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Thought Sax Had Problem...But It Was ME!

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
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Yesterday I took my Tenor into the shop for its free 30-day checkup, with the complaint that sometimes when I go from the high to the low register I get a squawking, as though the Octave Key wasn't closing right away.

The Master said there's nothing wrong mechanically with my beautiful new Yamaha Tenor Saxophone, it's just that I must make a slight adjustment in my Embouchure when I change registers.

I found out that the man is right!


HAL
 
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Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
You're on a slippery slope there. At the very least you ought to get a good supply of reeds you have never tried before or, ideally, a mouthpiece worh mentioning in the right circles.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,095
It's surprising how confidence in the instrument, or lack of it, can affect your playing. Confirmation that all is good helps focus the mind on where the solution lies.

With the right mouthpiece and reed the octave key becomes irrelevant to a certain extent. You can blow low with it open and high with it closed. If the problem persists try different reeds, strength and make. As your chops develop a different mouthpiece will help, especially if you're using the one that came with the sax.
 

Hal the Elder

New Member
Messages
163
Mister..I don't travel in ANY circles, and the stock mouthpiece and my Rico Royals are just fine!

Anyway, it's nice to hear comments from eletists like you!

HAL (You misspelled "worth".)
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,013
The Master said there's nothing wrong mechanically with my beautiful new Yamaha Tenor Saxophone, it's just that I must make a slight adjustment in my Embouchure when I change registers.

I found out that the man is right!


HAL
I would like to suggest the idea that if the embouchure hasn't been "adjusted" i.e. tightened to produce the high register, then there is no need to make another embouchure adjustment for the sax to drop to the lower note or register when the octave key is released.

Essentially the entire range of the saxophone is played with the same embouchure except for the altissimo, and in some cases the upper palm key notes. I have my students do an exercise slurring Bb - F -Bb - F - Bb - F from low Bb up to high F and back down while concentrating on keeping the embouchure that produces a big and full low Bb throughout. Another technique I have found effective is to mentally be playing the lower note while fingering the upper note of a leap that slurs quickly downward.

A good test of a saxophone (and its player) is to slur rapidly back and forth between A above the staff and 4th line D. If this can be done with D responding clearly and rapidly, then the embouchure, throat, and saxophone octave mechanism are all doing their jobs. A common problem that makes this note change difficult or impossible is keeping the back of the tongue too high in the mouth. Singing "AH" and then blowing the airstream with this shape inside the mouth is the remedy for this problem.

Another exercise that can be very helpful is to play a low note as a long tone and have another person press the octave key so you don't anticipate the octave coming. This is a good way to get the sensation of producing high notes without making an embouchure adjustment. If the note stays high for any length of time when the octave key is released it indicates that the embouchure is too tight to begin with.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
You're on a slippery slope there. At the very least you ought to get a good supply of reeds you have never tried before or, ideally, a mouthpiece worh mentioning in the right circles.
Mister..I don't travel in ANY circles, and the stock mouthpiece and my Rico Royals are just fine!

Anyway, it's nice to hear comments from eletists like you!

HAL (You misspelled "worth".)
Maybe we should find an easy way to let everybody know if a post is ironic.
I tend to remove my signature when I am serious, but some sort of signaling (siren, flags, emoticons with funny faces, whoopy cushions sounds...) might help avoiding misunderstandings.

(You misspelled "elitists")
 
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MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
Ha! Having just had my very first lesson with an actual tutor (been solitary learning with book to date), and she explained the changes more eloquently in emboucher for squeak or not to squeak, some of your explanations here took it onto the next step and formed much clearer images in my small brain to appreciate what's going on with my mouthpiece.

Cheers chaps!

Mel
 
Saxholder Pro
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