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Low Notes!!

Ballymenaboy

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I have been having some difficulty with my Hanson MkV111 tenor getting the notes below bottom D and after some tweaks on the keys got a passable result -I had recently changed from the Hanson standard mouthpiece that came with the tenor which was pretty poor [as you would expect] I bought an Otto Link Tonemaster 6 mouthpiece and dropped reed strength down to a Rico Royale 2 and was still a bit unhappy with the notes as they were a bit woolly however after about two weeks it just seemed to come right for me and now I can get the full tone of the bottom notes... obviously the problem was in part setting up the tenor around the gsharp and f keys but mostly due to continually working at my embrouchure to get where I wanted to be. I read a book recently where the author, a noted repairer of saxophones said that sometimes when you have done all you can do with the instrument,you sometimes find a way of compensating and I think this has been the case.
 

RobBari

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I'm told that even a tiny bit of leakage can be a contributing factor. Have you ruled that out?
 

jbtsax

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As both a teacher and repairman I see evidence all the time of players "compensating" for a saxophone with leaks. The most common one in repair is bent keys caused by the player using too much finger pressure to try to get the notes to "speak". This usually makes the sax leak even more.

One of the most common ways of compensating for leaks I have observed as a teacher is "puffing the cheeks" to make the low notes come out. This is not necessarily a bad thing when done deliberately to play with a subtone. When done by a 6th grade beginner it is something different entirely.
 

Colin the Bear

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A sliver of cork and a five degree turn of a screw can make all the reeds in the box play great. ;)
 

MikeMorrell

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I'm not sure whether this is relevant (perhaps for others looking up the thread later on). Assuming that the sax is OK (no leaks etc) there may be some things to check - and improve on - in playing technique:
  • sufficient, continuous breath support
  • free airflow
  • voicing notes

The idea of "voicing" notes (especially the high and low ones) helped me a lot in playing high and low notes from somewhere in the middle. And playing the middle notes too ;).

I'm still learning/practicing to voice notes 'automatically'. In other words, I still have to consciously remember to do it. I still forget when rehearsing. Low B's and B-flats and high E-s - F's don't crop up very often in my Big Band tenor repertoire! It's easy to become lazy.

I've watched YouTube video's on 'best tongue positions' for playing Low and High notes but "voicing" covers it all IMHO. My (limited) experience has been that just by imagining how you you would sing the note, your throat, jaw position, tongue position, and oral cavity instantly adjust themselves to the ideal configuration for playing the same note on sax.

For anyone who's not tried this, sing the lowest notes you can, then ''lower and higher middle notes" and then highest notes you can sing. Just by being aware of how your throat, jaw, tongue and oral cavity instantly adjust, shows how powerful "voicing" can be. Trying to play a really low or really high sax note without "voicing it" it has IMHO been very hit and miss.

Since I've consciously applied "voicing" to my high/low notes I've been able to play them more reliably and with better tone and control. (no more honking low B-flats!)

Mike
 
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Ballymenaboy

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Messages
85
I'm not sure whether this is relevant (perhaps for others looking up the thread later on). Assuming that the sax is OK (no leaks etc) there may be some things to check - and improve on - in playing technique:
  • sufficient, continuous breath support
  • free airflow
  • voicing notes

The idea of "voicing" notes (especially the high and low ones) helped me a lot in playing high and low notes from somewhere in the middle. And playing the middle notes too ;).

I'm still learning/practicing to voice notes 'automatically'. In other words, I still have to consciously remember to do it. I still forget when rehearsing. Low B's and B-flats and high E-s - F's don't crop up very often in my Big Band tenor repertoire! It's easy to become lazy.

I've watched YouTube video's on 'best tongue positions' for playing Low and High notes but "voicing" covers it all IMHO. My (limited) experience has been that just by imagining how you you would sing the note, your throat, jaw position, tongue position, and oral cavity instantly adjust themselves to the ideal configuration for playing the same note on sax.

For anyone who's not tried this, sing the lowest notes you can, then ''lower and higher middle notes" and then highest notes you can sing. Just by being aware of how your throat, jaw, tongue and oral cavity instantly adjust, shows how powerful "voicing" can be. Trying to play a really low or really high sax note without "voicing it" it has IMHO been very hit and miss.

Since I've consciously applied "voicing" to my high/low notes I've been able to play them more reliably and with better tone and control. (no more honking low B-flats!)

Mike
Thanks for that Mike as i read the responses to my original thread it brings home to me what a great website this is for advice.
 
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