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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My palm key playing is quite a bit behind compared to the rest of the sax, and I am trying to work on that. With enough work do they become just as fluid as the rest of the sax, or are they always going to be a step behind?
 

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My palm key playing is quite a bit behind compared to the rest of the sax, and I am trying to work on that. With enough work do they become just as fluid as the rest of the sax, or are they always going to be a step behind?
If you use them as much as the rest of the horn, you may develop more fluid skills.

I recall a section of the Larry Teal Method book that discusses “problem” areas of the saxophone - palm keys and left pinkie keys are two of the topics. He includes some “finger buster” exercises to jump start the challenge.

You’ve just got to give them some attention until they are as familiar as the rest of your horn.

Be aware that you may have to tune your airflow as well as finger the keys. A bari sax can sound really nice up there if you focus your airstream well.
 

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The main reason for palm key trouble is lack of time spent there. Devise simple exercises in chromatically, diatonically, thirds, etc. A key point-make sure your left thumb is positioned at 2:00 on the thumb rest as your are in perfect position to execute. Move it to 3:00 like a lot of players and your left wrist is pulled AWAY from the keys-not good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the reply!

I'm actually pretty happy with my airstream up there. I'm at the point where a lot of voicing work has really paid off. I've been able to play in the altissimo range for a while, but never really explored it too much, aside from maybe a note here or there when a song needed it. I decided to try and work my way up there a bit more, and the fingerings that I have found that work best for me are the palm keys with the G key held down. I've seen it mentioned a bit on here... G by itself is a high A (on a low A bari, Bb on other saxes), and you can step up chromatically from there with the palm keys. I get up to a D4 that way, and can voice the whole thing up once more and repeat the cycle up to a G4.

But all that means using the palm keys a lot more, which as I mentioned was a neglected area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The main reason for palm key trouble is lack of time spent there. Devise simple exercises in chromatically, diatonically, thirds, etc. A key point-make sure your left thumb is positioned at 2:00 on the thumb rest as your are in perfect position to execute. Move it to 3:00 like a lot of players and your left wrist is pulled AWAY from the keys-not good.
would you say that you could do anything on the palm keys as efficiently as you do on the same notes an octave lower?
 

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One challenge I had (have) is making exaggerated movements to these keys, leaving the fingers flying around and out of place for anything coming next.
A suggestion was to practice keeping the movements small Infront of a mirror... It helped me... And, as always, start slow to get fast.
Your value may vary.
 

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I use a lot of Front F and E but I too should spent more time on the ole’ Palm keys.
 

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The DeVille Universal Method has several exercises devoted to "difficult" areas - like the c#2-D2 break, the pinky table keys and the palm keys. Practice difficult passages very slowly, and only speed up when you know you can execute perfectly every time. You can probably bring your palm keys in line with the rest of your technique in 2-3 months if you spend 10-15 minutes a day playing slow, difficult exercises up there.
 
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