All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
Tutorials

Saxophones Noisy middle A

Tommy Ng

Member
Messages
580
Hi all

The middle A on my alto is noisy. I believe it has something to do with the higher octave hole. I heard someone once said that the octave hole has to be "clean" or otherwise it can cause this kind of problem.

Can anyone suggests something which i can do to fix the problem?

cheers

tom.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
From memory, Stephen Howard recommends cleaning it with a pipe cleaner, but be careful to only remove the muck, don't enlarge the hole or change it's shape/tape. You'll probably have to remove the octave key fom the neck to do it, but that's pretty straight forward.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
I like to clean the neck with hot vinegar. Simply remove the octave mechanism, block the octave hole with come thing (I use blue tack) block up one end of the crook (still using blue tack) and then warm some vinegar in the microwave and heat it until it's just hot enough to put your finger in without burning it. Now rest the crook so that you can fill it up with the hot vinegar and then leave it to soak for about 20 minutes. Then rinse it out and use a small brush or a small pull through. Just recheck the octave hole is clear, dry the crook and then replace the octave key that you removed earlier and give it a blow.
Hopefully that should be it.
You can find that whole procedure HERE on Stephen Howards website.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
Those As can be pretty noisy anyway. The upper octave hole is nowhere near the right place for that note. Consequently there is a lot of air movement through the hole, giving that breathy noise.
 

AndyG

Member
Messages
324
I like to clean the neck with hot vinegar. Simply remove the octave mechanism, block the octave hole with come thing (I use blue tack) block up one end of the crook (still using blue tack) and then warm some vinegar in the microwave and heat it until it's just hot enough to put your finger in without burning it. Now rest the crook so that you can fill it up with the hot vinegar and then leave it to soak for about 20 minutes. Then rinse it out and use a small brush or a small pull through. Just recheck the octave hole is clear, dry the crook and then replace the octave key that you removed earlier and give it a blow.
Hopefully that should be it.
You can find that whole procedure HERE on Stephen Howards website.
Iv'e used this method too, really does make a difference and IMO well worth doing.
 

Tommy Ng

Member
Messages
580
Those As can be pretty noisy anyway. The upper octave hole is nowhere near the right place for that note. Consequently there is a lot of air movement through the hole, giving that breathy noise.
It is only the middle A, especially when it is wet. Middle Bb is perfectly fine.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Make sure the octave key is opening enough, and the pip is clean. If that doesn't work (some horns just have this problem), try introducing some turbulence at the end of the pip. Put something like a bit of nylon stocking or drywall tape over the end of it. Brecker used to just shove a sliver of a reed in there.
 

Tommy Ng

Member
Messages
580
Thank you for all the advice. I have cleaned it with a pipe cleaner and the problem solved.

:)
 

Saxmole

Member
Messages
83
I had a problem with A2 in that it sounded very airy and differed tonally from F2, G2 and the octave notes below. I realised that at A2 the body octave key closes and the neck key opens and, initially, I believed I had some sort of leak or a problem with the neck octave key. I took my sax to Woodwind Exchange and had it checked by the inestimable Mr MacDonald. He explained that a lot of air passes through the open octave key on the crook as it opens for A2 and above, and that being closer to the player's ear this can be disconcerting. In order to create some turbulence at the opening he inserted a tiny slip of brass into the pip. Now there is no discernible tonal difference between F2/G2 and A2 (and notes above). As ever, thank you Mr Mac!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
There's a similar one where they cover the pip with a piece of ladies' stocking.
 

Chilli

Barista
Messages
397
There's a similar one where they cover the pip with a piece of ladies' stocking.
Actually, it's a bit more than that. You use the stocking as a support for epoxy to cover part of the pip. I've done it and now have a hole the size of a needle. Works a charm although I suspect I could have just put a bit of cork in the pip :rolleyes:
Fixing a Saxophone Octave Hiss

The bit of brass in the pip I've heard of, I think my tech uses it for... bassoons? or something like that. A small needle or a section of a paperclip would do as well, I reckon.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
When we bought my son's good clarinet, there was a sliver of cork sticking out from the middle of the register key pad going into the pip. Same idea.
 

Saxmole

Member
Messages
83
STA60159.JPG


I hope this is clear enough. I'm not sure how long the fillet of brass is but I know Stuart MacDonald cut and shaped it before gently tapping it into place. The fillet is positioned in line with the pipe but I don't know if this is significant or not. The addition has no adverse effect on the tuning of the notes A2 and above but it certainly evens out the tone over the 2 octave pips. Perhaps I should have mentioned the sax is a Yamaha YAS275. The fillet of brass is small enough that I can keep the pip clean and free of gunk and Stuart assured me it won't fall out accidentally. He also told me this is a mod which he does quite often. All I know is that my recent performance of Bozza's Aria was greatly enhanced by Stuart's intervention.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
It is common to install a "splitter" in a clarinet register hole or a "pin" protruding from the cork pad to remedy the "grunt" of a high G. I have not heard of using a "splitter" on a saxophone octave vent.
 

Saxmole

Member
Messages
83
It is common to install a "splitter" in a clarinet register hole or a "pin" protruding from the cork pad to remedy the "grunt" of a high G. I have not heard of using a "splitter" on a saxophone octave vent.
I know you have a special interest in saxophone technology, so have you any idea as to why this works? All I know is that it definitely does!
 
Saxholder Pro
Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom