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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always had trouble with the notes in the upper register "cracking" on G, G# and, to a lesser extent, A. They tend to ignore the octave key and just sound in the lower register. I've always assumed it was some flaw in my playing (which it probably is), but even now that I've been practicing more than ever, it's not going away. I can't hit these notes with the same strength or strong articulation of any of the notes around them, and it's getting, to say the least, frustrating to have to approach them so gingerly every time.

I'm playing a Yamaha 62II that is (probably) still in good mechanical condition with an Otto Link STM 8 and RJS 2H and, recently Superial #2.5. No matter what reeds I'm using, this problem still exists. It also doesn't go away when I use different mouthpieces (Berg 110/2, HR Link 6*, Metalite M7).

What am I doing wrong?
 

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There have been a few threads on this in the past. I have a similar problem. Some have suggested that the aperture of the side octave vent may not have been drilled as wide as it should have been. (It seems to be a common problem on Selmers, and I've played a couple of Yamahas which have done this too). The threads may have been in the "tech" section of the forum. The general gist seemed to be to take it to an experienced tech to determine whether this is indeed the cause and have them repair it. It's a fairly simple procedure, from what I can gather, but you have to know what you're doing otherwise you could ruin the horn!
 

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Spend some time voicing the notes such that you can play them without using the octave key. True that it may be a mechanical issue with your horn but it's one that is readily overcome with a little work on your part - with the bonus that your sound will develop as well.

You should be able to easily get the low end of the upper octave to sound already without using the octave key (D2 through F2). The rest of range should be accessible with a little more concentration - up to D3.

I starting working on the topic after reading Liebman's text on Developing Your Own Sound. After incorporating this voicing exercise in my practice for a few years, it really added to my toolbox of tones. I regularly do an entire practice without using my octave key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dr G said:
Spend some time voicing the notes such that you can play them without using the octave key. True that it may be a mechanical issue with your horn but it's one that is readily overcome with a little work on your part - with the bonus that your sound will develop as well.

You should be able to easily get the low end of the upper octave to sound already without using the octave key (D2 through F2). The rest of range should be accessible with a little more concentration - up to D3.

I starting working on the topic after reading Liebman's text on Developing Your Own Sound. After incorporating this voicing exercise in my practice for a few years, it really added to my toolbox of tones. I regularly do an entire practice without using my octave key.
I'll work on that. I can usually get the upper register :line6: through the F# above it without the octave key using the voicing techniques and excercises that I've picked up over the years on clarinet (i.e. playing C above the staff without the register key and walking down the C major scale without the key, although that doesn't work as cleanly on clarinet as on sax, where you can get away without having the key). I'm definitely better at it on clarinet than I am on tenor, so it could use some practice.

My tech in San Francisco (Lee Kramka) is really excellent, so I don't think it's a mechanical problem. Plus, I'd feel stupid complaining to him about it and the the vent being the right size anyway...
 
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