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Please excuse me if this has been addressed before, I did try the search with no luck. Also I hope I’m putting this in the right place. I apologize if not. I’ve been having issue with my mouthpiece/reed setup and would appreciate any help/feedback someone has.
I play a R&C R1 Jazz alto in silverplate. I’m currently playing with a Meyer G 6with Brancher Jazz 2.5. I have tried about a dozen different reed brands, strengths between 2-3. I like these best and have a whole drawer full of less best (?) useless ones. This is not my ideal mouthpiece, but it has to do for now.
My issue is I am now just recently noticing I often get problems getting sound, not a squeak, more like honking duck-like sound, occasionally when playing. If I blow outrageously hard, I can make this happen; but I don’t feel like I’m blowing hard at all when it usually does. However, I do mostly notice this when I play at church and I’m trying to be heard amongst guitars/drums/keys and I usually put a little more into it. Happens with old reeds and new reeds, various notes.
Does this mean I need a harder reed? Or a mouthpiece with a bigger tip opening?or smaller? Or is it something incorrect with my embouchure? (Can you tell that without actually seeing me?)
Thanks for any input and/or general suggestions and I hope I’ve been specific enough.
amy
 

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I'm no expert, but the first thing I would want to know is, did you experience this before with a previous instrument or different mouthpiece/reed set up, and if not, what were the changes you made (i.e., more open tip, softer read, etc.) That might give you some clue as to what to change if a change in set-up is necessary.

Second, I found that if you are trying to compete with other instruments by playing louder, when that is not the way you practice during the week, then you will tend to loose control in that setting. Usually a slightly harder reed will fix that, but it will still come down to building your embrochure, knowing the limits of your reed/mouthpiece setup, etc as far as how much air you can put through it and still control the sound.

Another option is to have them mic you so you don't have to work so hard to compete. This gives you more room to express the full range of dynamics and produce better sound.

Lastly, I play for church and found that I sound totally different to myself, and even tend to play different in that setting, than I do in my private practice at home in the basement where everything is reflected back in my face. I found it very distracting until I had them give me a monitor so I could hear myself better. it made all the difference in the world. The honking may not be as bad as you think, or you may not really need to play as loud as you think to be heard. Try having someone record the services, or put a mic and recorder on your in the service and listen to it afterwords. A lot of times our sound is projecting out to the congregation while whe have the lead guitar amp in our ears and our perception of the complete sound can be totally distorted.

Good luck!
 

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alleysax said:
Please excuse me if this has been addressed before, I did try the search with no luck. Also I hope I’m putting this in the right place. I apologize if not. I’ve been having issue with my mouthpiece/reed setup and would appreciate any help/feedback someone has.
I play a R&C R1 Jazz alto in silverplate. I’m currently playing with a Meyer G 6with Brancher Jazz 2.5. I have tried about a dozen different reed brands, strengths between 2-3. I like these best and have a whole drawer full of less best (?) useless ones. This is not my ideal mouthpiece, but it has to do for now.
My issue is I am now just recently noticing I often get problems getting sound, not a squeak, more like honking duck-like sound, occasionally when playing. If I blow outrageously hard, I can make this happen; but I don’t feel like I’m blowing hard at all when it usually does. However, I do mostly notice this when I play at church and I’m trying to be heard amongst guitars/drums/keys and I usually put a little more into it. Happens with old reeds and new reeds, various notes.
Does this mean I need a harder reed? Or a mouthpiece with a bigger tip opening?or smaller? Or is it something incorrect with my embouchure? (Can you tell that without actually seeing me?)
Thanks for any input and/or general suggestions and I hope I’ve been specific enough.
amy
I do get this problem as well from time to time, this is because of you have a large mp tip opening, maybe bigger as what you should have used as in time our mouth muscle will be getting stronger and thats why you will move on to the bigger tip eventually.

I had this problem with dukoff D7 but not with my beechler s6s. I can blow the dukoff with ease now (I am talking tenor here). I have a bit of honking with the new otto link newyork 7* that I just bought. Its bigger tip opening than the D7.

Your reed may contributes to the problem as well as I have trouble with No 3 reed, I am using 2.5. Mind you, some brands differ in actual strength. For example Rico royal's 2.5 is actually thinner than vandoren 2.5 I am using rico royal and it is sweet.

I suspect that you havent been playiing very long. Because I can say I am a beginner still (this is like my 5th year learning sax and I only practice like 2-3 times a week before, it was just last year I am practicing every day). I am playing for my church band too.

PS just for info, the harder the reed the rounder the sound will be, the thiner the brighter the sound. Hard reed=harder to blow.
 

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bradshawm said:
I'm no expert, but the first thing I would want to know is, did you experience this before with a previous instrument or different mouthpiece/reed set up, and if not, what were the changes you made (i.e., more open tip, softer read, etc.) That might give you some clue as to what to change if a change in set-up is necessary.

Second, I found that if you are trying to compete with other instruments by playing louder, when that is not the way you practice during the week, then you will tend to loose control in that setting. Usually a slightly harder reed will fix that, but it will still come down to building your embrochure, knowing the limits of your reed/mouthpiece setup, etc as far as how much air you can put through it and still control the sound.

Another option is to have them mic you so you don't have to work so hard to compete. This gives you more room to express the full range of dynamics and produce better sound.

Lastly, I play for church and found that I sound totally different to myself, and even tend to play different in that setting, than I do in my private practice at home in the basement where everything is reflected back in my face. I found it very distracting until I had them give me a monitor so I could hear myself better. it made all the difference in the world. The honking may not be as bad as you think, or you may not really need to play as loud as you think to be heard. Try having someone record the services, or put a mic and recorder on your in the service and listen to it afterwords. A lot of times our sound is projecting out to the congregation while whe have the lead guitar amp in our ears and our perception of the complete sound can be totally distorted.

Good luck!
Yeah he got a point there, I am also using a mic.

I think it is wrong to blow the sax as hard as we could. I think if we do that than you will sound rough and maybe you will go out of tune. If you want more volume than I suggest you get another mouthpiece instead of blowing out your lung =) You'll get tired fast too.

I recommend beechler hard rubber as it sounds powerful and a bit bright. Also metal yanagisawa (I am suspecting you are playing tenor), metal beechler bellite and if you got the embouchure set up, dave guardala KING hehehe. But beechler hard rubber diamond inlay is the go, try no 6 first if its too easy, go for 7. I have the small chamber one, the sound is more focused and bright. Otto link STM is also nice but I dont really like it, I like the NY one, its FAT and big hehehe.

Dont get me wrong, we should practice, IMHO, with full sound. Before I practiced with suspended sound because I dont want to upset the neighbour but my tutor told me, its wrong. I have to get the full sound of the sax without blowing it very hard. We use a digital tuner with microphone tuner so I know how hard I have to blow to match the tune of every note. For example if I blow A then the digital tuner should read A not A# or Ab or any other note than A. This will help you practice getting the right intonation and sound.

So get a mic, get the right reed and mouthpiece and your embouchure will form in time. Good luck too...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for your input. I used to play with a mic and wish I could have it back. It's certainly less work. I do agree your sound is different as heard from the audience perspective. Hearing myself in the monitor when I used to have the mic took a long time to get used to. This is a completely new problem. I think I've narrowed it down to being an embouchure control issue with perhaps a bit of overblowing since I feel I'm competing and the trumpet player always says he can't here me so I play louder. (So I face him and play, Can you hear me now?LOL) Embouchure is something I've been working on over this past summer as everything has been on break other than church. I guess I just need to keep working at it. I'm not a new player, been playing more than 7 years now, after a 15-year layoff, and I play most days more than an hour. I have a new sax (6 months now) and am trying an old mouthpiece which I haven't played for about a year. I started using this (Meyer) again in June. The one I was using before that had a more open tip. Maybe I just need to get used to this more closed one again. I guess I forgot to mention previously I do play alto. Anyway, thanks for your suggestions.
I probably should get a teacher, but money is tight right now so I have to utilize what I have available.
 

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Ah you have been blowing longer than me! WHo am I to give you such advise =)
Some horns are harder to blow than another, some requires more open throat some will blow easily. Most japanese horns are easy to blow as I have a yamaha custom 875 but my conn 10 is giving me a little trouble on the low C. Maybe its not you but the combination of mouthpiece, reed and horn. Its trial and error.

Using mic is the real go in your case especially if you have to "fight" the trumpet player hehehe. But seriously dont force yourself to blow as hard as you can because you can hurt your breathing organs. I always have flatulence (oops) if I blow too hard and its bad for your digestion too!! (gastroentritis) Especially if you dont give yourself a break and blow continuesly for hours.

Regards
 

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Just a guess, but it sounds more like an airstream focus issue to me. You may be changing your throat as you play louder unconsciously, and causing the note to get an "undertone" (I don't know if that's a real word or not). Try working on overtone exercises (I'm sure a search would turn up some good advice on these) to help you with those... But, as I said, it's just a guess.

Regards,

Pete
 
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