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As in the title, or a combination of the two? On one of my tenors (Big B 308xxx, model 155) the second octave d is ”stuffier” than normal - but only with certain mpcs. If I use my M Fry metal or a metal Berg Larsen the problem more or less goes away. This is not as apparent on my Barone Vintage tenor. Any ideas?
 

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Man, there can be many causes for the stuffy D. Your example of comparing the two horns makes the incorrect assumption that both horns are equally adjusted/leak-free. To save a lot of typing/hot air, let me say that the tenor with the stuffy D should be examined by someone who knows what they're doing. If you have a leak light, even if you may not know how to fix it, you could possibly find the leaks that are causing it. I had an overhaul on a MK VI that didn't play so great afterward (including weak D) and I found several odd little leaks on it that you normally don't see. One turned out to be the main cause of the problem - the F palm key arm was being stopped before full sealing by the front F lever with thick material on it. All I had to do was to remove some of the damping material on the lever and the F key could relax and seal.
I doubt if you have this same error but something is up, so look for anything wrong above the D. The palm keys are the easiest to check so start at the top. Check for hard pads, obvious leaks, soft springs, bent keys, etc.
Check that the G# is closing completely when you release it. Pull up the closed G# cup to check spring tension - if it feels very light, it might need adjusting. Then, check that the lower stack lever is holding down the G# - lightly hold the lower stack down and work the G# key looking for any visible movement. Combined with a weak G# hold-down spring, this also will give you a weak D and a leaky low register.
Even if you don't find anything yourself, you probably need to have the horn checked out.
 

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I have a 156 and it had a stuffy middle D and flat low D.
Opened up the low C# which fixed both.
The middle D is now a little sharp but manageable.
 

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As 1saxman indicated a small leak especially in the upper part of a saxophone can make notes "stuffy". The most common cause for a D to feel or sound stuffy is that the low C key is not open enough to allow the note to vent properly. The common rule of thumb is that the key opening should be at least 1/3 the diameter of the tonehole or more. The part that the mouthpiece plays is harder to answer. It is true that different mouthpieces produce a different harmonic spectrum on any given note. I suspect that this may be part of the answer. Another factor may be the reed. One time in a saxophone lesson my D2 was coming out a bit stuffy and unresponsive and I wanted to switch to another reed. My teacher said hand me your mouthpiece. He took out his Reed Geek and made a couple of scrapes in a specific location on each side of the "heart" and handed it back to me. The difference was remarkable. I asked him how he knew exactly where to scrape and he said his teacher showed him.
 

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Yes, the C key opening can be the major factor and that used to be the first thing I mentioned. You can also play with mouthpieces and reeds to get around it but I look at these 'fixes' as interim measures to get you through. Even neck changes will affect it one way or the other but there is another reason for it lurking there. :)
 

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Another factor may be the reed. One time in a saxophone lesson my D2 was coming out a bit stuffy and unresponsive and I wanted to switch to another reed. My teacher said hand me your mouthpiece. He took out his Reed Geek and made a couple of scrapes in a specific location on each side of the "heart" and handed it back to me. The difference was remarkable. I asked him how he knew exactly where to scrape and he said his teacher showed him.
I agree with this. In fact, I use this (stuffiness in D2) as my primary indicator of a too-hard reed. I find that it is the first note that suffers in a mouthpiece/reed mismatch.
 

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I have had the same situation as the OP. I found that a leak light can be misleading. I worked on the horn until every tone hole sealed shut evenly all around the periphery of the seat. It required looking at each tone hole from various angles, but when the pads closed evenly, D2 became a normal note with some mouthpieces, and now is only very slightly stuffy with the mouthpiece that used to sound the stuffiest. I first had tried opening C, but it seemed to have little or no effect, so I assume that the C venting was not the problem.
 

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I have had the same situation as the OP. I found that a leak light can be misleading. I worked on the horn until every tone hole sealed shut evenly all around the periphery of the seat. It required looking at each tone hole from various angles, but when the pads closed evenly, D2 became a normal note with some mouthpieces, and now is only very slightly stuffy with the mouthpiece that used to sound the stuffiest. I first had tried opening C, but it seemed to have little or no effect, so I assume that the C venting was not the problem.
There is no substitute for using a bright leak light in a pitch dark room. Small leaks show up that are not obvious in a lighted room. Of course, using a sax work fixture that puts pads at eye level and can be rotated any direction also gives an advantage IMO. Sometimes I remove the low C key entirely to see how the D sounds with "perfect" venting (for an under vented note). That gives me the standard to shoot for when the key is back on the instrument.
 

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I have a 156 and it had a stuffy middle D and flat low D.
Opened up the low C# which fixed both.
The middle D is now a little sharp but manageable.
Don't you mean the C key or do you hold the C# open when playing D.

I agree that opening the low C pad is usually the fix. To experiment, slide some cork or similar under the arm of the low C to force it a bit more open and check the D.
 

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Don't you mean the C key or do you hold the C# open when playing D.

I agree that opening the low C pad is usually the fix. To experiment, slide some cork or similar under the arm of the low C to force it a bit more open and check the D.
I'm not sure I follow. On saxes that have them I generally unscrew the adjustable felt bumper to allow the C key to have a wider opening. When I find the ideal, I then remove the felt holder and shorten the felt a sufficient amount so that when adjusted screw is flush with the top of the guard which I think looks better cosmetically.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
OK, thanks all. I guess I’ll have to blame it on the horn and have it checked/check it myself. Reeds are out of the equation because I’ve tried several.
 

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Maybe you can try different reeds too. I like Vandoren reeds, so I bought one of each in the line up at the same strength (traditional, V16, ZZ, Java red, Java green, V12).


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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This original question was put in 2008, before and in the meantime there are 3900 hits with a search of Stuffy D. ( which makes this one of the most common questions in the archives), and the problem has been adressed before.

It will be great to find this and many more items, collected under a FAQ thread to be consulted . :whistle:

here a few (happy reading)

https://www.google.com/url?client=i...WMAR6BAgDEAE&usg=AOvVaw3j-uIhMgCggyut6h_X33U8

https://www.google.com/url?client=i...FjAAegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw0VbSdMo6maXtGHwJIxp-vl

https://www.google.com/url?client=i...FjAAegQIAxAB&usg=AOvVaw0VbSdMo6maXtGHwJIxp-vl

https://www.google.com/url?client=i...FjACegQICRAB&usg=AOvVaw2O5xP_H1dj7HVwhOzeQf7v
 
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