SYOS

Why can I not always play top e and f?

nakedlunch

Member
Messages
98
Location
London
Hi all,

I have been playing an alto for 2 months now (first sax ever). I have only just learnt how to play the top e and f. For the first 2 days I did this very easily. However for the last week I have been hit and miss. That is, sometimes I play all 4 top notes clearly and then on other occasions the top e and f either sound squeeky or just won't play at all. Why is this? Why could I get them first time round but then falter a few days later? I have tried cleaning out the sax, changing the reed, altering the length of mouthpiece in my mouth.

Any ideas? I doubt the sax is faulty as it is a good student model from sax.co.uk and my teacher rates it as a great beginners model.

All in all this is frustrating!

Cheers
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,623
Location
Betelgeuse
Agreed, try and relax. Also, try playing a scale up to these notes, that usually makes things easier. Another thing to do (getting a bit Yoda now) is to think the sound of the note as you try to play it. If you have the note in your head as you play it, it'll come out easier. The other thing is to make sure your reed is your usual strength but in good condition. As reeds wear out they get very soft. making the higher notes harder to voice.

Jon
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,765
Location
Minster On Sea
If you've only been playing for 2 months I wouldn't worry about the top notes for now. Chances are your tone on the rest of the sax will need a fair bit of attention. Struggling to play the top notes is probably not going to help your embouchure settle down.
 

814jazzer

Member
Messages
55
Location
Pennsylvania
Agreed with above. And, as a side note, I'd mention that sometimes one has better luck with the upper notes with lighter blowing. Some times if a note doesn't come out we instinctively blow harder, but this can work against those tones speaking properly.

Keep at it — sounds like you're doing quite already as it is.

best,
~Rick
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Anything up from top D, also Middle Eb/D, C# in both middle and upper registers and anything down from low D all require a bit more embouchure control and/or breath support and it takes time to develop an even consistent sound across all registers. Many top players use and recommend a book called Top Tones for the Saxophone which I'd also strongly recommend. here's some great exercises to help tone and articulation. There's some advanced stuff on overtones but the basic stuff is invaluable.

I also highly rate The Art of Saxophone Playing. Neither book is expensive and you should find them both very helpful.
 
OP
nakedlunch

nakedlunch

Member
Messages
98
Location
London
Thanks everyone for your help and advice. I have noticed that when I first pick up my Sax I can hit these notes but towards the end of 1/2 an hour or so it becomes more difficult. This must suggest that my embouchure control needs to be perfected a little once I get tired. My teacher has also suggested some techniques.

Cheers
Ben.
 
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