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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see from the chart which I pasted below that there is an F# and a high F# key right next to each other. What is the difference and which notes is each used for? And which, if either is used for altissimo G?

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F# is for changing F in the low and mid octaves to F# (fingered 123 4 + that key, + octave key for 2nd octave; there are other fingerings for F# as well).

High F# is for the next octave up, and requires fingering the octave and palm keys for high F plus the high F# key. Your diagram doesn’t show a high G key, which few saxophones have (later Yanagisawa sopranos being amongst those that do). Quite a few horns don’t have the high F# key either, and some people prefer it that way (you can get there using altissimo fingerings).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
F# is for changing F in the low and mid octaves to F# (fingered 123 4 + that key, + octave key for 2nd octave))

High F# is for the next octave up, and requires fingering the octave and palm keys for high F plus the high F# key. Your diagram doesn’t show a high G key, which few saxophones have (later Yanagisawa sopranos being amongst those that do). Quite a few horns don’t have the high F# key either, and some people prefer it that way (you can get there using altissimo fingerings).
Why would you want to use the F# key in low and mid octavos to change from F to F#? Why wouldn't you just do it with the 1 and 2 keys on the right hand? Wouldn't it be quicker, cleaner and easier?
 

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Why would you want to use the F# key in low and mid octavos to change from F to F#? Why wouldn't you just do it with the 1 and 2 keys on the right hand? Wouldn't it be quicker, cleaner and easier?
Some trills you can't do as fast and some multiphonic and altissimo call for that F# key. I learned on a horn and still have horns that do not have high F# key, I barely use it to get to high F#. Depending on the horn it is useful for some altissimo and again for high F F# trillls
 

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Why would you want to use the F# key in low and mid octavos to change from F to F#? Why wouldn't you just do it with the 1 and 2 keys on the right hand? Wouldn't it be quicker, cleaner and easier?
It is both quicker and cleaner to use the F# key when alternating between F and F# because only a single tone hole is opening or closing as you operate the F# key. Otherwise, if you’re alternating between your right hand index finger and middle finger, in quick passages it’s possible to have one tone hole closing while the other is opening - essentially giving you two partially open tone holes when there should be only one open tone hole.
 
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To answer your other question, I don't know of any altissimo G fingerings that use either the high F# or alternate F# key.

You didn't ask about side C, but is serves exactly the same purpose as alternate F#. It's much cleaner and faster than finger flipping between B and C for trills and other fast, tricky passages.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
To answer your other question, I don't know of any altissimo G fingerings that use either the high F# or alternate F# key.

You didn't ask about side C, but is serves exactly the same purpose as alternate F#. It's much cleaner and faster than finger flipping between B and C for trills and other fast, tricky passages.
Side C? What about side E? What the heck do you do with that useless key? ;-)
So far I only use side C to play a C. I cannot stand the sound of the 2 key C. I just found out today about the C alternative fingering, which uses the 1 key and the side C. From the same dude that someone posted in the above video. It sounds 10x better than the standard C fingering. Does anyone even use the 2 key C fingering?
 

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To answer your other question, I don't know of any altissimo G fingerings that use either the high F# or alternate F# key.

You didn't ask about side C, but is serves exactly the same purpose as alternate F#. It's much cleaner and faster than finger flipping between B and C for trills and other fast, tricky passages.
Yeah, It is a solid pop on most tenors.

Also going to throw in there that if you’re (OP) not sure what the alt/ chromatic F# key and the high F# key are, do yourself a favor and completely forget about altissimo G for a good long while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Yeah, It is a solid pop on most tenors.

Also going to throw in there that if you’re (OP) not sure what the alt/ chromatic F# key and the high F# key are, do yourself a favor and completely forget about altissimo G for a good long while.
I haven't needed to use the F# nor high F# key yet for anything. I have although needed to play altissimo G. Which is the only altissimo note that I have trouble with all the way up to altissimo A.

Most of them are fairly easy with a Yani sax, Theo Wanna mouthpiece and Java reds or Bostons. But that G is a bitch for sure. The Lawton gives me a lot more trouble than the Theo though. It's super slippery. Which is an advantage for me most of the time. Except when playing altissimo. Slippage sucks then.
 

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I haven't needed to use the F# nor high F# key yet for anything. I have though needed to play altissimo G. Which is the only altissimo note that I have trouble with all the way up to altissimo A.

Most of them are fairly easy with a Yani sax, Theo Wanna mouthpiece and Java reds or Bostons. But that G is a bitch for sure.
You may never use either one if you use an altissimo fingering for F# and never do an F-F# trill. But you should practice with the alternate F# just in case you ever run across that situation.

You've come a long way in 2 short years if you're already playing altissimo A. Well done. When I was a kid, it was several years before I even knew altissimo existed.

G can be hard for even experienced players to control. What helps me is to make sure my front F just barely cracks open the top F.

Keep up the good work, and learn how to identify, understand and use ALL of the keys on the horn before moving on to more advanced stuff.
 

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As he says in the video at 5:16, altissimo G played with the High F# key is so easy to do “you don’t even need to know how to play the saxophone”😉
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
You may never use either one if you use an altissimo fingering for F# and never do an F-F# trill. But you should practice with the alternate F# just in case you ever run across that situation.

You've come a long way in 2 short years if you're already playing altissimo A. Well done. When I was a kid, it was several years before I even knew altissimo existed.

G can be hard for even experienced players to control. What helps me is to make sure my front F just barely cracks open the top F.

Keep up the good work, and learn how to identify, understand and use ALL of the keys on the horn before moving on to more advanced stuff.
Technically Ive only been playing for 11 months because I was traveling and without my instrument for several months. But I practice 3 to 6 hours 7 days and incessantly watch Jay Metcaff (Better Sax), Sirvalorsax , Saxologic, Scott Padock (and of course Brian Hayes and McGill Music School). Those guys are all super gnarly and very good teachers.

And much thanks for the tips!

PS, I listen to a ton of Jeff Coffin and LeRoi Moore. Which besides Coltrane and Getz were most of my inspiration to start playing sax. It's impossible to listen to thee guys and not to start practicing altissimo from like day one. ;-)
 

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The altissimo A pops so easily with a few different fingerings on most horns that it’s easier to get solid on that and work down to G# and G. I find G# a much less stable note for me than G. It’s also less stable for me when played as the 6th partial of low B versus the G as the 5th partial of low C.
I actually sealed off the high F# tone hole from the inside on my tenor for a while to see how infrequently I use the high F# key. I never use it for high F#, but the high F# fingering plus LH 3 (or not) is a great altissimo Eb…I went for it on a gig and had to lip up when I realized why it wasn’t there 🤣

edit: you commented while I was posting. It was actually Jeff Coffin who hipped me to cycling the palm keys for altissimo B and higher and using LH 3 (or not) to switch the octave vent to help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
The altissimo A pops so easily with a few different fingerings on most horns that it’s easier to get solid on that and work down to G# and G. I find G# a much less stable note for me than G. It’s also less stable for me when played as the 6th partial of low B versus the G as the 5th partial of low C.
I actually sealed off the high F# tone hole from the inside on my tenor for a while to see how infrequently I use the high F# key. I never use it for high F#, but the high F# fingering plus LH 3 (or not) is a great altissimo Eb…I went for it on a gig and had to lip up when I realized why it wasn’t there 🤣

edit: you commented while I was posting. It was actually Jeff Coffin who hipped me to cycling the palm keys for altissimo B and higher and using LH 3 (or not) to switch the octave vent to help.
Jeff is unreal. For me he's definitely Coltrane level. If not much better. Not that that's at all a fair nor even sane comparison but I guess everything sax is compared to Coltrane ;-) I really liked LeRoy as well. He had soul that I haven't ever seen in another sax player. He was definitely one of the biggest loses in modern music.

If you haven't seen this yet its some of the best playing Jeff has done (and Ive seen and heard him do way, way too many). If you're a hater there is a vid somewhere online that cuts right to the chase (solo) but it's totally out of context. Best to have a nice glass of wine or a beer and sit back and enjoy the entirety .

 

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Jeff is unreal. For me he's definitely Coltrane level. If not much better. Not that that's at all a fair nor even sane comparison but I guess everything sax is compared to Coltrane ;-) I really liked LeRoy as well. He had soul that I haven't ever seen in another sax player. He was definitely one of the biggest loses in modern music.
I caught a bit of an interview somewhere with Dave Mathews talking about the two of them. Of course Jeff had guested with DMB before Roi died, but he spoke a lot about how they each brought a different type of energy and mastery of their craft to the group. Their common bond is that they’re both all about the team concept and building the groove.
You should check out Jeff’s saxophone book, he’s a gifted teacher, I can’t imagine they’re anything but great.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I caught a bit of an interview somewhere with Dave Mathews talking about the two of them. Of course Jeff had guested with DMB before Roi died, but he spoke a lot about how they each brought a different type of energy and mastery of their craft to the group. Their common bond is that they’re both all about the team concept and building the groove.
You should check out Jeff’s saxophone book, he’s a gifted teacher, I can’t imagine they’re anything but great.
It'd probably be very, very difficult to not build a groove when you're playing with musicianship at that level. I mean come on, could you imagine playing with a guitarist, songwriter, bass player and of course drummer that strong. Just Carter on drums alone.... It's stupid. There's not really any musicians that have made it to that level of musicianship, at least technically and groovability. ;-)
 

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It'd probably be very, very difficult to not build a groove when you're playing with musicianship at that level. I mean come on, could you imagine playing with a guitarist, songwriter, bass player and of course drummer that strong. Just Carter on drums alone.... It's stupid. There's not really any musicians that have made it to that level of musicianship, at least technically and groovability. ;-)
Dave will straight up tell you that he likes to say what he has to say (lyrics), the get out of the way and sit back in the pocket listening to his favorite musicians rock out. 💜
 
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