Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Every review I've read says that the Shadow's altissimo is really easy to hit, but I'm having a hard time with it. On Selmers it pops right out for me, but the Shadow just feels so darned resistant.

I play primarily classical and I was wondering if there are any classical shadow players in here who have some setup advice on how to get it to speak easier. I've had a few other people play it and most of them have found it really resistant. Right now I'm using a Selmer C*. The JK mouthpiece that came with it is garbage (IMO). What do you guys use that actually works?

Please don't respond with general statements like "everyone's different. go try a thousand different mouthpieces". Some specific would be nice :)


Thanks for the help!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,056 Posts
Specifically, try a brand new unused reed on the mouthpiece that came with the horn.

Failing that, long tones are your friend. Some mouthpieces just don't work with some horns. If you are determined to play your mouthpiece, start practicing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Carl H. said:
Specifically, try a brand new unused reed on the mouthpiece that came with the horn.

Failing that, long tones are your friend. Some mouthpieces just don't work with some horns. If you are determined to play your mouthpiece, start practicing.
Wow, some great advice :rolleyes:


Again, I want to hear from people who play shadows classically. I'm interested to know what they use as a set up, or if they had troubles with altissimo as well.

I can hit up to the E (only up to C with decent stability) on longtones without much problem, but articulating or jumping between them musically (such as in the Hussa or Dahl Concertos) seems near impossible because of the resistance. On Series IIs I can hit up to the F with excellent stability on longtones, articulating is never a problem, and jumping around up there hasn't presented any problems besides the usual awkwardness.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,056 Posts
How about some specifics on what you are playing?
S A T B?
Reed?
Ligature?
Stock C* or modified?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Sorry,

Alto, 3 1/2 Vandoren blue, stock C*

I've tried using a couple different leather Rovners, Vandoren Optimum with all 3 plates, but the standard metal lig has worked best so far
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
Undertone I've got a really quick solution. Sell the Shadow and buy a selmer or play your selmer if you still have it.

No sense in wasting time with a stuffy horn.

Some things to look at. Neck tenon is fitting tight. No leaks in the horn. Octave pip is in working order on neck and the body tube. Of course you know that JK's have a larger bore and as such are going to be harder to hit altissimo. Most alto JK players report that Selmers have an easier altissimo.

Don't most people that play classical usually use a Yamaha 875EX. I kind of thought that was the standard classical horn.

If you don't mind me asking, why did you get a Shadow?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor 20
Joined
·
4,842 Posts
The altissimo on my JK is considerably more difficult to hit than on a Ref 54 that I tried. In fact, without going with a high baffle piece, I find the alt to be inconsistent for me. Much of it is me, I'm sure, but there is no doubt that it was much easier on the Selmer.

You may have to pick you poison on this. Do you like the Keilwerth sound enough to be limited in your altissimo usage?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
I bought it when they first came out a few years back. I was doing my undergrad and was long over due for a pro horn. I didn't know a whole lot about high end instruments, but everyone always said "just play as many as you can and find the one that feels best for you". At the time, I thought the shadow was amazing.

Since then I've been chastised by peers and educators mercilessly:

Fred Hemke (eyes fixed upon my sax) - "ummmm..... what? uh, why?"
Mark Colby - "Did you fall on your head? What are you doing with that thing?"
John Sampen (with his shy half-smile) - "You shouldn't be playing that horn"
Susan Cook - "You'll be getting a Selmer soon, right?"

On and on and on....



So basically I'm sitting at my computer trying to find reasons not to sell it. To this point I didn't care what anyone said because I love my sax, but if I can't do the things on it that I can on a Selmer then I guess they're all right - I goofed.
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,208 Posts
Undertone said:
Please don't respond with general statements like "everyone's different. go try a thousand different mouthpieces". Some specific would be nice :)

Thanks for the help!
I may be wrong, but I don't think there are too many JK players out there playing classical.

I don't think you need to try a thousand different mouthpieces. Carl's advice is good. In addition, are you able to play overtones fingering low Bb, hitting each overtone consistently up to the 6th or 7th harmonic? Is there a harmonic that's particularly difficult on the horn?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
Undertone said:
So basically I'm sitting at my computer trying to find reasons not to sell it. To this point I didn't care what anyone said because I love my sax, but if I can't do the things on it that I can on a Selmer then I guess they're all right - I goofed.
This is the problem when people attach emotions to their instrument. You can't love a piece of brass, it can't love you back and in the case of this JK it's being a bi--h and back sassing you by being a stuffy old prude.

It either works for you or it doesn't. In this case it's not working for you. Dump it and get something that works. That doesn't have to be a Selmer........but it probably will be. Ask your teachers advice and apply their wisdom. If they've got the chops and can really play then their opinions should carry some real weight.

Trust me once you sell this horn and get one that works for you, you'll forget all about the Shadow. Their pretty horns, but we've discussed on this forum many times that the ugly girls are usually the best in the long run.
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,208 Posts
Undertone said:
I bought it when they first came out a few years back. I was doing my undergrad and was long over due for a pro horn. I didn't know a whole lot about high end instruments, but everyone always said "just play as many as you can and find the one that feels best for you". At the time, I thought the shadow was amazing.

Since then I've been chastised by peers and educators mercilessly:

Fred Hemke (eyes fixed upon my sax) - "ummmm..... what? uh, why?"
Mark Colby - "Did you fall on your head? What are you doing with that thing?"
John Sampen (with his shy half-smile) - "You shouldn't be playing that horn"
Susan Cook - "You'll be getting a Selmer soon, right?"

On and on and on....
If Hemke and Sampen think it's the 'wrong' horn for you, they might be on to something, they're pretty knowledgeable, IIRC;)...

I don't think it has to be a selmer, though (see sig--I was actually looking for a JK bari, then the YBS62 came up for sale).

I'm also still curious. The only reason I can think of that you have trouble with the altissimo, is that there is a weak harmonic inherent in the horn. The low Bb overtone series should tell you which that is. I have an idea which one is weak.

I may be wrong...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
840 Posts
Different fingerings have to be used in order to get the high notes to speak. Euge Groove and Kirk Whalum dont seem to be having any problems with the upper register on their Keilwerths. I know Euge for sure is on a Shadow and he plays ALL over the horn.. I know this probably didn't help much as far as set ups etc, but it can be done... I think people that come off of Selmers just have a little tougher time since Selmers speak so easily in the upper register, so naturally when one goes to something else, it's going to be the first thing that the player notices... Take a little more mouthpiece in, open up the throat a little more and the notes will come GOOD LUCK. I wouldnt go as far as saying that Keilwerths are stuffy. They might have a little more resisatance etc, but their warmth and power wont be able to be duplicated I feel. Sometimes I feel as though Selmers or some Selmers dont have any resistance to them
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
4,370 Posts
Undertone said:
I bought it when they first came out a few years back. I was doing my undergrad and was long over due for a pro horn. I didn't know a whole lot about high end instruments, but everyone always said "just play as many as you can and find the one that feels best for you". At the time, I thought the shadow was amazing.

Since then I've been chastised by peers and educators mercilessly:

Fred Hemke (eyes fixed upon my sax) - "ummmm..... what? uh, why?"
Mark Colby - "Did you fall on your head? What are you doing with that thing?"
John Sampen (with his shy half-smile) - "You shouldn't be playing that horn"
Susan Cook - "You'll be getting a Selmer soon, right?"

On and on and on....



So basically I'm sitting at my computer trying to find reasons not to sell it. To this point I didn't care what anyone said because I love my sax, but if I can't do the things on it that I can on a Selmer then I guess they're all right - I goofed.

Most folks speak from their own frame of reference. Some Yamaha and Selmer players will look at a Keilwerth player and think they should switch to their brand. Is that really so surprising? If you hung out with a bunch of Keilwerth players and you showed up with a Yanagisawa you'd probably get the same kind of looks and comments. Find your own way....wherever that leads you....perhaps dig the keilwerth fingering chart out of your case and try those out, if you haven't already....
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
·
5,316 Posts
Do you have the Keilwerth fingering charts, and are you using the recommended fingerings? If not, you might try them and see if they help. You can find the recommended fingerings here, but you may need to use IE to view them. (They don't display properly for me in the latest Firefox.)

I have a lousy altissimo, but using the Keilwerth fingerings - which include the F# key - helps immensely. It's much easier both to produce the sound and to sound the notes in tune. My teacher recommended against using the F# key if possible, but even he has difficulty playing altissimo with my Shadow (and no difficulty whatsoever on his Selmers).

Good luck.

EDIT: I'm not sure if it's my browser, but I can't get the altissimo to display on the schreiber-Keilwerth site. PM me if you need the chart, and I will send you a pdf.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
Most all those fingerings would work on Selmer to. I've got a note book almost 50 pages long with all possible fingers for soprano through tenor and another 5 pages of my own fingerings that I've found to work best.

I don't think there is such a thing as the "right" altissimo fingerings for any make or model.

Our man looks like he probably runs in the right circles. If he can get these notes to pop on other horns than spending hours try to make them pop on the shadow seems counter productive. I for one use to waste time trying to make certain horns work no matter the fight.....I wised up eventually. At this point its mind games and psychology that he'll play with himself in order to make this horn work. We've all looked at a horn and judged it with our eyes instead of with the way it really plays. With the Shadows high price he should be able to step into another horn that responds the way he wants without loosing too much money.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
4,370 Posts
There's a lot to be said for Heath's argument. You probably have enough to worry about without struggling unnecessarily with your sax. If switching makes your life easier, why not. If you prefer a challenge and have nothing better to occupy your time then by all means continue the struggle. Sometimes there is nothing to be ashamed of in taking the easy way out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
I own a SX90R(since 2000) tenor as well as a MKVI (168XXX) since it was new. Although I thought the SX had a great all round sound I also struggled with the Altissimo range I assumed it was me. About six months ago I had the VI overhauled (after it sat while I dedicated myself to the SX) and the altissimo just pop out of the horn. It took awhile to get used to the VI after not playing it for a few years, but now I know what horn is best for me and why.

Since then I have not played the SX (It's just sitting in case I need a back up horn.)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
4,046 Posts
The same things happen with mouthpieces. Lets say you've got a mouthpiece that has a really nice fat sound(not unlike a SX90 or Shadow) and you love the tone, but you can't no matter the fight control the high notes the way you'd like, you struggle and struggle and convince yourself that it must be you. At this point you've developed some strength from the fight and when you pickup up a smaller easier to handle mouthpiece or horn with a more compact bore you all the sudden can get the notes to pop. Now I'm no fan of pea shooters and prefer a large chamber mouthpiece, but I refuse to play a horn that makes it damn near impossible to eventually get out what I want.

You can play altissimo on any horn, it's just a matter of how much fight you want to put into it. I think it's cool if someone wants to push really hard and get a fat sounding altissimo on a large bore instrument, but some people don't have time for that amount of work.

Learning altissimo on large bore horn is a handicap. If you learn it first on a compact bore horn and really get it mastered then it's much easier to transfer to a larger horn, but you need to get the concept of control down pat or you'll never get much other than a few squeaks and squawks that seem to be completely undependable. Once again don't bring emotion into this. Work like a scientist at altissimo. If a Selmer pops the altissimo notes than play the Selmer and put the Shadow in the case and take it out a few years later and see what you can do.
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top