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For some reason, I've always had the hardest time playing the altissimo break notes (you know, F# and G) on my Zephyr. I can play above them, but just not those notes with any sort of consistency. I had pretty much the same problems on the Cigar Cutter when I picked it up. I could only reason that it must have been me, so I went back to woodshedding.

The other day, though, I made it to Long & McQuade in Toronto, and I ended up playing a Reference 54 and Yamaha Custom 82Z, I think it was. Anyways...after a bit of testing, I tried out altissimo on the Selmer, and it was flawless. I mean, F# and G were as easy as if I was playing a G1 or something. That's never happened to me before. I worked it right up to C4, no problem. The Yamaha, however, gave me as much trouble as my Zephyr and the Cigar Cutter did.

I've also tried out a Selmer La Voix in previous years, and altissimo was almost as easy as the Reference, right up to C4.

What's the deal here? If I could do that, it's definitely not as much me as I originally thought. Should I be checking for certain leaks here? Change my set-up? I'm on a vintage Brilhart Ebolin 3, and that's what I tried on all these horns. Oh, with blue box 2 1/2 Vandorens, and an Optimum ligature.
 

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Selmers have good altissimo in my experience.
 

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I find that I use different fingerings on my S20 and Zephyr than on my Selmers. I'll try to check on this today and get back to you.
JR

Here's what works on my late 40's Z alto:
F#: Thumb, Front F, LH 2nd finger and side Bb
G: Thumb, Front F, 1st finger RH, side Bb
or Thumb 1 3/4 sBb
or Thumb 1 3/4 6 sBb
All seem to tune and respond well.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
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Could be that the front F opens too much when using it as a vent for altissimo. That was true for my Martin tenor and New Largebore alto (built in the days before anybody palyed altissimo). A bit of careful key-bending and they sing as sweet as anything now.

Several posts on this on the search function, or some advice in Rousseau's "High Tones".
 

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On all the horns I've played, it's really unbelievable how easy altissimo is on a Reference 54...if only it didn't give me that gurgle on low notes =/
 
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