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SYOS

Soprano Sax Tuning

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
I'm a jazz/world/choro/gypsy guy, mostly, although I use classical exercises to develop tone, range & facility. ---- I've been playing clarinet most days, when I can - I'll probably be putting more hours into it now that I'm "Working from home" ;-)
One caveat - my Bari sop mouthpiece is rather short-shanked, so my 'top' pitch may be higher than other mouthpieces. I may even dig out a soprano sax and give it a blow, I have lots of nice exercises for it, will be interesting to see how much my recent clari practice has helped the sop...
I like Jan Garbarek's music. Is that style in your wheelhouse?
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,060
Pulling it down is in effect tightening as it’s a crowbar effect.
@SaxyNikki - having posted a message just prior to Colin's with this "The angle of the clarinet plays a good part in having good altissimo - probably 45deg would be the max as far as classical technique goes, and the "norm" being what, 40deg?".

This was in my mind, so "pulling it down" made me think of this rather than what Colin was actually talking about.
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
Messages
452
I like Jan Garbarek's music. Is that style in your wheelhouse?
I have a few Garbarek CDs, great music & he has a lovely tone on soprano (a vintage Buescher, iirc). But I’ve no idea how to play like him, and I guess I’m not aiming in that direction.
 

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
379
@SaxyNikki - having posted a message just prior to Colin's with this "The angle of the clarinet plays a good part in having good altissimo - probably 45deg would be the max as far as classical technique goes, and the "norm" being what, 40deg?".

This was in my mind, so "pulling it down" made me think of this rather than what Colin was actually talking about.
Ahhhh. Thank you for the explanation. Most of this is far more advanced for my understanding but I’m catching some of it. :manicure:
Much appreciated. :thumb:
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,615
Pulling it down is in effect tightening as it’s a crowbar effect.
I encountered this quite a bit where students used the clarinet as a "lever" to put pressure from the bottom lip to the reed rather than using the muscles around the mouth. One of my solutions was to have the student play F# as a long tone on the mouthpiece and barrel while placing the index finger of the other hand in the groove above the chin. This reinforces the sensation of holding the clarinet at the correct angle and making the embouchure muscles do the work. This works for the "bunched chin" as well.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
I have ordered the Deluxe WAW Sax Thumb Rest for my Tenor. I'll post photos of it with reference to both my Soprano and Tenor when it arrives so you can see it doesn't really work for the soprano because of the limited space above the thumb rest. I find my Yamaha Tenor thumb rest too low even though my Yamaha Soprano thumb rest is just right.
I've also been using the Thumb Splint stabiliser when practising. Initially it stopped my thumb from getting bruised but I noticed it had a good side effect of reminding me to be light with my fingers so I've continued to use it even after the bruising has gone away.
Thumb rest has arrived. This and following posts show photos.
First, the WAW Thumb Rest on the Tenor for which it was designed. I'm posting this as comparison with the Soprano photos to follow. Note the Thumb rest is well south of the Neck Strap Ring and the way the Thumb Rest straddles over the top of the alternate F# keycap. On my Tenor, the open F# keycap does lightly touch the thumb rest.
thumb rest Tenor.jpg
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
@SaxyNikki
Thumb rest, showing thumb positioned on bridge over alternate F# key, in a more natural position opposite the RH1 key index finger position.

Note operation of F# key is uninhibited. It is a little tricky to get the neck strap hook on and off, hence the tilt to the left of the thumb rest. The thumb rest would have to be removed to be able to store the sax in its case. You could alternatively tilt the thumb rest to the right to avoid the neck strap hook, if your hand is too small to use the left-hand tilt position.
Thumb Rest Higher thumb position.jpg
 

AndyWhiteford

Senior Member
Messages
452
I'm , umh, unclear as to what advantage this offers i.e. where your thumb lies now that's such an improvement....
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
I'm , umh, unclear as to what advantage this offers i.e. where your thumb lies now that's such an improvement....
Note this thumb rest is not intended for use on Soprano sax. It is intended for Tenor/Alto. Purpose of these photos is to help readers decide whether the thumb rest might be useful for their own unique circumstances. Maybe for you there is no advantage.

With the default thumb rest the thumb is level with the middle finger and pointing at an angle down and to the left that hurts the thumb for some of us. For me, my thumb joint is bruised by the thumb rest on many straight soprano saxophones (although not on my Yamaha 82ZR curved neck sop). For others, holding the weight of the straight soprano sax is more difficult because of the awkward thumb position.

WAW Deluxe thumb rest and, with thumb on 5cm bridge, thumb can be placed wherever is natural, typically opposite the right-hand index finger and pointing more naturally at right angles to the palm. It can move freely up and down over the 5cm span of the thumb rest bridge (see in photo how much room there is to adopt a different thumb position).
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
Thumb rest showing lower thumb position. This is similar position to Yamaha thumb rest.
View attachment 14353
Contrast with this photo which shows default Yamaha thumb rest and downwards angled thumb position. It's a bit tricky for me to take these photos as I'm trying to simulate the position. On my Yamaha, the default thumb rest is a little higher than it was on my former Sop (a Jupiter). So this photo attempts to simulate the angle I was putting up with on the Jupiter.

Regardless, note that the WAW thumb rest is able to sit a little higher (maybe 2mm which does make a difference), even for the lower thumb rest position below the WAW bridge. And then the bridge allows another 5cm above that.
angled thumb position.jpg
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
For me, with WAW thumb rest, I think I can play right hand side keys including side E with side of index finger while index fingertip is still on pearl. I can't do that with a default thumb rest. This needs confirmation with actual practice session which I have not done yet.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
189
Today I compared default thumb rest with WAW thumb rest on my soprano. I practiced for 1.5 hours with default thumb rest, then 1 hour with WAW thumb rest. For me, and thumb on bridge over alt F# key, WAW thumb rest felt much more comfortable and natural. I deliberately did not use my thumb splint. Default thumb rest was giving me some thumb soreness (2/10 where 0 is none and 10 is forced stop), WAW none.
 
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