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Saxophones Saxophone Trouble


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I am a student Alto Saxophone player who plays first chair in my Middle School. Since summer came I barely picked the thing up for a month and when I tried it today I could only get out high notes. I'm really kicking myself for not playing it lately but I was wondering what the problem is. Like whenever I try say a Middle C it comes out higher and I struggle to get it lower. My guess is that my mouth is too weak from not playing and I wanted a confirmation on that. I haven't played in a month and I am using Rico's #3 Reeds. I'm just confused because I thought if I didn't play for a month HIGHnotes wouldn't come out not LOWnotes. So the point is I just want a confirmation that my guess is correct and sorry for putting the Saxophone down. It's really embarrassing to admit and I really love the Saxophone. Please confirm my theory or tell me whats wrong about it thanks!


ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Just north of Munich
Could be you, could be the horn.

If it's you, your embouchure is probably too tight, need to relax more and blow a little more gently.

But check the two octave key pips, one at the top of the neck, and one slightly further down close to the top of the body. Both should be closed for all notes played without the octave key.

With the octave key the neck pip should be open for all notes above G# or higher and the body one for all notes below this. With the octave key pressed, open/close the G and watch them switch. Make sure both close properly. Check this for all notes and with slow/fast pressing.

Another ting it could be is that you're touching one of the LH palm keys and causing it to open a touch.


Well-Known Member
Skabertawe, South Wales
Strongest probability is that a month without playing has weakened your embouchure temporarily and hence are tightening your embouchure to produce a sound, which is restricting the air flow and causing the higher pitch. If no change occurs in a few days then the other points that Kev covers may come into play, especially the LH palm keys.

When it was a few weeks without playing a trumpet I would make a sound that had a more wooden than metallice quality. Should not take very long to be back to normal, thankfully.


Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
The Malverns, Worcs
If you can hit some notes, try starting with those and working your way down a scale from there, that way you should loosen up gradually.
Whenever I pick up my saxes, I always warm up my lips /the sax by blowing from C (middle finger left hand only) down an octave, then up two octaves and back down one. I never start at either the bottom or the top of the instrument, just comfortably in the middle.

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Burnley bb9 9dn
I'm thinking that you have a leak somewhere. Has it had a knock?

If it was your embouchure muscles it would be hard but not impossible to get low notes and you'd feel the strain and ache sooner than normal.

As has been said, check the action of your instrument. I find it helps to pull a cotton cloth gently between pad and seat to remove any foreign bodies that are preventing the pad sealing. Be very gentle and careful while doing this. It's easy to dislodge springs or even pads.

Ask another, maybe more experienced player to have a look or a blow. Some dramatic problems can have quite simple cures.


Isle of Wight, United Kingdom
Is it the same reed that you finished playing on? if so it could be extremely dry. Try a 2 or 2.5 as you embouchure could just be out of training. Also get someone whose lip is good to try the horn just in case those nasty nonus pracitsus imps have got into your case and messed around with it.



Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
What you describe suggests to me that the neck octave pad is not closing completely. Read the first two paragraphs of this post and see if that doesn't help you to solve your problem. If you have questions or need additional information, please ask and I will be happy to go into more detail.

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