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Discussion Starter #1
I have been working on altissimo lately on my tenor, I am fairly new to it.

So far I am practicing E/F/F#/G, all of which come out and sound very full except E.
E is very very very airy, breathy.

Is this an indication of something directly or can it be many things?
 

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did you mean fork/front E ? in this case, it's probably because of the front f key opening too much or too little, on some saxophones it can be adjusted.
 

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E3 with the altissimo fingering (not using the palm keys), is similar to the G2-A2 area of the saxophone. That note is somewhat weaker than other altissimo notes, in particular F and F#, and for similar reasons that G2 is sometimes weak or stuffy. It has to do with the register key switch - E3 altissimo uses the body octave pip, F3 altissimo uses the neck octave pip.

The front F lift key should have a little play in it, and it should not open the F palm key all the way. How much it should open is a matter for testing :) If you have the front F lift key adjusted properly, you might inspect the octave pips and clean them with a pipe cleaner or some such. But E3 altissimo is a weaker note than F3 altissimo even when everything is right.
 

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Altissimo fingering of left hand only
If I'm clear here, you are meaning the fork E, rather than the octave higher.

In that case, Geolm is correct. The key on left hand pointer finger above the normal b key opens the palm F key. The key may need adjusting, as they often open too much (or rarely, too little).
 

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Each of my horns prefers a different opening for the fork F key. You just have to try different settings. This is one of those examples of why it's well for any sax player of normal intelligence to learn how to do certain minor adjustments. If you have to pay someone to do this adjustment you could be running back and forth to the shop a dozen times.

Try, for a change, the G# fingering, plus the high E side key. A good strong E should pop out with a slightly different timbre than either the palm key E or the fork key E. I use this fingering a fair amount especially when I need to hit that note from out of nowhere and loud.

The front E, F, F# using the fork F key are a bit wonky acoustically anyway because they use a full sized tone hole as an overblowing vent. So the high E that would be the third harmonic of A is actually achieved as the third harmonic of G, and the F that would be overblown from Bb is actually achieved from A; the F# that would be overblown from B is overblown from a variant fingering of Bb, and the G (if you use that fingering for it) that would be from C, actually comes from B-variant.

This is why not having it open all the way with the fork key can so often help with those notes; it makes it a little closer to being a vent like the two octave vents.
 

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The front E is more affected by the opening of the F palm key than the front F. A weak or unresponsive front E can usually be corrected by adjusting the mechanism to provide a wider opening of the F palm key---even up to the opening of the key when it is opened by the "palm". You can't go beyond that opening unless the cork on the foot of the palm key is made thinner.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The front E is more affected by the opening of the F palm key than the front F. A weak or unresponsive front E can usually be corrected by adjusting the mechanism to provide a wider opening of the F palm key---even up to the opening of the key when it is opened by the "palm". You can't go beyond that opening unless the cork on the foot of the palm key is made thinner.
So i tried this by hand, moving the palm F out slowly, and the airyness went away.
However, when I try to adujust the set screw that sets the palm F distance, it really does nothing in terms of adjusting the distance over the span of the slot.
The set screw would have to move about 1/16" further to get the palm F where I want it.

I also notice that the arm under that adjustment screw that it makes contact with to move the palm F is flopping around a bit when at rest to the tune of a bit over 1/8".
When I look at the other end of that arm's mechanism, the one under the palm F, there are no corks behind it or on top of it (not enough room on top of it between the palm F and it at the moment, not sure if any belong there normally.
Could this arm be bent? should the arm be close to or in contact with the set screw (there is teflon around set screw btw).
 

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Most saxes there will unavoidably be some lost motion in the front F mechanism. Not something to worry about. You'll have to adjust cork thicknesses and/or bend arms a wee bit to get the opening where you want it, even on a horn where you can adjust the length of the lever arm (as I think yours is).
 

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So i tried this by hand, moving the palm F out slowly, and the airyness went away.
However, when I try to adujust the set screw that sets the palm F distance, it really does nothing in terms of adjusting the distance over the span of the slot.
The set screw would have to move about 1/16" further to get the palm F where I want it.

I also notice that the arm under that adjustment screw that it makes contact with to move the palm F is flopping around a bit when at rest to the tune of a bit over 1/8".
When I look at the other end of that arm's mechanism, the one under the palm F, there are no corks behind it or on top of it (not enough room on top of it between the palm F and it at the moment, not sure if any belong there normally.
Could this arm be bent? should the arm be close to or in contact with the set screw (there is teflon around set screw btw).
A photo of the mechanism on your sax would help to give detailed directions on what needs to be done since each make and sometimes model of sax is different.
 

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Yep, that's the classic "adjustable travel" mechanism. If you've moved the pin as far in the slot as it'll go and you want to reduce the F opening even more, you'll have to intoduce some lost motion into the works. You can bend the long arm of the teeter-totter a wee bit, or shave a bit off that plastic tube.

If you are real determined you could possibly silver-solder an extension onto the long arm of the teeter-totter and mill the slot to be longer. (Maybe.)
 

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Great photos. I have illustrated what I would suggest in the photo below. I may be mistaken (since "visualizing" shapes and mechanics has never been my strong suit), but I think that in order to "open" F palm key more, the lug needs to be moved up. If that does not produce sufficient opening of the F palm key to clear up the front E, you can add some cork to the top of the "teeter totter" bar under the F key. If you add too much and the key won't close, so it is necessary to leave a bit of "lost motion".

View attachment 247290
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Great photos. I have illustrated what I would suggest in the photo below. I may be mistaken (since "visualizing" shapes and mechanics has never been my strong suit), but I think that in order to "open" F palm key more, the lug needs to be moved up. If that does not produce sufficient opening of the F palm key to clear up the front E, you can add some cork to the top of the "teeter totter" bar under the F key. If you add too much and the key won't close, so it is necessary to leave a bit of "lost motion".

View attachment 247290
That is what I concluded as well, however....
1. I moved the lug up and down to every position and it really does not do a thing. This made we wonder if that side of the teeter was maybe bent or too far away from it to have it have any impact.
2. There is maybe 1mm free space between the palm F and the other end of the teeter totter, no room for basically any cork without getting in the way of the palm F closing.

Based on your evaluation, I am thinking my tech will need to do some managing of the teeter totter and/or palm F, cork or other things I can do safely won't matter.
It is heading back to him Saturday to fix a nagging octave pad sticking (he likes neoprene, which is what he put on it during the previous owners overhaul, I told him i did not like it, round 2 it will go my way, still sticking, but that is another topic), so, will have him work on this too.
 

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That is what I concluded as well, however....
1. I moved the lug up and down to every position and it really does not do a thing. This made we wonder if that side of the teeter was maybe bent or too far away from it to have it have any impact.
2. There is maybe 1mm free space between the palm F and the other end of the teeter totter, no room for basically any cork without getting in the way of the palm F closing.

Based on your evaluation, I am thinking my tech will need to do some managing of the teeter totter and/or palm F, cork or other things I can do safely won't matter.
It is heading back to him Saturday to fix a nagging octave pad sticking (he likes neoprene, which is what he put on it during the previous owners overhaul, I told him i did not like it, round 2 it will go my way, still sticking, but that is another topic), so, will have him work on this too.
When you move the lug up, is there more "free play" in the mechanism---meaning the front F touch moves a considerable distance before it contacts the "rocking mechanism"? If that is the case then the longer arm does need to be bent up. That should take care of both issues. One more thought. If there is a thick piece of material on the underside of the key between it and the body where I have indicated "add cork", then you can trim or remove that material altogether which will then allow you to add more cork at the top. That may get you closer to where you want it to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Swung by Roberto’s this am, the teeter totter arm under the front F key side was in fact bent.
Fixed and adjusted, wind tunnel fork E gone.
Thanks for the help!
 
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