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I've got a Buffet SDA tenor that I'm loving with one exception. The middle D blows very sharp. I know this is a problem note on most saxes. I CAN lip it down, but seems to take much more effort than any other tenor I've ever played. If I finger low D but over-tone to middle D, intonation is good, but as soon as I add the octave key it jumps up 15-20 cents. Any tips?
 

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Here are three common solutions:

1) Can you lower your low C key by adjusting the felt on the C key guard? (Not sure if SDAs have adjustable felts here - you may have to make the unadjustable felt longer by adding more felt or cork.) If it doesn't cause middle D to be too stuffy, it often works in tuning it down. Depends on the horn. Also you can play with Low B and Bb key heights to help with tuning middle D - but be careful - these 2 key heights affect quite a few other notes' tuning and LH key touch positions as well.

2) Some horns sound great on middle D just by using the D palm key and no octave. Play with it a bit. You might like it.

3) A very nice middle D can be had by playing it the regular way - but also using the the D palm. It may cause it to go sharp or flat - depending on the horn - but you can also press the low C# for more tuning options or to also use the octave key or not. I do use this on long note middle Ds. For fast passing I just use regular fingering.

Hope this helps.

Sonny
 

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One way to lower the pitch of a D when playing it as a longer note is to add the low B key. It brings the pitch down without hurting the timbre. I have found that lowering the pitch of D2 by lowering the C key can also make D1 too flat, and lipping up low notes is next to impossible. I have also found that playing too high on the input pitch can cause notes that are normally a bit sharp to be even more so. Playing no higher than a G on the mouthpiece alone and producing the note E concert on the mouthpiece and neck will help in this area in my experience.
 
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