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Anyone have this experience? Can a HR mpc eventually come out of "adjustment" so that it's playing characteristics change?

This seems screwy to me, but I swear over the last few months the sound on my C* has gotten buzzier and a bit thinner. Normally I use Vandoren Trad. #3 reeds. One could say my ear is playing tricks, the current batch of reeds is buzzier, it's my chops, etc., but I swear these other conditions are remaining constant.

I bought my Serie II in December because I wanted to get a very characteristic French sound and got a wonderful one with my Selmer alto and mpc. Now it doesn't sound the same and it bugs the hell out of me. FWIW, the mpc was bought new in 1992. It has been played regularly but not often; probably average of twice a week except for times when a concert or recital is imminent.

Thoughts? :scratch:
 

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Maybe you need to go up a 3 1/2.?

Are you taking more mouthpiece? That makes my sound buzzier.
 

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My student is having the same problem with her YAS 23/4c. She just started, but was getting a very good sound for a beginer until the buzzing started. She is using Rico 2s, so I told her mom to get some harder reeds, but I haven't had a lesson with her in a while so I don't know if it has changed.


I would say try a harder reed, but you are obviously a much more experienced player than me, so I don't know what good my advice will do you.

I use the exact same set-up you do though, only I use a Vandoren trad. 4.
 

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A couple of questions...

Can you see your teeth marks when you're done playing on it? Is the rubber dull or shiny?

I'm asking because I have seen Selmers made of some extremely soft rubber, which can change a lot more than normal depending on humidity, temperature, etc. and age can make the situation worse. This happened to me with a tenor piece that I used to have...LTs seem to have a bigger problem with this than S-80s, but I've seen it in both. (Mine was of the same vintage as yours, too.)
 
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Has anything loosened on the sax like a keyguard or pearl inset ? Maybe a post ? Or maybe it's a dental filing in your head you're hearing ! :D
 

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I used to play a C* and found it was getting noisy too. I used to play clipped #5 vandorens and played it frequently and hard, average 8 hours a day in college. The rails looked beat when I looked at it. I think it was wearing down and changing itself to something other than what I started with.

300 days (had some days of not playing) x 8 hours x 4 years =9600 hours of hard reeds battering on it. Seems logical it would wear as it is only rubber not stainless steel.
 

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Gary, has anything changed in the room that you normally practice in? Room acoustics can sometimes change what we hear when we are actually producing the same sound we always have. (A slow moving ceiling fan one time drove me crazy until I figured out thats what was changing my tone in that room.) I know that when I begin spend more time playing the reed strength that produced the sound and resistance I wanted when I started gradually starts to sound "thin and reedy" especially in the upper register and I need to graduate to a stiffer reed to get the sound and feel I like. I have always attributed this to the fact that my chops are getting stronger.

To see if the mouthpiece has actually changed, you could try to find the same mouthpiece in a store and do a side by side comparison. You could even take a caliper and compare some of the measurements. I have never heard of a mouthpiece changing its playing characteristics without it being cracked or chipped. Let us know what you find out.

John
 

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Who cares if you use a 2.5 or a 4, its obvious reeds are a very personal thing. Too bad I didnt find this out earlier, I had been fighting against myself trying to use 3.5 for the longest time because of outside influences. So many problems..
Anyways... on topic, I heard that the mouthpiece can change. Someone once told me that gunk gets on the chamber and actually stays there. Wouldnt surprise me either since the change would be real gradual. Im with others to say you should maybe try some other s80's if your sure its not some other factor. Besides how much are s80 c*?
 

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Maybe the issue is the other m/ps you're playing as well (??) Perhaps it's the transition thing. I mean, are you playing different m/p as well as the C* that might make the transition weird?
 

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Gary, what I think is that one's body is always changing and since the embouchure muslces are going to be the strongest and most well-developed in a woodwind player then it follows that one's embouchure will alter also over time, no matter how long one has been playing. So I think that going up a half strength may bring back the sound you want or maybe it's time for a mouthpiece change, with a slightly wider lay - or get yours refaced :shock: .

But as others have said there are other factors to think of - the room, the humidity on a given day or maybe you DO have bees in your sax - maybe you used beeswax instead of cork grease! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Excellent observations, folks, thanks. I think the easiest and most practical things to do first are to just grab stronger reeds and if that doesn't work to try out several other C*s. If that doesn't work then I'll be stumped. (Other mpcs? I've got a Caravan and Vandoren and am not getting any buzzing sound so...?)

Here are some responses to your ideas. Thanks again:
J.Max said:
Can you see your teeth marks when you're done playing on it? Is the rubber dull or shiny?
I'm using a tooth patch because my two front teeth are not kind to HR mpcs, so I don't know. Regarding the colour, the areas where the lig. does not contact are dull coloured; not that greenish colour but it looks like it's on it's way. However, on the out-sides of the mpc, about the first 3/4 of an inch worth of the mpc starting at the tip, there is white decolourisation.

Toobz said:
Has anything loosened on the sax like a keyguard or pearl inset ? Maybe a post ? Or maybe it's a dental filing in your head you're hearing !
No. Actually, I've had it to the repair-guys about three times since Dec, just to have the horn gone over.

jbtsax said:
Gary, has anything changed in the room that you normally practice in?
Well, let's see. My (ex)GF no longer visits it. :cool:
No. And actually my experience includes various venues.

RootyTootoot said:
Maybe the issue is the other m/ps you're playing as well (??) Perhaps it's the transition thing.
I normally play two mpcs on my tenor and alto, one for classic, one for jazz/pop so I'm pretty used to that.
 

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I have seen some HR pieces recently with very warped tables. A couple were Lambersons and a few were worked on by Theo. So I would bet they had nice reed tables at one time. The clients had them for several years and some of them thought that they may have been warped by exposure to heat in a hot car. I would not rule that out. Plus, if the ligature was stored snug on the mouthpiece, it might contribute to how it was warped.

These were so bad that it could be easily seen by holding a straight edge along the table and looking for light gaps. So you may want to try that as a check.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks, Keith! :)
 

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CountSpatula said:
What a beast...when I used a C* I used 2.5 Vandoren Traditional...3s were too hard.

There is a woman in my city who uses 5s on tenor:shock: My instructor keeps trying to work up to that but never can...

I probably could air-support wise, but I doubt my chops are up to it.



Gary, how hot/humid does it get in Germany?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Martinman said:
Gary, how hot/humid does it get in Germany?
72 °F / 22 °C 41% humidity today
 
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