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Beginner Should lower notes be harder to play?

Pete Effamy

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It's heartening to know that my fellow esteemed and much more experienced and talented forum members find the lower notes more of a challenge. I guess it's all relative though. I've been practicing overtones recently and I find it really hard to get back to the fundamental note after I've played a couple of overtones up the register. I also find sub toning the lower notes is often easier than a full on note. It's the start of the note I struggle with when I'm going for a fuller tone. It's often starts off with the Octave above before I can find the "correct" note I'm looking for. Needs more practice..
I think the only real answer is to practice everything all the time. You can strike me off the list of people who do!
 

Colin the Bear

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These days I don't bother with the bell notes until the reed and my embouchure have woken up. If I have problems after that, there's usually something amiss with the horn or the reed. I often blame the reed when it's a regulation problem and visa versa.
 

Pete Effamy

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These days I don't bother with the bell notes until the reed and my embouchure have woken up. If I have problems after that, there's usually something amiss with the horn or the reed. I often blame the reed when it's a regulation problem and visa versa.
I don’t bother with them until the audience have woken up, and sometimes not until the band have :banana:
 

GCinCT

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It's heartening to know that my fellow esteemed and much more experienced and talented forum members find the lower notes more of a challenge. I guess it's all relative though. I've been practicing overtones recently and I find it really hard to get back to the fundamental note after I've played a couple of overtones up the register. I also find sub toning the lower notes is often easier than a full on note. It's the start of the note I struggle with when I'm going for a fuller tone. It's often starts off with the Octave above before I can find the "correct" note I'm looking for. Needs more practice..
I have the same issue when playing overtones off the low Bb. The fundamental is harder to hit. I generally don't have trouble with bell tones (hours of practice) but the Bb is sometimes tricky and playing at lower dynamic levels can be challenging. I also find it easier to subtone. My big band is currently playing "Pennsylvania 6 - 5000". The melody is at the bottom and is played either p or mp. I am finding it tricky.
 

Pete Thomas

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I also find sub toning the lower notes is often easier than a full on note. It's the start of the note I struggle with when I'm going for a fuller tone. It's often starts off with the Octave above before I can find the "correct" note I'm looking for. Needs more practice..
Absolutely true and quite important if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of second tenor in a big band, with lots of notes down there that are supposed to be quiet. Subtoning them is a often a bit of a cop out because it can often be too goofy for the context and section blend. My old saxophone teacher made me work on those notes a lot - quiet , controlled, well articulated without resorting to subtone.
 

nigeld

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Can anyone explain to me why the bottom notes of a bari sax are so easy to play compared with the other sizes?
 

Halfers

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That's probably a good thing to practice! (For control.)
Yes it is. I also find that some days the low notes just come out and other days, it's a struggle. Perhaps state of reed, atmospherics, a slight change in embouchure..Moon in Scorpio..
 

jbtsax

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That's interesting to know. It may explain also why it is (at least for me) easier to play low notes subtone than full tone, ie there are fewer upper overtones with subtone.

We can hear that in most cases, but also I did some waveform comparison here;

Thanks Pete for that link. It is most interesting. Now you've made me want to research what the acousticians say about saxophone "subtone". Stay tuned.
 

Pete Thomas

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Thanks Pete for that link. It is most interesting. Now you've made me want to research what the acousticians say about saxophone "subtone". Stay tuned.
The most obvious answer as to what causes it could be the reed cycle does not involve the reed hitting or closing the tip??? But I'm not sure , it's one of those things people do without thinking about the science, like putting Marmite on your toast.
 

BigMartin

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Can anyone explain to me why the bottom notes of a bari sax are so easy to play compared with the other sizes?
Not for me, they aren't, and I play bari most of the time these days. Whereas the high notes are much easier (for me) than on alto, say, but I don't get called on to use them that much.
 

Colin the Bear

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Can anyone explain to me why the bottom notes of a bari sax are so easy to play compared with the other sizes?
More suitable set up or size of horn suits personal physiognomy.

Not for me, they aren't, and I play bari most of the time these days. Whereas the high notes are much easier (for me) than on alto, say, but I don't get called on to use them that much.
Would that not indicate a slightly softer reed is needed?

A leak around the lower stack, G# or Bis will ruin your Bell notes especially Bb. You can blow through the rest and only lose a little tone but the bell notes need a tight horn.
 

BigMartin

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Not for me, they aren't, and I play bari most of the time these days. Whereas the high notes are much easier (for me) than on alto, say, but I don't get called on to use them that much.
Would that not indicate a slightly softer reed is needed?
I don't think so, though I have moved to slightly soter reeds lately. It's more a matter of air supply for me.
 
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