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Trouble with altissimo.


Hello there folk's,
I'm having a bit of trouble when i play the high notes. They sometimes work ,other times just squeak's, plus a blister on the inside of my bottom lip. I'm using a Java no 2 at the moment, maybe a 2.5 might be better. Any suggestion's from you guy's would be much appreciated.
Thank's for your time
The usual advice, I guess - practice.

Sounds a bit like you're biting too hard on the reed if you get a blister. Playing altissimo shouldn't be much harder on your lips than the normal range. Like everything else, it's mostly about control rather than brute force. Do you practise harmonics? The most useful exercise for getting that control is playing overtones. I can recommend "Taming the Saxophone" by Pete Thomas, page 103 (other books are available).:)

Having said that, a harder reed might make it a bit easier. I find that there's only one strength of reed for a particular mouthpiece that allows you play the whole range of the sax with ease.

Do I get a prize for a blatant plug?
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Hi Nick,
Thank's for your reply, i will take your advice on board. But first i will try a stronger reed and take it from there. As regards practicing overtones i have only ever practiced them now and again with not much luck. But i'll get practicing.
Thank's again Rob.
Whilst a harder reed may help in playing in the upper register you may find that the lower notes may become more difficult to achieve, especially if they are being tongued and are the starting note of a phrase.

good luck and let us know how you get on.
Ironically, perhaps, is that you can improve your altimssimo by paying attention to the other end of the horn.
Specifically, working on overtones: slowly, clearly, and deliberately.
this is an excellent way to develop your 'vocal mechanism' in an essential way to succeed with altimssimo range.

best of luck!
~ Rick

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