Beginner G + Octave - Tenor

kevgermany

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Am a real newbie, started playing a tenor a week ago. Am in the process of arranging lessons, and had an intro session with a potential teacher last week.

Am able to get 2 octaves in C and most notes, but am struggling with G, both in the lower register and much more so in the higher register. Problem appears to be some kind of resonance between the moutpiece and the body as I can feel the strange vibrations in the reed - causes a very buzzy, unlean G that doesn't stay in a register. I know it's me, cos the instrument was adjusted professionally before I started playing - and the teacher played it and passed it.

Tightening my embouchure cures it, but I have to tighten so much that the other notes won't play - so to me it seems out of proportion.

Ideas/suggestions please.
 

Chris98

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Hi kevgermany,

Others will chip in with better advice I'm sure but it doesn't sound right if you have to excessively compensate your embouchure for any note.

Have your positioned your mouthpiece so that the sax is in tune? If not I think it can have adverse effects on the stability of some notes.

Try to control your breath from your diaphragm, the air needs to come from as low as possible. I've just taken up the tenor after a year and a bit on the alto and it's much more noticeable on the tenor if I'm not using my diaphragm.

G2 (G + Octave) Ideally (if memory serves me correctly) would have it's own octave vent between the two on your sax, making it one of the potentially troublesome notes to hit cleanly. If I'm not careful I jump to the overtone rather than the G but with time and effort it will come good. I've been here before with the alto :eek: it just takes a little time and patience.

Hope you enjoy your sax adventure,

Chris
 

Rogerb

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Have you tried playing D>E>F>G quickly without tonguing (slurred)?
They all use the same octave vent, so should, I'd have thought you should 'sneak past' the problem. Once you find you can play it, it's easier the next time!

Alternatively, what happens when you play low G and just depress the octave key(without adjusting your embouchure)? I find that often gives me a 'split' note, and find it useful to do the same thing working up from D, with the octave key off & on.
 
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Pete Thomas

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I noticed this phenomenon and have heard other people mention it, but with no absolute answers. Ideally each note would have its own octave key/hole, but instead there are usually two operated by the same key depending on what group of notes you are playing. Body octave hole is operated when you play D to G#, from A up the neck octave opens. So the position of the lower hole is probably ideal for note in the middle as a compromise, ie F. Once you get to G the hole is acoustically not in the ideal place, hence the problems.

You will also notice that D at the other end of the body octave range is dodgy, it is often a bit stuffy. Also A as the lowest of the group of notes using the neck octave has a tendency to be sharp.

All I can advise is lots of long notes(plus slurring octaves) also experiment with mouthpiece position, maybe push it on a bit and play witha slightly more relaxed embouchure.
 
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kevgermany

kevgermany

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Thanks

Thanks for all the replies/advice.

Interesting technical stuff. Yes may sax has the standard two octave holes. Will check the switching, but I'd guess it's as Pete describes.

Am breathing blowing from diaphragm I hope, (learnt that as a choirboy, even though I can't sing...)
Slurring through does go through the problem, but any hesitation or tonguing of the note brings on the problem. Also slurring into the G causes the problem as soon as I hold it.

Will work on it along the lines described. Wonder if it's something to do with me not controlling the reed accurately enough - I read that the base note of the tenor mouthpiece is G, and practiced that against a tuner for a couple of weeks, while the sax was being adjusted. I find that once the mouthpiece is on the sax I need a looser embouchure, for lower notes...
 

half diminished

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I've been playing a bit longer than you but am quite new to tenor (4 months) and very occassionally I get a burbling sound when playing G or G# in the upper octave which I can remove by tightening the embouchre a little or by increasing the pressure slightly.

Never get this with any other note though and no problems in the lower octave.
 
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Sloth

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Exactly the same here, I'm enjoying finding these little character traits though.

It's like having an old TV which, when you bang it twice on top and once underneath, should get you BBC2!

Stick with it, also try moving your ligature forward slightly, this may make low notes harder to hit though.
 

Pete Thomas

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I've also noticed that even quite advanced alto players have this problem with tenor, and vice versa, so it really may be just developing an embouchure.
 

half diminished

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I've also noticed that even quite advanced alto players have this problem with tenor, and vice versa, so it really may be just developing an embouchure.

I'm confident mine is an embouchre related problem. I'm betting better on tenor right up to high f# though for some reason high E is a little troublesome. On the new soprano though even high D is a challenge. I've only has the sop a few day I suppose.
 
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kevgermany

kevgermany

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Well I did some hard work today and took the advice given.

Seems to be the position of the mouthpiece on the neck. I hadn't worried about whether I was in tune or not - thought there was plenty of time to worry about that when I started playing with other people.

Checked the G against a tuner. Showed F about 30-40 cents sharp. Adjusted it out to an exact F and the problem went away, pushed the mouthpiece back on back and the problem came back. Problem solved. The music teacher used his own mouthpiece and tuned it to a piano before playing, so that explains that side.

Will need to get a new neck cork fitted as the mouthpiece is loose and slides when the instrument's in tune. My fault, I didn't give the instrument builder the mouthpiece when he checked the instrument out.

As a bonus, once the mouthpiece was in the correct position, the low notes (from E downwards) were much easier to play and octaves on other notes apart from G snapped in much more cleanly! Was even able to get both the Gs without changing embouchure more than a touch!!!!!!

Thanks for the great advice and help. :welldone ;}
 
Yamaha - what's that? >:)
Well Kev
As Germans are not noted for their sense of humour I will take that as a serious question, Yamaha is a well respected Japanese manufacturer of motorcycles and many other things, including saxophones, the mouthpiece I refer to came as standard on my Yamaha tenor it is a 4C and is very easy to tame for a beginner.
Mit freunlichen grussen
Clive;};}
 

koumou

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Hello,

Good to hear you solved the G problem. I encountered the same problem when I changed to a mouthpiece with an opening larger than what I could handle. Went back to by Link 7 and problem is gone.

As for your cork problem, try holding the corked end of your crook over a kettle with boiling water. That will expand the cork and result in a tighter fit.
 
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kevgermany

kevgermany

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I'm an ex-pat brit - and spent a lot of time showing Yamahas my exhaust pipes more years ago than I care to remember :) Was just trying to make a joke, but looks as if I picked the wrong smiley, sorry.

Ta for the hint on the kettle, will try that, but it may be too late - my new neck pull through came apart this morning, leaving half of itself inside and inaccessible. So it's off to the shop tomorrow. For this I won't have a sense of humour, especially if they mess my neck up.
 
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