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venting and sub-tone

Pete C

Well-Known Member
Any of you techy guys know if the amount of venting on the low C# key will affect the ease of playing the note subtone. I have a puzzling effect on this note on my new tenor - voiced note is clear, subtone doesn't speak properly. Can't decide it's me i.e. embouchure still thinks it's playing my old horn (Mauriat) or something about this sax (mkVI). Pete
Have you checked for a leak at the G#?

Easy enough to do - play a subtone low C then press the G# key down. If the tone quality changes it means the G# key cup is out of regulation and is lifting slightly.

thanks for that suggestion Stephen - doesn't make any difference so perhaps it's me... Pete
You might be able to temporarily increase the opening height by wedging some cork under the low C# key cup arm - or have a glamorous assistant gently lift the cup up as you play the note.
If that makes a difference then that's the problem - and you can have the mechanism tweaked.

However, I suspect it's more a case of getting your chops in. As respected as the MkVI is, it's still an old horn - and it's quirky in places - which means that there are some notes that you have to work at.
You could try the old trick of dropping a couple of wine corks down the bell. If this improves the subtone response then there's a good chance you've got a small leak somewhere, or your breath support is letting you down.

Thanks Stephen - no corks at hand but dropped in a few pieces of cardboard - no difference - my glamorous assistant wasn't available either but I think it is me - it feels like it is gradually getting better as I adjust my embouchure to the new horn. It's still early days and I remember it took months to adjust to the Mauriat after playing a Ref 54 for several years. Yes mkVIs are old horns and can be quirky, this one is a 1964 horn, no F# key -it has a great action and the sound is gorgeous especially at low volume - I do need to work at the tuning a bit but I can't say I have ever played any horn, modern or old, which is any different - IMHO they all need work in that respect.

Hi. I'm new to this so could someone please tell me what a sub tone is? I've posted a question ref why a tenor cannot play an octave below bottom B flat 3 when there is after all a resonance there. Is this lower note a sub tone perhaps?
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Sub tone - a way of playing, instead of plowing a note cleanly, a softer breathier sound is produced - think Stan Getz. Pitch remains the same, although it tends to go flat.

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