Tone Thin tone on high notes


I have been playing alto saxophone for about 8 years now. I am primarly a jazz guy.
I have noticed that when getting into the higher notes (starting at the palm keys), my tone thins out and sounds really bad. As for the rest of the horn, I am generally satisfied with my tone.

Also, I have been doing longtones for about 10 minutes a day for about a month now. When I reach these higher notes, the needle on the tuner starts to shake a lot. I know my muscles are in shape because I play every day! What is the problem?! Are these two things related? My high quality of my high notes bother me so much that when im playing, i try to avoid them! thats not good... hahahahha. let me know if you guys have any ideas or suggestions
It's part of the journey for most of us at some point but don't avoid them.
Long tones will serve you well.
Do you practise overtones? They are good also for fattening up the higher register stuff.
Start some runs from the low end notes that you are happy with (your throat will be very open) and Concentrate on keeping an open throat on every note as you ascend and (like altissimo) try to pre hear the notes.
Good luck.
I've found I need to do three things for good high note production:

1) An open throat "voiced" for the particular note.
2) More diaphragm support. As my teacher told me: "really blast it out" (particularly on front high F).
3) More reed support (moving the lower jaw slightly forward rather than moving the mouthpiece into your mouth).

Mind you Jake, you've been playing a *lot* longer than me!

wow thanks a lot guys. Ill try that stuff out and let you guys know if i notice any improvement! wow this site rocks...
Hi Jake!

The way to get a good high sound in trumpet is getting a very good low sound, so one of the exercises I do each day is to start half way up the range of the instrument and alternately do long tones one higher, then one lower, such as C B C# Bb D A and so on. Another is to start on the high B of the range and go a semitone down then back up (in one breath, counting 4 beats for each note) - eg.B Bb Bb B , then Bb A A Bb and down a semi-tone each time to bottom Bb. These exercises should really help with upper register. The reed issue is also very helpful.

Kind regards
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Malcolm, thanks for the link! Looks like I need to get Rascher's book soon :)
Malcolm, thanks for the link! Looks like I need to get Rascher's book soon :)

Another good harmonics book that I would recommend is Sinta's saxophone Voicing book, he has a slightly different approach that goes into more detail. Also, here is a link to Dave Liebmans Developing a personal saxophone sound, Deadlink Removed he has great information an everything from the Joe Allard school of how to play the saxophone.

Try going up a little on the reed strength.

I don't agree with this, IMO a softer reed that allows you to keep everything as relaxed as possible will allow your Larynx to stay open for your hole range, think Hoo, Hoe or even Hay vowels. I'm not talking a 1 or 1.5 here unless you are a beginner, I use Alexander 2.5 superials on my tenor now and can get into the altissimo range easily if I stay relaxed and concentrate on my Larynx/tongue position with no extra tension. Sticking a hard reed on will have the opposite effect and make you tense up and bite to try and get a decent tone.


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