Beginner What am I doing wrong?! :(

chrissieb

Member
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59
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Egham, Surrey
So I just got my Bauhaus Walstein tenor today. Generally I'm impressed with the tone. I've hit a BIG problem though... When I play G (and occasionally f#) it sounds horrendous. That sort of warbling grating between 2 notes noise. I know my embouchure isn't perfect, but this doesn't happen on my rental sax! What went wrong?

I've tried my rental TJJ mp, my yamaha 4c and an otto link rubber 6. The otto link sounds the best (least horrible noises anyway), but it's too open for me at the moment- I got it to work up to.

I'm guessing because of the variability I'm getting depending on which mp I use that I could be the problem- but why was I ok on my rental?

Please help, really disheartened... x
 

Kumimajava

Member
Messages
43
Location
Oxford, UK
have you tried changing the postition of the mouthpiece on the cork - that is sometimes the reason? does the problem persist with all mouthpieces, and all reeds?

does the problem go away if you 'blow harder' (or does it just continue warbling at a higher volume?)

could be an issue with leaks/regulation, but since the BW are adjusted & checked before shipping, i doubt that's the problem (unless you found some spare corks/felts in the sax case when you opened it - sometimes they come loose in transport).

overall, though, this is a 'sensitive' area for the sax, especially in the upper register - many 'new' players have this issue & it 'solves itself' quite painlessly over time...
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
All three mp did it to some extent, but the link was hardly noticable. I haven't tried moving the mp around, I'll try later.

I could blow through it a bit and get a note, but some times it would just make the note jump up an octave.

I just don't understand why it'd be so much harder to play than my other sax.
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
I just had a look at the pads and I *think* I can see a tiny gap on the g pad... possibl wishful thinking, but I'll imrovise a leak light tonight. I really hope it is a leak and I'm not just suddenly unable to play!

I think it sort of makes sense that the link was the mp that didn't sound bad- I was having to use a lot more air pressure to play this mp, so I think maybe I was blowing through the leak? Does that make any sense? Best go back to work, was 'working from home waiting for a delivery', forgot to mention the hour of play testing, oops!
 

Kumimajava

Member
Messages
43
Location
Oxford, UK
I just had a look at the pads and I *think* I can see a tiny gap on the g pad... possibl wishful thinking, but I'll imrovise a leak light tonight. I really hope it is a leak and I'm not just suddenly unable to play!

I think it sort of makes sense that the link was the mp that didn't sound bad- I was having to use a lot more air pressure to play this mp, so I think maybe I was blowing through the leak? Does that make any sense? Best go back to work, was 'working from home waiting for a delivery', forgot to mention the hour of play testing, oops!
in this case, see if 'pressing down on the G pad with more force' solves this issue. For example, hold all LeftHand keys close, and with your right hand/finger, press 'directly on the G-key-cup'. Does your G all of a sudden 'work' much better?

if yes, then you've (most probably) got a small leak - so either a cork or a bit of felt has dis-lodged itself somewhere in transit. not a big deal & should be easy to fix.
 
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Pete Thomas

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I would ring them up straight away and tell them. I agree it is probably just something going out of adjustment during shipping, or the quite common mouthpiece wrong position burble.

If it's that, I've known this happen to several people and is usually cured by finding the right place on the cork. - As Kumimajava mentions all the BW horns are checked before leaving the shop.
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
I tried moving the mp, pushing it on made it less bad, but didn't solve the problem. I'll check for leaks when it gets dark.

Blowing harder makes the warble worse.

I know G with the octave key was tricky for me a few months ago on my rental horn, but I got over that and I thought I was playing pretty well, don't want to go throught that again. I'm feeling v dissapointed, I'll give the shop a call tomorrow, but if it's a problem with me not the horn then they can't really help!
 
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chrissieb

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Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
will do fred, thanks. I checked for leaks last night, and it all looks airtight to me. After playing a bit more it sounded less bad, so I have to conclude it's me not the horn. I was really sad because I started to sound alright on my rental horn, but I'm feeling a bit more pragmatic now. When I passed my driving test in a desel car I then bought a petrol car, and I kept stalling all the time because it wasn't as forgiving,and I had to re-teach myself with less bad habits- I guess this is the same thing. Hopefully it won't take too long!
 

Pete Thomas

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Yes, try taking in more mouthpiece, and also try taking in less, either of these could be a sort of short term fix, but could affect your ability to play the best.

I have known this to happen when people get a new mouthpiece, it usually goes away without any warning!
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
My friend just came round and gave it a blow, she things the octave mechanism is a bit off center, she had the same problem and she is very experienced (although hasn't played for a few years). I;ll give the shop a call and see if they'll have a look at it this weekend.
 

Kumimajava

Member
Messages
43
Location
Oxford, UK
My friend just came round and gave it a blow, she things the octave mechanism is a bit off center, she had the same problem and she is very experienced (although hasn't played for a few years). I;ll give the shop a call and see if they'll have a look at it this weekend.

would that be the octave mechanism on the neck, or on the body?

in either case, does 'pressing down' on the offending octave pad solve the warbling?
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
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1,019
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Essex
I'm going through similar problems. Having only had my tenor for nearly 2 weeks I find the low notes (anywhere from G downwards) very hit and miss and (and also when I go up or down by an octave directly), but only after I've played for over a minute or so - when I have a rest it's better again - I've concluded for now that it is just tired embouchure and the fact that I'm not yet used to the instrument after the Alto. :)
 

phooesnax

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USA
My bet is on the octave mechanisn is not switching over at the right point or hanging slightly open
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
I just posted this on saxontheweb, or pretty much exactly the same thing, so sorry if you are reading both!

I switched to a 2 reed, and suddenly I could play again, even with the link mp I thought I wouldn't be able to get used to for a while! Honestly, I don't understand this instrument, it's so quirky! I'm v happy though! I still have a few ergonomic issues to iron out- I'm having trouble with the octave key: keep hitting the palm keys by mistake, or I have my left hand in a sort of claw and it hurts, or I move my thumb loads to hit it (feels like my hand is too small).. but hopefully in a few days it'll all feel natural. At the moment it doesn't feel comfortable, or like 'my' instrument, but hopefully I'll get the hang of it. Things are definatley improving

It sounds really nice. I even tried the plastic mp that came with it out of curiosity, and that sounded suprisingly good, even on a low c (if anyone wants it as a back up mp, drop me a pm!)...

so thanks all for taking the time to offer suggestions, sorry for panicing so much!! x
 

phooesnax

Member
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97
Location
USA
That is awesome....great! I was hoping the BW was not the cause.

I have a bari that is a Holton that after buying for cheap and making tons of repairs would not play .

Pulled off a palm key, put a rope light up and down and nothing was leaking. Could not hit a low note for nothing...

When I threw a fibracell soft on it ....all of sudden perfect..... go figure.

Good luck with the new horn. Do you sometimes just sit and gaze at it? I have the low A bari on order and the wait is killing me.


Best Wishes,
Jim
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
I was just admiring it this morning, lol! Glad it's not just me who is slightly bemused by this instrument. It's like a contraption out of a sci fi b movie!! Hope your horn turns up soon.
 

ArtyLady

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1,019
Location
Essex
........

......but hopefully in a few days it'll all feel natural. At the moment it doesn't feel comfortable, or like 'my' instrument, but hopefully I'll get the hang of it. Things are definatley improving

.................
Sounds like we are in the same boat!! We'll get there! :welldone
 
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chrissieb

Member
Messages
59
Location
Egham, Surrey
yeah we will, good to have some moral support! TBH when I first started playing, the rental tenor felt really unnatural and now if feels like a comfy old sock, so I'm fairly confident I can get there with the new one... good luck with yours!!
 
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