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Soprano sax problem with low 'd' only

Di in France

Senior Member
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619
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France
Hi all,
I have a problem with my sop sax. I can play every note without any problem except low 'D'. which sometimes plays ok and sometimes squawks and jumps about. I don't have a problem playing through the register up high and down to low Bb, it's just the D that's causing a problem.
I do play alto and tenor without any problem, but soprano is new to me.
It's been in to the tech so it should be ok.
Can it be an embouchure problem just affecting one note or is it more likely to be the sax?
I'm happy to accept that it's me, in fact it would help with the frustration knowing that it's me and I just need to practice! ;)
I'd appreciate your thoughts.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Does the problem resolve when you go to Eb? Does it do this at all dynamic levels? When you say "squawks and jumps about", do you mean it goes to a D or A overtone above the fundamental?
 

Di in France

Senior Member
Messages
619
Locality
France
Does the problem resolve when you go to Eb? Does it do this at all dynamic levels? When you say "squawks and jumps about", do you mean it goes to a D or A overtone above the fundamental?

Yes, Eb isn't a problem. It may or may not do it at all levels, but it is less likely to do it if I play louder. I think that it's jumping to the octave or over A overtone, yes. I'm off to analyse exactly what happens.
 

Ads

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4,337
Locality
North West UK
On Sop and Alto come to that, (both of which I started about 7 months ago after decades of tenor) I found that when I started Octaving, it was time for a stiffer reed or larger gap mouthpiece , I can`t play a 4C or Bari Esprit-II on Alto now without either being very careful or by using a hard reed , it must be an embouchure thing . Sop wise I still use the Esprit but with a 3.5 reed as it sounded too harsh with the metal Yani 7 I had .
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
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3,968
Locality
Manchester, UK
I had a similar problem with my alto recently. Horrible warble on the low B, althogh C and Bb were fine. Turned out to be a tiny leak around the neck tenon; so tiny that just tighenting the tenon screw a bit more fixed it. The problem was no where near where I'd expected it to be.
 

Di in France

Senior Member
Messages
619
Locality
France
Thanks guys. It's early days as far as reeds and mouthpieces go. I only have Hemke 2.5 reeds and I'm using the bari esprit mouthpiece as it was recommended on here. It's just been to the tech, so should be ok, but I'm not overly confident with his work, but he's the only one within 100kms.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
Di, sounds like a leak. 2 solutions -
First get it to a decent technician - like Griff - the post isn't that expensive going there, but getting it back maybe.
Second try a different mouthpiece. I've found that small leak problems are easier to manage with a different mouthpiece.
 

jbtsax

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8,787
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I would approach this two ways.

First play the low D as a long tone mf. With the pitch in your mind hum the note and then blow the pitch of that note on your airstream like an "air whistle". With that shape inside the mouth and airstream play the note again as a long tone with the air making that note before it even gets to the saxophone.

Once you have adjusted the airstream and oral cavity to produce the note without breaking and can play it consistently, then raise the back of the tongue and blow slightly faster air to produce the D an octave above without the octave key. When you can produce this note easily, then practice going back and forth changing the airstream and "voicing" inside the oral cavity.

The next step is to arch the tongue slightly more and increase the speed of the air to overblow to the A above the staff. This one is more difficult. If you have to, play high A with the regular fingering and then switch to the fingering for low D while you are holding the note. Once you can produce this 2nd overtone consistently, then practice going from low D to each of the overtones above and back down.

The second approach is to get or make a bright leak light, and in a darkened room check for leaks. I would check the vicinity of the side Bb key since the pressure antinode of D's 2nd overtone would be in this general area. Even a small leak in this area would encourage low D to try to jump to a higher harmonic.
 

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