Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have heard of a technique to keep fingers on pearls,double side tape.How do you get yourself to press keys without making a lot of noise.I think I am stiff in my fingers and know its not my horn.Seems like a bad habit,here is a video

:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
I don't know about your horn, justthesaxman, but I know mine does get noisy when it is in need of a repad (as it is now) with some of the felts and pads getting tired. And my mentor on the sax always tells me to keep fingers on the keys as much as possible and not to use more pressure than necessary to get a good seal and not to "slap" the keys. For me, it's a matter of awareness, as it is with so many things. I'll be interested to hear what some of the more experienced players have to share about this topic. Good luck and keep playing!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,073 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have re padded all my horns,definitely the best pads so far are the Roo's.They are the softest, as far as felts are concerned I have strived for quiet action using felts,cork ultra suede and even leather. I know that this is my fingers slapping those keys, I am sure is needed is like you say "more awareness". I am also going to try that double sided tape on pearls to keep me lifting my fingers too high.

Thanks for your reply.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
4,507 Posts
velocity and harshness is a part of articulation. Once the pad is more than 29% open, there's more feel and action involved than intonation or tuning (related to the venting issue) so it's really coming down to how are you articulating. (my 2 cents)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
velocity and harshness is a part of articulation. Once the pad is more than 29% open, there's more feel and action involved than intonation or tuning (related to the venting issue) so it's really coming down to how are you articulating. (my 2 cents)
Can you explain this? Thanks. Mayho
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,875 Posts
I watched the video and I couldn't hear any key noise at all. The fact of the matter is that there's always going to be mechanical noise, but the actually noise of the saxophone should drown it out most of the time unless you're playing extremely softly. The thing about playing with your fingers on the pearls is that the shorter the distance your finger travels, the less percussive it will be. When a drummer plays softer, he doesn't move his sticks slower, he just starts the attack closer to the head/cymbal.

What I did notice from the video is that the shape of your left hand is awful. Your fingers are too straight and your middle finger is even bending in the wrong direction at the knuckle closest to the tip of your finger. I think the ring finger is too a little. And on top of that, your pinky is overlapping your ring finger a little bit. These aren't good things. You need to change that quick before it gets to be too much of a habit. It probably already is. Your fingers should have a much more natural curve. Open your hand and pretend you're holding a baseball. That's about what your hand should look like. And part of the "keep your fingers on the pearls" mantra applies to your little finger as well. It should be around the G# key at all times. It'll naturally move when you switch to certain notes, but if you're playing G or lower, you pinky should be resting on that G# key. In the right hand, it should be on the Eb.

I watched some other videos and it looks like you curl the ring and little fingers in your right hand up into your palm a lot. Man, you gotta fix that stuff. The only way to do it is to practice very slowly, making a conscious effort to keep a proper, relaxed shape in your hands. When I practice scales, I play them slowly, more than 4X slower than how fast I'm capable of. And I actually snap my pads. I'm looking for that percussive effect you're trying to get rid of. Believe it or not, practicing slower helps me play faster and get rid of my bad habits at the same time. And practicing slowly allows me to keep my fingers on the pearls at all times. If you're trying to do that at a faster tempo, it ain't gonna happen. You need to do it slowly to get it into your playing. Try it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,144 Posts
I don't hear much key noise to speak of in that clip, but I do see tell-tale signs that some of the key noise you may be talking about could very well be related to your finger habits.

I won't address the mechanical things with the horn that could be contributing because there are several different kinds of noise that loose keywork and hard pads can make...but again, I don't hear enough noise to be able to diagnose it from a mechanical standpoint. You definitely need to work on your finger technique though.

I can't see much of your right hand, but two things stand out from looking at your left hand. #1...your index finger especially is coming WAY too far from the pearls when you lift it. #2...unless you have some sort of deformity in your fingertips causing the end joints to bend backwards, you're applying way more pressure to the keys than necessary. The combination of your fingers coming down on the keys from such an unnecessary height and the amount of pressure you seem to be applying could easily be the cause of excess noise from both the pads and the keywork.

I never used the double-sided tape trick, and it's not something I would personally suggest. If it has worked for others and you think it might work for you, by all means give it a try. I think you would do much better in the long run by doing it the old fashioned way and get back to basics. You need to make the conscious decision to keep your fingertips close to the keys. It will only be a conscious effort until you've practiced it long enough for it to come naturally, but that could take quite a while. You also need to be conscious about not squeezing the hell out of the key touches when you close them. If your pads are in good shape and seating properly, it should only take light finger pressure for the pads to seal completely. It looks like you almost have a "white knuckle" grip on the keys when you close them.

There's no easy answer to that in my opinion other than going back to the basics in order to retrain your fingers to stay close to the keys and not to use any more finger pressure than necessary for the pad to make clean contact with the tone hole. Squeezing doesn't help at all unless your pads are in really bad shape or the tone holes aren't level.

EDIT:
I got distracted in the middle of writing that, and by the time I came back and posted it, Agent27 had already covered a lot of the same things I did.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
480 Posts
I wouldn't worry too much about the noise coming off of your horn's keywork. It didn't seem to be a problem at all from the recording anyway.

As for technique, there are some great players out there (Michael Brecker comes to mind) that have poor hand technique. But those of us who are mere mortals with the saxophone (I fall into that category) need to focus on our hand technique especially when playing fast passages. If I start to hear that passages are "sloppy" and uneven I usually know that I'm letting my hand technique go by the wayside. Scales and arpeggios played both slow and fast in front of a mirror helps for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
The way I learned to get that perfect finger technique of "using only enough pressure and fingers on the pearls" was by watching TV :D I took out my horn whenever I watched TV. And I would just press down one finger multiple times and try to forget about it while I watched TV. I usually checked back to my fingers every 3-5 minutes to check if I was still doing it correctly. After I did this for awhile, my fingers just started playing with good technique without me having to think about it. The mirror method works too, but I would think the TV is more entertaining. :)

But sometimes when you really dig into the music, your emotions overcome that and your fingers might go haywire. My teacher told me, a lot of professionals have great finger technique, but it kinda goes out the window when they really dig into a solo. :p
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
34,693 Posts
The way I learned to get that perfect finger technique of "using only enough pressure and fingers on the pearls" was by watching TV :D I took out my horn whenever I watched TV. And I would just press down one finger multiple times and try to forget about it while I watched TV. I usually checked back to my fingers every 3-5 minutes to check if I was still doing it correctly. After I did this for awhile, my fingers just started playing with good technique without me having to think about it. The mirror method works too, but I would think the TV is more entertaining. :)
Yeah, that's the way I learned to. I couldn't play any more after they took Gilligan's Island off the air. Now I have to have a TV on stage at every gig with DVD's of my favorite shows. [rolleyes]

Either your teacher was exaggerating more than a little or has a limited data set. Good technique does not "go out the window" when digging into a solo. That's when having good technique kicks in and stays out of way of your creative process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
904 Posts
I wish I could get my keys to be louder! I've been using them as drums a lot and I dig it. The beginning of my Zorn piece is key clicks.


But that's just me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
520 Posts
Yeah, that's the way I learned to. I couldn't play any more after they took Gilligan's Island off the air. Now I have to have a TV on stage at every gig with DVD's of my favorite shows. [rolleyes]

Either your teacher was exaggerating more than a little or has a limited data set. Good technique does not "go out the window" when digging into a solo. That's when having good technique kicks in and stays out of way of your creative process.
Maybe it was me over exaggerating :mrgreen: whoops. I didn't mean for it to sound like when we improvise, we suddenly have rigamortis fingers. I meant it more like, the fingers come slightly off the pearls, but not flying off the keys with a bunch of motion wasted. Hope that clears it up. :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
·
5,316 Posts
If any of the noise sounds like metallic "clanking" (for lack of a better term), then check all your spacer corks. One may have fallen off.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
4,507 Posts
Can you explain this? Thanks. Mayho
sorry I missed to reply in a timely maneer

what I mean is that after certain key height, the venting is already maxed out (as if there were no key at all) shifting the issue from venting to action feel. I see this a lot from young players that sax "I want my horn as open as possible because it makes the sound so open and .... (insert key opening tonal paradigma here)"

To me the best way around a horn is finding what key height is borderlining the "no keys over the tone hole" effect, then work around poorly vented notes, intonation quirks and player preferences, to produce a horn that's in tune, speaks well and it's a joy to play.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
6,287 Posts
If any of the noise sounds like metallic "clanking" (for lack of a better term), then check all your spacer corks. One may have fallen off.
I record a lot of saxophone. The above issue is the only one that seems to cause noise enough to affect a recording in any serious way. Slapping the keys is not really an issue unless the hardware is rattling.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top