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Courses/Workshops Comming back after a long break

marc1024

marc1024

Member
Messages
31
Locality
Belgium
Hi,.

I started playing my baritone again after a 10 year break, and things are a bit rusty.

My sound is a bit up and down, at first it was good, and then it started to get worse, especially in the middle register. when I play middle G, the lower octave comes trough and middle E and Fsharp sound harsh,
and sometimes when I play middle E or A, the reed seems to close up.
When I loosen my embouchure these notes come out well, but they get flat and honky.
No problems at all in the lower register, low A to middle C come out real easy and with a good tone.
Playing lots of long notes starts improving things, on some days I really have a good sound, and on other days the sound is thin and very bright.
I use the Yani Nr 5 hard rubber that came with the instrument, and a 2.5 Vandoren Blue box.
Is this the effect of my embouchure strengthening and would a Nr 3 reed be better ?
10 years ago I played on a selmer S80 - F with a Nr 3 reed, but at this moment this is too hard to play.

I also joined a local concert band, which is a good experience.
At first, because of the bad tone I had problems to blend in, but it starts to get better now.
My note reading skills also got rusty, so I needed more time to be able to play the more difficult parts, I had to listen to them a lot to get them in my head, and then I was able to play them, the notes on paper seemed to be holding me back rather than helping me, only when I had the melody and rhythm clear in my head, and I could sing them, I also could play them, so I really need to take things slowly I guess, it is not just picking up things where I left them 10 years ago :-(

Another thing, I am tempted to sign up with the McGill saxophone school McGill Music Sax School
His video's on youtube look interesting, does anyone have experience with him, is it any good to get back up and playing ?
 
Zugzwang

Zugzwang

Member
Messages
678
Locality
United Kingdom
Hi Marc, welcome to the Cafe and back to your horn. :clapping:
Did you get it checked over yet? Even if it was in perfect shape when you put it away, it may have developed a few niggles…
(Also my 2 pence on a new mouthpiece is… try changing up your reeds in the short term - I’m amazed at how much difference there is between makes - try a selection, and report back. Good luck.
 
marc1024

marc1024

Member
Messages
31
Locality
Belgium
Thanks for your reply.
The horn is in good condition, before I restarted playing, I had it checked out, and had some keyheights regulated because in the past, middle C was flat. I had to use the side Bb key to get it in tune.
The repairer has a very good reputation, he services the saxes of nearly all Belgian military bands and professional orchestras,
and he also restores antique saxes.

Reeds indeed make a big difference in sound, I have 3 reeds laying around, below I'll list them in order of best results:
- Chinese Flying goose 2.5
it was very hard right out of the box, I estimate the strenght of a Vandoren 3.5 or 4 but it now sounds the best, after sanding it down a bit
- New Vandoren Blue Box 2.5 I broke it in slowly over a few weeks
- An old Légere 3 that had become too soft 10 years ago, before I stopped.
When playing the légere quietly, I also get a spitty sound (spit resonating between reed and mpc).

When I just restarted playing, it was just the opposite, the Légere was best, and the cane reeds sounded horrible

The problem is my embouchure IMO, because sometimes the sound is ok and sometimes it is bad.
Now after playing lots of long tones and overtones, things start to improve (there are more days in which my tone is ok)
but on the days my sound is bad, middle E and G sound much louder and harsher than the rest, as if something is resonating along with the notes, or as if the reed is totally out of control on these notes.
On the days my sound is better, I am able to mostly suppress these extra resonances, and I notice I do this by having a more firm embouchure and by damping the reed more with my lower lip
 
Zugzwang

Zugzwang

Member
Messages
678
Locality
United Kingdom
... and to address the second part of your question; I've watched Nigel McGill's YouTube videos- he occasionally offers a free month in his online school, and he seems to be a generally good guy, though perhaps more geared towards beginners/ younger people (unless you started playing Bari when you were 8 and played for 2 years before the 10 year gap.. so still only 20..)
I think it's hard for 'returners' to find a good learning situation; some things are back immediately, like you've never been away, other things ... not so much. Good luck with that too.
 
marc1024

marc1024

Member
Messages
31
Locality
Belgium
Maybe I am too impatient about having a good tone very quickly .... well back to long tones again ;-)

The point is that when it sounds good, I want to play more, when it does not sound good, not so.
A good sound is a good motivator.
 

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