PPT

Beginner Just bought a used alto sax. Can't produce notes :(

Dabaqallo

Member
Messages
35
Hello everyone,

I am total new to saxophone playing. But I've read quite a lot about saxophone techniques, fingering and playing style and I have basic understanding of music theory.

I recently purchased a used Yamaha YAS-23 through eBay. The horns seems in a good condition and came with other accessories including couple of Rick 2 1/2 reeds.

After I assembled it and experimented with the reeds, I managed to get a sound (which was pretty load, constant and sometimes squeaky). However, as I began played around with the keys (playing A, B, C), the sound was barely changing, and I was not seem be getting any note. I've tried two new Rico Royal 2 1/2 reeds, one of them was slightly better but still, no luck. What am I doing wrong here :)
 

jimmylh

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,010
Locality
Warner Robins, Georgia USA
The very first thing you should do is take the sax to a repair tech and have it checked. The second thing is find a teacher. Congrats on your first horn, the Yamaha is a good horn to start on.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,464
Locality
Just north of Munich
Guessing you're maybe not fingering right. Take a look at a fingering chart. Starting with the left hand fingers, you press B to get a B, then B & C to get an A, then B & C & G to get the G, and so on.
 

Dabaqallo

Member
Messages
35
Thank you for the advice!

Guessing you're maybe not fingering right. Take a look at a fingering chart. Starting with the left hand fingers, you press B to get a B, then B & C to get an A, then B & C & G to get the G, and so on.

Actually, I've learn the fingering before getting the sax :). That's why I freaked out when I couldn't play any notes lol.
 
Last edited:

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
9,115
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
The way to quickly diagnose whether it is you or the saxophone is to play the "tone producer" (mouthpiece and neck/crook) alone. On tenor, the note should be an E concert (piano pitch). A common problem for beginners is touching and opening keys that should remain closed. The three at the top near the palm of the left hand are called the palm keys. The fingers need to be curved/arched so as not to touch these keys. The ones on the right hand to be careful not to bump are the "side keys". Typically the bottom one (side Bb) is the culprit.

You might check the top side key which operates the high E natural. That key should be closed by a spring. If the spring comes off its cradle on that key, it shuts everything down and nothing will play. Good luck.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
16,210
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
You might want to edit that :)

Well spotted:thanks1:



Some of us can figure out how things work and some of us need guidance.

Picking the right strength of reed, wetting it and placing it in the right position on a suitable mouthpiece in the right position on the neck cork, is a start.

Then you have to put your fingers in the right place, your lips in the right place and blow the right way.



I wouldn't use a second hand reed, Yuk!
 

Dabaqallo

Member
Messages
35
@BigMartin oops lol, I guess I better spell it out full next time ;)

I've recorded this lovely song today: Dropbox - voice-2016-08-07-00-22.mp3

I had to blow really hard to get that sound, when I blow soft, nothing occurs.

@jbtsax I will try that tomorrow thanks.

@Colin the Bear, the reed that came with the saxophone was Rico strength 2 1/2, and it looked unused. I've read somewhere that 2 1/2 is pretty standard and suitable for starters.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,843
Locality
The Athens of The North
I have a YAS 23 that plays really well with Rico Royal #2 reeds. You need to find a reed that works for you.
 

Chilli

Barista
Messages
396
Locality
Southwest of France
It would be interesting to know what mouthpiece you have... I reckon it must be a Yamaha 4C (or a Selmer S80/S90) but knowing for sure would allow for better advice regarding reeds.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
16,210
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
[/QUOTE]I had to blow really hard to get that sound, when I blow soft, nothing occurs.
I've recorded this lovely song today: Dropbox - voice-2016-08-07-00-22.mp3[/UNQUOTE]



I think you have inadvertently bought a seal not a saxophone. It will need feeding so buy some fish ;)
 

Chilli

Barista
Messages
396
Locality
Southwest of France
Well... despite what BigMartin said, I guess you are indeed using the front F key... You won't be needing it before a few months/years. So just lower your hand a bit and put your index on the 2nd pearl, not the top one. That should sort it.
 

jimmylh

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,010
Locality
Warner Robins, Georgia USA
The very first thing you should do is take the sax to a repair tech and have it checked. The second thing is find a teacher. Congrats on your first horn, the Yamaha is a good horn to start on.


I see someone disagrees with my post. I'm wondering on which part? Taking a sax that came in the mail from Ebay, to a tech to see if it has leaks and is not out of adjustment? Or the part about finding a teacher?
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Café Supporter
Messages
6,723
Locality
Whitchurch, North Shropshire UK
A 2.5 reed may be too had for you. I started on a 1.5. Plus as noted get the sax checked, it may be out of adjustment. Won't cost much
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
Café Supporter
Messages
7,983
Locality
Bristol, UK
Another vote for the same:
1. Get the sax checked by a reputable service technician. It's normal that a used sax needs adjustment. A leaky pad or loose spring can make it unplayable. This needn't be expensive.
2. Find a teacher to help you get started. (A teacher can give you the name of a technician.)
3. Buy a new reed. Try strength 1 1/2 and 2. The one you got could be duff.
4. When I started playing the sax I consistently put my left hand in the wrong place so that I was pressing the F key with my first finger instead of the B key.
 
Last edited:

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,464
Locality
Just north of Munich
I see someone disagrees with my post. I'm wondering on which part? Taking a sax that came in the mail from Ebay, to a tech to see if it has leaks and is not out of adjustment? Or the part about finding a teacher?
Maybe it was pressing the wrong emoticon and not noticing. They're very close together on a phone.

We can fix if the op can't and wants it changing
 

Jonesy

Old Fart At Play
Messages
737
Locality
Birmingham, UK
One thing to check, is that there may be a little cube of cork that holds keys closed for transport that is still in there somewhere.
I had this with a second-hand soprano that I bought this year (no wonder the previous owner had given up!).

I agree that a 2.5 reed may be a little hard for a beginner, I started on 1.5 and after 3 years I haven't gone over 2.

With no keys pressed down, just blow and you should get a C# (=concert B on a tuner for tenor, E for alto).
 

Dabaqallo

Member
Messages
35
Thanks for the valuable feedback!

@jbtsax I played with mouthpiece + nick alone and used a tuner which was reading E when blowing softly.

BTW, as I was examining the sax today, I noticed 2 things (see pictures):

(1) The top pad of the B key is missing.

(2) When I press on the E key the pad, it doesn't fully close, or it opens and closes by gravity. I don't think it's working properly.

@Jonesy, when I blow without pressing any key, I get D on the tuner app. And when I press the B key or any other keys (or combination of keys to play notes), I keep getting D on the tuner. I was careful not to press palm keys or side keys.
 

Attachments

  • no pad.jpg
    no pad.jpg
    69.4 KB · Views: 73
  • e-key.jpg
    e-key.jpg
    68.5 KB · Views: 110
Last edited:

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,464
Locality
Just north of Munich
This sounds like you either take the sax to a technician, or return it and ask for your money back.

Maybe combining the two - get a quote from a tech, then go back to seller and expect them to pay or refund.
 

Latest: Members' Recordings

Similar threads

Featured

Top Bottom