SYOS

Beginner Lower notes

Dominic

New Member
Messages
21
Location
FLORIDA
HELLO, I AM HAVING DIFFICULTY WITH THE LOW REGISTER. WHENEVER I FINGER A LOW C OR C SHARP I HAVE TO BLOW HARDER TO GET THE SOUND,AND THE NOTE DOESNT SOUND CORRECT. I PLAY SUBTONES ,AND ALL OTHER NOTES SOUND OK. I HAVE CHECKED FOR LEAKS AND THERE ARE NONE. ANY HELP WOULD BE DEEPLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU::sax:
 

Mikec

Member
Messages
201
Location
Buckinghamshire, UK
Hello Dominic, welcome to the forum. Having trouble with the low notes is very common, even with experienced players. The three ps will cure it (practice, practice, practice!). I find that your breath control is crucial to getting smooth correctly pitched and good-sounding notes below low D. (And one day I will achieve that consistently...)
A friendly word, by the way; it is considered impolite on almost every forum to post in capital letters; it's like shouting at people. No-one on this forum will shout back, but normal use of capitals is preferred.
 

Nick Cook

Member
Messages
862
Location
Wokingham, Berks, UK
My teacher told me a good way to do this. Go down 4 notes at time, slurring rather than tonguing. So, F E D C. Do this a few times then drop down a note, E D C B.

I now do it with my Bb Major scale. F Eb D C Bb and then back up again.

I find it helps, although I still struggle a bit if I try and start on those low notes.
 

AndyB

Member
Messages
210
Location
Durham, NC, USA
HELLO, I AM HAVING DIFFICULTY WITH THE LOW REGISTER. WHENEVER I FINGER A LOW C OR C SHARP I HAVE TO BLOW HARDER TO GET THE SOUND,AND THE NOTE DOESNT SOUND CORRECT. I PLAY SUBTONES ,AND ALL OTHER NOTES SOUND OK. I HAVE CHECKED FOR LEAKS AND THERE ARE NONE. ANY HELP WOULD BE DEEPLY APPRECIATED. THANK YOU::sax:
Hi Dominic, when I first started playing sax again a little over a year ago I asked the same question and got lots of answers like your chops are no good. Funny thing is when I found the right mouthpiece/reed combination my chops on alto instantaneously got better and never reverted. My alto plays solid from top to bottom now. But now that I bought a tenor, I'm going through the same search. I think I finally may have found it but it was a totally different mouthpiece/reed setup for tenor for me than the alto. But then the tenor is about 55 years older than the alto. My tenor wouldn't blow B/Bb until I switched mouthpieces. Then my tenor wouldn't blow a low D half the time until I switched brands of reeds. The Vandoren Paris reeds I was trying previously seemed to stop vibrating on that one note. Rico Royales work fine though. I don't know what it is other than some complex combination of physics. But the improvement was instantaneous for me when I got my setup under control. Don't give up hope and don't beat yourself up.
 
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Dominic

New Member
Messages
21
Location
FLORIDA
Hello ANDY, thanks for the info. two months ago i started using rico royals, number 2.5 it helped a little. maybe a number 2 would help. i also play tenor( keilworth sx 90) what number reed are you using? thanks again
 

AndyB

Member
Messages
210
Location
Durham, NC, USA
Hello ANDY, thanks for the info. two months ago i started using rico royals, number 2.5 it helped a little. maybe a number 2 would help. i also play tenor( keilworth sx 90) what number reed are you using? thanks again
On my tenor (a 1950s Conn) I've had good results with both 2 and 2.5 rico royals and 2.5 hemkes. Otto Link New York 7* mouthpiece. Vandoren reeds didn't work well.

On my alto (Yamahas 62II) I have the best results with vandoren java 2.5 and 3. Meyer 6M mouthpiece. Rico alto reeds didn't work at all.

So, radically different setups on my two horns.

What kind of mouthpiece are you using?

P.S. Now I wonder if you are having trouble breaking in reeds like I was. That certainly effects the low end response. You might want to read the great advice that folks gave me on that thread. I'm soaking my Ricos in water for about 20 minutes before playing for the first 3 days now, keeping them in a reed case, and then just wetting them in my mouth after the first 3 days. This is working very well for me with Ricos on tenor. But Vandorens definitely don't like to be soaked.
 
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Dominic

New Member
Messages
21
Location
FLORIDA
Andy, I have a Selmer c star 80 , a otto link 5 star and otto link. ny tenor 8.somedays everything works, and then there are some when i dont want to play at all. the lower register is my biggest problem next to sight reading. i will try your method on soaking the reeds, thank you Dominic
 

AndyB

Member
Messages
210
Location
Durham, NC, USA
Andy, I have a Selmer c star 80 , a otto link 5 star and otto link. ny tenor 8.somedays everything works, and then there are some when i dont want to play at all. the lower register is my biggest problem next to sight reading. i will try your method on soaking the reeds, thank you Dominic
Sounds exactly like the problem I was having with reeds. Good luck.
 

AlanB

Member
Messages
170
Location
Vientiane, Laos
Dominic,
There are a couple of things, check-list if you like, that really helped me get a handle on low notes and be more consistent.

As mentioned previously dropping half a reed strength may be a good idea (at least until you get more consistency)

Embouchure is important down low, the muscles at the corners of the mouth need to be firm. If you form an exaggerated TWOOOO and then EEEEE this helps you feel the right muscles. Also do a broad closed mouth smile, then try and force the corners of you mouth firmly down. Now your smirking. Around the mouthpiece this gives a nice sideways pressure on the mouthpiece and reduces top and bottom pressure. But try not top drop the lower jaw.

Understand the concept of 'warm air'. This is the breathing from the bottom of the lungs supported by the diaphragm. It is the breath you use when you mist up a mirror or window pane, not the breath you use when you blow out a candle.

Finally your throat must be very open for low notes. Any tension in your larynx will stop the note from coming. Again think about misting up a window on a frosty morning or say an aspirated 'HOT'.

If you think about these points when practising 'long tones' you should find that your low notes improve very rapidly, both being able to hit them cleanly on demand and their tonal quality. Check out this page for a really good 'long tone' method
http://www-cs.canisius.edu/~bucheger/SaxPages1.html

and Petes pages on Tone Production.
Cheers,
Al
 
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Dominic

New Member
Messages
21
Location
FLORIDA
Alan, thanks for the info, and the web site. I NEED to do the long tones , they seem to be part of my problem. I guess there are no short cuts. I just need patience and determination and mostly concentration. Again, thanks for your time. Dominic
 
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