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PPT Mouthpieces

Low D downwards fails on my soprano after five minutes of playing

paleajed

New Member
Messages
3
Hello, new here first post!

I have been reading posts on this forum for years, but now I have a problem of my own I don't see addressed on internet yet. I have bought a second hand Bauhaus Walstein bronze soprano, it plays nicely but I have an awkward thing going on with it.
All notes speak well until I have been playing about five minutes, then suddenly everything starting from low D downwards blows an octave too high and it asks a lot of attention, and luck, to still hit it properly. As I've said the first five minutes of play are spotless, and no, I am not a beginner... ???? I already took it to a tech to get it set up, but they didn't know about this problem only popping up after a few minutes, so they must've missed it. So, I was wondering, what can cause such behaviour of the low notes and how could it be fixed? Should I bring it to a tech again explaining the problem properly? Or is there some special treatment I should ask for? I would like to see this fixed and wondering about learning about the cause too...
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,199
Welcome to the caffè
What about mouthpiece/reed? It may be the effect of a swelling reed.

(Or a swelling pad, somewhere, but it never happened to me)
 

paleajed

New Member
Messages
3
Hi.
The problem persists over mouthpiece and reed changes. I've tried two very different (LeBayle jazz hard rubber, Otto Link metal) mouthpieces as well as different reeds. As different as the Legere Signature synthetics (so no swelling) I normally like and use, as well as a colorful assortment of cane reeds. I must say, when using reeds not appropriate to my playing style, the problem (low notes going up to the next octave) seems to occur immediately when I start playing and worsens with time.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,284
Sounds like a leak somewhere. Or it could be a sluggish key - which can be a common problem on Chinese horns.
Some diagnosis is in order - so play it until the problem starts, then look at the horn as you finger (but not blow) the notes. Do you see any keys that are moving/rising slowly? Check the octave mech in particular.
 

LostCircuits

Member
Messages
134
Sounds like at least one of the octave pads is swelling or else, the lever is too tight and once the neck warms up, the thermal expansion causes the arm to lift just enough to cause the lower stack problem. Make sure the octave lever has a bit of play. The easy diagnosis is to strap a rubber band around the lever to add tension and hold it close and see if the problem persists. If yes, you may need to bend the key very slightly or adjust the spring
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
6,619
  • Check that the left hand palm keys are sealing.
  • Check that there is a small amount of distance between the octave key lever on the body and the octave key neck ring on the neck. Otherwise the neck pad won't seal properly.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,199
Does the BW soprano have the "doughnut" pad above 1st LH finger?
That can be a good candidate for issues
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,268
The times I have found a similar problem with low notes speaking intermittently the causes have been:
  • A side key with a deep seat and a side to side "waggle" that closes at different spots.
  • A palm key that does the same as above.
  • A mouthpiece that is loose on the cork that leaks when the player changes playing angle.
  • Embouchure muscles becoming tired causing "biting" and playing too high on the mouthpiece input pitch.
  • On soprano, the right arm becoming tired holding the instrument up and changing the angle of the mouthpiece.
You might try warming up for about 5 minutes by playing low Bb as a long tone and then using the same embouchure, air, and voicing as you play throughout the range of the instrument coming back to check low Bb from time to time.
 

paleajed

New Member
Messages
3
Thank you all for your replies. I checked the octave mechanism. Its ok.
Doesn't seem to be a sluggish key either.
When I turned my attention to the doughnut pad (aperture key) I noticed the bottom pad seemed dirty and possibly in bad shape. I continued to do some cleaning and as a result some of the leather of the pad came off. It is clear the pad was badly worn and I suppose that makes it susceptible to swelling? Anyhow, its at the techs now for getting a new pad put on. Let you know the result when I get it back next week. Thanks again, you're a wonderful community!
 

turf3

Member
Messages
58
Make sure that, as your arms fatigue, you're still holding the horn up near horizontal. A lot of low register response issues on soprano are related to holding it like a clarinet.
 
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