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So for the past two weeks or so I've been having an issue with the palm key high F and F# not coming out, and jumping up to a higher note. I'm not sure what the F jumps up to, but the F# jumps up to a D#, which is oddly perfectly in tune. I brought it to the repair guy today, and he said he couldn't find anything wrong with it regulation-wise so we're all stumped currently. I'm playing on a Selmer Soloist with V12 3.5's on a Reference 54 alto, and haven't dropped anything or anything of that sort. Front F and F# come out consistently, and high E and high G (1&3 on each hand; my only altissimo note) come out clearly as well. I've definitely considered that it's just me, but I haven't noticeably changed anything in the past few weeks and even though I continue to practice those notes they don't seem to be getting any better. I've been playing for about 7 years now, all-state band, first at all-district, etc. so it's not a development issue or anything. Mouthpiece and horn techs or anyone who's experienced something similar, do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

Oh and we did try cleaning the octave key hole and checked all pads and such.
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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Nothing that would change the shape of the cavity inside your mouth? Dentures? Bee-stung tongue? :)

Does the neck octave pad open correctly?
Have you checked the neck vent for obstructions, eg fluff?
Is the mouthpiece end of the neck cork intact, and does that part of it seal well in the mouthpiece?
Are there any foreign bodies inside the neck? A layer of shedded mouth lining, or other gunge?
Could there be a split in the seam of the neck? Block one end, close the pad, and air pressure test at the other end.
Has the soldering of the octave vent failed? See if it can be wobbled, or try to push it out gently from inside.
Look at the part of the octave vent that is inside the bore. Is it bent or otherwise damaged?
Does the neck fit firmly before it is tightened into the body? Any chance of leaks there?



Is it a problem for other players?
 

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Nothing that would change the shape of the cavity inside your mouth? Dentures? Bee-stung tongue? :)

Does the neck octave pad open correctly?
Have you checked the neck vent for obstructions, eg fluff?
Is the mouthpiece end of the neck cork intact, and does that part of it seal well in the mouthpiece?
Are there any foreign bodies inside the neck? A layer of shedded mouth lining, or other gunge?
Could there be a split in the seam of the neck? Block one end, close the pad, and air pressure test at the other end.
Has the soldering of the octave vent failed? See if it can be wobbled, or try to push it out gently from inside.
Look at the part of the octave vent that is inside the bore. Is it bent or otherwise damaged?
Does the neck fit firmly before it is tightened into the body? Any chance of leaks there?



Is it a problem for other players?
I have been struggling with this same issue with my alto. I find I can play F3/F#3 consistently with no intonation problems when I finger those notes with the palm keys instead of using the Front F.

I have found that harder reeds or new reeds seem to make this problem go away until they are wet but as soon as the reed is worked in and water saturated the problem come back and I have to use the palm keys.

My thought is that either the body octave pip or the palm F is not opening enough to allow this note to be playable.

B
 

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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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Front F is in the series of altissimo notes, where the shape of the mouth cavity is critical. If I don't raise the back of my tongue towards my hard palate, they don't work.

Also, if the sax is of poor acoustic design, they may be very difficult

On an alto particularly, this front F tends to work poorly if the F key opens too far. Around 1 - 2 mm is often ideal. To check, try playing second octave A, and then with the right hand, slightly opening the high F key, which is the same as fingering front F, but with a small F opening.
 

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Front F is in the series of altissimo notes, where the shape of the mouth cavity is critical. If I don't raise the back of my tongue towards my hard palate, they don't work.

Also, if the sax is of poor acoustic design, they may be very difficult

On an alto particularly, this front F tends to work poorly if the F key opens too far. Around 1 - 2 mm is often ideal. To check, try playing second octave A, and then with the right hand, slightly opening the high F key, which is the same as fingering front F, but with a small F opening.
Nice explanation. I do find that taking in just a bit more mouthpiece when playing alto (compared to tenor) helps a lot too.

I just can not explain why this has been an issue with this horn and not the tenor of the same make. I never encountered this problem on my previous Coufs, Selmers, or Buffet altos.

B
 

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Perhaps it's an T.K. Melody alto acoustic design issue?
Do others have the same difficulty with it?
I don't know that "brand" at all.
 

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Perhaps it's an T.K. Melody alto acoustic design issue?
Do others have the same difficulty with it?
I don't know that "brand" at all.
I am fairly sure its not a design flaw but rather having to find the right mouthpiece for this particular horn and player, because I recently purchased a nicely refaced Otto Link STM slant and the notes speak with more clarity now.

It is also an oral cavity adjustment issue since I triple on tenor, sop and clarinet as well.

B
 

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I would concur that its more that likely the mouth cavity, but if it is a common problem for that instrument and others find the same, you can experiment with different necks, Ive found the yamaha 275 neck a fantastic alternative for the keilwerth sx90's, it rectify's the difficult palm notes straight away, for info the pip location from memory is about 20mm difference between these two necks.

Long story short find someone else to trial it out for you, then proceed from there
 

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I was in the repair shop one day and some guy came in with a ref 54 with the exact problem! FYI
 

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I was in the repair shop one day and some guy came in with a ref 54 with the exact problem! FYI
which meant what exactly?

that his horn wasnt venting properly with front F?
he did or didnt adjust his embouchure when playing altissimmo?
his reed was too soft?
his mouthpiece was a poor match for that horn for those notes?
he was a begginner?
etc etc

There are so many factors that can affect how a note plays.
One should not automatically make assumtions but investigate and try to identify the problem in hand in order to rectify it correctly
 

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Hear, hear!
 

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Same problem with me. I may have tried to learn altissimo too early causing me to play the overtone of that High F fingering. oops
 
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