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Discussion Starter #1
I have been to a few clinics lately and read on some websites where repairmen/players talk about getting the sax so leak free "that you can subtone down to low Bb". This is confusing to me because when my sax develops leaks, the only way I can go down to low B and Bb is by playing with a subtone. The real test for me is to be able to play low C, B, Bb with a centered and focused "classical" tone at piano or even pianissimo (if my chops are in shape). What is the thinking of other repair tech/sax players out there?
 

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Why wouldn't you just leak light the horn. You can play the low end with a soft volume even with little leaks all over the horn, but I'm a believer in making sure a horn is completely air tight. I've run into respected repairmen that have let me down when it comes to making sure my horn has absolutly no leaks. Seems they don't want to fuss with these matters.
 

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Because the leak light doesn't make all leaks easily seen. We're all human, so if something is missed during the setup a good playtest will reveal that there is still a problem that needs fixing.

I agree with jbtsax, I've heard many players subtone on horns that were less than airtight then have problems playing the horn down low softly without subtoning. Holding a soft, focused note on low B and Bb out for an extended period without subtoning gives me the best results, and if it gurgles, pull out the leak light/feeler guage and check it again!
 

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Often leaks affect C, C#, B, more than they affect Bb.

Furthermore, there are plenty linkage maladjustments, that will affect notes other than low Bb, but which are overcome when Bb is fingered.

A leak light WELL USED, detects all leaks apart from poor soldering of tone holes, tenon receivers, octave vents, etc; body joins; actual holes (eg splits) through the body wall, and fit of neck.

If the leak light checks out good for all fingerings, yet the response is still poor, THEN look for other leaks, and inadequate closing springs.

BTW, inadequate closing springs will not show up when playing pp.
 

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I agree with JBT, TTT and Gordon, and particularly on the issue where not all leaks are indicated by a leak light, neither are they necessarily found using a feeler. I primarily use a light, test play tonguing every note including alternate fingerings playing ff and then pp. If the sax is still not 100% then the feeler is used, and all linkages are re checked for "over regulation or mal adjustment and then any inadequate spring tensions.


Playing subtone will not IMHO highlight any leaks - also if the notes are slurred this can also give a false impression.
 

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I had the opposite experience. My sax had plenty of leaks and now that it is repaired and leak free I could not subtone the low B and the low Bb whereas I could easily do that before. I think I am going to return to my tech to check that out but I wonder if I had not develloped special subtone technique with leak on the low B and the low Bb. If you have any possible explanation It would be great.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Monkish said:
I had the opposite experience. My sax had plenty of leaks and now that it is repaired and leak free I could not subtone the low B and the low Bb whereas I could easily do that before. I think I am going to return to my tech to check that out but I wonder if I had not develloped special subtone technique with leak on the low B and the low Bb. If you have any possible explanation It would be great.
I think you hit the nail on the head. Players often unconsciously compensate as their instrument very gradually develops leaks and goes out of adjustment. I know that I have done this in the past. If this difficulty in playing the bell notes continues to bother you, I suggest taking it back to your tech and paying him to put the leaks back where he found them. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Gordon (NZ) said:
Often leaks affect C, C#, B, more than they affect Bb. Furthermore, there are plenty linkage maladjustments, that will affect notes other than low Bb, but which are overcome when Bb is fingered.
This is an interesting statement. Can you give some examples of what you are referring to?
 

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Don't misunderstand me, my sax is more easy blowing since there is no leaks. Acually the problem is really just for The low B and the low Bb. I have to add that he changed all my pads and not just the pads which had leaks. Actually it really bother me in some situation for exmple some ballad when I could not subtone correctly a big and lush low Bb subtone.
 

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jbtsax said:
This is an interesting statement. Can you give some examples of what you are referring to?

My experience has proven this to be true fo rme, the low C# I find is always the first to crack or anyhting if there is a problem.
 
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