you cleaned it, or at least drawn a cigarette paper through it to make sure it's clean?

Chops and diaphragm will come with time and practice, no notes are any more difficult on a Bari than any other sax, however it does take a bit of practice and experience to get them all to sound well.

What reeds do you play on other saxes? The Legere are somewhat harder than Rico Royal reeds for the same number - I play a 2.25 Legere on my Bari and a 3 Rico Royal on all my other saxes S A T.
 

nigeld

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Other than the above and a slight irritation with the neck cork which seems to leak a bit of spit underneath the cork

Check that there isn't a groove all the way down the neck cork. If there is, then the mouthpiece will leak air.
But in general, my impression is that baris seem to end up with more spit dripping down than the lesser saxes do.
 

Profusia

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Thanks very much indeed to everyone who has offered advice!!! :)

3) The high notes need more air (with out blowing too hard, if that makes sense) than you might expect to get a full sound from them. You're essentially playing on a short wide bore tube. As ever it's imprtant to resist the temptation to tighten up the embouchure. Now I've got the hang of them Ifind them much easier on bari than on alto or sop.

Thanks Martin, long time no speak - we met at a sax workshop about 3 years ago in uhmm Manchester I think, hope you and yours are doing well :)

I also struggled with middle D as I remember it. But that's kind of a problematic note on many sax types.

If it's new, it may have a few minor issues that need addressing like that C# spring or neck cork. Quality control may not be at its best.

Thanks Saxy, middle D seems ok but I certainly had middle D trouble with that when I first started on sax (on an an antique tenor).

Or maybe the spring has jumped off the post, in which case all you need to do is to put it back.
Check whether the end of the spring is pressing tightly against a little post, or whether it is hanging loose.

Thanks Nigel, will look for that today and report back!

I'd suggest you take it to a reputable technician and get it checked out as all OK. Then once that's done, you can only blame yourself.....

Thanks Jon, I'm sure its largely me, or at least my Bari chops, but think it might be worth getting it re-corked and having that C# spring looked at assuming its not as simple as it being out of its position. A quick leak light test at the same time can never hurt.

agree with Jonf. Do you have an experienced player near you? My money's on leaks.

Thanks Kev, yes I could find one easily enough. I'm moderately experienced, just completely new on Bari.

Are you sure you are in the correct octave?
Thanks Mandy,
Yes very confident on that. Understand what you said about pitching incorrectly and how that feels coming to Bari, but know the note I'm going for, and not having any trouble with other notes (except maybe very slightly on bottom F)

Bottom A should should like a ship coming in through the fog!

Oh it does - and what a big beautiful rounded ship it is :)

My bottom C# opening is instant. It can take a while to sound, but that's a different issue.

There's a joke in there somewhere ;)

Is it sticking? Have you cleaned it, or at least drawn a cigarette paper through it to make sure it's clean?

Its brand new, hence sticking was my first thought, but really doesn't seem to be that. Will check again more carefully though.

What reeds do you play on other saxes? The Legere are somewhat harder than Rico Royal reeds for the same number - I play a 2.25 Legere on my Bari and a 3 Rico Royal on all my other saxes S A T.

I've been through several and generally for consistency and longevity have ended up on Rico Plasticovers. Either a 2 or a 2.5. I find the 2's make the bottom notes safer/easier, whilst the 2.5's do the same to the top end. Bought some Plasticovers for the Bari and they seemed okay (again not at the top end). But the Bari Legere 2.25 is playing so easily and consistently beautifully I'm blown away with it and thinking about getting one for all my other saxes (or at least the ones Legere do reeds for). Its just figuring out strengths, and understanding if the top notes issue on the Bari is down to reed strength or chops/technique so will give the 2.25 a bit of time yet.

I'll have a look at recording something on the beastie and put it up in the appropriate forum.
 
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Profusia

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Check that there isn't a groove all the way down the neck cork. If there is, then the mouthpiece will leak air.
But in general, my impression is that baris seem to end up with more spit dripping down than the lesser saxes do.
Interesting, thanks Nigel. Indeed there is the join line running the length of the cork on the underside, and this does create a slight groove. My first thought was that the spit was running through this groove. However, the underside of the cork remains dry, so the spit seems to be running inside the cork (between barrel and cork). But of course the join could have a corresponding groove on the inside. Either way it seems like a bit of a poor cork job. Its not a huge amount of spit but still not nice or good running down the neck.
 

BigMartin

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Thanks Martin, long time no speak - we met at a sax workshop about 3 years ago in uhmm Manchester I think, hope you and yours are doing well :)
Hi Thomas. Sorry, I hadn't made the connection. Yes, it was Mike Hall's workshop in Sale. We're fine thanks. Hope you are, too.
 

Colin the Bear

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Any leaks at the neck cork will give you problems. It's an easy fix to replace the neck cork. On Bari I use a cork tube. A bit of glue and slide it on. Sorted.

C# opening slowly may be something binding. Check the screws on either end of the key spindle. They may have been set too tight or, as often happens with Baritone, something may have moved in transit. A post may have taken a knock.

Palm keys notes are odd on baritone. I was certain they were flat and tried to lip them up for quite a long time. They wouldn't speak properly for me. When I realised they were sharp and started to lip them down everything fell into place. Perhaps check with a tuner to get yourself in the general area.

Problems around A and G might be the octave mechanism not switching or sticking. Hold the octave key and alternate between A2 and G2. Watch the octave mechanism switching between the two. Make sure they both close securely without the octave key.

Bari takes a lot more air at a lot lower pressure. It will rattle in the case and need regulating if you leave it in a draught. Be very careful about transporting it. I drive differently with the bari on board and never put it in the boot. I like to be aware what's happening with it. The weight gives it great momentum when it moves and this momentum can be transferred to a single point in the case causing movement of the mechanism.
 

Stephen Howard

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Easiest way to check the low C# is to place one hand over the low C# key cup to prevent it from opening - then, with the other hand, first depress and hold down the G# key touchpiece, then press the low C# touchpiece. This will operate the low C# lever key on its own. It should feel reasonably heavy but should move quite freely, and should come up smartly when you release it.
Now press and hold the C# touchpiece down - release the key cup. It should rise briskly. Push it down again. It should offer some resistance but it shouldn't be excessive (press the low C key cup down by way of a comparison).

Lay the bari flat so that the C# key cup is facing upwards and repeat the test. The key cup should be sprung so that the key cup will still lift against its own weight (though it may be less brisk in rising).
If the two parts of the key seem to work well enough on their own, it probably means the issue lies with the pad (sticky) or the point where the lever key meets the cup key (try a drop of oil).
 

Profusia

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Any leaks at the neck cork will give you problems. It's an easy fix to replace the neck cork. On Bari I use a cork tube. A bit of glue and slide it on. Sorted.

C# opening slowly may be something binding. Check the screws on either end of the key spindle. They may have been set too tight or, as often happens with Baritone, something may have moved in transit. A post may have taken a knock.

Palm keys notes are odd on baritone. I was certain they were flat and tried to lip them up for quite a long time. They wouldn't speak properly for me. When I realised they were sharp and started to lip them down everything fell into place. Perhaps check with a tuner to get yourself in the general area.

Problems around A and G might be the octave mechanism not switching or sticking. Hold the octave key and alternate between A2 and G2. Watch the octave mechanism switching between the two. Make sure they both close securely without the octave key.

Bari takes a lot more air at a lot lower pressure. It will rattle in the case and need regulating if you leave it in a draught. Be very careful about transporting it. I drive differently with the bari on board and never put it in the boot. I like to be aware what's happening with it. The weight gives it great momentum when it moves and this momentum can be transferred to a single point in the case causing movement of the mechanism.

Ooh interesting, thanks Colin. Will watch out for transportation issues and tread very carefully. I did watch the octave mechanism and it seemed to be working fine. Still struggling to hot those middle As but it might be improving slightly. I'm not sharp or flat on the palm keys - I'm just nowhere! I can run up to them, but no way I can just hit them. And top F and F# are not stable and won't hold long even if I run up to them. I think I need to give it more time and effort before panicking as thinking about it every horn I've ever bought has presented me with a challenge on the palm keys for a week or so (and some still do!)
 

Profusia

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Easiest way to check the low C# is to place one hand over the low C# key cup to prevent it from opening - then, with the other hand, first depress and hold down the G# key touchpiece, then press the low C# touchpiece. This will operate the low C# lever key on its own. It should feel reasonably heavy but should move quite freely, and should come up smartly when you release it.
Now press and hold the C# touchpiece down - release the key cup. It should rise briskly. Push it down again. It should offer some resistance but it shouldn't be excessive (press the low C key cup down by way of a comparison).

Lay the bari flat so that the C# key cup is facing upwards and repeat the test. The key cup should be sprung so that the key cup will still lift against its own weight (though it may be less brisk in rising).
If the two parts of the key seem to work well enough on their own, it probably means the issue lies with the pad (sticky) or the point where the lever key meets the cup key (try a drop of oil).

Thanks Stephen. Actually I have a bit of an update, and Kudos to Mandy for advising this. I was originally convinced it wasn't a sticky pad because, well I couldn't hear any stickiness, but then the C# tone hole is a long way away on a Bari and there's a lot of metal between hole and ears. When I put it on a stand and grovelled about on my hands and knees I found that there was indeed a bit of stickiness - not a lot but enough and some chalk paper sorted it out straightway. Feel a bit of a plonker now for not trying that in the first instance!!
 

Profusia

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So anyone that wants to can hear how the thing sounds I've uploaded a sound file I made yesterday. Clearly I haven't mastered the beast yet, but its only been a few days and I can't play it for long for the sake of the neighbours!! There's also the sopranino on there (hiding some of the Bari cockups!!). I've put it in the uploads forum on here at...

Eb Highs n Lows
 

Stephen Howard

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Thanks Stephen. Actually I have a bit of an update, and Kudos to Mandy for advising this. I was originally convinced it wasn't a sticky pad because, well I couldn't hear any stickiness, but then the C# tone hole is a long way away on a Bari and there's a lot of metal between hole and ears. When I put it on a stand and grovelled about on my hands and knees I found that there was indeed a bit of stickiness - not a lot but enough and some chalk paper sorted it out straightway. Feel a bit of a plonker now for not trying that in the first instance!!

Do some more grovelling and run a finger over the C# tonehole. Chances are it'll be quite rough.
You can improve matters considerably by smoothing the tonehole rim off. This is pretty easy to do - all you need is a sheet of 600 grit carborundum (wet 'n dry) paper (or 800, if you can find it). Cut a slice that's just a little wider than the tonehole, lift the key, place the paper (grit side down) on the tone hole, let the key drop, give it a gentle press and draw the paper out. Repeat half a dozen or so times.

The chalk will most likely turn out to be a temporary fix...it's a bit like spilling some jam on your kitchen floor and then pouring a load of 7-Up over it - and hoping it'll all evaporate of its own accord.
Get some cigarette lighter fluid on it - it'll cut through and remove the tanning oils in the leather, as well as any gunk that's formed on the tonehole rim.
 

kevgermany

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As you're having problems near the top, might be a leak further up as well. Try sealing the neck/pigtail joint by assembling, then wrapping carefully with masking tape. If that doesn't sort it, try doing the same for the mouthpiece/neck.
 
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