Involuntary jump to upper register on alto

koumou

Member
Messages
169
Location
Rhodes-Greece
Hi,

I've been playing mainly tenor for 18 months, but I also have a YAS275 alto for those times the wife can't stand listening to me. I park the can in a remote alley and play.

Lately I've developed a tendency to jump to the upper register on some notes. I cannot work out if its me or my sax. This is getting very annoying as I have no control over it.

Can somebody suggest something please?

Thanks in advance.
 

Basil

Member
Messages
33
Location
on the edge of Dartmoor
Hi Koumou.

I am no expert, but I had this problem for a while after practising embouchure exercises when I played in the upper register without using the octave key. I think they are what are known as overtones, but as I say, I am no expert.

So could it be that you are tightening your embouchure too tight in order to compensate for the smaller mouthpiece ?

Or it could be your sax I guess, although I have no idea what it could be.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,047
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
Hi Koumou,

it could be that your embouchure is too tight at times. but you will need to rule out that there are no leaks

the most common to cause this is a leak in the octave mecanism i.e either of the pads not closing fully.

first check that your octave mechanism is working correctly and that the pads are opening anclosing when they should


i.e. your body octave pad should open when you play G down to D and your crook octave pad should open A -C#


make sure that when one pad is open the other is fully shut.

You may also want to check that there is a small gap ( a couple of mm or so) between the octave arm ( the bit that sticks up from the top of the sax body where the crook goes in - known as the receiver) and the crook octave arm loop ( the looped bit on the crook key )
 
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koumou

koumou

Member
Messages
169
Location
Rhodes-Greece
As far as I can make out, the octave mechs work as they should, i.e. body octave open/ crook octave closed from D2-G2# and body oct.closed and crook oct. open from A2 upwards.
The only mechanical situation that might be of concirn, is that as can be seen from the attached images, is that the body octave pad is not seated in the center. Whether it has a leak or not I can't tell.
 

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griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,047
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
As far as I can make out, the octave mechs work as they should, i.e. body octave open/ crook octave closed from D2-G2# and body oct.closed and crook oct. open from A2 upwards.
The only mechanical situation that might be of concirn, is that as can be seen from the attached images, is that the body octave pad is not seated in the center. Whether it has a leak or not I can't tell.
Hi Koumou,

he body octave pad not being seated in the centre is no problem as long as it doesnt leak.

to check for leaks on pads get a cigarette paper - the type you use for rolling your own cigarettes- cut off the glued edge, and then using either a razor blade or scissors, cut the paper diagonnally so you have two triangles.


pick up one of the triangles and place the pointy inbetween the pad nd the tonehole, close the pad using eitherlight finger pressure or by letting go of the key (if the pad is sprung shut)

pull gently at the paper and you should feel resistance, and it should be the same resistance all around the circumference of the pad.

that's basically how to check for leaks using paper.

make sure though you dont use the paper striaght after playing as there wil be moisture/condesation on the pads and the paper will get stuck to it.
 
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koumou

koumou

Member
Messages
169
Location
Rhodes-Greece
I tested for leaks using a risla paper, but there don't seem to be any. I use a Meyer G and a Vandoren V16 on my alto and the problem is more prominent with the Meyer mouthpiece, which I favour as it gives me a much fuller sound in the palm keys.
 
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koumou

koumou

Member
Messages
169
Location
Rhodes-Greece
hi koumou,

did you also check that the crook octave key pad is not being kept slightly open when you are not pressing the octave key?
Yes Griff I checked that as well. It seems ok.
I rang a sax playing friend of my son , who has been playing for years and he will have a go on it to see if the same thing happens when he plays it. If it does not do the same when he plays, it's me who needs fixing.

Thank you all for your help.
 
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koumou

koumou

Member
Messages
169
Location
Rhodes-Greece
Hello Jason,

I play both the tenor and the alto. I consider the tenor as my main horn ,but I find I pratice a lot on the alto, which i call my car
sax, as that's where I mainly play it, cause her indoors hates the sax.

I use a Meyer G 6 or an Otto Link HB 6. I think the problem
we are facing has to do mainly with the mouthpiece placement in the mouth.

I found that placing the mouthpiece to the centre of the mouth
and ensuring that it is not facing right or left, aliviates the problem.

I also observed that using softer reeds also helps.

Regards
Koumou
 

JasonC

Member
Messages
218
Location
Swadlincote, Derbyshire
Thanks Koumou.

Funny you should say that about the car, I had to practice in the car a few days ago and my problem was at its worst then, I guess the mouthpiece might have been at an angle so I will observe that more closely and see how it goes. I use a fairly soft reed anyway (1.5 and 2) so that part might not be my problem, but I have bought a pack of all different reeds to try at my next practice session so we'll see what happens!

Many thanks for the reply.
Jason
 
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koumou

koumou

Member
Messages
169
Location
Rhodes-Greece
Koumou, I think 'her indoors' is unique.
I've never met a woman who doesn't say they love the sound of the saxophone!
Well...there are a lot of makes of "Them Indoors" and mine's from a different factory.



I finally managed to solve the problem of the involuntary jumps to the upper register.

I was in my car today, playing to my usual audience... the surrounding sheep, and the alto started giving me hell again.
After carefully examining the thing I discovered that the G# pad did not always close properly after the
G# key (left pinky upper pallet)was released. Once I got home I increased the spring tension of the key involved. Things got better but the pad did not always close. My Alto is YAS275 student model that has stainless non needle springs. I lifted the spring involved and applied a little grease at the point of contact with the key. That did it. Luckily the wife was out so I enjoyed playing my problem free alto.

Jason I've read that you solved your similar problem by getting a new Meyer mouthpiece. More expensive than my solution, but a solution never the less. It can get very frustrating when a sax starts going wrong, as it's a very mechanically complex instrument.
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
628
Location
Enfield, North London
As you say, it is mechanically complex. But sometimes the solution is simple, as you found.
It could be an underpowered spring or an occasionally sticking pad etc.
Perhaps a bit of attention to that pad might help.
 
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