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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello guys,
I am new to the world of saxophones. I am in love with this instrument. Love its sound and style. Really beautiful; brings tears to my eyes listning to some classical songs played with the sax.

Love this forum. Have learnt loads just roaming through the threads. I finally registered because I am facing a problem, a problem that I didnt see any threads on, and so here it is.

Okay, most beginner Sax players have problems playing the higher notes. It usually comes out as a squeak. But mine is the opposite. My B and C (high) come out about an octave lower. So, the C after the middle C (middle Eb on a piano) sounds like the middle C itself. So it is like playing Doe Ray Me Fa So La Tee Doe, with the last Doe sounding like the first Doe. Even the Tee sounds one octave lower sometimes.

Let me get some things out of the field. I dont have any leaks, really positive about that. And also, when I play the whole octave at once, going fro Doe to the next Doe, it comes out right. But whenever I try to, say, start a song with Tee or the high Doe, I get that darn low note.

So, what do you guys think? What could be the reason? I hope (this might sound funny) that it is my embouchoure's and not the sax that is at fault. I just want someone to reassure me that it happens with others too, and that I am not the only one who has had this problem. I, myself, think that it is my emouchoure, mainly beacuse I get the correct note out when I play continiously from low to high.

Thanks in advance for any replies. Looking foward to them.
 

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I'd get the horn check-up before you learn to play first, so you it's not as painful. See how that works!
 

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Two possibilities :
1) it's the horn. From the high A your second octave vent should open (on top of your neck). If it doesn't open enough, your high B and C will indeed sound one octave lower.

2) It's you. Then you should take a lot more mouthpiece in. When you play completely at the end of your reed, you prevent it from vibrating. However, this would be strange in that way that when the horn function properly, you just don't get any sound out of the high notes. So I would first check the octave vent on top of your neck. See if that opens, and if not, go to a tech.
 

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It's strange. Looking at Saxfanatic's post it looks like it could have been written by me. I've just started learning and I've noticed the same things. First, there's a lot of good information on this forum, so thanks a lot to everyone, I've learned a lot from just reading.
Secondly, I had the exact same problem with the higher octave and my sax was at the technician’s recently and my teacher didn't find any problems. So it was me and just practice that got rid of the problem.
I can't remember what exercise helped but I hope that by letting you know that you're not the only one to have this problem it'll make you feel better.

Ciarán
 

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As below: get horn checked, get you checked. The person who can do the second bit is a competent teacher. It's quite important that you don't get too obsessed with playing higher notes before you embouchure has developed a little. Another important factor is your mouthpiece/reed combination. All the best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you so much everyone for replying.

Ciaran, thanks a lot, got me breathing a little easier knowing that I am not the only one.

So, the octave key is supposed to open for the middle B and high C? Well, mine doesnt. I am talking about the one top of the neck, the one which you control with your thumb. Is this the one you guys seem to be talking about?

I shall indeed take the excellent advise and get my horn checked. But the problem is that I will be outta hometown for 2 weeks. I am taking my horn with me and want to get some practise while away. And sadly, I am leaving on the 1st. I wont have time get my horn checked.

So, until then, I guess I shall just concentrate on getting the other notes right. Actually, I do get the other notes right, or atleast I think they sound good. I am even able to play the first part of 'Nearer my God to Thee'. Just not the second part beacuse it involves the higher notes.

Jolle, I tried varying the amount of mouthpiece that I take, and well, it doesnt seem right. I get this shriek sometimes, but otherwise, it sound very windy. It seems to vibrate too much.

Also, my mouthpiece and reed start making sounds even before I get to apply the correct pressure inside my mouth to get it to sound like high A (I am talking about with solely the mouthpiece, and not the body attached).

But it might just be the horn itslelf. So, please reply, telling me wheather the octave key is supposed to open. As I said before, mine doesnt; I have to specifically open it. Any other ideas will also be extreamly gratefull.

Thanking in advance.
 

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Saxfanatic said:
Thank you so much everyone for replying.

Ciaran, thanks a lot, got me breathing a little easier knowing that I am not the only one.

So, the octave key is supposed to open for the middle B and high C? Well, mine doesnt. I am talking about the one top of the neck, the one which you control with your thumb. Is this the one you guys seem to be talking about?
Indeed, the one on top, and it has to open in fact from middle A. (this is fingering A with the octave-key you control with your thumb). You found the problem, so get it fixed and we'll hear ya again. If you're a bit technical, you can take a look at the mechanism involved and figure out what is wrong. It might just be a cork missing somewhere, and with a little handiness you can "fix" it temporally yourself. But if you're not sure what you're doing, just wait until you can get it to a tech.
saxfanatic said:
Jolle, I tried varying the amount of mouthpiece that I take, and well, it doesnt seem right. I get this shriek sometimes, but otherwise, it sound very windy. It seems to vibrate too much.

Also, my mouthpiece and reed start making sounds even before I get to apply the correct pressure inside my mouth to get it to sound like high A (I am talking about with solely the mouthpiece, and not the body attached).
That was just a possibility why you wouldn't be able to play those notes right if your horn was absolutely OK. Turns out to be the horn, so keep with the embouchure you're thaught by your teacher. I can't see nor hear you play, so it's impossible for me to correct your embouchure. And I have no intent to do so if the cause of your problem is clearly your horn.

One thought : according to the "school of Allard" you can't take too much mouthpiece in to get a full tone. You might want to take a look at the exercises in the topics mentioned below. I benefit a lot from them. But in any case, if you have an embouchure that is quite OK according to your teacher and is comfortable for you, just stick with it for the time being. Working on your tone is a long-term process that invludes building the chops first, and that with a correct embouchure.

Good luck!

Tone Production part I and II by Phil Barone :
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=65006
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=56166
 
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