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The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got a maddening problem with a relatively new (to me) sax. When I play I keep getting a grainy, spittle-like sound. I've read a pretty good thread on spit/condensation sound and tried some of the remedies but they haven't worked. Last night I took another sax out and the same problem wasn't there. So here's my question.

Do any of you techs and other experienced folks know of a technical problem that can make a sax have the same kind of sound that condensation/spittle makes? If so, naturally, what is the solution?

FWIW, the sax was used when I bought it and I think had been sitting around for a long time before it was sold. It has not been to a repair person since I got it. It plays otherwise well. Thanks.
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Gary, things to check:

1. Neck cork seal to mouthpiece and neck.

2. Rods and their support posts...sometimes there can be a metal to metal contact, and when the horn vibrates it can make a spittle-like noise. Techs usually place a piece of cork, teflon, ultraseude etc. to cease these vibrations.

3. Inside of neck. Is it clean? Built up dirt and other nasties might be making spit retain inside the neck and cause it to cling, and you might be hearing the built up spit.

Hope you figure out what it is.

Saxaholic
 

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Loose metal resonator?
Loose clamp between body and bow?
Loose thread for key guard bumper?
Loose key guard mounting screw?
Lack of oil in a pivot?

But these are all strictly mechnical possibilites.

Poor compromises in acoustic design?

What brand/model is it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gordon (NZ) said:
Poor compromises in acoustic design? What brand/model is it?
Hi Gordon! It's a YTS 82 Z; probably about four years old and it's either used or has been sitting around in a warehouse someplace all this time. I don't know if it's relevant but it has no F# key (not removed - never there).

The sound does not seem like it's coming from anyplace but near my face. It's not a rattling. It sounds like a very grainy white-noise. I suppose it could be condensation/spittle but I've been really trying to compensate for that.

BTW, I've used a variety of reeds and mpcs - same basic sound.

Saxaholic - thanks for the tips. I ran fast-running water through the neck last night and out the octave hole as well. Haven't played it yet today, but before I ran the water, I looked down the neck with a light and it looked pretty clear.

Saxland - thanks for the comment. Faulty air support wouldn't be a factor for me, though.
 

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Gary -

I'm glad you asked this question. This happens to me also from time to time, but moreso on a certain mouthpiece (and while on different horns), but I find that it comes and goes. I find that if I firm up my embouchure, I can minimize or eliminate it, but I'd be surprised if that's your issue. I've also found that it tends to go away with firmer reeds. Let me know if any of the suggestions wind up working for you.

Frank
 

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You have given us an interesting puzzle, Gary. Does the sound stay the same when the neck octave is closed? How about when the body octave is closed as well (notes below 4th line D).

You might also check the pad in the neck octave key and the play in the hinge of that key as well as the firmness of the spring that closes the neck octave.

My guess is that it is either a sympathetic vibration somewhere near the top of the instrument or a small leak. It could even be a loose resonator in one of the pads. If the low register responds easily it is probably not a leak in the upper part of the sax and more likely an unwanted vibration.

John
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Grumps said:
Hey Gary, does it make the annoying sound right when you pick up the horn, or after you've played it a while?
LOL. It starts making an annoying sound as soon as I start reaching for it!! :D

No, actually Grumps it's as soon as I play it. It's immediate.
I was playing it this afternoon and my D's were stuffier than a Yamaha should be and I was having to humour them. Also the low B, Bb have always been a little problematic (this coming from a JK owner and long-time Conn player) so I think I really should take it to a tech and then get back to you folks.

I've tried all the suggestions so far and nothing's clearing it up and I don't want to waste your collective time. Thanks for the suggestions.
 

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Probably not condensation then. You know, I was getting this annoying ringing and buzzing when I was practicing. Happened just after I moved a drum set into my practice room though...
 

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That reminds me of playing in a show... a very sensitive, emotional moment with only my flute playing, softly, very exposed, with the auditorium oh-so-quiet. Night after night, I had drum snare accompaniment.

As it often is with drummers, he was sufficiently deaf to not even hear it, right uner his nose. I doubt he even knew I was playing.

He just had to loosen those snare wires, but even after being told, he kept forgetting. He was such a good player that he did not need to write a reminder on his music. :)
 
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