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Squeaking and Motor-boating on G, G# and A

photoman

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County Limerick Ireland
I've just got my BW alto back from the tech a few days ago and the rocker arm repaired (see another thread) and everything seemed fine.

I was breaking in a new reed (Vandoren ZZ 1.5) for a Skype lesson tomorrow, and have noticed regular squeaking and motor-boating on the first octave G and occasional G sharp and A - but not as frequent on the latter two notes.

I have started playing the ZZ 2's more often and with increasing ease, but decided to go back to the 1.5 for the lesson, to avoid any blowing difficulties. I'm now trying another ZZ 2, after I type this in the (vain) hope that it's the reed and not the Sax. I actually am confident enough now to think it's less likely to me me (but I'm open to correction).

If anyone has any thoughts on what is going on, and if there's anything I can do to fix it, I'd be delighted to hear from you before 11am on Tuesday 7th Jan - GMT. :sax:

Thanks for any thoughts.

Stephen
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
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When you said everything seemed fine, have you played it since it came back without having problems?

I would try a different 1.5 reed. It could be the problem. Have you been playing the tenor whilst the alto has been being fixed? If so, you may just need to adjust your embouchure.

Try cleaning the pads. I had a motor boating problem on G#2. I cleaned the pad and the body octave pad and it disappeared.

If it's none of the above, you may have a leak.
 

photoman

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County Limerick Ireland
When you said everything seemed fine, have you played it since it came back without having problems?

I would say, yes, mostly. I did have a squeak yesterday but I gave the reed (a ZZ 2) a rub and it stopped.

I would try a different 1.5 reed. It could be the problem. Have you been playing the tenor whilst the alto has been being fixed? If so, you may just need to adjust your embouchure.

I tried a new ZZ 2, just now and it was a bit "boxy" but no squeaks, playing the same tunes. I then tried another ZZ 2 that I'd played in a bit more and it was less "boxy" and also not squeaking.

I have been playing the tenor for week or so (it went in for a service when I brought the alto home on Friday.) It could be the embouchure adjustment, though.

Try cleaning the pads. I had a motor boating problem on G#2. I cleaned the pad and the body octave pad and it disappeared. If it's none of the above, you may have a leak.

Thanks for all the suggestions, I'll clean the pads tonight just to be on the safe side.
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I always like to go back to the tone producer to diagnose what is going on. If you can play and sustain a big beautiful sounding Ab concert on the mouthpiece and neck without squeaking or squawking then it is not the tone producer that is the problem.

Once that is eliminated you can check the octave mechanism by fingering low G and repeatedly hitting the thumb key while watching the neck octave key. It should not move or bounce when you do this. Next push the thumb key down as hard as you can and watch to see if the neck key raises just a bit. If you experience either of these results let us know and a solution will be given.
 

photoman

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County Limerick Ireland
I always like to go back to the tone producer to diagnose what is going on. If you can play and sustain a big beautiful sounding Ab concert on the mouthpiece and neck without squeaking or squawking then it is not the tone producer that is the problem.

Thanks John, good to hear from you. Yes, I can (surprisingly) play a loud Ab on the neck only - maybe 1/10th sharp now and then, but mainly in tune and with no squeaks.

Once that is eliminated you can check the octave mechanism by fingering low G and repeatedly hitting the thumb key while watching the neck octave key. It should not move or bounce when you do this.

No movement or bouncing as far as I can see.

Next push the thumb key down as hard as you can and watch to see if the neck key raises just a bit. If you experience either of these results let us know and a solution will be given.

If I'm doing the right thing here (not qute sure as it seems similar to the previous test), there's no movement.
 
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jbtsax

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The only other variable I can think of is the shape of the tongue when you play those notes. If you sing "AHH" on the lowest note you can hit, it puts the tongue in the best position to play low G, G#, and A provided you keep the throat open like the first part of a yawn. Playing those notes as long tones with this feeling may remedy what you have been experiencing on those notes, now that we have ruled out the embouchure and the saxophone. If problems occur when those notes are tongued it can indicate that too much of the tongue is moving too far inside the mouth. Just the end of the tongue should move up and down touching the very tip of the reed.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
Make sure the mouthpiece is in the right place using a tuner and try giving the mouthpiece a wash out.
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
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County Limerick Ireland
Thanks again John - I'll try that.

Colin
it's a pre-owned mpc (I bought via The Yard sale) and have only been playing it a week. A Vandoren V5 A28. I gave it a thorough clean out using Stephen Howards book recommendations with bottle brushes and detergent and mouthwash. I reckon it's very clean and I assume it's not damaged in any way internally, but that is also a consideration.

So far so good with the new reed, and I have a Skype lesson with Nigel McGill in a couple of hours. I'm a bit daunted by that fact, as he's a top player and I'm a raw beginner. I may have peaked too early! But I'll report back in another thread ASAP.
 

Jeanette

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It will be great to hear back how you go on, I've only played sop but had some problems with G jumping an octave and it was all down to me in the end. A few exercises helped but funnily enough I haven't played much in Dec and problem is back. Back to the exercises !

Jx
 
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