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Beginner honking at start of notes


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hi everyone. i hope someone out there can answer a question for me ?
as you know i am somewhat of a noob, only had my first blow about a month ago.
initially i found it really easy to start a note really cleanly, however i have noticed recently that i get an occasional honk at the start of some notes, i have no idea what is causing this. perhaps someone can explain why this strange sound has started.
many thanks in advance. mad keef.
As noone has answered yet I'll give you my 2-penneth worth: I used to get a bit of that when I tried playing with a dry reed. If you're not doing so already, you need to make sure your reed is damp before you start playing. Try putting the reed in your mouth for a minute before you start.
I encourage my students to use a mouthpiece patch at first with a groove indicating where the top teeth should go on the mouthpiece. One way to get a "honk" is to have too much mouthpiece in the mouth which allows little or no control to the vibrating portion of the reed.

For a beginning player, starting a tone on the saxophone can be broken down into the following sequence:

1. set the top teeth on the mouthpiece
2. take a breath through the corners of the mouth and hold it
3. form the embouchure
4. set the tongue against the tip of the reed
5. blow putting air pressure behind the tongue
6. release the tongue

As one gains experience steps 1, 2, and 3 combine automatically as do 4 and 5, so the sequence becomes:

1. breathe
2. set the tongue
3. release
I've been playing for over 30 years. Last week the tenor started honking. It was a new packet of reeds and I put it down to them being a bit stiff. It's not doing it now. I have no idea why it started and then went away. Maybe that's why no one answered. Nobody knows. :shrug:
Keef, did it start happening after I popped round and played your sax? My bad ;}
Check the reed position on the mouthpiece it can be crucial. Too far over the beak, or over to one side and squeaks and honks will follow.
And don't let Timbo near your sax again.

What am I thinking. I just remembered what I did to get rid of the honking. I cleaned out the mouthpiece. I use a toothbrush and toothpaste the rinse it off with mouthwash. I couldn't believe the state of the inside. All better now and probably a lot less hazardous to my health.
As a beginner myself, can tell you that sometimes we take the embouchure and breath control for granted and blow every note the same way without thinking consciously of what we want to achieve from the note. Sometimes I come and practice some songs directly and this is usually when I am pressed for time and I end up honking, squeaking, squealing and annoying the crap out of everyone, however I have now started using the universal method (if you google it, it's available free for download) and start with the basic exercises and check that each notes sounds clearly and as I want it to. After 15 mins of that, no matter what I play, the sound quality improves for the rest of the session. Don't know if you have a tutor or not but if you don't, try and figure out whether you want it loud, soft, clean etc ........ and then practice basic exercises or warm ups cleanly and don't stop until you can play that same note atleast 3-5 times in a row without screwing up.

Ofcourse it could be the sax, reed, mpiece as mentioned above but usually with beginners, it tends to be basic exercises which are ignored.

Just my 2c
thanks all who replied.
honking has gone away now, hopefully for good.
dont think was anything you did timbo, prob just me forgetting the basics.
cheers, mad keef.
Mad keef
thanks all who replied.
honking has gone away now, hopefully for good.

Probably not but dont woory if it does.
as the bear said, he`s been playing for thirty years and still sometimes honks.

Here`s a tip though the start of each practice session, play up and down your notes "thinking the note" first
and then "playing" it .........this will help adjust the brain /body/mouth /breath, to all syncronize together to play the note right each time.
Dont expect it to happen immediately though unless you are lucky enough to be one of those unbelieveably gifted people who can pick up things and just be an expert without even trying................It takes time but the journey is great
Good luck

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