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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I've a very important recital coming up (my final uni one for my undergraduate), and ALL my reeds buzz too much. A little buzz is part of the sax sound (or at least mine), but this is ridiculous. I've gone through 3 boxes of Vandoren 3.5 to no avail; they all buzz in a similar way.

I've heard "it could be the weather" - it's spring time here (Victoria, Australia), however none of my friends at uni really have this problem. Additionally, it's been happening since winter, so that probably cancels out that option.

It could be the way I blow through my horn (which has changed this year), requiring me to possibly go up to 4's, but I've never heard of air stream affecting buzz.

It's probably not the way I prepare my reeds, on account of I am following my teachers instructions on this and he doesn't have a buzz problem, and secondly, in an attempt to cancel this possibility, I broke in reeds in differing ways and you guessed it- buzz galore all round.

At this stage I'm thinking that my swap to 4's may hold salvation, but I'm skeptical because even the hardest 3.5s in the boxes I've tried- so hard they are too hard for me- still buzz.

Any advice would be really appreciated. I know it's hard to really help over the interwebs, but it's worth a shot. I'm stressed out, because I can't fix it and it's all thats stopping me from being very excited about this recital. :cry:

Thanks,

-Jon
 

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You should talk to your teacher about reed adjusting, especially since it sounds like you are at the advanced stage. The problem of buzzing is in the tip, one way to fix it is by trimming the tip slightly and playing it after each cut to see if you like it, you can get reed trimmers for like 20 or 30 dollars. Theres a few good books out there on reed adjusting off the top of my head Larry Teal has a good section in The Art of Saxophone playing on reeds , and Ben Armato's Perfecting a reed and beyond. You would be absolutely surprised at how small of an adjustment like scraping a little saw dust off the shoulder of a reed can make a huge difference. Good Luck
 

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Crommo,

It's curious that you're having this problem with all of your reeds.

I don't know if this will help, but, please give it a try and see....

If you have your ligature in the middle part of your mouthpiece try moving it toward the front. It's been my experience that the ideal location for the ligature is to place its front edge just behind the edge of the mouthpiece window. In this way the ligature will also be just behind the U-shaped cut of the reed. I'm thinking that having your ligature in this spot may help to reduce the buzz you're getting and give you a clearer sound.

This placement of the ligature was first suggested to me by Ralph Morgan around 6-7 years ago.

It might help to put the ligature on your mouthpiece without a reed to see the spot I'm suggesting in relation to the edge of the window. Then, see how your set up plays with a reed.

Please let us know if this helps or not.

Roger
 

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Are you sure it's the reeds? I'm assuming that you're playing blue box Vando's. That's what I use too and they only start buzzing when they're very used.

I find it odd that you went throught 3 box's and that every single reed buzzes :? .It's also odd that no one else has this problem.
If it's a metalic type buzz it could be something loose on the instrument.
Borrow a friend or your teacher's sax to see if the problem persists while still using the same reeds.

Also try cleaning out your neck with warm soapy water and a brush.
 

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What kind of mouthpiece are you using? Are you putting a lot or a little mouthpiece in your mouth?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all your help. I'll tackle each comment in order.

saxplaya81: I was aware that the tip was at least primarily responsible for buzz, and have trimmed the tips of several. This did not reduce buzz. When I moved the reed forward .5mm to 1mm over the edge of the mouthpiece, the buzz was significantly reduced. However, so was many of the brighter aspects of my sound that I enjoy.

Roger Aldridge: I have also attempted various ligature positions, and yes, moving it forward reduced buzz, but not to the level I'd like. After reading your comment, I did move it even further forward, to "just behind the edge of the mouthpiece window", and it made even more difference. As I side note, I actually enjoy the flexibility and sound when my ligature is here (though there was still buzz.)

daigle65: I'm not sure it's the reeds. I would assume that I'm at a level where I'd notice if it was a metallic, instrument-like buzz, but maybe not. However, I bought the sax in very good condition and had it serviced as a precaution on top of that. Having said that, it couldn't hurt to try someone else's horn and also clean out my neck.

Martinman: I am using a Rousseau NC4, with around a centimeter of mouthpiece in (give or take a little). It could be something to do with the mouthpiece and it's reaction to me, as I only got the mouthpiece this year. But I don't recall if there was a correspondence between getting the mouthpiece and buzz, date-wise.

Anyway, thanks for all your help and ideas, I've got some things to thing about now. Please feel free to elaborate and continue aiding me if you get any inspiration!

Cheers
 

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An NC4 is like the Dukoff of classical mouthpiece, i.e., the brightest there is (that I have played anyway). What were you playing before?

Try varying the amount of mouthpiece in your mouth and see if it helps.
 

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crommo said:
Hi,


It's probably not the way I prepare my reeds, on account of I am following my teachers instructions on this and he doesn't have a buzz problem, and secondly, in an attempt to cancel this possibility, I broke in reeds in differing ways and you guessed it- buzz galore all round.


-Jon
What works for your teacher may not work for you. If I was noticing excessive buzz in my own tone, my first reaction would be that the reeds are too dry. Possibly not being soaked enough on the first play. Vandos, for me, like to be played a bit more on the dry side then Ricos. But that said, if they are really dry and dry climate on top, they'll be buzzy and chirpy all day long. In my experience, they never seem to come back once they have completely dried out. My personal rule of thumb - the bigger the baffle, the wetter the reed (tends to warm up the sound) - the bigger the chamber, the drier the reed (tends to brighten). However, to each their own.
 

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A few suggestions : i would check the reed location on the mouthpiece. make sure you bend the reed forward to see where it lines up in relation to the tip. also check to see if the reed tip curve matches the curve on the mouthpiece tip. a very slight variation and you can get all sorts of problems. check your mouthpiece tip and table with a magnifying glass to make sure it is flawless.
can you play down to low b flat with your hard reeds ? if not then go the other way and try a softer reed.
 

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Has your teacher noticed excessive buzz, or just you? Sometimes when I'm playing in practice rooms all the time, I start getting depressed about my clarinet sound, since it sounds so buzzy and harsh, but when I'm in the teaching studios, rehearsal room or the recital hall, I sound (if I may say so myself...) pretty good. When I've been practicing for a long time, I get hyper-sensitive to things like that and sometimes have to remind myself to chill out a little.
 

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I find this kind of odd. Maybe your idea of "buzz" is just the normal sound of a sax. Aren't reeds supposed to buzz to some extent? It's the vibration of the reed that makes a sound in the first place.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, I've considered both of these (dirty and JL), however my teacher has noticed it. It's pretty mental. You'd have to be deaf to not notice it. I've bought a box of 4's and am currently soaking them in, so we'll see if that does anything. Oh, and about the buzz being a part of the sound, I agree. But, this is worse than I've ever had before; That's what distresses me. It unusual. And it's really annoying!
 
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