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HELP...on sub-toning low C

koumou

Member
Messages
168
Hello, I am having big trouble sub-toning notes from low C to Bb. I am playing a P. Barone Vintage Tenor sax that has been recently serviced and regulated. I can play softly down there with no problem but once I try to sub-tone, the notes brake. I've got several mouthpieces and I think I can judge the correct reed strength/mouthpiece combination. The only time I can sub-tone down there, is if I use synthetic reeds, either a Legere sig 2.75-3 or a Forestone 3-3.5. My mouthpieces are around 7 opening, largest opening been on my V16 T8 which sub-tones with ease with a Forestone 3.

It's just that when I go to cane sub-toning suffers down there...

Thanks in advance
Koumou
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,147
There are lots of things that can come into play: the position of your jaw (not the same as playing higher notes); embouchure; tongue position; being open from your throat down to your diaphragm, etc. Generally equipment wise it easier with wide tip mouthpieces and soft(er) reeds. The best I've found are fibracells for this and strangely enough high baffle mouthpieces (contrary to what might seem logical). If sub-tone is important to you why are you switching back to cane? I'm continually hearing a subtle message saying that you're only a real player if you use real cane. If you can produce the tone and timbre you want with a synthetic, it lasts many times longer, is cost effective and consistent...then where is the problem? No audience you play for will ever come and inspect the reed you play or think anything of what it's made of. Don't let yourself be bullied by other sax players' prejudices. Use whatever works for you.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Cover more reed, use better air support. Maybe work on getting a good pp clear tone as well. Try working on it using a breath attack rather than tonguing. HTH
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
Thank you all for your replies. I find synthetic reeds respond better and in a more consistent manner than cane, but I still think that a good cane reed is superior in sound. Out of the two types i.e. Legere and Forestone, I find the former to be closest to a cane reed sound.

John I am following you up on your offer, so check your e-mail. Thanks
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
softer reeds perhaps?
Then, in my case, when there are problems with sub-toning it is usually down to some minor leaks - the lowest notes takes all the "garbage" faults from the whole sax; any minor leaks at the very top of the sax does affect the very bottom end (enough said)....check your sax with a leak-light (get one of those led strips for £5 online).
 
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zannad

Member
Messages
410
Cover more reed, use better air support. Maybe work on getting a good pp clear tone as well. Try working on it using a breath attack rather than tonguing. HTH
I don't get this one...
If I want really smooth sub-tones I rather cover less mouthpiece and apply very little pressure with my lips....then for a bit more volume I might opt to take more mouthpiece but I wouldn't call that sub-tones - more a mid-way between pp sub-tones and full bright honking. Then, it might be that each of us uses different ways to achieve the same...(and the setup matters too).
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
When sub-toning I drop and pull in my lower jaw inward thus covering less mouthpiece. So I think I am with Zannard on this.
I've been looking at my sax tonight and specifically at the brace that holds the bell to the main body. What if this joint is not sealing perfectly. Would this affect sub-toning C# and all the notes below it? I am going to get some blue tac and seal the joint really well and then test to see if there's any difference.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It's ugly, but I think you could seal better with masking tape. Probably easier to get off as well.

Check the keys seal properly as well. I'd look there before the body/bow joint. Especially the ones that are held closed by springs. And check further up the sax. G# for instance.
 

koumou

Member
Messages
168
The blue tac thing will be only a temporary test. If it turns out there's a leak there, I will remove the brace and seel underneath it. I've checked my G# it seems ok. My C# seels ok and my C pad was replaced and checked 3 weeks ago.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Cover more reed, use better air support. Maybe work on getting a good pp clear tone as well. Try working on it using a breath attack rather than tonguing. HTH
If Morgan's post isn't clear enough...
Try to play only with the tip of the reed, using your lower lip. Or taking the mouthpiece extremely out of your mouth.

Simple exercise: GFEDC (low, fast) or FEbDCBb taking the mouthpiece out while you do it. You need to go softer, and mellower. (easy to show, hard to describe)
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
I don't get this one...
If I want really smooth sub-tones I rather cover less mouthpiece and apply very little pressure with my lips....
(As Al said) This is actually what I mean by cover more reed -- dampen the reed more by contacting more of it with your lip by taking less mouthpiece in your mouth. Sorry my way of saying it wasn't entirely clear, that's just how I think of it -- in terms of how much reed and where on the reed I'm contacting (covering) with my lip.

When sub-toning I drop and pull in my lower jaw inward thus covering less mouthpiece. So I think I am with Zannard on this.
I've been looking at my sax tonight and specifically at the brace that holds the bell to the main body. What if this joint is not sealing perfectly. Would this affect sub-toning C# and all the notes below it? I am going to get some blue tac and seal the joint really well and then test to see if there's any difference.
A leak here will matter. I don't know that packing it with blue tac or tape will necessarily plug a leak, though. One of those things I definitely would have a tech deal with.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,999
A leak here will matter. I don't know that packing it with blue tac or tape will necessarily plug a leak, though. One of those things I definitely would have a tech deal with.
Self amalgamating tape is a great temporary fix for leaky bow/bell joint
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
(As Al said) This is actually what I mean by cover more reed -- dampen the reed more by contacting more of it with your lip by taking less mouthpiece in your mouth. Sorry my way of saying it wasn't entirely clear, that's just how I think of it -- in terms of how much reed and where on the reed I'm contacting (covering) with my lip.



A leak here will matter. I don't know that packing it with blue tac or tape will necessarily plug a leak, though. One of those things I definitely would have a tech deal with.
As clear as clean water...for a moment I thought there was something new to be learn in the way to get sub-tones and I was missing the train for ages without even knowing it (not so).
 
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