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Discussion Starter #1
Abput 6 months ago I got my first tenor, a Martin Indiana. I had it repadded, seems to sound great. But I find when I play low Bb to G the octave key has no effect unless I have a fairly tight embouchre. In that case the horn "hangs"at the higher note when the octave key is released. Had the horn checked, no leaks. The lower octave key pad raises up about 3/16 or 1/4 inch, the little tube or spud is perfectly clear. Works fine for A and above. I guess I've unconsciously been "lipping" up the notes to get it to work, so I can live with it - or perhaps this is a characteristic of tenors. I've also tried other mouthpieces, same result. Never had this problem with my alto, Cmel or bari. Does anyone have an idea if something is wrong with the horn - or is it me?
 

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On an octave key G, the alternate octave key is in play. You might want to make sure it isn't sticking a little bit. Even the slightest delay can cause the note to not sound properly.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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A Martin! You know it won't play any music written after 1959, right? Anyway, the tenor sax generally does what you're describing. You have to play the octave change on G, not just keep blowing like SpongeBob's cat/snail Gary playing Squidward's clarinet. This might mean a slight embouchure change and/or a legato tongue. The body octave vent on the tenor has always been 'iffy'. Somebody or other is always coming out with a new model to cure this. Steve Goodson once designed a tenor with about a dozen vents on it. Just make it happen, and apply this mindset to playing the sax in general. The keys are there to help you play it, not the other way around.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Saxman - Don't disparage my Martin -I'll have you know I actually played something ffom 1961 the other day! Come to think of it it didn't sound too good but that's the operator, not the sax.
Anyway thank you for the input, apparently my horn is a little more sensitive than most but it seems that you do have to "lip" a tenor a bit to get up an octave. Larry Teal's book says otherwise but I go by what other people have experienced and your help is much appreciated.
 

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I was playing my tenor the other day prior to putting it in the shop for a little work, and I tried out your problem. You see, I've been playing for so dam long I don't consciously think of things like this but automatically do them while playing. Anyway, yes, any tenor will continue to play G2 after you release the octave key, and you have to make it jump the octave for G1 down to D1. You don't use the octave key below that except for special purposes. 'Making it play' is part 'hearing' the note you want to play and part 'willing' it to happen, maybe with the help of a little breath push or light tonguing. Playing any horn is just like singing - you have to 'hear' the note first, then play it. Obviously, this can't work in fast passages - it's a training thing. Plus, you get used to adjusting for the intonation quirks of your horn. No horn plays a note just because you press a key, move a slide push or down a valve - you have to play the horn. The keys, valves and slides are there to get you in the ballpark, just like your vocal cords. You still have to have your mind around the note before playing it.
BTW, I would never seriously disparage anybody's horn, much less a Martin, since I own one, a 1962 'The Martin Tenor', 'Official Music Man Model' (same as any other 'The Martin Tenor', just has that engraved on it).
 
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