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Well the title says it all. I can't get a good tone out of my palm keys. They are way too sharp(almost half a semi tone) and when I pitch them down by dropping my jaw I lose my tone. they also sound weak and I can't really control them. My front F and F# are fine but it's really annoying that I can't play the palm keys normally.

I practice longtones everyday for 45 minutes including overtones etc but somehow it's not helping? Can someone please help me with this?
 

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First guess: If you lose your tone when pitching the notes down to correct pitch, you're not maintaing proper airflow, support and speed.
 

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First guess: If you lose your tone when pitching the notes down to correct pitch, you're not maintaing proper airflow, support and speed.
Thanks but I know that that's is the problem but I can't figure out how to fix it. Do you have any advice?
 

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I'm always hesitant to give advice via the internet because I can't hear the problem. I can only tell you what I do myself. A good exercise is to play a C3 (for instance) hold it for some seconds and then bend it down to a B3, without losing any quality in the tone. Hold the B3 also for some seconds. You'll notice that the B3 will need a lot of extra air and diaphragm support. This exercise is easier with high notes, so I suggest you start there. Once the B3 sounds good, try bending the C3 down to Bb3, again without losing the sound quality. After that, move down, so, start on B3 and bend it to Bb3 and A3, and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I'm always hesitant to give advice via the internet because I can't hear the problem.
Me too. But the first thing I'd look into is whether the D and possible Eb and/or E are opening too far. This would cause sharpness on the palm keys. first check the D, if necessary add some cork. Then check the Eb, then the E.
 

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Me too. But the first thing I'd look into is whether the D and possible Eb and/or E are opening too far. This would cause sharpness on the palm keys. first check the D, if necessary add some cork. Then check the Eb, then the E.
Well the D and Eb palm keys are in tune, and so are the fork keys but I already noticed that the front f, but I already noticed that the front f doesn't open the f as much as the palm f. But I'll check it out thank you
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Well the D and Eb palm keys are in tune, and so are the fork keys but I already noticed that the front f, but I already noticed that the front f it still could be the E & F palm keys opening too much. but, it can be OK for F front to not open as much as the F palm. In fact I sometimes make it open less on purpose, to make altissimo better.

If in doubt get a teacher or tech to give it a try, this can be a very crucial area. Once you're happy that the mechanics are good, then you know for sure it's time to work on your playing of the notes.
 

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Donald Sinta's book on voicing will work wonders for you. (Voicing: an approach to the saxophone's third register)

Also, check these exercises: http://everythingsaxophone.blogspot.com/2011/06/altissimo-crash-course-beginner-through.html. Some of these exercises are actually in Sinta's book.

Both resources are meant to be preliminary exercises to the altissimo range, but it will build a great foundation for good saxophone tone production. Warp X's exercise is also one that is featured in Sinta's book, the only difference being he tells you to do it with the front-F and keep at it until you can reach a full octave.
 

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As a young player I had some of the same issues. I realized that much of it, at least in my case was mental, which in turn would translate to the physical aspect of playing those notes. I have seen many beginning and even intermediate level players be afraid of those notes. They know the notes are high and a little more difficult to play, and they think to hard about hitting them. This causes you to tense up and become "shy" so to speak, which in turn causes you to back of of the air flow/support and also to increase pressure on your embouchure, essentially biting down on the reed causing the pitch to go way sharp with a thin tone.


Definitely check the horn as Pete has said. Mechanics can also contribute to this issue. Don't be intimidated by the upper register! Again, just another opinion to add to the already great advice in this thread. Hope everything helps!
 

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It's common for these keys to open too far. I've seen dents in the tube where the foot rest of the key has pushed in the tube, either because the cork had fallen off, the horn was dropped, or simply because of too much pressure applied by the player. It's also not uncommon to get the cork really compressed on these keys.

I've noticed in my own playing that the urge to bite the mp when playing the palm keys is accompanied by the urge to mash down on the key. I don't know exactly why this is, although it reminds me of a scene in the movie "My Life as a Dog" where the anxiety caused by really needing to do something perfectly makes doing it impossible. Instead of just playing the note, I think to myself "Oh no, I have to hit a palm key and have perfect pitch." I've jinxed it and all manner of incorrect actions follow.

But first check to ensure that the problem isn't physical with the horn rather than physiological (or mental). Get some Post-It notes, cut them into strips about 8 notes thick, and stick them under the palm key foot rests. This should lower the pad heights by more than a millimeter. If this also lowers the pitch, you need to fine tune key heights first before worrying about embouchure and wind. Also, is your C# too sharp?

Mark

Mark
 
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