Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi Everyone, I have some intonation problem on my low notes, and my teacher did not find a problem with my technique, and did not know what the problem was. The problem notes are low B to low D. Curiously, Low B flat is perfect intonation wise. Here are the notes with their intonations measured on a digital tuner:

Bb +/-2-3 cents
B 15 cents flat
C 20 cents flat
C# 20 cents flat
D 30 cents flat
D# 10 cents flat
E 0-5 cents flat

All other notes up to C#3, that is, everything beside the palm notes, have no intonation problems. That is, I can make the correct note without the same emboucher. The thing with the problem notes is not I cannot lip the note up the correct pitch. When I try to lip up low D, for instance, low D is skipped, and I get D2 one octave up. My teacher suggested a harder reed. I haven't tried that yet, but does this problem sound like a common problem to have with the horn or equipment? By the way, I have been playing for a month, the horn is a Yas-61, Yamaha 4C custom mouthpiece, and I am using rico 2 1/2 reeds. I don't have trouble producing any of the low notes, they come out pretty effortlessly, but they are hopelessly flat. Any help would be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,183 Posts
This problem could be caused by a number of things- 1) Have your horn checked out by a good tech. Possibly raising the key height on the bell keys (slightly) will raise the pitch the pitch, on the low B, and C,(maybe just the B). 2) Low C, C#, D, Eb, and E, tend to be a little flat on saxophones,(3-10 cents). You can raise the pitch of D, Eb, and E, by adding the low C# key. 3) A harder reed may very well help! Give it MORE than a short term shot! 4) Different mouthpieces produce different intonation. A Selmer C*,(or whatever), may help your pitch problems.5) Maybe it's the horn. In your case, I don't think so- Yamaha student saxes are the most in-tune horns I've tried. 6) Make sure you have A LOT of air support from your diaphram! This could be your biggest problem, and maybe should be 1). Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress! BTW, I used to have a Selmer MKVI that (no matter what I did), the low C was flat!
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
3,853 Posts
ZiCheng said:
Hi Everyone, I have some intonation problem on my low notes, and my teacher did not find a problem with my technique, and did not know what the problem was. The problem notes are low B to low D. Curiously, Low B flat is perfect intonation wise. Here are the notes with their intonations measured on a digital tuner:

Bb +/-2-3 cents
B 15 cents flat
C 20 cents flat
C# 20 cents flat
D 30 cents flat
D# 10 cents flat
E 0-5 cents flat

All other notes up to C#3, that is, everything beside the palm notes, have no intonation problems. That is, I can make the correct note without the same emboucher. The thing with the problem notes is not I cannot lip the note up the correct pitch. When I try to lip up low D, for instance, low D is skipped, and I get D2 one octave up. My teacher suggested a harder reed. I haven't tried that yet, but does this problem sound like a common problem to have with the horn or equipment? By the way, I have been playing for a month, the horn is a Yas-61, Yamaha 4C custom mouthpiece, and I am using rico 2 1/2 reeds. I don't have trouble producing any of the low notes, they come out pretty effortlessly, but they are hopelessly flat. Any help would be appreciated.
If you've only been playing for a month, it's too early (IMO) to put a digital tuner in front of you. Learn to HEAR your tuning by playing with your teacher, or playing with a fixed pitch reference first.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Merlin said:
If you've only been playing for a month, it's too early (IMO) to put a digital tuner in front of you. Learn to HEAR your tuning by playing with your teacher, or playing with a fixed pitch reference first.
Hi Merlin,

I don't play with a tuner often, and I noticed that the low notes were flat because I could tell by my ear. However, the problem is the notes won't play in-tune no matter what I do with regards to my emboucher and air-flow. I can lip-up and down most notes, but when I try to lip-up on the notes that are flat, it gets skipped and plays the next overtone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
asaxman said:
This problem could be caused by a number of things- 1) Have your horn checked out by a good tech. Possibly raising the key height on the bell keys (slightly) will raise the pitch the pitch, on the low B, and C,(maybe just the B). 2) Low C, C#, D, Eb, and E, tend to be a little flat on saxophones,(3-10 cents). You can raise the pitch of D, Eb, and E, by adding the low C# key. 3) A harder reed may very well help! Give it MORE than a short term shot! 4) Different mouthpieces produce different intonation. A Selmer C*,(or whatever), may help your pitch problems.5) Maybe it's the horn. In your case, I don't think so- Yamaha student saxes are the most in-tune horns I've tried. 6) Make sure you have A LOT of air support from your diaphram! This could be your biggest problem, and maybe should be 1). Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress! BTW, I used to have a Selmer MKVI that (no matter what I did), the low C was flat!
Hi asaxman,

I actually did discover on my own that adding the C# key fixes the intonation problem, so I wondered if that means that there is something wrong with the horn. It is actually a Yamaha professional sax, but an old one, and one which has recently endured a journey via Post from U.S. to Canada. I had it adjusted when I got it, but I asked the tech to return it as soon as possible, so maybe he missed something.

I don't know what you mean by your last post, maybe something along the lines of "you've only been at it a month, take it easy!" But I appreciate your time! I will check out all of your suggestions when diagonsing the problem the next time I practice.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
2,578 Posts
If it were my horn, I'd probably start by unscrewing each of the felts (you can see where they go in to the key guards) on Bb-B-C 1 or 1.5 turns and see if it helped. It's easy enough to do, and fully reversible. Those notes are normally a bit flat, but not _that_ flat. Since you are just starting out, you might want to ask your teacher to do this for/with you.

The YAS-875 I played for a while had a horribly flat low D and always required I open the C# key.


Alan
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
3,853 Posts
Flat low D's are common - it's one of those compromises to get middle D to play closer to in tune.

I've played plenty of altos where I vented the low C# to remedy this; the opposite is the horns where I close the low B key on D2 to lower this note.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the suggestions guys.

I played again today and the only way to get D and E in tune is to use the C# key for D and E. The other notes aren't as bad and I can sort of lip up to pretty close to intune notes.

This is a bit annoying since I thought that by buying a professional quality instrument from Yamaha I would be avoiding issues like this. Do you think that it is possible to get the horn adjusted so that it would play every note more or less in tune while using standard fingering for each note? Assuming that I had enough skill that is? I'm concerned about developing the habit of using C# on D and E with this horn, and then having to relearn those notes if I get another horn or play another horn. I had been playing chromatic scales, and have gotten pretty fast at them, and now I stumble on them a bit because I have to use C# key on D and E.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
2,578 Posts
You'll never find a perfectly in tune horn. You just have to pick your battles and learn to deal with the idiosyncracies.

Anyone who says their horn is perfectly in tune is merely stating that they have learned to deal with those idiosyncracies, be it conciously or sub-conciously.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top