Beginner Squeaky reeds when playing pp to mf

Magnus077

New Member
Messages
22
Location
Ireland
#1
Hi everyone, new to the forum. Something which has been annoying me lately is that when I would attempt to play softly on my tenor, I would tongue it and an awful squeak results. This is very frustrating, as you can imagine, especially during a concert last weekend, where I couldn't play at all for about half the whole time. There's no problem with this at all when playing forte and fortissimo, and I don't recall having this problem when I started out on an alto. I thought about how I practice standing up, it wouldn't happen, but when rehearsing and preforming, it happens. I use Rico 2.5s, but I've got some Vandoren 3s now and I'll break them in as soon as I can.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
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6,595
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#2
Sometimes this problem can be traced back to moving the jaw and chin while tonguing coupled with moving the tongue too far inside the mouth. Looking in a mirror, form a saxophone embouchure, hold your left hand under your chin and say "du du du du du". You should neither see nor feel any movement. Then try the same with your saxophone fingering the note B, feeling under your chin with your free hand.

If you see or feel any movement, the solution is to try to just move the end of the tongue the smallest possible distance touching just the tip of the reed. To contrast, the sensation when tonguing the wrong way is like saying "guh guh guh guh guh". If this doesn't correct the squeak issue, report back and I will address the next most common cause of the problem.
 

Magnus077

New Member
Messages
22
Location
Ireland
#3
Sometimes this problem can be traced back to moving the jaw and chin while tonguing coupled with moving the tongue too far inside the mouth. Looking in a mirror, form a saxophone embouchure, hold your left hand under your chin and say "du du du du du". You should neither see nor feel any movement. Then try the same with your saxophone fingering the note B, feeling under your chin with your free hand.

If you see or feel any movement, the solution is to try to just move the end of the tongue the smallest possible distance touching just the tip of the reed. To contrast, the sensation when tonguing the wrong way is like saying "guh guh guh guh guh". If this doesn't correct the squeak issue, report back and I will address the next most common cause of the problem.
I'll give it a go, thanks.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,726
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#4
Rico is an american cut reed. Vandoren blue is a french cut reed. On comparison charts it often shows the 2.5 Rico to be the same strength as the Vandoren 3. They play very differently though.

Try a softer reed for playing softly.

Make sure the sling is adjusted to the right length. It needs to be longer to play seated in my experience. Make sure the mouthpiece is at the same angle as when standing.

Edit. Oh dear.Wrong way round. Rico 3 is same as Vandoren 2.5 Doh!
 
Last edited:
Messages
115
Location
Montpellier area, France
#9
You could google "reed strength comparison chart".

Vandoren classic (blue box) run harder than almost any other brand - and harder than other cuts of Vandoren. I like them a lot, but Vandoren 3 will feel very hard indeed compared to Rico or Rico Royal 2.5.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,726
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#10
The names on Rico reeds is changing since D'Addario bought them. Rico royal are called just Royal now. Rico orange box are called "Rico" by D'Addario". Rico Reserve are D'Addario reserve.
 

Magnus077

New Member
Messages
22
Location
Ireland
#12
Ok so I'm not sure what this forum's policy on reviving old threads is like (I'm still relatively new here, so please don't ban me!), couldn't really find anything directly related to it in the rules, only a sentence about a new thread for every new question.
I just wanted to conclude the cause of these squeaks and their remedy. It turned out the mouthpiece that was supplied with the Chinese saxophone I was playing around this time was just a piece of injection moulded Chinesium and chewed up any reed that came into contact with it. These pieces of scrap should really be thrown away the moment the instrument is acquired. I upgraded to a student mouthpiece from Rico, and that was it problem solved. So I'll remember for next time that reeds aren't neccessarily the culprit behind every squeak issue, the mouthpiece is sometimes a contributing factor.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
11,726
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#14
I wouldn't call 18 months new here. It never occurred to me that any one would use the mouthpiece provided with an economy saxophone. There's so many posts on here alone giving advice on a range of suitable mouthpieces for a beginner.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,059
Location
West Midlands
#15
Yes the mouthpieces that come with these student Chinese saxophones are Pretty Poor and Terrible,lets call them PPT's for short.

Whoops better not,don't want to upset the chief. LOL
 
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