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Bogey Notes

SallySax

Member
Messages
75
Do any of you have experience of 'Bogey Notes' - those you can't hit first time? On my alto, the note I have most trouble with is low C sharp (can't find the hash key on my keyboard!), and on my tenor, to my complete bafflement, it's G :blush:.

The tenor has just been serviced, and plays beautifully everywhere else, so I'm beginning to suspect it's me (again!). There are no leaks or sticky keys, so what could it be? :confused:

I'm more bemused than anything else, and curious as to whether it's a common problem for beginners, or if the more experienced players among you have a similar problem.

Back to the practice...!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
G's the worst on the tenor, it needs more support than the surrounding notes.

Low C# is only a problem for the key location...
 

SallySax

Member
Messages
75
G's the worst on the tenor, it needs more support than the surrounding notes.

Low C# is only a problem for the key location...
Aahh..so it IS technique! I'm experimenting with breath and embouchure at the moment; I can hear the note in 'there' somewhere. It just took me by surprise that a basic 'straight' note was proving so challenging.

I can see that long notes are going to feature in my practice more than usual!

Thanks Kev!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I also found that accurate tuning to G helped a lot. Also that it was mouthpiece/reed related.
 

QWales

Senior Member
Messages
722
I had the same problem on my Alto with the low C and I know others who do also. If anything I just kept getting a warbly kind of noise, even on other Altos. It all changed when I upgraded my mouthpiece. Hope that helps.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
To avoid Bogey Notes its best to blow with your mouth..................................................
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
Although I haven't yet tacked the sax, I find that B on the clarinet can be very hit-or-miss. In fact it takes about 20 seconds to "warm up" the clarinet so it can play any note effectively. Although I have wondered whether it is me that is warming up, or the clarinet itself. Does anybody know?
 

QWales

Senior Member
Messages
722
Although I haven't yet tacked the sax, I find that B on the clarinet can be very hit-or-miss. In fact it takes about 20 seconds to "warm up" the clarinet so it can play any note effectively. Although I have wondered whether it is me that is warming up, or the clarinet itself. Does anybody know?
Dry reed?
 

llamedos

Senior Member
Messages
431
On both sax and clarinet I find that warm-up is essential and this is both for the instrument and the player. It will be interesting to see if this is a general experience or specific to relative beginners/re-starters. Likewise the incidence of bogey notes- I had been assuming that a lot of it was down to me on account of inexperience and lack of practice of the long tones!

I also find that certain reeds take longer to "warm-up" than others but once bedded in seem to be extremely stable. I am grateful to Sally Sax for airing this topic and I look forward to reading of other's experiences.

Dave
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Although I haven't yet tacked the sax, I find that B on the clarinet can be very hit-or-miss. In fact it takes about 20 seconds to "warm up" the clarinet so it can play any note effectively. Although I have wondered whether it is me that is warming up, or the clarinet itself. Does anybody know?
B4 in the Clarion Register can be tricky without a warm-up. I find that I prefer harder reeds on the clarinet than the sax. My mouthpiece preference is a deep chamber, a gradual rolling lay and wide tip with a Medium Hard Reed that's been prepared.
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
B4 in the Clarion Register can be tricky without a warm-up. I find that I prefer harder reeds on the clarinet than the sax. My mouthpiece preference is a deep chamber, a gradual rolling lay and wide tip with a Medium Hard Reed that's been prepared.
What type of reed do you use for the clarinet, I use vandoren 2.0 - would 2.5 be better for a early-intermediate player?
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
can't find the hash key on my keyboard!
Practice alternate fingerings. On mine it is alt3
You can explore altgr and any other keys, then altgr shift. At some point it will appear.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
What type of reed do you use for the clarinet, I use vandoren 2.0 - would 2.5 be better for a early-intermediate player?
I’m afraid I can’t answer that as I’ve not seen you play. However, I’ll try and explain some key points in selecting the right set-up.

Teaming the reed to the mouthpiece and what works for you is very important. As a rule of thumb try a harder reed on a small the tip opening and a softer reed on a larger the tip opening. This is something of a trial and error for each player I’m afraid. You only have to read the sheer amount of posts on this forum alone about the subject.

Another thing you have to also bear in mind is that a hard reed will make blowing the high notes easier but will make the low notes harder. A softer reed on the other hand will give you the opposite. The high notes will be harder to blow yet the low notes will come easier.

It’s about finding the balance between you, the reed and the mouthpiece. When starting out most players start with a small tip opening and a soft reed. This can be for both the saxophone and clarinet. i.e. a Yamaha 4c Mouthpiece and a 1.5 Rico Royal. As your chops build you’ll move up to a #2 reed. Within months of starting you’ll want to move onto a nicer mouthpiece and why not. The only problem with this is lack of experience and knowing what suits you and before long you’re accumulating a few mouthpieces and a lot of cane as you search for that ultimate set-up. Great fun though!!

My own journey finally brought me to these set-ups:

Tenor Saxophone
Morgan Fry Custom Metal Link 9* (0.125”) Mouthpiece
François Louis Gold Plated Ultimate Ligature
Rico La Voz Medium Soft (#2.5) Reeds​

Clarinet
Weinberg Bb Clt Mouthpiece Zenith Jazz BDF
BG Super Revelation Bb Clt Ligature
Rico La Voz Medium Hard (#3.5) Reeds​

I would say that these set-ups aren’t the mainstream but work for me. I’d say anything from a #6 to an 8* is the norm on a Tenor with a #2.5 plus. As for my clarinet mouthpiece which has a deep chamber, a gradual rolling lay and wide tip isn’t a standard set-up either. Most clarinetists will opt for a smaller chamber with a longer lay but narrower tip opening and a harder reed such as a #4 upwards.

In my opinion it’s better to have a set-up that allows you to really open up the low end of the horn and learn to control the reed in the higher registers. Rather than a set-up the can easily attain the higher registers as you’ll never really get the low end.

I will say that I love the La Voz reeds yet a lot of woodwindists don’t. But it’s about experimenting and finding what truly works for you! I’m not a fan of Vandoren reeds as they feel plank like to me. Note that a Vandoren Blue box #2 is more like a Rico Royal #2.5.

The other thing that I find important is preparing the reeds. This is what I do.

The first thing I do is to soak the reed for about 4 minutes in lukewarm water. My preference is to use mineral water and nuked in the microwave and then let it cool down to lukewarm.

I use a clean jam jar that I’ve filled up with enough water to ensure that the tip through to the back of the vamp is submerged. A reed that is too dry or only wet at the very tip tends to squeak. Be carefully not to soak the reed for too long though as it’ll end up becoming waterlogged. Trial and error will soon sort that out. It does depend on the climate that you’re in at the time.

Once soaked place the reed on a granite cheeseboard (any flat surface will do). Now place the reed so the tip is the farthest from you and the thickest closest to you. What you need to do now is massage it. To do this; start from the back of the vamp slope and with several fingers move in a smooth stroke forward towards the tip. This helps to close off the fibre ends and stabilize the reed.

Now it’s time to break-in the reed:

Play the reed no louder than mezzo or softer for 5 to 10 minutes on the first day and repeat on the second day but extend the time to 10 to 15 minutes. By doing this the reed should last longer and be more stable for full bore playing later. However, if one particular reed feels too hard then try playing all out in fortissimo instead.

You will find that the reeds will harden a little after a few days of playing, so you may find dropping a half reed strength will end up being perfect in a few days after break in.

If a reed is still too hard even after playing all out in fortissimo then make sure the reed is wet and secured on the mouthpiece with your ligature. Press firmly a few times with your thumb on the middle and rear slope area of the reed. This will help to help loosen up the fibres which will soften it up a bit.

However, take care with doing this because if you press too hard you’ll end up taking the spring and life out of the reed. If you press it too lightly you won't feel any change.

Hope this helps a bit! I know it isn’t a direct answer but that’s very hard to do as it a subjective thing. I do highly recommend hooking up with other musicians so you can try their set-ups and see what you like and don’t.

Happy blowing!

Paul
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
You once famously described yourself as a "soprano and alto" player on a previous thread. It sounds like its all gone very badly wrong for you, dear Paul (aka Johnny Inglis)..........................................................:shocked:;}
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
You once famously described yourself as a "soprano and alto" player on a previous thread. It sounds like its all gone very badly wrong for you, dear Paul (aka Johnny Inglis)..........................................................:shocked:;}
So one isn't allowed to play multiple instruments then :shrug:

As you full well know I couldn't get on with the Soprano as it was like listening to my ex-wife :w00t: Very much like a High-Pitch Trill so it had to go >:)

I love the Clarinet as it's much quieter with my tinnitus :thumb:

As for the Alto I'll more than happily swap it for an Alto Flute or Clarinet ;}

BTW I don't suffer from dissociative identity disorder or any kind of alter egos :w00t::shocked:>:);}

EDIT:

You once famously described yourself as a "soprano and alto" player on a previous thread.
I pretty sure that would have been Soprano and Tenor ;}
 
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