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New reed, new sound

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
A very strange and wonderful thing happened yesterday which I would like to report for the benefit of any others who are close to despair at the dreadful squeaking and reed misbehaviour they may, like me, be enduring. I do not understand the physics of this but as with much to do with music I have decided not to worry too much about what I dont understand.

I first tried my tenor about five weeks ago and have found it very difficult. Having made good progress on alto I was disappointed to go through all the squeaking and reed closing stuff all over again. I have persevered with long notes every single day, scales and stuff that jumps octaves and really moves around. I have tried 2, 21/2 and 3 reeds, the middle one being the most useful, the threes unplayable. Last night I had a paddy and cursed and went a bit loony because I was not getting high notes, I was like a didgerydoo on low notes, and overall there was a lot of duck call coming through.

So in a real rage I shoved a plasticised number 3 in the lig and hey presto! From not being able to use it at all I was getting high notes and low notes and best of all the whole tone of
the thing absolutely shifted from at best brash to mellow and smooth. Why? I do not have any idea but I know that all that graft with the long notes and the boring stuff is the reason I can now use a 3 reed and that is the reason I now have a nice sounding sax, peace of mind, and a good deal more satisfaction.

Any other musical disasters out there, take heart and swap things around now and then. You may too get a nice surprise.
All the best,
Mike
´
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,024
I've read that a Plasticover 3 is equal to a Rico Royal 2.5. If that helps. The advice was to always go up half a strength when buying Rico Plasticovers. Good that they work for you.

Jim.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
nice one jeremy
I think I too will go buy a couple different reeds and experiment, as I also,
are having a similar problem.
thanks for the tip.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
Thanks - useful info.

I'm very new to all things sax. I'm not having too many issues around squeeking at the moment :). My main issue seem to be that apart from the lowest notes (bottom C and D) which are reasonably at pitch, almost everything else is flat - not only do my ears tell me this, but the old tuning meter does as well. Given that I can move the pitch up quite a bit by adjusting the lip pressure, I'm assuming it's an embouchure issue (I'm guessing it's developing :headscratch: ).
I have a lesson on Friday so I'll raise it then (the issue - maybe the pitch too :))))
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Thanks - useful info.

I'm very new to all things sax. I'm not having too many issues around squeeking at the moment :). My main issue seem to be that apart from the lowest notes (bottom C and D) which are reasonably at pitch, almost everything else is flat - not only do my ears tell me this, but the old tuning meter does as well. Given that I can move the pitch up quite a bit by adjusting the lip pressure, I'm assuming it's an embouchure issue (I'm guessing it's developing :headscratch: ).
I have a lesson on Friday so I'll raise it then (the issue - maybe the pitch too :))))
Sounds to me like the wrong way to go. You may want to try pushing the mouthpiece further on to bring up the pitch of most of the notes and relaxing extra hard (if you see what I mean) on the low notes. But if that involves sanding down the neck cork it might be a good idea to discuss it with your tutor first.
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
BigMartin is right. Consider your embouchure to be innocent until proved otherwise - screw your mouthpiece on more - and don't expect to find that all your notes will come into tune, it's just not possible.

Better to be right on average, and wrong in particular, than the other way around. You will learn to compensate for notes that deviate from the mean - with time.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Thanks - useful info.

I'm very new to all things sax. I'm not having too many issues around squeeking at the moment :). My main issue seem to be that apart from the lowest notes (bottom C and D) which are reasonably at pitch, almost everything else is flat - not only do my ears tell me this, but the old tuning meter does as well. Given that I can move the pitch up quite a bit by adjusting the lip pressure, I'm assuming it's an embouchure issue (I'm guessing it's developing :headscratch: ).
I have a lesson on Friday so I'll raise it then (the issue - maybe the pitch too :))))
As you are an experienced string player, you will be more acutely aware of pitch issues. I suppose that in your case A is 440, or perhaps less if you play older music. For many saxophone learners A is simply the two first fingers on the left, and the sound that comes out of the saxophone when you use them.
 
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Jack

Member
Messages
123

Rico Jazz Select 2 medium have always been my favorite.

Unprecedented Tone, Flexibility and Response

The Rico Select Jazz cut features a strong, well-defined heart and longer vamp, yielding unprecedented projection and a clear, fat tone, with unsurpassed flexibility and lightning-fast response.

Features:
Huge sound with powerful projection
Premium cane for longevity
Outstanding control and projection
Offered in both Filed and Unfiled models
 
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allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
Tenorviol.
Heres what i understand.
Lengthening or shortening your horn (sax) changes the pitch.
This is why an alto for example plays higher than a tenor.
So pushing your mouthpeice on or pulling out changes length and thus pitch.
Also, changing umbouchure pressure changes pitch (called bending the note)
Watch the pros on utube do this.
To hit the right note/pitch every time requires practice with the umbouchure.
Asuming that the setup is correct.
So practice ,practice ,practice.
Any pro`s out there please correct me if I`m wrong.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Filed/unfiled - look at the difference between a Rico Royal and a Rico red/orange box.

http://store.daddario.com/category/146171?language_id=1&currency_id=1 (go to the reed type and click on the pic).

French cut/filed have a band of cane filed off where the shank meets the blade. This makes them slightly brighter sounding.

Filed is also known as french cut or french filed.
 
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Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
Thanks - useful info.

I'm very new to all things sax. I'm not having too many issues around squeeking at the moment :). My main issue seem to be that apart from the lowest notes (bottom C and D) which are reasonably at pitch, almost everything else is flat - not only do my ears tell me this, but the old tuning meter does as well. Given that I can move the pitch up quite a bit by adjusting the lip pressure, I'm assuming it's an embouchure issue (I'm guessing it's developing).
I have a lesson on Friday so I'll raise it then (the issue - maybe the pitch too :))))
If the low notes are sharp with respect to the rest then I would say it has to be an embouchure issue. Assuming your sax isn't a pile of crap, that is. Low notes aren't very amenable to embouchure pitch adjustments so it's usually better to tune the sax so you can play them in tune with your normal embouchure. As your embouchure develops the rest should come into tune. Pushing the mouthpiece on further is only a short term fix. Talk to teacher.

Oh, I just thought I'd add a bit of gratuitous opinionated comment to the OP.

Plasticovers suck. HTH.
 
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Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
As you are an experienced string player, you will be more acutely aware of pitch issues. I suppose that in your case A is 440, or perhaps less if you play older music. For many saxophone learners A is simply the two first fingers on the left, and the sound that comes out of the saxophone when you use them.
Actually, when playng with other viols, I'm usually at A=415, I only tune up to A=440 usually if playing with recorders or odern instruments. But I think you're right I am used to tuning to others and aware of pitch. ;}

I also sing a lot of music with orchestral/piano/organ accompaniment, as well as 'a cappella' with my two main choirs. I don't have perfect pitch, but I do have a reasonable sense of where notes sit. Over the last few days: Sat/Sun I was at a workshop singing Handel's Israel in Egypt for about 10 hours; Sunday night, bass section run through of the Brahms Requiem for 2 hours; Monday full choir rehearsal on Brahms for 2 hours; tonight 2 hour rehearsal with other choir on Haydn; Brahms concert on Saturday....

A friend and his wife have invited me over for music and dinner tomorrow since they've dicovered I've taken up the sax - she took it up a couple of years ago and he's a good pianist. Friday is sax lesson...
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
If the low notes are sharp with respect to the rest then I would say it has to be an embouchure issue. Assuming your sax isn't a pile of crap, that is. Low notes aren't very amenable to embouchure pitch adjustments so it's usually better to tune the sax so you can play them in tune with your normal embouchure. As your embouchure develops the rest should come into tune. Pushing the mouthpiece on further is only a short term fix. Talk to teacher.

Oh, I just thought I'd add a bit of gratuitous opinionated comment to the OP.

Plasticovers suck. HTH.
Thanks Nick - it was more-or-less what I was thinking. My tutor is also a sax tech and he says the instrument's set-up OK. The mouthpiece is pushed on a fair way. The low notes are in tune - C is spot on and D is close. Above that they are somewhat south, some more than others.

Definite chat to teacher...

Apologies for hi-jacking thread....
 
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Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
Bit of an update...

Went round to friends last night - his wife has been playing alto for about 5 years. They had me playing some of their stuff with piano accompaniment. Wasn't brill, obviously, but it was useful to play with piano and a)I was getting some stuff in tune and b)even managed to play the odd note at the right time, in the right place...!

Perseverence seems to be the key....
 

Dave1966

New Member
Messages
6
As we all strive to find that perfect "sound", I find that the mouthpiece has had the greatest effect. Although I do hear the differece in reed strength. I prefer a hard rubber mouthpiece and have been quite surprised on some cheaper models (mainly because I have not had the opportunity to try some more expensive ones?) The point is you have to try several to find the one that suits you best. Just tried the PPT-7 and find it even brighter. Need some practice with it though..Having trouble on the high notes.

Cheers
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
As we all strive to find that perfect "sound", I find that the mouthpiece has had the greatest effect. Although I do hear the differece in reed strength. I prefer a hard rubber mouthpiece and have been quite surprised on some cheaper models (mainly because I have not had the opportunity to try some more expensive ones?) The point is you have to try several to find the one that suits you best. Just tried the PPT-7 and find it even brighter. Need some practice with it though..Having trouble on the high notes.

Cheers
I find Filed RJS 2M/2H work well on the 8*, if that helps.
 
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