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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've been playing alto saxophone for about four months, and have always played long tones. I noticed recently that my low notes, especially B but also Bb and C, are not as clean as I like, especially when starting it without tongue.

The note often seems to start with an overtone of the note I want before coming down to what I fingered. So, if blowing a B, it often sounds B2 before coming down to B.

I think this is because my air stream is too fast. If I concentrate and try think of a slow air stream I can sometime get the clean note I desire, but it is not easy, especially at high volumes.

My question is, can someone explain what kind of air stream I should be going for? Like I said, I think that low notes seem to want slower, "warmer" air stream, while high notes seem to want faster, "cooler," air stream. What is happening at different volumes? When I play loud, am I going for more air? It seems to me that when I play softly, it requires quite a bit of air support, especially in the low notes, so I'm not sure how to visualize that air stream.

Thanks.
 

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Use even breath support from the diaphragm combined with a relaxed, open throat and an appropriate amount of pressure on the reed. Where you place your lip on the reed is important as well. But start with the breath support and the open throat and then work on the reed until it speaks more easily. You can often get easier low notes with a softer reed, but that has its drawbacks as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi bfoster,

Thanks, that advice helps. Except for the softer reed part which I didn't bother with.

Cheers
 
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