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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

Quick backstory is that I played alto as a kid and from what I remember I was pretty decent. About ten months ago (25 years later) I decided to get the alto out and have it tuned up. I had been playing for nine months. Not awesomely, but well enough to have fun and I felt like I was playing the range of the horn ok and didn't notice anything weird.

I bought a Chicago Style Jazz Tenor about a month ago and I have been trying to play it daily.
I'm noticing some things that I think are weird, but I also suspect the consensus on here might be to practice it more.

I have a brilhart 4 and am trying vandoren 2 and 2.5

I can remedy a lot of these issues if I really think about them and try to change my embouchure some. But I keep reading that embouchure should remain fairly consistent. I am trying to take in a bit more mouthpiece than the alto.

So I've heard this is a normal issue on many tenors, but it's on my list so I'm putting it here.
High g# and g wanna flutter octaves. And high A.

G and middle D almost pop an octave higher really quick and then correct themselves. This is when I'm just playing the note. Not slurring to it or anything

Today I was playing a song and the notes went as follows
Middle Eb, middle E, high A, middle Eb.
Playing this fast, when I get to that last middle Eb, it will either squeak loud or just sound awful.

I also get an slight octave problem when I'm playing fast and come across a middle D



The seller was adamant about the horn sealing up nicely. He played it for me and it sounded great. He even had it serviced before I picked it up. In light of some of these weird issues, I did take it to one local shop and the guy played it and said it was fine. He didn't seem to want to put his light in it.

I know these questions are probably difficult to answer on a forum, but it's a forum so I figured I'd ask! I don't not have any of these issues on my super old bundy II Alto

Cheers!

Sax pic and dog for fun


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Well two guys played it and it was fine. I'd ---edit--- (I just re-read my post and don't remember what I was trying to say. I believe was trying to say he had two guys look at it and both agreed it was okay. ) one is a repair guy so he's not invested in the sale of the horn. Sounds like you need to keep working at it. I have similar issues. I just started back playing about 3 months ago and I'm still working on improving the embouchure. Mine warbles a little on middle A and G, especially when I loosen the embouchure to bring it into tune. (I play an old 10M that was just tuned up a couple weeks ago so I know it's me. It plays much better after the tuneup but I still have the above-mentioned issue.)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well two guys played it and it was fine. I'd one is a repair guy so he's not invested in the sale of the horn. Sounds like you need to keep working at it. I have similar issues. I just started back playing about 3 months ago and I'm still working on improving the embouchure. Mine warbles a little on middle A and G, especially when I loosen the embouchure to bring it into tune. (I play an old 10M that was just tuned up a couple weeks ago so I know it's me. It plays much better after the tuneup but I still have the above-mentioned issue.)
That's so cool, I played a 10m before I bought this one and thought it was so neat.
You are probably right. And now that I think about it, if it was the horn, it would probably happen more consistently right?

The high A, G, G# thing is fairly consistent. But the other issues kinda are 50 percent

And I imagine the timing of my fingers might be a bit off now playing a bigger instrument.....


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It takes a while to build up your chops so that you can get the notes out cleanly and in tune all the way up and down the horn. If you're practicing every day and still having these issues in a month, I'd recommend taking some lessons with a teacher just to make sure you aren't developing any bad habits.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I played again tonight and it was better. Still some issues. Middle G starting an octave higher for a brief moment really has me confused. That's generally an easy note?

it's still strange to me that I'm having none of these issues on alto
It takes a while to build up your chops so that you can get the notes out cleanly and in tune all the way up and down the horn. If you're practicing every day and still having these issues in a month, I'd recommend taking some lessons with a teacher just to make sure you aren't developing any bad habits.
I am definitely open to some private lessons. I've been trying to find someone for a few weeks now with very little luck getting responses from some of the referrals I've received. I will have to increase my search intensity

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That's a pretty small tip opening on your mpc. You might try a harder reed like a three or a three and a half. If you're popping up an octave it could be because of your small tip opening and need a stiffer reed. You also want to be a bit looser on your embouchure on tenor than you do alto. Generally speaking the smaller the tip opening the harder the reed needs to be. So get a harder reed and start slowly with some long tones. Start on a note that you're comfortable with and slowly work your way to your problem notes. Not as much fun as playing tunes but it sounds very much like you need to do the long tones to get used to your tenor. Play some scales and arpeggios slowly as well.
 

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as an adult beginner when I moved from the alto to the tenor I experienced a lot of the issues you are describing , what really helped me was long tone practice
 

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Discussion Starter #8
That's a pretty small tip opening on your mpc.
I can't seem to find measurements for my mouthpiece. Do you happen to have that info?

I do practice long tones some. But probably not seriously enough. I will amp them up in my routine.
However, when I do practice long notes I can hold them properly with hardly any issues. A little out of tune, but not much of the octave issues in having when I play the notes faster along with other notes.

I do want to experiment with a few different reeds, but as I originally suspected, I likely just need some more disciplined practice and instruction



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These sound like embouchure issues to me.

Quick check on embouchure placement - put a thin business card between the mouthpiece and reed, see where it goes to on the reed before it sticks. Put your lower lip there :)

Quick check on embouchure firmness - do not bite under any circumstances - just enough jaw pressure to bring the pitch up to in tune, and just enough lip/face tightness to keep air from leaking. No more!

Also, the warbles can happen due to incorrect mouthpiece placement. Lot of ppl moving to tenor from alto use too firm and short an embouchure (quick checks above should help that). End result, mouthpiece is too far out on the cork. Play a B, middle of the staff (B2 - LH index finger, no octave key). Then "slur" to the same note, but fingered as low B. In other words, overblow low B. Adjust the mouthpiece until these two notes are in tune, then learn to play with the mouthpiece in that position. Many people (and those coming from alto or clarinet especially) find they have to push in a lot - the regular fingering is lower in pitch compared to the long fingering. Thus, to play in tune, you have to have a more relaxed embouchure!

Hope this helps.
 

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That's so cool, I played a 10m before I bought this one and thought it was so neat.
You are probably right. And now that I think about it, if it was the horn, it would probably happen more consistently right?

The high A, G, G# thing is fairly consistent. But the other issues kinda are 50 percent

And I imagine the timing of my fingers might be a bit off now playing a bigger instrument.....


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I picked up my alto yesterday after spending the last two weeks playing tenor exclusively. It was awful. I kept missing the fingerings and even my tonguing was off. I tried another alto I had and had the same problems. Just really sloppy. So for fun I played a few scales on my clarinet and it was a whole different experience. I actually liked the sounds coming from it. Of course I started out on clarinet in my school days a lifetime ago. I'm still struggling to get a proper sax embouchure. I keep wanting to go to the default clarinet one. I know it gets to sound like the One Note Samba around here but … long tones. I've been working on them since I picked up the horn again. It helps.
 

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High g# and g wanna flutter octaves. And high A.

G and middle D almost pop an octave higher really quick and then correct themselves.
I remember this, not so much the A and D issues but the G and G# for sure. It drove me nuts for a short while and then it just disappeared. I just played through it I suppose.

I would get a more open mouthpiece as suggested above. Nothing crazy but something with 6ish opening.

Very photogenic dog and a cool front door you have in addition too that nice sax.
 

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I can't seem to find measurements for my mouthpiece. Do you happen to have that info?

I do practice long tones some. But probably not seriously enough. I will amp them up in my routine.
However, when I do practice long notes I can hold them properly with hardly any issues. A little out of tune, but not much of the octave issues in having when I play the notes faster along with other notes.

I do want to experiment with a few different reeds, but as I originally suspected, I likely just need some more disciplined practice and instruction



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Just go to google and click on images, then do a search with saxophone mouthpiece chart as your search terms, you'll be able to see a variety of charts. According to one chart your mpc would be a 74 tip opening, though I don't know how accurate these charts are. Also there's going to be variations from the manufacturing process as well. At any rate I still think going to a stiffer reed would help because of the small tip opening. And doing the long tones.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
These sound like embouchure issues to me.
Quick check on embouchure firmness - do not bite under any circumstances - just enough jaw pressure to bring the pitch up to in tune, and just enough lip/face tightness to keep air from leaking. No more!

Hope this helps.
Awesome! Thank you for your reply. Lots of things to try here. I am curious about the loose embouchure. I sort of feel like I need a tighter one. It seems like I might be having the issues more often as I get tired and can mitigate them by tightening my mouth quite a bit. Like I am making an effort to frown almost. But I know I am more out of tune than in tune.

I would get a more open mouthpiece as suggested above. Nothing crazy but something with 6ish opening.

Very photogenic dog and a cool front door you have in addition too that nice sax.
Ha thank you. I try to spice up my post a bit as I often feel bad because I'm always asking questions and don't contribute much else.

I would like to try a different mouthpiece and maybe stiffer reeds on my current mouthpiece.


But I am hearing the repetitive advice on here and will focus more on long tones!

I'm really excited to find an instructor. I didn't think it would be as challenging as it is. I wonder if some folks aren't as inclined to take on adult students. I have a lot of unanswered voicemails and emails out there.

I'll report back any findings after more long tone practice and if I decide to try a MP and/or reeds.


Thanks for all your replies

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I am curious about the loose embouchure. I sort of feel like I need a tighter one.
I started with clarinet and alto many years ago. I started Tenor about 3 years ago and was advised to get ready to really loosen my embouchure. OK I figured that would be easy.....man was I wrong. I am now dropping my embouchure muscle tension for the third time, and I seem to be getting closer to the sound and playability that I want. If your embouchure gets tired, it is getting tired due to excess muscle tension. So fight the urge to tighten your embouchure and try to further relax it when your lip gets tired.
 

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Op, you just need to be patient. A new type of horn, new reeds, new mouthpiece, new feel (size, playing position, ergonomics, etc.)....

Keep practicing and working at it, it'll come. After a while, you will feel comfortable enough to experiment with different tip sizes and reeds. Probably start with reeds first.

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Discussion Starter #17
Sheesh. Tip openings are confusing. I wonder if I'm calculating this correct.

A chart shows my ebolin 4 at 77
I read that the general scale is based on 1/1000 of an inch.
So a 77 should be 0.077
That's about 1.95mm

That doesn't seem quite right to me because that makes my ebolin tip opening bigger than all of the Yamaha standard C series topping out and 1.9mm

A few folks have mentioned my ebolin is a bit closed. Which leads to another question. A lot of websites note that a closed tip is better for beginners?

How do I calculate vandoren tip opening? (1/100mm)

Or as previously stated.... A 4 vs 6? How do I convert that? I did a bit of research and mostly got lost

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Played my tenor for the 1st time since before summer, have been playing alto.
First thing I noticed (beside the size) was the amount of air and support: more than alto.
The attack takes more attention.
Both are Bueschers, 140 & 156 with Couf Artist 9* on each with 2/12 reeds.
Tenor had more middle D issues and alto A & Bb sharpness.
Tenor is more "muscular" and ballsy.
Alto sweet, smooth and more lilting.
I'm not going to neglect my tenor again but I really like playing alto
 

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Sheesh. Tip openings are confusing. I wonder if I'm calculating this correct.
In general, Brilhart mouthpieces can vary considerably from the listings in tip opening tables. To be honest, the only way to really know what the tip opening is on your Brilhart is to measure it.
Concerning the Yamaha tip openings, here is an old thread that discusses tip openings and facing lengths of Yamaha mouthpieces.
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...uthpiece-Tip-Opening-amp-Facing-Lengths-Chart

I recommend that you do measure your Brilhart tip opening for future reference, but beyond that do not get too hung up on tip size, since it is only one of the variables in mouthpiece selection. Facing length and chamber size/shape are just as important, if not more important. Practice and practice, and once you start feeling more comfortable, then start with reed selection, and only after that should you start experimenting with mouthpieces.

I know that this sounds like a plodding approach to take, but there are no magic shortcuts.
 
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