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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I've just picked up the sax again for the first time since high school (at least a couple of decades ago!), and while I've been pretty happy with what I've been able to accomplish, I've noticed something odd about octave intonation that I thought I'd ask about.

In a nutshell, when the octave key triggers the lower octave hole (notes G and lower) things are fine, but when the octave key triggers the tiny neck hole (notes A and higher), the notes are noticeably flat. If I play a low G and then the octave G, all is peachy, but when I do the same with notes A and up, the higher octave is flat. I know I should compensate with embouchure, but is the phenomenon normal? If the neck-hole mechanism is meant to trigger at A, then I figure it wouldn't have been designed to produce flat notes, so something must be amiss.

Thanks

Rob
 

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If the mechanism is out of adjustment and the lower register key opens even a hair, when the neck register key opens, the A2 and higher notes will be flat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've tried pressing the lower register key with my right hand and still the octave A2 is flat. Playing G and pressing the octave thumb key produces an octave G that's practically in tune with no change in embouchure, but when I do the same with A I really have to tighten up to play the octave A in tune. Is this normal?
 

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Try the following: play just the mouthpiece and neck apart from the sax. If you are playing alto adjust your embouchure to match an Ab concert pitch. If on tenor, match an E concert pitch. Then put the sax together and tune the sax by moving the mouthpiece on or off the cork using that embouchure to your low F# (A concert alto, or E concert tenor).

Once the written low F# is in tune, then check the high F# with the octave key. The two should be very close.

Next play the low G matching pitch with your tuner and then high G. Again the two should be very close using that neck + mouthpiece embouchure.

The last test is to play low A, match with the tuner and then keeping the embouchure the same press the octave key and go to high A. Again the two should be close. Typically for most saxes the high A will be sharp in relation to the low A.

If your high A is still very flat check the following:

-Make sure your reed is a 2 1/2 or 3. A 1 1/2 or 2 can play flat in the high register.
-Make sure your embouchure is tight enough to produce those tones on the mp + neck.
-Make sure your top teeth are on the top of the mouthpiece.
-Make sure you have the neck that goes with that saxophone.
-Check to see if the in line keys on the top of the sax are opening almost as much as the keys on the bottom.

The embouchure tightness test taught by Larry Teal is to play a low A and flick the octave key and then release.
- If the note goes to high A and stays a long time, your embouchure is too tight
- If the high A sounds flat and flabby, your embouchure is too loose.
- If a nice in tune A sounds when the key is flicked and then comes back down in a second or two, the embouchure is just right.
 

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I've tried pressing the lower register key with my right hand and still the octave A2 is flat. Playing G and pressing the octave thumb key produces an octave G that's practically in tune with no change in embouchure, but when I do the same with A I really have to tighten up to play the octave A in tune. Is this normal?
Check that the neck octave key opens enough (ca. 1/8" at least) and that the hole isn't plugged up.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
-Make sure you have the neck that goes with that saxophone.
Ah... The sax is borrowed from a high school, so this could be the issue. (I noticed from the start that the neck fit the body rather tightly.) And of course the wrong neck would mean the wrong higher register key and exactly the phenomenon I'm experiencing.

Many thanks.
 
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