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Beginner Newb problems

DamoRed

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Ireland
Which key.png

HELPPPP! o_O I was just playing around and pressing some keys, I don't know which ones, on my alto, and now I can't get it back... It must have happened to others here, mustn't it?

Another problem I'm having is finding the sweet spot of placing the mouthpiece, after I remove it from my mouth and start again. Sometimes I get it and with a good long breath, hit nice clean tones, and the next time, there'll be strangled squeaks and burps, which is only to be expected for an absolute beginner. When I was able to put a run of 6-7 random notes together, on either the left or right keys alone, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the notes I was able to reach. In order to get it down, it's going to be just a matter of trial & error and then muscle memory.

Some of the aforementioned squeals, possibly unintentional altissimo, hold the promise of higher notes when I get things under control.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,475
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
The cause of most tone production problems is lack of consistency. These are some things that worked in my teaching saxophone students over the years.
  1. Place the top teeth at the same spot on the top of the mouthpiece each time
  2. Insert the mouthpiece into the mouth at the same angle each time you play
  3. Set the neckstrap to the same length each time (affects #2)
  4. Use the same posture each time you play
To work on the first goal, follow the instructions at this link. Teaching the saxophone embouchure. When you find the place to put your top teeth on the mouthpiece, put a thick mouthpiece patch over that spot and make a deep indentation with your thumb nail. Each time you insert the mouthpiece into your mouth find that "groove" with your top teeth.

To work on the second, third and fourth goals, sit or stand erect with good posture with the head level as if balancing a cup of water. Then supporting the weight of the saxophone with just the neckstrap and two thumbs, adjust the length of the strap so the mouthpiece touches the curve of the chin just below the lower lip. Then tilt the head down slightly to allow the mouthpiece to enter the mouth. Set the neckstrap to this length every time you play. Marking a spot on the strap to help you find the spot where the adjusting buckle goes will save some time.
 
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DamoRed

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Ireland
JayeNM: I don't have a different mouthpiece, as I've only had the sax for a few days, and as stitch points out, a 4C is a perfectly good mouthpiece for use on a beginner Yamaha model. I am aware it's just going to take a little time to get stuff like that sorted before getting on with the business of fingering keys and hitting the right notes.

Thank you jbtsax, for the very practical tip about the indentation on the mouthpiece patch. I've seen those little patches on some videos I've watched, but no reference was made to them. Protection from biting the mouthpiece is the more obvious purpose, but that use makes great sense. Though I'll have to improvise for the moment, with no music shops open during lockdown.

I did a lot of adjustments on the neckstrap yesterday to get as comfortable as possible, as it was clearly in the wrong position, and so that has ironed out at least one minor problem.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Messages
1,775
Location
Oneonta, NY
A few days is a grain of sand on a beach. Don't freak out, keep practicing. Follow @jbtsax 's advice. I have learned a TON from him. Patience is important. It takes time to learn to play a saxophone well. Eventually, you will be sharing your experience with beginners. Good luck.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,212
Location
New Mexico, US
Exactly.

Not too helpful for an absolute beginner, especially one with a good set up (Yamaha 280 + 4C).

JayeNM: I don't have a different mouthpiece, as I've only had the sax for a few days, and as stitch points out, a 4C is a perfectly good mouthpiece for use on a beginner Yamaha model.
ummmmm......Dudes.... :rolleyes:...my reply was in reference to the photo attached to the OP...
 

Jimmymack

Member
Messages
505
Location
London
If we’re talking about the sax in the picture then you obviously need a new, very expensive ligature, the costlier the better, there’s a nice Silverstein one with diamonds that should do the trick. If we’re talking about a Yamaha alto then do what jbtsax says. And in either case dismiss what I say at the beginning as the mumbling of an idiot.
 

DamoRed

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Ireland
Today, I brought the neck and mouthpiece with me, to work, and when a few moments arose, found a spot where I could blow without anyone hearing or being disturbed. I managed to narrow down the range at which I got a consistent note.

I'm currently looking for a stockist where I can order online, click & collect. As well as the pads, some other items such as a pull through cloth are needed, some more different reeds and a reed case.
 

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