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Kazoo or rattle like tone?!

eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
Hi everyone,

Me again with yet another problem.

If you saw my last thread I spoke about mouthpiece problems. Since that post (if you care) I have purchased an otto link metal mouthpiece (8). At the beginning of using this I had an amazing experience with this mouthpiece as it has opened up a door to a whole new world of sound development and I am extremely happy with my purchase. When I purchased my normal box of reeds (that work with this mouthpiece setup) of vandoran trad no,3's,

I found a couple of good reeds which felt really good. I rotate my reeds so i knew how each one played. The ones that felt the best felt good however after a week of playing they became too buzzy. I thought immediately that this wasn't a usual amount of time for my reeds to last so I thought that I ought to move up a half size. However at this point I started having serious problems even with the other good reeds of that box. I started to get a consistent buzzy sound as compared to when you have a soft or bad reed in a box. On top of this I developed a sort of kazoo sound that sounds more like rattling and produces a sort of overtone feel that you can feel beneath your feet as it vibrates the room.

The sound is really irritating and I have never really experienced a buzz anything like it. My first plan was to try a different brand of reeds and also a half size up to see if I could have a bit more room to break the reed in. I bought some selmer 3.5 reeds which are the equivalent in strength to a vandoren 3.5 so there was a half size up increase. I soaked 2 or 3 and did my usual breaking in of a new box of reeds. The reeds felt fairly good however this annoying buzzing sound did not go away. This then led me to think about the mouthpiece. I am inexperienced with mouthpieces so i tested to see if the reed was sitting on the table well or if there were any scratched however I felt that this probably wasn't the problem as I had not damaged it since the last time it played well. I then thought it could be the sax and because i needed a good clean anyway I took apart the whole thing and put it back together. After this took 2 or 3 hours I was hope full it was going to do the job, however now I am typing this in complete frustration and anger as I am desperate to practice but cannot get over this hugely annoying sound that will not go away.

I am sorry if my information is excessive but I hope this gives anyone willing to help a comprehensive understanding of what might be happening.
Any help would be hugely appreciated and as I am sure most of you can imagine, it is extremely frustrating not being able to practice with all this time on our hands.

Please ask any questions at all if it means you can understand the situation better.
Thanks
 

saxmad

New Member
Messages
20
Several things...
Could the buzz you describe be because of excessive saliva on the back of the reed which then affects the facing and table and sounds buzzy? Try, when the buzzing commences, flicking the reed half way down to dissipate the saliva.
Try this first. I do have other ideas but lets eliminate one thing at a time.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,410
You have been using quite hard reeds (Vandoren Blue 3) with an open-tip (8) mouthpiece.
When you got a problem you increased the reed strength to 3.5. The problem then got worse.
So my immediate reaction would be to try softer reeds rather than harder ones.

Do you have another mouthpiece that you could try?

Can you post a recording?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,614
It would help to diagnose what is going on if we could hear the sound, and know how long you have been playing the saxophone.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,989
I presume we are talking about tenor sax here...I play an Otto Link Super Tone Master 7* with a Vandoren Java (Green Box) 2.5 and Rovner ligature I have been playing a looooong time so I don't know how you can an 8 with 3.5 strength reed...as nigeld advises above try a softer reed possibly a 2 or 2.5 unless you wear a cape and big "S" on your t-shirt...:rofl:

Greg S.
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
Several things...
Could the buzz you describe be because of excessive saliva on the back of the reed which then affects the facing and table and sounds buzzy? Try, when the buzzing commences, flicking the reed half way down to dissipate the saliva.
Try this first. I do have other ideas but lets eliminate one thing at a time.
hi thanks for reply,
Tried this. No luck I’m afraid. It doesn’t sound like that sort of buzzing.
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
You have been using quite hard reeds (Vandoren Blue 3) with an open-tip (8) mouthpiece.
When you got a problem you increased the reed strength to 3.5. The problem then got worse.
So my immediate reaction would be to try softer reeds rather than harder ones.

Do you have another mouthpiece that you could try?

Can you post a recording?
Hi
You have been using quite hard reeds (Vandoren Blue 3) with an open-tip (8) mouthpiece.
When you got a problem you increased the reed strength to 3.5. The problem then got worse.
So my immediate reaction would be to try softer reeds rather than harder ones.

Do you have another mouthpiece that you could try?

Can you post a recording?
Hi, Many thanks for your response.

I will attempt a recording today. I understand my reed and tip combination is odd. Before moving onto this mouth piece setup I had an awful one that came with my tenor (selmer liberty). I was angry as the resistance was just not high enough for my liking. My first upgrade was unusual to go straight to an 8 however I got an amazing deal on the otto link vintage tone master ( @Greg Strange ). I have been playing for just over two years now ( I know not a long time) @jbtsax . I was not expecting much when using this mouthpiece as I knew it would be a bit of a long shot. The initial setup was an old vandoren reed that i had which was the no.3 and I enjoyed it alot. I then accidentally bought a box of the vandoran jazz ones which actually read a half size down . I found this out the hard way after buying two boxes and finding everyone of them to be extremely buzzy and annoying, so this shows that I have tried a low strength reed. I thought that this box of vandoran 3's that I mentioned would fix and it did however this new problem arose after a couple of weeks.
Just to be a bit more clear I will speak further below...

When I first had this box of 3's I had an immense improvement with my sound and tone development. I was practicing long tones and overtones and articulations and so on with absolute confidence and ease. I was happy with how much resistance the mouthpiece was giving back to me and just overall felt a lot more confident in my tone as compared to when I had my ****ty plastic mouthpiece out the box. Do you think perhaps I may have damaged the mouthpiece without knowing? The bloke I bought it off seemed extremely experienced and was very friendly so I doubt he would have sold me a bad mouthpiece + I know it plays well as I have had a good experience up until now.

My exact current setup:

HORN: Selmer Liberty student (USA)
MP: Otto Link Vintage Tone Master 8 (NEW versions)
LIG: Standard OTTO LINK (I have tried a rovner alto one, no luck, problem persists)
REED: Most recently Henri Selmer 3.5, before that vandoren blue box 3's and even further back vandoren jazz 3's (blue box 2.5 equivalent)


Hope this is enough info, I will attempt a recording today however I don't know how well the camera will be able to hear it.


Thank you so much this is hugely helpful, I am very grateful for this amazing community of passionate musicians and techs.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,757
Check that the lyre screw is tight.
I think it'll be opposite the crook clamp screw on your horn.
This screw (along with those on the ligature) can often be a source of annoying buzzes and overtones if they're able to rattle.
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
Hi everyone I have attached images of mpc as I am beginning to think it's the source of the problem . or perhaps lig setup.
I tried on another old vintage battered up horn and still got same result. Also when I take the mouthpiece off and blow the lowest notes possible I still get a sort of weird sound coming out.

I tried a recording also but you cant quite here it so I will get the more high end audio recorder out and have a go with that.

Sorry about quality of images. I have to attach as we transfer folder because of size. Thanks


(click preview so you don't have to download)
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
When blowing through the mouthpiece and trying to achieve as low of a pitch as possible, there is still an odd fuzzy subtone sound. It could just be that I have not practiced with the mouthpiece on it's own for a while so that sound is whats expected. Perhaps it isn't the mouthpiece in this case.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
Subscriber
Messages
3,649
As a few already told you above, you should try softer reeds!

I'm sorry to say that you ask questions but do not appear to read the answers... From the pictures, I'd say it's an Alto you're talking about. Vandoren blue 3s and even more so 3.5 are rather hard for an 8 mouthpiece opening. If the first you played was old, it may be more like a 2.5 or even less. Reeds tend to weaken as they get old.

So unless you have lips of steel, these are very hard reeds for the mouthpiece you're trying to play.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,073
Reading through the thread I think Elliot has gone from a dark sounding mouthpiece (I'm guessing something not too dissimilar to a Yam 4/5C) to a much brighter 'piece, and it's all the new sounds you discover when you upgrade from an OE mouthpiece that he's describing.

I remember it took me by surprise when I first bought a 'proper' mouthpiece.
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
As a few already told you above, you should try softer reeds!

I'm sorry to say that you ask questions but do not appear to read the answers... From the pictures, I'd say it's an Alto you're talking about. Vandoren blue 3s and even more so 3.5 are rather hard for an 8 mouthpiece opening. If the first you played was old, it may be more like a 2.5 or even less. Reeds tend to weaken as they get old.

So unless you have lips of steel, these are very hard reeds for the mouthpiece you're trying to play.
hi

thank you for your response

I probably should have included the fact I have tried softer reeds in my last message. I can assure you I have read and tried every answer so far, but perhaps I should have mentioned that. I have tried a whole box of vandoran jazz 2.5 (blue box 2 equivalent). This has not helped and has only worsened the buzzing issue. I have many reefs of all different kinds and brands (some fairly new) and none have fixed the issue.

i understand this setup is unusual however I only switch reeds when I can’t take the softness anymore and is effecting my control. I don’t have any trouble getting sound out the horn and although my oral muscles are working hard and aching I always get oast this once the reefs are broken in. This problem is not to do with the reeds and I am almost certain if this.
I did mention it was a tenor but perhaps I have only caused more confusion as I am frantically trying to fix the issue and am getting as much info down as possible. Sorry about this.

thanks for your help
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
Reading through the thread I think Elliot has gone from a dark sounding mouthpiece (I'm guessing something not too dissimilar to a Yam 4/5C) to a much brighter 'piece, and it's all the new sounds you discover when you upgrade from an OE mouthpiece that he's describing.

I remember it took me by surprise when I first bought a 'proper' mouthpiece.
Hi
interesting point. I do believe that it is avery big transition and I did experience that shock of change in sound. However this lasted a day at most and I have had a good 2 month run(ish) of the mouthpiece sounding how I would like it. So this problem is recent and is not something developed or come up because of my switch.
also the old mouthpiece wasn’t even branded. Just a plane plastic mpc with no branding.

hope this info helps.

thanks!!
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
Hi everyone there seems to be even more confusion probably caused by my frantic typing that leaves parts mixed up. I am very sorry I guess I was hoping for the issue to be resolved quickly.
I just want to clear up some general points.

1- This mpc HAS worked very well for me in the past. I will note below the exact reed strengths I have tried since getting the piece.
First I put an old vandoran 3 blue box and this worked well, then I bought the jazz 3's but then realised these were too buzzy because they are rated equivalent to vandoran 2.5 blues. These were too soft so with little money in the bank I bought two single blue box 3's of vandoran (the one that worked in the first place) I got my use out of these and lasted a good 2 months (this was the period of enjoying the mpc alot). Then I bought a box of these once the last 2 became old and needed replacing. This box had some good reeds and I used these up until I ran into the buzzy proble,m. bla bla bla I moved up another half size to see if it would help and now I am stuck with this buzzy sound.

I wrote all of this to reassure people it is NOT the reeds as I have experimented with all possible strengths , the move from 3 to 3.5 was to try and fix the problem and it did not. my sweetspot is the vandoran blue box 3's and I DO NOT struggle with this strength. it was not the final jump to 3.5 that caused the buzzing. It just appeared one day.

the problem seems to be a sudden problem and is most likely to do with the horn, the mpc or perhaps the lig. (maybe due to damage)

Perhaps there are some other places I can check that could be causing this? Or perhaps the mpc table is uneven? I'm not sure but I am certain it is not the reeds.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,073
If it played perfectly for two months and then it suddenly didn't then you have to use a logical process of elimination.

You've tried different reeds, so you know it's not that.

If you haven't damaged the mouthpiece (which one assumes you'd notice if you had), then it's not a problem with the mouthpiece either.

Which leaves a change to the instrument itself. Have you knocked or dropped it? Have you adjusted or changed something? Have you checked that everything feels solid - all the rods and keys have no movement etc. Have you checked that there's nothing stuck in the crook/neck or in the body or bow? Sounds daft, but you'd be surprised what can end up in there.
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
If it played perfectly for two months and then it suddenly didn't then you have to use a logical process of elimination.

You've tried different reeds, so you know it's not that.

If you haven't damaged the mouthpiece (which one assumes you'd notice if you had), then it's not a problem with the mouthpiece either.

Which leaves a change to the instrument itself. Have you knocked or dropped it? Have you adjusted or changed something? Have you checked that everything feels solid - all the rods and keys have no movement etc. Have you checked that there's nothing stuck in the crook/neck or in the body or bow? Sounds daft, but you'd be surprised what can end up in there.
Yes it seems to me that everything does feel solid and nothing stuck. I stripped and cleaned it to make absolutely sure and have double triple checked I put it back the right way.

I am completely lost now. Perhaps I have just hit a barrier in my sound development or picked up a weird habit? I thought perhaps this would have been a common problem.

Thanks for trying! It is hugely appreciated.
 
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eliotttanner

Member
Messages
41
Yes it seems to me that everything does feel solid and nothing stuck. I stripped and cleaned it to make absolutely sure and have double triple checked I put it back the right way.

I am completely lost now. Perhaps I have just hit a barrier in my sound development or picked up a weird habit? I thought perhaps this would have been a common problem.

Also maybe to add, It seems the problem appears a bit more often when the right hand stack notes are played (higher and lower octave). This isnt to say it doesn't occur in left hand stack but it just is way more noticeable in the right.

Thanks for trying! It is hugely appreciated.
 
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