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low notes revisited

jeremyjuicewah

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Hi all. Remember that useless so and so that couldnt get the low notes? After a week of trying I can now put a two and a half reed on my Otto Link 7 and subtone down to low C. I can get Bb but only by running down to it. I have no doubt I will be playing it soon. Not only can I get these notes, the quality of the sound on the notes without the octave key is just what I always imagined it should be. I have changed from a tug boat honker to a bit of a musician. I followed all the advice, but the real key was to change to a smaller tip mpc with a weaker reed. I was reluctant to do it but once I had the sounds ok I went back to my old mpc albeit with a half grade weaker reed and was able to make it work.

Just so anyone else out there getting violent with their tenor cos of this low note thing can get some hope.

I am over the moon.
Mike
 

gladsaxisme

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After 5 yrs at it and never having a problem with the low notes on the old Elkhart 2 I've started having problems getting low B and Bb on the 62 what's this all about ghhhhrrrrr.....john
 

gladsaxisme

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That's very succinct Andrew the thought had crossed my mind but I was hoping it was just me and an embouchure thing....john
 

spike

Old Indian
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2,256
It might help it might not - for low notes it's an awful long way from the muscles below yer rib cage up to the throat, out through the mouth and mouthpiece all the way down the tube before the air column knows what note it is you want. You've got to support that air column. Do breathing exercises before practice sessions. You don't have to blow harder or faster to get the low notes but you have to push that column of air through the horn and beyond. Just try to visualize that column of air going through the horn. It might help it might not, that's the way I do it. gruss - spike
 

gladsaxisme

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Hi spike

I get the feeling your a bit of a master at this horn blowing on the quiet good advise will give it a try, but I must get the Selmer out and see if the problems there on that horn too then it's definately down to me,keep on posting and blowing ....john
 

gladsaxisme

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do you have the same problem on the Selmer?
Juist given the Selmer a blow your right no problem at all OH DEAR there must be a problem with the 62 sometimes when you take it off the stand (A HERCULES) the long bottom guard catches on the lower cradle maybe it's twisted something down there,DAMN....john
 

gladsaxisme

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What's gone wrong with this posting first it tells you to wait longer and try again then it wacks up two
 

jeremyjuicewah

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1,890
Anyone still reading this, I am profoundly sorry for you, but I thought I would give some feedback. I have been helped no end by the reminders of breathing technique and all other points. I am way forward of where I was but there is never any instant fix to sax things. I now begin my practice with a smaller tip mpc than my Link, and a 2 reed. I do excercises and warm up. I then start scales and work from lowest to highest and try to make my notes sound good all the way. This takes five minutes or more, and I still cant get B with certainty and Bb is a bit of a joke. Because of my weak reed, my notes in the higher octave are poor, and when properly warmed up the reed closes quite easily. Then I change to my 7 tip Otto Link and a 2 and half reed and work the scales again. After 10 minutes or so I can sound really good down to C and can include B in my scales. Though its not so sweet I can get the note without blaring 9 times out of 10. I reckon that is really swift progress and I very very pleased. To blow soft on the low B and C to be able to use the low octave pretty well throughout has made my improv much more interesting and to me its a great leap in my battle with the tenor sax.
Cheers all
Mike
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
I can't see the point of starting on one setup and moving to another. Unless it's for a different sound.

It takes me around ten minutes playing to warm up the whole thing, reed, sax , mouth. I start in the middle and leave the highs and lows till everything has woken up and played in. First few lows are a bit honky and the first few highs are a bit strained but it all soon settles down.

Dropping to the bottom or running to the top as part of a tune seems to have more relevance and you know where you're going and what you're expecting so you hit it without thinking too much about it.

Don't forget to check your tuning, mouthpiece position, reed position and ligature tension after you've warmed up. No good trying to pull down further than the reed can go. Get it comfortable throughout the range.

It does seem to me a bit of a waste to warm up a reed and mouthpiece only to discard it and warm up another. It shouldn't be a battle try to think of it as a search for oneness and the time the sax will eventually become an extension of your "voice".
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
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1,890
Hi Colin the Bear, I think it probably is a waste of time, but its routine that has helped me and I hate to abandon something that helps even psychologically. I will progress. Yesterday I had to changed back to 2 reed, just couldnt make the 2 and half work.

I do visualise the air column moving through me and the sax and I am so sure when I do that that the outcome will be good. I can hear the note, taste it and when it comes blaring out or I am an octave up, it sends me raving mad.

Kev, I have not sent the horn away but have been inspecting it bit by bit and trying to figure it out. I have a problem with the pinky cluster, alignment and level, and am trying to sort it and may have had a slight leak on the low B. Thing is, when I adjusted (by that I mean bent I guess) the pad just ever so slightly it seemed to make it easier for me get Bb, no change on the B. Doesnt make sense so could be imagining it.

All in all, I just have to keep at it, this mpc or that mpc, anything to be able to play those beautiful low notes. I am getting there.
MIke
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
Low B/Bb are linked and getting Bb wrong will stop you getting it - it can stop B from closing properly or Bb from closing properly when you play a Bb, both of which mess up your Bb. Set up the B on it's own. Must close with light pressure all the way round at the same time. Then if you can easily, unlink the Bb from the B and make sure that does the same. Then relink and make sure they both close at exactly the same time on the Bb key touch. Make sure the keys further up are doing the same, especially those held closed by springs. The key that opens when you press C# is a good candidate for irritating leaks, so is G#....
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
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1,890
What is a good way to check its closed? Can I ink it or something and then slip paper in to see if I get a full circle?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
Two main ways - easiest isa decent leak light - e.g. a powerful torch bulb on a couple of wires. Depending on how good your light is, you may need to dim the room.

Harder, but probably more accurate is to use a strip of cigarette paper about 3-4mm wide and use it as a feeler guage to measure the gap all round. Takes a bit of practice. Use a finger to gently get the pad closed, stop at the first touch on the sax. Then try again with the strip in different places around the edge of the pad. The grip of paper and pad should be identical all the way around. It won't be, but don't allow the gap to differ anywhere by more than 1 thickness of the paper, preferably less. For the B/Bb combination you'll soon see if one closes before the other. Try it on the other pads as well. You'll be surprised.

What amazes me, every time I do this on a sax that someone says plays well and I have problems with, is how far out pads can be and the sax still 'works'. Especially if the other player tends to play loud. It's the low and quiet notes that really show up the deficiencies. I bought an alto off ebay, described as good for a beginner. It was close to unplayable. It had two mouthpieces with it, a Selmer S80, and a non-name. Witht eh Selmer it was just about playable, but difficult. With the no namer, nearly impossible. Once I'd sorted the leaks out, it played OK with the no-namer. I think it'd been played by a young girl, who'd given up - just for the need of a decent set-up. Annoys me a lot, and I've seen a few like that.
 
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