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Tenor voicing issue?

mp_mccarthy

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Mallaig
Hello all,

Hope everyone is safe and well at the minute.

I am hoping someone can help me with a couple of issues I am having at the minute as I am obviously unable to see my teacher for a while.
I switched from Alto to Tenor a few weeks ago and thus far am really enjoying playing tenor. However, there are a couple of things that I can't seem to figure out:

Main issue is when I am hitting a G or G sharp in the upper register I have to tighten my embouchure to make a clean sound, it's only happening on this note and with all the rest I can slur up and down across the break with a nice and relaxed embouchure, it's a problem as I am having to make a drastic change to hit it cleanly and it just seems not quite right! I have a similar issue with a D played with the octave key although not quite as pronounced.

So my question is what is causing this issue and what can I do to fix it

Many thanks,
Matthew
 

Wade Cornell

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There are others here more technically "clued up", but they will want to know what type of sax you have and if it was serviced/regulated at some time in the recent past. Type of mouthpiece and reed strength can also be good to know (although less likely candidates for that problem). Also do you have a tuner to verify the problem or is this just by ear?
 

mp_mccarthy

New Member
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16
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Mallaig
Thanks for the reply Wade. Sax is a Trevor James SR evo, I am renting it. It is brand new. Mouthpiece is a yamaha 4c and I am using Vandoren Java red 2 reeds.

I do have a tuner. it's not that the note is not playing in tune, it's that unless I significantly tighten my embouchure for this note it wants to sound the g the octave below, It just seems odd that I have to make such an adjustment only for this note.
 

Admitone

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I had the same problem with a new Selmer SA80 II tenor. It was checked several times for leaks and none found. No problem with my Yamaha 62 tenor with the same mouthpiece/reed, or with any of my altos.

My solution was to take the horn back. If that's not an option, try a bit stiffer reed.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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G/G# gives problems on tenor. Most of us learn to play it cleanly as we practice more. I found two things helped.

1 was tuning very accurately with a tuner.
2 was changing mouthpiece.

My guess is that it's because the natural frequency of the correctly positioned and blown mouthpiece is interfering with the note production. And a slight bit out of tune kills the note.
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
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Don't worry, that's normal. I've been there too. Very annoying, but it goes away after a while.

I'm not sure if there is a specific cure for it. Just practice.
 

Ivan

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I find G2 and G#2 are easy to drop into a rasp

Like posts above I think it's intrinsic to the tenor and might need a change of embouchure and/or mouthpiece position to control
 

jbtsax

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The "input pitch" plays a big role. The mouthpiece alone should sound no higher than G concert and the mouthpiece + neck should be an E concert. On the saxophone, the body octave vent is in the ideal location for the note F. Both G and G# are 2 and 3 half steps away and therefore the vent is not as effective at disrupting the fundamental and causing it to jump to the first overtone an octave higher.

Another "embouchure tightness test" from The Art of Saxophone Playing is to play a low A and with the free hand momentarily open the neck octave key and let it close.
  • If the not stays on high A for a while before dropping back down, the embouchure is too tight
  • If the note goes to a high A that sounds flat and "flabby" the embouchure is too loose
  • If the note jumps to a nice sounding high A and then immediately drops back down when the octave key closes, the embouchure is just right
 

mp_mccarthy

New Member
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16
Locality
Mallaig
Thanks for all the replies and helpful tips, very much appreciated. This was not something I had experienced on the alto so have been quite puzzled.

Will be spending a bit more time focusing on tuning and embouchure around this area and hope to improve with practice then.
 

CliveMA

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Brisbane, QLD, Australia
I am only a beginner but I have never had this issue on my Tenor (Yamaha) so maybe a leak cannot be discounted?
 

CliveMA

Member
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979
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Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Also, how are you tuning the mouthpiece? Odd things happen if the mouthpiece is too far or not far enough on the neck because the mouthpiece is needed to complete the cone of the sax properly (?).

I do the mouthpiece pitch exercise, then the mouthpiece and neck pitch exercise then tune the sax by playing low F#, octave key F2#, overtone F#, low B or B flat, first overtone B2, fingered B2, 2nd overtone F or F# (?) (can't remember but it is obvious when played), looking for the best mouthpiece position for a relaxed embouchure to tune all these notes. This yields a subtly different mouthpiece position than simply tuning to one note. Finally, I again do the mouthpiece pitch exercise to confirm embouchure tightness. I used to simply play B2 to tune but find the above or similar routine much better for getting the sax in tune throughout the range of the instrument. It may sound involved but tuning this way actually takes hardly any time when done regularly, exposes/confirms the tuning tendencies in your sax and you and helps train oral cavity changes instead of embouchure changes as the preferred tuning adjustment.
 

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