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Difficulties with High A

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
518
I know the answer to this is practice, practice, practice, but I'd just like to understand what's going on from a technical point of view. When I play A in the upper register often there is a harsh "grating" kind of quality to it, which I think is the low A coming through. The B above and the G below are fine. It is not a leak etc because I have played a couple of other horns with the same result. I think it is the first sign that my embouchure is tiring because it doesn't happen at first when I start playing. But then why are the higher notes above A ok when they should be harder to play when tired? Is high A just a trouble spot due to the inherent design of the sax, in the same way that middle D can be?
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
Hi Mack, A is not usually a problem note so if the sax is working OK, reed OK etc then the answer is probably long notes, leaping up and down octaves and practising consistently every day even if it's only for a short while. Pete
 

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
518
...and of course more lessons with a reputable teacher...! I'll give you a ring...

See you in Ashburton on Sunday. It's Gilad and Gillespie at midday as well - busy day.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I was struggling with the palm keys for ages and in the end I got so frustrated that I just played those notes (High D, High Eb, High E and High F) constantly until the came right - totally p***ed everyone off in the house as they screeched for days but finally it came good (highly recommend ear plugs until it sound tuneful :))) ).

EDIT: I practiced for six hours a day with ten minute breaks every hour, for fours days before it came right for me!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I was struggling with the palm keys for ages and in the end I got so frustrated that I just played those notes (High D, High Eb, High E and High F) constantly until the came right - totally p***ed everyone off in the house as they screeched for days but finally it came good (highly recommend ear plugs until it sound tuneful :))) ).

EDIT: I practiced for six hours a day with ten minute breaks every hour, for fours days before it came right for me!


Methinks you were a torturer in a previous life, and you're just trying to keep your hand in, in case you get offered a post at a newly reconstituted Guantanamo Bay... >:)
 

picconose

Member
Messages
75
CHeck to see if the upper register key is opening fully when you raise the G key. On some instruments, (like my tenor) it seems to open in stages, and isn't fully open until the A key is also raised. Doesn't take much to mess things up in that department. On my horn, I got around it by fitting pieces of fish skin, like you use for the left hand lower keys on a clarinet, in the octave gear mechanism.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
If this is the problem, you can also get self adhesive teflon (ptfe) sheeting from windcraft and I think from musicmedic in the US.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
With some saxes you can get a bit of noise actually from the octave hole when playing A.
 
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