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.....The other thing he said is that if you want to play altissimo on a Vintage horn then get a Super 20 because they were designed the opposite of the Martin and the top end just comes out like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube (my image not his). However, the trade off is that it doesn't have a bottom end that is either easy to play or sounds anywhere as good or is in tune like the Martin.
Wh-wh-wh-wh ?!?!? :dazed:

Oh, lordy....

I was willin' to go along with that until it got to THERE.....
 

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I am a bari player and find that Bari and Alto come easier than tenor. My working theory is that I voice Eb, so playing those pitches makes more sense. I still play tenor, but it never feels like home. It always takes me a minute or two to dial into tenor sax (and I still can't figure out tenor alitssimo).

Don't get me started on dialing in c melody...
THIS is a really interesting and intriguing theory....I can actually see there being something to it....
 

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“Jazz is all”. There’s no forked F on your soprano? I think mine has it.
 

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"Jazz is all". There's no forked F on your soprano? I think mine has it.
Mine is a Pan American Chu Berry. It's basically a NW II but without rolled tone holes and without the crosshatched G# (it's smooth on mine) and yes, no front F. Do the actualy Chu Sops have the Front F?
 

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I am a bari player and find that Bari and Alto come easier than tenor. My working theory is that I voice Eb, so playing those pitches makes more sense. I still play tenor, but it never feels like home. It always takes me a minute or two to dial into tenor sax (and I still can't figure out tenor alitssimo).

Don't get me started on dialing in c melody...
I can't figure out tenor altissimo either, though the low notes on my 10M are sweet since I got my horn worked on. Alto altissimo seems easy on my Cannonball VR. I think my best playing happens on soprano. I wonder if size of one's pharynx has anything to do with it. I'm female and a very high soprano singer. I've never tried bari. I've gotten altissimo on soprano, but I don't mess with it much, because I think soprano is already high enough on regular notes for the audiences I play for. Hearing aids, you know...
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I can't figure out tenor altissimo either, though the low notes on my 10M are sweet since I got my horn worked on. Alto altissimo seems easy on my Cannonball VR. I think my best playing happens on soprano. I wonder if size of one's pharynx has anything to do with it. I'm female and a very high soprano singer. I've never tried bari. I've gotten altissimo on soprano, but I don't mess with it much, because I think soprano is already high enough on regular notes for the audiences I play for. Hearing aids, you know...
I doubt that the physical size has a big effect; I'm a man, with a light tenor/baritone voice, but my best playing is on baritone and bass sax (my voice definitely is NOT resonant and deep) and alto (my voice is not THAT high). I can't really speak to my soprano playing because I just don't play enough of it to say.
 

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THIS is a really interesting and intriguing theory....I can actually see there being something to it....
I subscribe to that theory as well, when I started back about 7 years ago. I played alto AND bari in the 80's, and it was mystifying why tenor was more difficult at the time. I falsely thought it had something to do with size, even though there were tenor players less tall/big than I, and alto and bari bracket the tenor in terms of mp size, mouth position, etc.

Fast forward, I decide to start back 7 or so years ago, and this time I decide I really need to start on a Bb instrument to better transpose, before jumping back into the Eb world. I eventually find tenor is not as difficult, and after a year or so, I discover alto is more difficult to control. For a lot of material, alto would be better in range and faithful, but tenor/Bb is just easier to manage from a fingers/accidentals/faculty standpoint, and having to re-learn the embouchure and air control, I think I've just gotten the Bb tenor voice/thing in my head. I think its the voicing and compensation required to offset the pitchiness of any instrument, or harmonics alignment, or something intuitive. I know some folks switch back and fourth, and so do I, but tenor is like home now, effortlessly, good pitches come without thinking up and down the neck, while alto is a struggle: the exact opposite for me 40 years ago. AND, I still have my main alto from the 80's.

Its important, because I'd like to start working in more alto, now that my basic faculty of scales modes and keys is functional. I can transpose to about any key now, so C#, D#, G#, etc aren't barriers. I've hesitated because of this control/pitch/quality issue, that I know is going to require some setback to overcome.
 

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I don't understand. If you have a sealed tenor, a middle of the road mouthpiece design in an average tip opening, and a soft-med reed, there is no physical reason why low notes should be a problem *unless it's a technique issue with the player*

Maybe you need to spend more time on tenor?
 

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It's a leak. Go to the repairman.
Maybe let a friend who can play tenor try it.
Well sure, but he's also said low note response is a problem on EVERY tenor he's ever tried and with multiple mouthpieces.

In this particular case, nothing below F coming out yeah it's probably a leak somewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Well sure, but he's also said low note response is a problem on EVERY tenor he's ever tried and with multiple mouthpieces.

In this particular case, nothing below F coming out yeah it's probably a leak somewhere.
To recap,

It's not "nothing coming out", it's a general feeling of stiffness and unresponsiveness COMPARED to alto or baritone.

I don't THINK it's about time on tenor since this was something I noticed even back in the 80s when I was playing tenor constantly and only infrequently picked up alto or baritone.

It seems kind of unlikely that every single tenor I've played over the decades (see the list of 15 or so different ones I can remember trying seriously over the years, plus the 5 different tenor saxes I've owned in my life) had a leak sufficient to cause a less responsive lower register while my beat to hell alto and baritone with their 30 year old pads are magically leak free.

As far as I can tell, there are two theories that would fit our evidence: 1) that there's something specifically about the tenor saxophone design that makes it inherently prone to less responsive lower register; or 2) That somehow my own particular configuration is better suited to playing bass, baritone, or alto sax than to playing tenor sax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Mine is a Pan American Chu Berry. It's basically a NW II but without rolled tone holes and without the crosshatched G# (it's smooth on mine) and yes, no front F. Do the actualy Chu Sops have the Front F?
I doubt very much whether any Conn soprano ever had a front F. I do know that there are the stretch Conns, which I don't know much about, and I've seen pictures of the rare unicorn Conn soprano with Lady engraving - which I don't know if it's a pure New Wonder 2 just with different engraving, or if it had some keywork updates like the also rare unicorn 14M lady bass sax. But the ordinary garden variety New Wonder and New Wonder 2? No front F, I am almost positive. Only older sopranos I'm aware of with front F are the Holtons, and only some of them. After that it was pretty much nada till Yamaha started making sopranos in what, the mid or late 70s? Maybe some of the offbeat Euro brands had a front F.
 

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To recap,

It's not "nothing coming out", it's a general feeling of stiffness and unresponsiveness COMPARED to alto or baritone.

I don't THINK it's about time on tenor since this was something I noticed even back in the 80s when I was playing tenor constantly and only infrequently picked up alto or baritone.

It seems kind of unlikely that every single tenor I've played over the decades (see the list of 15 or so different ones I can remember trying seriously over the years, plus the 5 different tenor saxes I've owned in my life) had a leak sufficient to cause a less responsive lower register while my beat to hell alto and baritone with their 30 year old pads are magically leak free.

As far as I can tell, there are two theories that would fit our evidence: 1) that there's something specifically about the tenor saxophone design that makes it inherently prone to less responsive lower register; or 2) That somehow my own particular configuration is better suited to playing bass, baritone, or alto sax than to playing tenor sax.
Then it's either a mouthpiece thing, reeds are too hard, or it's you. IMO, tenor is the most difficult horn to master, and if you don't spend a lot of time on it, it won't improve.
 

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Well sure, but he's also said low note response is a problem on EVERY tenor he's ever tried and with multiple mouthpieces.
Yes, if y'all read the initial posts, yous see it has been ongoing over the years with multiple horns. So t isn't all that likely that all of those horns over the years had leaks (possible, sure, but not likely). And we can assume that given his playing experience, Turf can tell the difference between a horn not speaking effortlessly due to a leak as opposed to being due to something else.

I do not think this is hardware malfunction related. I think this experience is an interesting one:

I subscribe to that theory as well, when I started back about 7 years ago. I played alto AND bari in the 80's, and it was mystifying why tenor was more difficult at the time. I falsely thought it had something to do with size, even though there were tenor players less tall/big than I, and alto and bari bracket the tenor in terms of mp size, mouth position, etc.

Fast forward, I decide to start back 7 or so years ago, and this time I decide I really need to start on a Bb instrument to better transpose, before jumping back into the Eb world. I eventually find tenor is not as difficult, and after a year or so, I discover alto is more difficult to control. For a lot of material, alto would be better in range and faithful, but tenor/Bb is just easier to manage from a fingers/accidentals/faculty standpoint, and having to re-learn the embouchure and air control, I think I've just gotten the Bb tenor voice/thing in my head. I think its the voicing and compensation required to offset the pitchiness of any instrument, or harmonics alignment, or something intuitive.
 

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Turf3, it sounds like we might have the same issue.
I don´t have as much playing experience as you, but have played alto (and bari) on and off for many years with no particular low note issues. When I started playing tenor, everything from low f and down was unresponsive and I struggled to get a clean and stable attack. I thought it might just be the horn, or mpc, so I tried different setups but to no avail. The problem persisted, it is not a leak issue.

I´ve speculated that it has to do with the Bb vs Eb, since the tenor f starts where the alto ends, so to speak.
Could it be a resonance in the oral cavity that responds unfavorably to the tenor low notes?

With that theory in mind, I tried raising the back of the tongue and extend it to the sides of the mouth, hence creating a smaller volume in front of the reed/mpc. Whether it is a placebo effect or not, this seems to be working for me. Notes below f are still relatively harder to start cleanly, but much better than it was.
 

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That's interesting. As a tenor player, I have no problem with the low register on tenor. But subtoning the low register (low C and below) is hard for me on alto and c-melody. I have no problems on the low register of soprano, bari or bass. I suspect it may have something to do with mouthpiece openings. My tenor, soprano and bari are fairly open, but my alto is relatively closed.
 

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I would have quessed an air support issue with not enough from the diaphragm for the bottom end in relation to that needed for alto and sop, but since the OP plays Bari too, that can't be it. I've never played one of those beasts but I imagine they take a whole lotta air. Then too, my experience with sop it that my diaphragm is actually worked more playing it because the narrower diameter of the instrument creates greater back pressure resistance to your airflow and hence you actually have to use more, rather than less, air support. At least that's my understanding. I played tenor for an hour yesterday with mpcs ranging from .090 on up to .115 and it was less work for my lungs and diaphragm than the day before when I played my sop with a medium size tip mpc. And I play the bottom end of the tenor all the time because as I wrote above it is such a total gas doing it.
 
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