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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just had a client who intended to buy a Bari i recently overhauled. She did not buy it, because she had troubles playing the A1 in piano and pianissimo, without having a strong tendency to jump one octave higher and/or warbling. Playing it louder it was absolutely fine and all other notes were also no problem.
I did not try it (Covid) after she complained about that issue, but checked everything technically and everything was perfect to my. I also tried opening the G a little more with no effect whatsoever. So i told her it had probably to do with her embouchure/air flow and/or mouthpiece combination. However, i had the feeling that she thought that was kind of a cheap excuse.
I very rarely play baritone - is that a common problem one can have with a vintage bari? Is there any workaround or did i miss something at all?

Thanks in advance for your input.
 

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By A1 I assume you are speaking about the middle A?

Middle A is a weird note on a lot of saxophones. It has an interesting timbre and requires all of the bottom hand keys to be open, so it can cause some buzzing or volume issues if played incorrectly- It is also the "break" point in the saxophone in the upper register, as you can see by moving from one octave mechanism to the other when switching from octave G to octave A.

If she was an inexperienced player, I could see it being an issue. That said, an older sax with less reliable ergonomics could have some amateur players who are used to another setup. It could also be a problem with the octave pads, as due to it being the break point that note is affected more by a small leak in the upper register (even though that would likely not be the case as the lower notes seem to be fine from your post.)
 

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If she can play Bb, and Ab, with no problem, especially the Bb with the side fingering, it sounds like a leak. I would expect that she would have similar issues with those notes if it were embouchure or air (or mouthpiece/reed) problem.

Did you check the side Bb key? Maybe a small leak there, or it's blowing open. Also make sure she isn't inadvertently touching some other key slightly (like the palm keys).
 

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If everything is
That was my second guess. When you're playing lower notes the bis key might come down all the way but without the G being pressed it might have a small leak.
If that's the case something might be binding, If not a drop of oil might help.
 
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