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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys!

I am looking for some help getting my overtones under control.

Basically I can consistently hit high F# but whatever fingering I try for high G or above comes out as a squeal. I don't exactly know what I'm doing wrong and it's very frustrating. I've hit G once but it was very unstable, and despite massive lip bending it was still 20 flat. Any advice and suggestions are welcome.

Thanks ahead of time!

~Nick Vega

Setup: Solist B901 bari, Optimum BL3 MP, Selmer Single Screw Lig, and size 3 1/2 Vandoren reeds.
 

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Why on earth would you want altissimo on a bari?
 

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Because some of us tend to solo more in the upper register on bari and it is really helpful to not have to break the lines at F#.

I don't use altissimo much on bari (except F#) but when I do it's because a line just needs to run a few notes further up there.

To the OP, the standard answer is still the standard answer, which is to work overtones of notes upward with the standard fingerings and minor modifications of the standard fingerings (like opening certain pads to provide a vent), to get your voicing in order; then develop the fingerings that will provide reasonable response; then practice those notes, by adding them to all your scales, interval exercises, arpeggio practices, etc., etc., etc.
 

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Because some of us tend to solo more in the upper register on bari and it is really helpful to not have to break the lines at F#.

I don't use altissimo much on bari (except F#) but when I do it's because a line just needs to run a few notes further up there.

To the OP, the standard answer is still the standard answer, which is to work overtones of notes upward with the standard fingerings and minor modifications of the standard fingerings (like opening certain pads to provide a vent), to get your voicing in order; then develop the fingerings that will provide reasonable response; then practice those notes, by adding them to all your scales, interval exercises, arpeggio practices, etc., etc., etc.

A #3.5 Vandoren reed is pretty stiff; you may want to experiment with softer reeds (or just scrape down some of your existing ones) as they will give more more flexibility and flexibility is what you need to get the altissimo notes properly voiced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks all, I'll check that Luckey book, and the softer reeds!
 

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Baritone altissimo can be very mouthpiece and reed specific. There are lots of alternate fingering charts out there, just search them out and them all to find the ones that work for you.
The first bari player I ever heard using altissimo was Bruce Johnstone. I remember many, many years ago when he was with the Woody Herman band they gave a seminar & I asked him about his fingerings. He said he derived them from upper register flute fingerings. I remember trying that - some worked some didn't. Of course, Bruce was playing a wide open Lawton with #5 reeds on a Bb Mark VI and I was playing a 5* Link STM with #4s on a low A Mark VI.
Some fingerings work best in melodic lines, and others are more stable and work better for sustained notes. Just experiment and find what works for you.
 

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More resources:
  • Ben Britton: A Complete Approach To Overtones, and A Complete Approach To Sound (both highly recommended)
  • Sigurd Rascher: Top-Tones for the Saxophone: Four-Octave Range (every sax player should own this and I mean "own it")
  • Eugene Rousseau: Saxophone High Tones
  • Donald Sinta: Voicing: An Approach to the Saxophone's Third Register
  • Robert Lucky: Saxophone Altissimo: High Note Development for the Contemporary Player
 

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Because some of us tend to solo more in the upper register on bari and it is really helpful to not have to break the lines at F#.
Quoting from a big band sheet music from the '30s: "Change to alto sax here".
 
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