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Hey I just got a new Yamaha Custom 875 B stock form WWBW. The low notes warble when they come out. I can hold a straight pitch on them, but if I try to add vibrato, the low notes warble and mess up. Whats wrong with the horn? Does it need repadded? Its and Alto. Other than that I love the horn. I can get the low notes to come out with vibrato if Im playing really loudly, but not at a soft dynamic. Can you guys help? Thanks
 

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Not quite sure if I'm right, because i'm not an expert, but it could be your embouchure. That happened to a lot of student models i played, but not on any intermediate or pro models. (Maybe because my embouchure was more developed when i got my pro sax). Or it could be your reed, or it could be that your pads dont cover up all of the hole.

Edit: I think i found the answer, i was practicing and i noticed my low B warbled sometimes. So I tried different methods of playing it and I think... that you might be blowing to hard. When I blew a steady, slower airstream, it was no longer warbling. Hope this helps!
 

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Here are some things that come to mind....

1. Check for pad leaks.

2. More breath support and long tone practice (as Ritchie mentioned). In particular, practice long tones and slow passages in the low register softly. It's easy to blast out a low Bb. But, playing it SOFTLY and with really good control is another matter.

3. Check for mouthpiece tip opening and reed strength match. That is, if you're using stiff reeds with a more open mouthpiece you might have a harder time getting the low register to speak easily.

4. Mouthpiece placement on the neck cork. Sometimes low note warbles happen if the mouthpiece isn't placed far enough on the neck. This can sometimes be a problem with using a mouthpiece that doesn't have enough chamber volume for a particular horn (such as some vintage saxes). The mouthpiece is pulled out in an attempt to get better intonation. But, this messes up the length of the air column and can result in low B and Bb warbles. Thus, the length of the air column can affect the low notes. Since you're playing a new horn, I wouldn't think that this would be the reason. Never the less, it wouldn't be a bad idea to check your intonation against a tuner (all notes on the horn) and make sure that the mouthpiece is at the right place on the neck cork. Since this is a new horn, are you having any trouble getting your mouthpiece at least half-way on the neck cork?

Here's a question that comes to mind.....

Are you able to get the low B and Bb to come out softly and clearly on your previous horn? If so, it's possible that the new alto has a little more resistance than your old horn. If this is the case you'll need to give it more breath support than what you're used to doing. Anyway, it's just a theory. :lol:

Please let us know how the new horn works out for you.
 

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Aside from leaks a mpc with a small chamber can really make it hard to bring out those lows. Go for a bigger chamber with perhaps less or no baffle.
 

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The baffle idea will not affect intonation at all. I put this in another post, but if anyone would like plans for the bow baffle, I have one that I can e-mail you. Just send me an e-mail, and I'll send one to you.
 

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Hi, i encountered this problem for quite some time too recently , only after i started trying out the new vandoren ZZ reeds. Initially, on a selmer C*, but after doing long tones for some time, i managed to overcome this problem somehow. But recently, i got a 2nd hand BARI metal mpc (high baffle and small chamber), and with the ZZ reed, the problem came back. Again, after practising on long tones on low B and Bb, i noticed that it could be due to a grip on the mpc that may be too tight. My teacher once taught me that the grip on the mpc should be just right, not too tight or too loose.
 

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the physics of the thing

I think the "physics" of the problem is blowing the fundamental. Like the previous posters have mentioned, there are tons of factors that contribute to playing the low notes: mouthpiece, reed, horn, leaks, etc. All of these things aside, and as long as your horn isn't leaking, you have to be blowing a tone on the mouthpiece that is low enough to initiate the fundamental resonance mode of the horn. If you're blowing a high pitch (relatively) or can't even produce a sound on the mouthpiece, the fundamental will be interrupted and the overtones will disturb it and cause a "beat," which is the warble you're hearing. Try working on just the mouthpiece. Many people recommend blowing a concert A or Ab on the mouthpiece alone (you did say alto, right?), but try to go even lower than that. Play the lowest possible note you can. Work on opening your throat, keeping your tongue down and reducing the pressure on the reed. If you can produce a low tone on the mouthpiece, and then transfer this to the whole horn, you may have some more success.

Hope this helps, good luck! :D
 

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Well, I have had this problem with a couple of saxes over the years. An Adolphe Sax/Selmer alto motorboated on low C, I took it to Jack FInucane at Boston Sax Shop who replaced the side C spring to increase the tension. It was leaking when the horn was played. Cured.

My Conn Bb soprano 25154, just overhauled at Virtuosity Music in Boston, motorboated on C like crazy. Another player had no trouble. Very diligent study showed no leaks. I even found a way to play the horn with a light in it, placing tin foil in the bow and shining a light in the bell, to show that there was no leak--none--at play. Not on the side keys, not in the palm keys, nowhere.

Putting the mouthpiece waaaaay in and using a large chamber piece helped but did not eliminate the motorboating. So I figured it's an acoustic problem, we have to take energy out of the upper overtones. A piece of wine cork in the bow worked fine but had to be so large as to make low D really flat. So I cut a rectangle of 1/8 inch sheet cork, 1 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches. I stuffed it into the bell and with the C key removed, used a chop stick to push it and position it between the E-flat, C and C# toneholes on the inner aspect of the bore on the left side. This removed as much volume from the bore as the champagne cork fragment had but without obstructing the C key and making D play flat. The tension of the cork sheet holds it in place.

Now I can use any mouthpiece and there is no motorboating. Problem solved.

Another commentator on a similar thread mentioned the work of physicist Arthur Benade and used his analysis to address this issue. I took his storied "Acoustical evolution of woodwind instruments" seminar in Fall 1977, he discussed this trick then. I have used a mouthpiece cap or a champagne cork many a time over the years. This is the first time I have ever fitted a prosthesis, but it looks like a good solution. Took me about 30 minutes, most of it spent putting the C key back on.

View down bell. Bb to top right. Cork at bottom just past C# tone hole

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View into bore of body thru C key. Eb is out of view on left at 7:00. Rear Eb is at 9:00. Cork has cracked on its leading edge.

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View into C key tone hole (which vents D). Saxophone body to left, bell to right. Cork edges on tone hole.

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View into bore of bell through C key's hole. Cork on edge of C# tone hole.

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Any of your repair guys who use this trick, please send me a tenner. You're welcome!
Robert Howe, Wilbraham MA
 

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Thank you for posting that. I envy you being able to meet with Arthur Benade and take his course at Case Western University. I have studied his class notes for that course for several years and have learned a great deal. I have heard of others using Dr. Scholls self adhesive moleskin padding cut to size in the same way.

Low note warbles have been of interest to me for many years. I recorder a warble on a low C on a C-Melody sax and slowed it down. Then I took a snapshot of the harmonics at small intervals to see what was happening to create the oscillations. I discovered that with the weak fundamental the second and third harmonics that were out of tune with one another were "fighting" back and forth to control what Benade calls the "regime of oscillation". From that work I came to the conclusion that "warbles" of this type are a result of inharmonicity. Exactly how decreasing the volume inside the bell bow improves the harmonicity of the overtones of the lower notes, I don't yet understand.


https://soundcloud.com/jbtsax%2Fcmelodywarble
 
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