Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Splattering High G

User ID: 9056633
May 9th 5:24 PM
Hi. Anyone ever experience a splattering high G on alto sax, and have found a solution? I play a Yamaha Custom Alto Sax with a Selmer C* MP, medium hard La Voz reeds with a fabric lig. It doesn't always occur, but often enough to make me think harder about tone when the G comes along in music.
soprano player
User ID: 0958254
May 9th 6:54 PM
You mean when you play a high G, it sounds like a train whistle? If so then this is normal for saxophones. Practice will get over that.
Also this is an effect that comes in handy when playing Take The "A" Train.
User ID: 9056633
May 9th 7:28 PM
No, I mean that it splatters (breaks apart in kind of vibrating way) sometimes. Actually, I believe it happens more on the G# and more with some reeds than others. Ideas?
mutha potamus May 9th 7:58 PM
Yeah, get rid of the Selmer & get something not made for classical music. I've found them to be more of a hindrance than anything else as far as altissimo is concerned.

I've got both Runyon Custom & Custom Quantum that make it far easier to produce notes in this range & I find their overall tone to be more colorful.

Go with a 7 or 8 tip opening & reduce the reed strength by 1/2.
User ID: 1334734
May 10th 4:59 PM
But it's not a Selmer it's a $3500 Yamaha custom. And it's not altissimo, just the upper G# that sometimes splatters. I thought it just might need some adjustment. Maybe this is just some fluke and I am the Lone Ranger here.
John N
User ID: 9161143
May 10th 6:53 PM
He didn't mean the horn. He mean't the mouthpiece, which you said was a selmer.

I used to experience the same problem on tenor, but only because I wasn't devoting enough time to the instrument. Once I got used to the feel, those notes started to speak just as easily and just as well as the rest of the horn. Try some song tones on those notes especially.

- John
W. Minier
User ID: 1578334
May 10th 7:04 PM
Sometimes the breaking up of G2 or G#2 indicates a problem with the the upper or lower octave vents or the pads leaking in these areas. I strongly suspect that either the neck octave pip or the lower octave vent solder joint is leaking or both.
User ID: 0603144
May 10th 8:04 PM
Rick, you're not alone. My YAS62 also does this, and I've heard others say it too. I have to be very careful how I attack these notes, which sometimes hinders my style.
Ian O'B. May 10th 8:27 PM
This is common to beginning players. It's especially bad for beginning alto players because G is their tuning note in most school bands.

It happens on all saxophones. Basically, the G2 and G#2 are placed in such a spot on the saxophone that they produce a 'node' or area of stagnant vibration in the air column. This causes breaking up of the G2 and G#2. You will notice that this usually does not happen in G1 and G#1. However, because they are still in the same area, they tend to 'feel' different when playing. I've always found that the lower octave is more tight in airstream on those notes then loosens up for F#1 and below.

The best way to fix this is to use a faster air stream. Others recommend practice because with practice, most players begin to develop a faster airstream automatically. Likewise, using a metal, or smaller chamber mouthpiece will help as well because they push the air faster. A mouthpiece with a spoiler can help this too.

First you should try to blow the notes with a faster airstream. This doesn't necessarily have to mean more air. The faster you push it, the thinner the air column.

If that doesn't help, try the Runyon Custom spoiler mouthpiece, Peter Ponzol M2000, or other mouthpiece with a spoiler and see if that corrects this problem at all. Start on E2, slowly gliss up to G, and then G#. Then tongue these notes. Then play an E arpeggio in both octaves, slurred, as fast as you can. If that still G#2 cracks, you just have to use a faster air stream.
User ID: 1056474
May 10th 8:32 PM
Rick, everybody who plays has had this problem at one time or another. What I did to fix it (I don't have this problem anymore) is I curled my mouth up and over the mpc, not a whole lot but enough to where your bottom lip can't go any farther. Try this but keep practicing to fix the problem. You will eventually get to where it doesn't happen anymore.
User ID: 1153984
May 13th 11:47 AM
Thank you everyone. This has been very helpful. So it sounds like I need to concentrate on keeping the airflow strong on those notes without having them pop out. I like the C* MP because as a former clarinet player, I enjoy the darker mellower tone. But I think I will try a MP with a little larger opening and smaller chamber. Two people mentioned Runyon ... interesting.
User ID: 8590713
May 13th 1:21 PM
I have had something similar on a selmer III, on the G#2 which intermittently does not want to stay in the high octave. It is also the note where the sax changes from one octave vent to the other, which I think is no coincidence. What is interesting was that it happened when my teacher played my horn with his mouthpiece, so it isn't me or mine. I think it has something to do with the airstream, but as ever it doesn't hurt to get a good tech to look at it.
User ID: 3459474
May 25th 12:21 AM
Alot of pple are dissing the selmer for altissimo, but thats how i first got mine real good, then on my meyer
i have found altissimo got a lot easier when i tried putting sticky tack in my mouthpiece (the old santy runyon spoiler dealie) but the tone sounded like crap

does anyone know if the spoilers fit meyer pieces or do they just fit runyon pieces
User ID: 2129174
May 25th 12:13 PM

Ian O'B is correct. 2 weeks before, I have same problem on the low C, C#, B, Bb. Just like boiling water sound (Bo, Bo, Bo, Bo...). Give more air & your air-steam should be straight forwarder. Now, I don't have this problem.

Usually, only low note has this problem (From C to Bb) and very seldom to hear in high note. It is very easy to know if your horn has physical problem or not. Just ask a friend who play can better and try. Good Luck.
User ID: 2372774
Jun 18th 1:42 PM
OK. After several weeks, I believe I have this one figured out: The splattering G2 seems to be directly reed-related. That is, in most reeds, the problem does not occur. However, in certain other reeds, which may otherwise be excellent (but usually too soft) the G2 splatters. Also have one excellent reed which I won't play because it often causes a squeak when playing E2. So, reeds each have their own unique personality. When testing reeds, I am certain to try G2, F#3, and low Bb1. Some reeds are too soft to play high F#3, whereas others are too hard to get proper response from the low notes. BTW, here is a great site for reeds and other musical stuff: Got my first Fibracell and Alexander Superials from these guys.

User ID: 8172663
Jun 18th 7:51 PM
Andy, this is to you. I used to have the "boiling water" effect on the low notes as well. With me however, that has always meant that there is some sort of leak in the instrument. I don't know how, but blowing faster seemed to fix it most of the time, but it is usually due to a leak. See a repairman about it.
User ID: 3479954
Jun 19th 3:54 PM
I asked this question a while back. The most reliable way to create the problem for me was to Oscilate between the upper G and Upper C. Once I had this I was able to spend a little time working on it.

The most reliable advice I was given to stop this happening was to use less mouth piece in the mouth for this note.

Now, with practice and a good feel for the sax (I play Tenor) the problem is extremly rare.

The other advice given was that if it was a leek it would effect more notes around the G or G#.
User ID: 2790824
Jun 23rd 7:02 PM
re the low note "boiling water" analogy: some horns are prone to can test to see if it is in fact an acoustic anomaly by dropping a plastic mpc cap into the bell bow while you play. This breaks up the standing waves caused in some poorly made-or-designed instruments. (Vintage Kings come to mind, student and pro). If you still have the problem, the mpc may not be acoustically suited to the instrument: try something with a different throat shape/chamber size/bore size. If that doesn't work, you may have a leak. I've found such leaks around the body octave tube vent, the double sleeve of Silversonic necks, and pinpricks in the soldered-on toneholes of Martins. But usually the mpc cap trick works if the horn's in good shape.