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Beginner need help about middle G

billeroy

New Member
Messages
12
I'm 46 & just started playing the tenor sax. Been trying to practice 1 hr a day but around the 45 min mark when I play middle G it gets real pitchy. Tried a different sax same thing. Is this because my embouchure is not strong enough yet, I'm I trying to practice to much, or is it something else? I use a no.2 java reed. I switch to a different reeds when this happens but still a no go & have to stop playing. Please help.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Hi,

middle G is possibly the most troublesome note on the tenor. From what you describe, it just sounds like tiredness, could be the reed getting too soft as well. Try putting another reed on when you start getting problems, but my first guess would be that it's you, it's normal and you just need to give it time.

Why not stop by in the doorbell and introduce yourself, but be warned, we're a nosey bunch....
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,047
Can you describe what you mean when you say middle G gets "pitchy". What does it sound like?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
My experience when I switched from Alto to Tenor was that the middle G was problematic, and after a few weeks wasn't. I have to say it has never been a problem since. My interpretation is that it takes a while to develop a Tenor Sax embouchure, just as you have to develop a Soprano Sax embouchure, which requires the strengthening of certain facial muscles etc. to form a good seal as well as sufficient breath control in order to overcome this quirk. Similarly low D could be a little awyward to start with. The Tenor Sax does take a different degree of breath control and a nore open embouchure,which does take longer than the Alto Sax equivalent.

Kind regards
Tom
 

billeroy

New Member
Messages
12
I guess like a loud high sharp squeal. If I flow from note to note middle(d,e,f,g,a,b) it sounds ok but if I tongue middle G it goes.
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
Sounds like you need to work on your air support/embouchure. You're approaching G without enough the correct air/pressure.

Try practising playing notes A, G#, G, F# back and forth again and again very slowly and then increase the speed once you're happy. Do it tongued, then legato.

My teacher told me to do this everyday for a week or so and it really helped with my (middle) G and G# on alto.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
Yes middle G can be a bit tricky
this is probably normal for a beginner.
It does take time to develope the embouchure
Also If youre practicing for long periods of time youre mouth will get tired and
you will probably become flat or pitchy, or maybe sqwark.
also sometimes if youre trying too hard you may tense up and cause problems
so take on board all the advice but at the end of the day keep practicing and you will get there.
Good luck
Allansto

PS. follow tomapfumos advice he seems to know what hes on about
He`s given me alot of good advice even if he has a Strange ID. ha ha.:welldone
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
another thought - get the sax exactly in tune on this note using a digital tuner. Seems to help a lot...
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,047
I guess like a loud high sharp squeal. If I flow from note to note middle(d,e,f,g,a,b) it sounds ok but if I tongue middle G it goes.

From this description it sounds as if when fingering low G you are getting the high D overtone or harmonic. Some tenors tend to do this more easily than others. Below are some suggestions you might try:

- shape the mouth as though you are singing "AH" on the lowest note you can sing
- blow warm air directed down as if aiming at the LH thumb
- practice slurring down B - A - G and then holding G as a long tone
- when you can do this practice starting on G with just the breath, no tongue
- then practice starting G by tonguing the note

Suggestions for tonguing
When you tongue make sure you are using the portion of the tongue just behind the tip to touch the tip of the reed moving the smallest distance possible. Practice tonguing on just the neck and mouthpiece alone using the tu - tu - tu - tu - tu syllable while feeling under your chin with the other hand. There should be no movement of the throat or jaw. If there is, it often means that too much of the tongue is moving too far in the mouth.

Some beginning students learn to tongue by stopping the air with the back of the tongue like saying guh - guh - guh - guh - guh. This elevates the back of the tongue which can produce unwanted overtones similar to what you are experiencing on low G.

There also may be something out of adjustment with the octave mechanism on your sax that is causing this effect.

To test the octave key adjustment:


- finger G and forcefully hit the thumb octave key several times watching the neck octave pad. It should not move if in good adjustment.

- Then finger from G to A while pressing the thumb octave. The neck and body octave keys should alternate opening and closing completely.

-Check to see that there is at least a 1/16" gap between the neck octave key ring and the post extending from the body.

- If there isn't a 1/16" gap, place your thumb between the ring and the body of the neck and then gently push down on the neck octave key.

- Should you go too far, place a pad slick or tongue depressor under the pad and carefully push back on the ring until the desired gap is achieved.
 

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