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Saxophones Is it me or the Sax?

oldpuffer

Member
Messages
46
Hi all, been learning to play now for 3 months without any previous musical 'experience' at all.

It's been going fine up until now,BUT.. I don't seem able to play what I call a high G on my tenor sax(a Hanson ).

That's three fingers of left hand with octave key... can play the B and A fine but the G has a strange warble, I've noticed that the G uses the side Octave vent where the B and A use the top vent, I'd have thought that as I can play the B and A every time no trouble the G should be easier, is there a way I can check its the sax and not me please?. I can see the top vent closing and the side vent opening. Or even another way of playing the high G?.

Thanks for reading. Martin.
 

wagtenor

New Member
Messages
11
Hello Martin - unfortunately the problem you describe is quite common amongst beginners. From experience it is best to ensure the saxophone is not the culprit by having it checked by good technician. Describe clearly to them the troubles you are having. Most techs are also decent players so they can blow it and help diagnose problem from there.

Best wishes,
Sam

Sent from my GT-N7000 using Tapatalk 2
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,009
Check to see that there is at least a 1/16" gap between the neck octave key ring and the post extending from the body. If there is not, place your thumb between the ring and the body of the neck and then gently push down on the octave key. Should you go too far, place a pad slick or tongue depressor under the pad and carefully push back on the ring until the desired gap is achieved.

To test the octave key adjustment---finger G and forcefully hit the thumb octave key several times watching the neck octave pad. It should not move if in good adjustment. Then finger from G to A while pressing the thumb octave. The neck and body octave keys should alternate opening and closing completely.

Some saxes---especially tenors have a tendency to overblow to the next higher overtone which is high D when trying to play the high G. Try playing low G with a big full tone aiming your airstream down toward the LH thumb on the thumb pad. While holding this note, have someone else press the thumb octave key without you looking and see what the high G does.

Some beginning players form the habit of raising the back of the tongue like saying "GEE". This encourages the sax to go to an overtone while using an altissimo fingering or when playing a note whose fundamental is weak. Some of the tricks I use with my students to open the throat and lower the back of the tongue are:

- Say "HAUP" when you take a breath.
- Blow a warm airstream with the same throat and tongue position as when singing "AHHH" on the lowest note you can sing.
- Make the throat feel like the first part of a yawn before the "gag reflex" kicks in.

Good luck. Let us know how you make out.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
It's the sax, and they are all the same. That G and I think middle D came as a shock to me when I started. My teacher told me that I'd get used to them and that's what happened. These days I don't notice any difference with any of the notes.

Keep having fun.

Jim.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,553
Interestingly, I am having trouble playing the lower octave G on my new tenor - the upper octave G is absolutely fine.

Wondering if part of my "problem" is aural (I have played alto and bari for 3.5 years, so am used to the pitch of an Eb instrument, not a Bb one), I decided to record myself playing the scale of C major and a chromatic scale on C too, and noticed that the amplitude of the sound wave of the lower octave G is much smaller than any other note - this suggests to me that I need to blow a bit harder to sound the note well.

Indeed, if I belt the notes out, I have no problem with it at all.

However, I've also noticed that F# and G# (lower octave only) are also a little weedy.... I suspect it's me, too :crying: :ashamed
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hey guys,

I´m just a beginner, but I think this is an embouchure problem.

I used to have problems with the G in my tenor as well, just a couple of months ago.

I think it´s about how you attack/start the note.

Doing a "haaaaaa" ( like in "hawk" ) sound with the throat fixed this problem, at least in my case.

Also, it might be related to the shape of your mouth cavity. Try singing the same note, observe the shape of your mouth and then try playing the same note using this shape.

Cheers,

Raf.
 

oldpuffer

Member
Messages
46
Thanks for the replies, I'm not sure its an embouchure problem because I can play the high notes D thru to C without squeaks, when I say the high G isnt right it's not a squeak, more like a warble with a G and a lower note thrown in. I used to have trouble with the high D as the top octave vent 'popped' off as the side vent opened, this was cured by bending the top octave arm, as I'd been heavy handed putting the mouthpiece on and flattened the arm a little.

I'll get the sax checked out by Hanson's soon as I can, although I can't see anything wrong with the 'action'.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
as I'd been heavy handed putting the mouthpiece on and flattened the arm a little.
It sounds like you bent the whole crook (common issue).
Please put the mouthpiece on the crook before putting on the crook.

The lower octave vent could be dirty inside. You may try a pipe cleaner.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Oldpuffer, It sounds like an identical problem I suffered and on occasion still do!

I only started learning 3-4 months ago and have had tuition from the start, however Ive gone threw the high note squeaks and the exact same warble on the G you mention.

with the aid of my tutor ive worked threw (still am) all of these problems and every one is simply down to technique (or lack of).

I can if required cause the very warble on the G if required which proves to me its me and not the sax to blame.

simply another beginners opinion thought it might be worth giving thought to.

good luck.

rgds Lee.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Old Puffer.

The G you're having problems with does give most of us problems until we get used to it. Needs more air support.

But it could also be technical, take a look at JBTSAX's excellent reply. And consider going to a technician.
 

zebrafoot

Member
Messages
63
Hi Oldpuffer. I had a very similar experience with my sax (a Bauhaus Walstein) in the first few months of playing. It turned out to be me rather than the instrument - although I could comfortably get higher notes, the G was very unstable and I got a warbling sound especially when I was tired. Now I've been playing forever (actually about 6 months!) I never get this.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
I think its you not the sax. The octave key vents are: side vent D to G# and the Upper is on the Crook for the remainder of the notes. So the G is almost at the limit of what it is capable of supporting and needs that bit extra air support from you to make it work.
The 2 vents are a compromise as in an ideal world every note would have a vent hole of its own, but that would be incredibly complicated and almost impossible to maintain.

Tighten the stomach muscles slightly and it should sort itself out.

regards

Dave
 

oldpuffer

Member
Messages
46
I think its you not the sax. The octave key vents are: side vent D to G# and the Upper is on the Crook for the remainder of the notes. So the G is almost at the limit of what it is capable of supporting and needs that bit extra air support from you to make it work.
The 2 vents are a compromise as in an ideal world every note would have a vent hole of its own, but that would be incredibly complicated and almost impossible to maintain.

Tighten the stomach muscles slightly and it should sort itself out.

regards

Dave
Yep thanks all, it turns out it's me, starting to hit it more often than not now, needs extra air support.
 
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