Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi friends,

First of all - I'm sorry for my bad English. I'm not a native English speaker, so please be easy with me.

I used to play a lot as youngster (I'm pretty much self-taught on the saxophone. I did, however, studied the Clarinet), and now I'm getting back to practice after some years without touching my horn.

I play a Serie-III Selmer tenor with a Jumbo-Java t-75 mouthpiece and a La-Voz med-hard reed.

My problem is that while playing scales I change the position of my jaw and the lips pressure to adjust them to the desired tone. I read Teal's "The art of Saxophone playing" and on page 62 he relates to this problem and emphasis how wrong it is :(

I tried to do the exercise he recommands i.e: play a mid A and than a high A, without changing anything but pressing the register key - but after the first high A, the release of the regiter key doesn't produce the lower A. It just stays high until I re-adjust my jaw / lip pressure.

Another (related I believe) problem is that in order to produce the lower notes (let say beneath low D) I have to blow harder taking out more air than on higher notes, and that makes my sound very loud and "hard". If I don't blow hard enough on those notes - the sound will vibrate or even won't be continuos. To sum it up - I sound differently on those low tones than on the whole range of the sax.

Any comments would be much appreciated.
Thanks,
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,303 Posts
I have not read Teal's book (looked through it once). I'm of the opinion that much of octave-jump success is mental - thinking the right note will often help the player speak the right note, thus the octave key becomes secondary to producing the correct tone (and pitch).

Seasoned players can go through a tune (or an exercise) without operating the octave key.

Also, throat control is essential in making the saxophone speak in the desired register. I agree that leaving the jaw and lips out of it is a good habit to develop, although I've seen plenty of players making obvious adjustments as they played. Concentrating on the pitch, octave, desired note and adjusting with the throat may help you to make those A's sound out properly.

For the low notes, it helps to "see" the sound going all the way through the horn and out the bell (another mental issue, I think, assuming your horn is leak-free and your mouthpiece set-up is appropriate for your embouchure). Many beginners (and those returning after years of being away) operate as if putting the air to the reed is all that's required. It goes further than that, though - all the way through the horn . DAVE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks dave for your fast and informative reply.
I DO visualise the tone I desire before playing it, and thinking "low" before playing a low tone does help. I just suspect that this visualsing and concentrating in the desired tone are exactly the reasons for my jaw and lip pressure adjustments.

Anyway, I also read Paul Coats recommandation of playing the mouthpiece alone until getting a perfect and sound G, and then use the same mputhpiece intake, pressure and so on through the whole sax. I'll sure give it a try tommorow...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
80 Posts
Hello, The Coctor.

I struggeled with the same thing, for two reasons:

1. The neck was slightly twisted and partially activated the octave vent.
2. My Embochure was wrong. It helped me to do an exercise where I went up and down between registers without pressing the octave key. It is not that hard.

Good luck, and welcome!
OsloSax
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hi OsloSax,

Could you explain a bit more about the second section ? I can play high note without pressing the register key, but how would that help me getting those low tones right ?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Hi all,
I've been working on my sound since this morning and after about half an hour with my regular reeds (la-voz Med-hard) I found an old La-Voz med in my case.
Wow !!! what a change ! suddenly everything sounds much better and the tones are evenly and easily produced through the whole horn.
Even the Paul Coats drill worked ! (but there still is a delay after I release the register key and before the medium A is produced. Is that OK ?)

Maybe it's time to reduce the reed strength and settle for La-Voz med or Rico Royal 2 1/2 instead of La-Voz Med-Hard and Rico Royal 3 1/2.

Edit: the only problem is that I don't know if the La-Voz med I played represents properly the strength of the La-Voz med reeds, since it's a pretty old reed (but was hardly used!). What say you ?
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
The Coctor said:
...the only problem is that I don't know if the La-Voz med I played represents properly the strength of the La-Voz med reeds, since it's a pretty old reed (but was hardly used!). What say you ?
That was the first thing that struck me when I read your first post - the relationship between the mouthpiece tip opening and your reed strength; whether or not you were using too strong a reed.

Regarding the strength of that one reed you found, you won't know exactly how strong/weak it is until you compare it with about a box of reeds which are marked the same strength. I believe most reeds in a box are the same strength, but there are differences and you need to play several reeds before you can have a perspective.

You might even want to get a few LaVoz medium-soft reeds also in your comparison.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,336 Posts
The Coctor said:
Even the Paul Coats drill worked ! (but there still is a delay after I release the register key and before the medium A is produced. Is that OK ?) Maybe it's time to reduce the reed strength and settle for La-Voz med or Rico Royal 2 1/2 instead of La-Voz Med-Hard and Rico Royal 3 1/2.
It is amazing what putting the correct pitch into the mouthpiece will do. Reeds that are too stiff can force the embouchure to be too tight and create several tone and pitch related problems---especially on the larger woodwinds. A slight hesitation before the high A drops to low A is normal and ok. Another test of the correct embouchure tightness on tenor is to play the mouthpiece and neck. The pitch should be an E concert with the mouthpiece set on the cork where you normally tune.

It sounds like you are on the right track. Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
56 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Gary and jbtsax.
I will sure try to produce the E with only neck and mouthpiece.
I'm now looking for some LaVoz meds... and in the meantime trying to adjust some med-hard reeds to play like med reeds.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
774 Posts
My first reaction was much the same.... after 'years' of not playing, a Med-hard LaVoz might just be too hard, even if you used to play with them.

I recently had a similar problem and found that I was 'biting' slightly in the high register....the same exercise, but with embouchure relaxation has solved that particular one...... on to the next :D
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top