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Overtones: Which is (are) the hardest to play on Bb?

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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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A little over a month later, having practiced like a fool, I can pretty much hit #4 now. I still can't hit #5 but, here's where I am now, brief moments :)

 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,140
Oops... Actually I get about 7 or 8, but not the #5 easily.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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Harder reed make it easier but you sacrifice tone down low.
Agreed. I find every type of reed very different for overtone ease. And even within each type (I have 2 and 2.5 Vandoren blue and jazz, some synth including the amazing Green Monster in 3). Just as each reed feels a little different, they definitely are more or less good at reaching certain overtones on the same mouthpiece and ligature.
I don't know what the snigger was for, I believe the Silencer helped me a lot in the beginning. I don't use it must now as I can use the neck and mouthpiece in a similar manner before putting them on the body.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,140
After all the BBC I've heard, "Sorry, I haven't a clue".
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,140
have no idea what you're on about and somehow don't think it matters in the context of overtones and how I'm doing with them. I can now hit almost all of them but for some reason that on, the #5 isn't easy. The first three are easy. The #4 is attainable. The 6-8 or 9 are fairly easy. The #5 remains elusive. That's all I care about for the moment.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,140
Water under the bridge: It's been almost three months since I began working a few minutes a day on the overtones. I'v seen a lot of progress, but the D is still only an occasional gift on most reeds. There are some that make it almost attainable. Right now, I can descend from 8 to 1 and hit the D, but I can't maintain it. This said, it has definitely helped my altissimo, I can hit any note I want up there, which, on alto is up to high B or C is I stretch it. I just need to keep practicing to make it possible to move around these notes in a musical way.
 

brianr

Senior Member
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1,027
Water under the bridge: It's been almost three months since I began working a few minutes a day on the overtones. I'v seen a lot of progress, but the D is still only an occasional gift on most reeds. There are some that make it almost attainable. Right now, I can descend from 8 to 1 and hit the D, but I can't maintain it. This said, it has definitely helped my altissimo, I can hit any note I want up there, which, on alto is up to high B or C is I stretch it. I just need to keep practicing to make it possible to move around these notes in a musical way.
I think the worst thing is to be in a hurry with this.

I read an interview recently with John Ellis, a very strong jazz tenor player from America.

He talked about the time he was getting overtones together. He had a classical teacher, James Houlik.
I’m just writing from memory, but he did low Bb only for a year, for one hour daily !!!!!!!!!

so, with much respect, 3 months at a “few minutes a day “ is probably not the way to crack this.

If you want to get this ( and you sound as if you do, and there will be a great many benefits to your playing if you do ), how about trying this.

Only on the low Bb for one week, do it for 15 minutes a day. First 4 notes only. Ie Bb , Bb , F , Bb...... no higher .

Really get in to it. Think about your throat , steady constant airstream.
Match the note you are trying for to the conventional fingering.

An extra one hour ish a week. What’s to lose.

Don’t be in a rush. be patient with yourself. This is a slow process, but if you do the right stuff in your practice, you will get better at it.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,140
Reminds me of a friend who wanted to play trumpet. He spoke to a local famous player who told him to practice with the mouthpiece only for a year and come back for lessons :)

I wouldn't call a few minutes a day a rush. But the results are pretty convincing. G was impossible for me for many months and it's on of the two most important notes. The other is A.
 

brianr

Senior Member
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1,027
Reminds me of a friend who wanted to play trumpet. He spoke to a local famous player who told him to practice with the mouthpiece only for a year and come back for lessons :)

I wouldn't call a few minutes a day a rush. But the results are pretty convincing. G was impossible for me for many months and it's on of the two most important notes. The other is A.
When I say rush, I wasn’t talking just about you.
We are all guilty of wanting stuff to be part of our playing NOW !!

As a result we try to cover too much and nothing gets done to a level where progress is being made as quickly as we would like.

As I get better at practicing, I’m evolving in to dealing with less topics, but doing the ones I am doing to a deeper level. I’m getting better on less practice than I used to do. But my approach to practice is better, with faster results.

Basically, it is less topics, but done better.

So, in your case , talking about the notes A and G suggests you are dealing with overtones on different notes.

I’m suggesting that there is a different way, and that for one week, to see how it goes, focus in on overtones ONLY from low Bb. Only up to high Bb.

This approach to practice may not appeal to you, and of course, that’s fine. We all find our own path.

But it would be interesting to see how you felt after one week, of this narrow, focused approach.
If it doesn’t work for you, go back to your old way.

The most you have to lose is approx 1 hour, spread over a week.
 
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randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,140
@brianr I know you're only giving a helpful suggestion, and I appreciate that. I'm actually following a book (mentioned earlier, above, "Playing in the Attic") and to some extent the video of Dr Wally (who looks like Dr. Bull) and the five others I've seen on youtube. I'm current at the point of being able to consistently hit those altissimo notes, but the real challenge is to be able to move around seamlessly. As for the practicing, personally, my method is very different from most. Some of my parts may give out at any given time, so I won't be playing on a mouthpiece for one year like the trumpet player (who gave up, by the way).
 

Admitone

Member
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146
But it would be interesting to see how you felt after one week, of this narrow, focused approach.
A dear friend of my was a superb portrait artist. He gave his daughter lessons, and she was allowed to paint with only black and white for over a year. He felt it was necessary to master contrast before venturing into color.
 
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