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Suggestions and Squeaking Assistance

Dystility

New Member
Messages
4
Hi, I'm fairly new to the forum, and was just wondering if I could ask a few questions and seek solutions to some of the problems I may be having with my tenor playing. This thread could probably fit into a few sections, so I apologies if I have caused any problems.

I seem to be having problems jumping from notes above a high (octave) G to a high G. Whenever I do this, I often have a high pitched squeak that sounds terrible. I've been told by my teacher that the squeak I'm making is a G overtone, but I cannot seem to fix it. This problem occurs very frequently on jumps of C down to G and B down to G. The problem seems to improve and worsen depending on what reeds/mouthpieces I use, but it is always present. I have also recently had the saxophone im using serviced a Yamaha YTS -62, and am sure there are no problems with the instrument. Anything I should try to solve this?

I've also been wondering about a change of reeds and mouthpiece. I've been playing for around 3 - 4 years, and am currently using a Rico Graftanite B5 mouthpiece, in combination with size 2 and 3/4 Legere reed (signature series). I've been trying standard Vandoren 2.5's and 3's, but have been squeaking more in playing. I've been considering getting a Vandoren Optimum TL4, as I am more of a balad player and think this would suit well, however I am no expert in gear like this. Are there any other mouthpieces I should go for, or reeds I should try in combination?

Thanks very much for your help, all suggestions are appreciated. :)
 
Messages
51
That g is a concert F, one of the hardest notes on a tenor. I have the same problem on my bari, but it's my concert b flat. I haven't played tenor for a while now, but I'm pretty sure that its all three fingers down on the left hand, correct me If I'm wrong. Between tenor and bari, that notes a pain in the butt. So what I would try doing first is checking the placement of the mouth. Three things to know, how far my mouth is on the mouthpiece, am I blowing "strait air" through and am I closing up the reed and the mouthpiece. These are probably the main ones. Also experiment with how much air you are using.
 
Messages
51
Yamaha mouthpieces are good for beginners. I play bari on a Yamaha 5c. And I use Vandoren 3 reeds. Try a mouthpiece a number size up.
 

Dystility

New Member
Messages
4
That g is a concert F, one of the hardest notes on a tenor. I have the same problem on my bari, but it's my concert b flat. I haven't played tenor for a while now, but I'm pretty sure that its all three fingers down on the left hand, correct me If I'm wrong. Between tenor and bari, that notes a pain in the butt. So what I would try doing first is checking the placement of the mouth. Three things to know, how far my mouth is on the mouthpiece, am I blowing "strait air" through and am I closing up the reed and the mouthpiece. These are probably the main ones. Also experiment with how much air you are using.
Thanks very much, I'll try this. It was a problem I never had when I first began playing though; it seems to have developed over the 6 months, well into my playing. I'll keep at it though.
 
Messages
51
And really, it comes down to practice. The more you practice hitting that darn G, it will get better. Just keep experimenting with it.
 
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Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
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5,946
The octave key switches over at that point which is a factor too.

Recommendation from my teacher is octave long tones: blow low note then switch up an octave. Repeat going up in whatever intervals you like (scale, semi-tones etc). Try doing the opposite top down an octave - this is harder.
 
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Messages
51
Do that! It's hard to even tongue an f to an f. And if you do that, the break changes won't be so difficult to play. I have a part in a song where I have to slur an ovtive d to a low d, and I can't do it so well tonging. It's a good skill to have when you are "jumping the ovative" more.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
As TV says the octave pad changes from side to neck at the A G point. Before playing make sure it's switching as it should. I like to open all the sprung shut pads to make sure they haven't dried funny after the last session. So twiddle the octave mechanism then twiddle A to G with the octave key, then side and palm keys including F# if you have one and finally the G# left pinky. Then blow a chromatic run from top to bottom and back to make sure all is well and wake up the reed.

A lot of squeaking may indicate you need a slightly softer reed for this mouthpiece.The vandoren classic blue is a little harder than other reeds so using a similar number and getting more squeaks means you used a harder reed and the problem was exacerbated. I'd be trying a vandoren classic blue 2 or perhaps a 1.5 with the rico B5.

A softer reed is the simplest thing to try. If this doesn't sort it I would be thinking about having the sax looked at, if even by an experienced player or your teacher. A little bump can knock the action out of kilter by a fraction and be causing a small leak. Easily adjusted away.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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8,013
It is not uncommon for high G to easily go to low G's next overtone which is palm D---especially on some tenors. There are two things to consider when approaching this problem: finger coordination, and voicing.

Finger coordination
This has to do with closing all three keys on the upper joint exactly at the same time. Sometimes the weaker 3rd finger of the LH will be just a bit late closing the G key which leaves the neck octave key open momentarily just before the start of the the G. This can jump start the wave to vibrate in its 3rd mode 3 times the fundamental frequency, rather than in its 2nd mode 2 times the fundamental frequency and you get a sounding high D.

Voicing
Voicing has to do with the airspeed and shape inside the mouth. Raising the back of the tongue as if saying "EE" while playing a high G can force the 2nd overtone as well. Playing the high G with an "AHH" feeling inside the mouth should eliminate this problem. A good way to practice is to play high G as a long tone and then slur back and forth between high D (or C) keeping the "AHH" shape in the mouth and throat. Another way to say this is to imagine you are playing G the whole time while you are fingering G to D back and forth.

As a side note, it is also important that there is no embouchure tightening or loosening going to and from the palm key notes. The only change, if any, should be the speed and temperature of the air.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
Mee too. Though in my defence I was playing in near freezing conditions with fingerless knitted gloves over full finger silk. Motorcycle under gloves B4 the Frankie Howerd school of Ooooh Errr Missis start up. The trick is to squeak in tune and pretend you're off on an altissimo meander
lol
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,946
I like the line you get in the Jamey Aebersold books - there are no wrong notes, just poor selections...
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
Voicing
Voicing has to do with the airspeed and shape inside the mouth. Raising the back of the tongue as if saying "EE" while playing a high G can force the 2nd overtone as well. Playing the high G with an "AHH" feeling inside the mouth should eliminate this problem. A good way to practice is to play high G as a long tone and then slur back and forth between high D (or C) keeping the "AHH" shape in the mouth and throat. Another way to say this is to imagine you are playing G the whole time while you are fingering G to D back and forth.

As a side note, it is also important that there is no embouchure tightening or loosening going to and from the palm key notes. The only change, if any, should be the speed and temperature of the air.
This is more or less what my teacher instructed me to do.

I've also tried to work out the correct tongue position and air speed by alternating between 1st G, 2nd G (with and without the octave key), and overblowing the 2nd G to D - this was not something my teacher told me, but it's helped me figure out the correct way of blowing. For some reason, a harder reed helps me here too.
 

Dystility

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks very much for all the responses guys, they've been incredibly helpful. I think it may be a combination of voicing and lack slightly finger coordination at times, as well as air support on occasions. The note seems to squeak on its own when played very quietly as well; I'll keep working on it. Cheers :D
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,013
Vandoren Traditional reeds squeak for me as well, and I find them a hard blow. I prefer Rico Royal #2 reeds on tenor but have played Vandoren Jazz reeds without squeaks. A change to a softer reed might help. The Vandoren #3 you are using is equal to a 3.5 Rico or Vandoren Jazz.

Jim.
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
I squeak far less often on a harder reed, or when using a harder-to-blow mouthpiece. Exactly the opposite.
 

ScottArmstrong

New Member
Messages
14
I'm fairly new to the Sax (started in October), and after not noticing any issues earlier (too many squeaks and squawks in general, perhaps?) I started having problems with high G (G with the octave key) myself. This is what I checked (and found):

- I of course assumed there was a leak, so I inspected the horn. I found none. Dang, it was probably me.
- I slightly adjusted how I had the reed on the mouthpiece. I think I had the reed too long on the mouthpiece--while not pressing on the reed, I can see some of the tip of the mouthpiece face while looking straight on.
- I got two different strengths of reeds than the one I had been using. I discovered that I had a 2 1/2 reed that played harder than a 3. I set it aside, and the high G problem went back to normal, as it were.
- I worked on my embouchure and practiced high G, G# and A to get used to making the sounds the way I wanted them.
- I practiced the same thing with different strength reeds (2, 2 1/2, and 3) to make sure that I could control the sound.

The squeak is now gone, or at least it's easily eliminated when I'm not paying attention.

Good luck!
 
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