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Playing the Altissimo Range on Tenor Sax

Der Wikinger

Member
Messages
180
I currently use Otto Link 6* and Rico 2 1/2 reed. great tone. Can play up to F above the staff in tune and with ease (the third octave F). However, I would like to go higher. I have a book to help me. My mentor thinks perhaps a different mouthpiece and reed might get me there. Any suggestions?
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Well, I mainly use the same mouthpiece with a 2.5 Java and don't have any problems with altissimo that I would ascribe to the set-up, as I can get the same range on the stock Cannonball 5 mp and a Berg 115 that I have just acquired. Not that I am an expert at it by any stretch of the imagination, but in my experience it is more about technique and practice than hardware.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
Some good exercises that might help:

• Overtones – Matching: Play the regular fingering for the note first and then the overtone fingering without braking the airstream.
• Overtones – Swithing: Low Bb fingering for all notes. Try also low B, C# and C. No octave key.
• Overtones – ”Flageolet”: As abowe but try to move up. If you first play low Bb (1) you should get Bb (2) (octave), F (fifth), Bb (3) (tierce) ……. !! No octave key.
• Overtones - Scales: Start on Bb Major Scale without using the octave key. Try to play all twelve keys without octave key.
• Overtones – Songs: Try to play a song without using the octave key. ”Somewhere Over The Rainbow” is a good song to play without octave key.

Overtones exercises are hard to do. Just small steps, if you are not used to them.

When you are ready for altissimo tones/fingerings a tuner, keyboard or a welltuned piano is a good help. A person that listen is important. There are differnt altissimo fingerings for the same note. And saxes also have differnt fingerings. I have different fingerings on an old Martin comparing to a modern horn. I have an old soprano sax with missing octave key so the octave pipes are always closed/covered. Good "overtone-practise" sax!

The exercises above I have learned from Andrew Clark and Uffe Andersson (ABBAs saxplayer). But I just use two or three altissimo tones (D#, F# and G#, no F# keys on my saxes). Rock ’n’ Roll Saxophone you know!!!

Thomas
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
I currently use Otto Link 6* and Rico 2 1/2 reed. great tone. Can play up to F above the staff in tune and with ease (the third octave F). However, I would like to go higher. I have a book to help me. My mentor thinks perhaps a different mouthpiece and reed might get me there. Any suggestions?
I use a Link 7* and La Voz MH reeds - I don't see why your setup should be a problem.
Which book are you using? I slavishly set to altissimo with the help of Top Tones for Saxophone by Sigurd Rascher, an old but invaluable resource.
His emphasis is that the fingerings don't actually matter, broadly speaking; you've got to do the practice on overblowing to set up your embouchure (and mind) to achieve the high notes. You use your fingers to correct the tuning, not to play the note, so fingering charts are only a small part of the story.

Like Thomsax says - practice overblowing in a controlled fashion, then work out the tuning by experimentation!

Good Luck,

Nick
 
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