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Discussion Starter #1
I've started playing again after a long break (over 20 years)

I started playing alto about three weeks ago and I can now play the whole standard range of the horn although admittedly it doesn't sound too great.

So, I decided to get my tenor out and play that, after all, my tenor was my baby.

I can get low D but anything lower than that is virtually impossible. I haven't tried the upper palm key notes yet.

Is this likely to be a problem with the horn or is it my undeveloped chops that are the problem. Would a softer reed help?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I could be the reed. If it's too hard, it could hinder your playing of the lower notes. How hard do you have to blow to play the other notes? If it's not that hard then it's probably not the problem. You could have leaks in the bell keys that prevent those notes from sounding. Take it to a tech and have him use a leak light to check for leaks. It shouldn't cost you anything unless it needs work done.
 

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Definitely get it checked for leaks. Even a small leak will give you problems with the low notes. Also keep in mind you need a looser embouchure on tenor than on the alto. Especially for the low notes. Try loosening up and take in plenty of mpc, with good breath support.
 

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Agree with getting it checked out. Considering you "dug it out" as you say, it may need a little tweaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for your excellent advice. I went to get the horn checked today and it has a leaky G key.

The technician is away until Friday so when he calls me I'll ask him to give it a full service.

Meanwhile I'll keep puffing at my Alto.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I got my tenor back today and I can just about get the bottom notes to sound.

I know the horn is ok now as it has been fully checked out repaired and adjusted, I also heard a good player play through the whole range without problems, so the rest must be down to me.

Any other tips would be welcome but I suspect it's just a case of keep playing those long tones.
 

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Long tones, making sure that you are using the right size reed for your embouchure, and long tones. Also, make sure that you are taking enough of the mouthpiece, as stated by JL. Good advice there!
 

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Agent27 said:
You could have leaks in the bell keys that prevent those notes from sounding.
Just for the record : leaks in any key can prevent those notes from sounding. The leak in a higher key works a bit like the octave vent at that moment.
 

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once the the horn is sealing, you are correct. Practice practice practice man. But it's all worth it, play through the frustration, know that you can get where you want to be.
 

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I know it can seem strange... but playing alto is different from playing tenor and we train our bodies and minds differently to play them. I couldn't play my own tenor that I played every day sometimes all day long when possible for years, after only a few months of having played alto. Of course, I only tried for 30 seconds, but still, it was rather strange how impossible it seemed to play, coming from alto. Actually I wasn't playing much but still the alto was playable but the tenor was hard to wield.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Since my last post I left off the tenor for a while to concentrate on alto as the tenor seemed to be getting harder to play rather than easier.

I lent the horn to a friend who plays alto in our church and he couldn't play it easily either.

I've now got it back and have taken it back to the tech for another look. The tech guy thinks it has taken a knock since he last adjusted it and as it has been on loan to my friend I can't really say whether it has or not.

I asked the tech what repairs he feels it should have. After discussing the option of buying a new sax he suggested that the LaFleur isn't a well made instrument and this particular one has some problems with misshapen tone holes which make it very difficult for him to correct simply by making adjustments to the mechanism.

He said that if I really want to keep the sax he would recommend I let him strip the instrument down and correct the deformities in the tone holes. He also said that that would be a good time to knock out the dents that it has acquired over the years. He feels he could then set it up properly with perhaps just a few pad replacements where required.

Total bill for the job would be £130, but it would then be in better condition than when it was new.

In another thread we have been discussing a replacement to this sax, but would it be worth spending the money on this instrument instead of buying a new one or even to keep it as a spare?
 
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