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Discussion Starter #1
Ok I feel great.
Let me start from the top
I have a cheap (but relatively well made) horn
I have had a hell of a time hitting the low notes - specifically e and lower.
THEN!!!!!
I got a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece
AND
Practiced long tones.
problem is resolving.
the long tone excersice is
whole note high C then whole note low C
Whole note High B ETC ETC ETC ETC
I am writing this for beginers (like me) whom may have a hard time with the low notes (like me)
The above two fixed my problems.
YAMAHA 4C with rico royal 2 or 2 1/2 (I havent decided yet which strenght is better)
LONG TONE OCTOVE JUMPS.

DAVE
 

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Take more mouthpiece.
Warmer air.
 

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Take more mouthpiece.
This is what the way I usually approach low notes. But I've been caught short a few times trying to get out a low standalone Bb as in, for instance, Night Train. Last month I was playing The Music Man in a pit orchestra for three nights. I had one passage that was a repeated low D, pretty much by myself. I had mixed results, there were times I just could not get the sound, just middle D or a load of overtones.

After the last show I decided I needed to do something., so I took out a copy of Liebman's Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound. And right in the first chapter he says:
For low tones, the principle is to cover the reed with the bottom lip, helping to muffle the higher and more excitable partials. This is accomplished by taking less mouthpiece body into the mouth.
So, not to specifically disagree with any advice given here, but I worked on this in my next practice session and, at least with my particular reed/mpc/degree of warm up status, it worked! I encourage people to check out Liebman's book, especially the overtone exercises.
 

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hakukani said:
Take more mouthpiece.
Warmer air.
Yep, open your throat, relax and get your air to fill up the entire horn all the way down the bottom. Think like your blowing steam onto glass with your hot air from deep in the lungs. You'll get it soon :)
 

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Okay, I guess I gotta be more specific. I feel that NOS is probably not taking enough mouthpiece for ALL the notes. I think most sax players agree that the mouthpiece doesn't slide in and out of their mouths (whether Teal, Allard, Barone, or Liebs) for different octaves.

Dave is a beginner. I can tell because he's using (and properly so at this point), an extremely closed mouthpiece, and soft reeds.

IMHO, his problems be solve by a warmer airstream, and more mouthpiece and probably the 2 1/2 reeds are better for lower notes.

Lieb's book, I believe, is not addressing beginners like Dave.

Shotgun, as for getting your low notes to speak when you need them. Try starting without tonguing, and raise the pointer finger (f) of your right hand. Start the air, at the same time bringing down your pointer finger. You'll probably be able to get the low D or Bb to speak even at mp or p.
 

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New On Sax said:
I did
No leaks
thanks
Different techs have different standards of what is acceptable and what is not. You may want to get a second opinion. Most shops don't charge for estimates.
Assuming it's all working, when you play remember to blow "through" the sax rather than just "into" it. Combine this concept with some of the previously mentioned exercises, and keep after it. You'll get it.
 

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...Try starting without tonguing, and raise the pointer finger (f) of your right hand. Start the air, at the same time bringing down your pointer finger....
Thank you, hakukani, that's great advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks to everyone.
But I am doing good with the low notes now.
Better anyways.
Seems like the sax is a very fluid and dynamic instrument. Much more so than the bass guitar I play. You have to be intune with it.
The octave jumps and MP helped a lot for now.
As far as the reed like I said I dont know yet if 2 or 2.5 is better. I have a feeling 2.5 will win that battle.
HAKUKANI Please explain your comment on the warm air. I REALLY REALLY appreciate your advice but that one confused the poop out of me.
Anyways thanks guys. Glad to know that I am not the only one struglling with low notes.
Thats one thing about bass. You can hit every note that exist on your first day!

BTW How the heck do yuo get warmer air? Eat a sterno?
I am sure that comment made sense to you
 

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shotgun said:
Thank you, hakukani, that's great advice.
I steal from the best.:) Dr. Hemke recommended that during a master class I attended some years ago.

The 'warm air' is a device to make you open the throat and blow from your diaphragm. If you blow into your sax as if you're trying to make frost on a windowpane, this will do that. This 'warm air' concept should not only make the low notes speak better, but will make the upper notes more 'round' sounding, and more easily played in tune.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Really!
I never would have thought of that.
I will give it a shot.
what a fun instrument.
I could never talk this long about bass

DAVE
 

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You gotta love SOTW. The first poster says how great his low notes are coming out now that he got a better mouthpiece and practiced long tones, and then everyone tries to help him with his low notes.:)

Not to be left out. My best teaching techniques to open the throat which along with the proper volume of air is the key to playing the low tones on a saxophone are:

---Sing AHH on the lowest note your voice will produce, then form an embouchure and blow an airstream with as low a pitch as you can.

---Do the first half of a yawn (before the swallow reflex).

---Say "HAUP" when you breathe in.

---Blow with warm air (as Hakukani already said).

---Think of blowing the air down toward your thumb on the octave key.

My goal with beginning players was to get them to play a big fat beautiful low C as soon as possible and then to convince them that all of the notes from high to low are to be played with the same sensation. With this system, most students were playing with a big beautiful sound in weeks, not months or years.
 

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And as a reminder!

The warmer air isnt just for low notes, but all of them. To keep a strong full sound across all registers, you need to remember to blow from bottom of the lungs, using the diaphram to push air out and not the throat/chest muscles.

If you're using the throat and chest muscles to push out the air you're gonna pinch everything off and it wont be as full and stong as it could be.

One way to think of it is like blowing up a balloon thats full of holes. If you wanna fill that balloon up, its going to have to come all the way from the bottom and the gut.

I had a teacher once tell me a pretty good way to visualize the right way to breathe, using the diaphragm. Lie on the couch, or someplace comfy on your back. Put a nice sized book on your stomach. if you're breathing right and using your diaphragm the book will move up and down. Your chest should not move at all.

Give that stuff a try!
 

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Martin Williams said:
And as a reminder!

I had a teacher once tell me a pretty good way to visualize the right way to breathe, using the diaphragm. Lie on the couch, or someplace comfy on your back. Put a nice sized book on your stomach. if you're breathing right and using your diaphragm the book will move up and down. Your chest should not move at all.
Excellent example! We breathe this way automatically when, we're asleep. Funny how we subconciously change when playing, singing, or otherwise put ourselves under stress.

Another tecnique is to stand in front of a mirror and watch your self breathe, while you're playing some long tones, or anything where you can focus on your reflection. If your shoulders are going up and down during your breaths, you're not breathing from the diaphragm.
 

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How To Get Low Notes
by B. Conway

When all else fails, cheat.

(something I just made up, so, if there are any kids in the room, take me with a grain of salt ... etc. END DISCLAIMER

Wondering if he's having reed problems. I have a yamaha yts-475 9semi-pro model) with a 4C mpc, Rovner dark ligature.

I've been trying out Van doren 2 1/2 and 3's ZZ's lately. They have a woody kind of sound but not responsive (for me, a beginner), easy to bend notes (jazz 'em, I guess ..). I found each Rico 2 I tried was completely different in sound, and, to put it bluntly, quacky, but easy to reach low notes.

The Van dorens weren't responding as fast as I wanted and I couldn't reach the low notes properly, trying all sorts of throat and other contortions.

So, villain that I am, I took a piece of extremely fine sandpaper and went to work on the reed. In other words, I gave up on the Rico 2's, and went to work on a size 3 Van doren reed that was previously not responding at all, even after several reed and mouthpiece adjustments. I sanded on the outside-ish top and bottom mostly, avoiding the center, not sure if this is correct.

In any case:

Voila!

<honk> [low Bb - ppp no problem]

And now that we have managed to actually reach the low notes in the first place, then perhaps some of the "warm air" and other advice above would be more applicable, although the advice would still apply I guess, even to a bad reed (since a pro would be more likely to get a sound out of it than a beginner, no matter how bad it is). I assume ...
 

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Also dropping your jaw helps with low notes. (But then you also have to pinch a bit to still make them play in tune).
 
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