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Discussion Starter #1
Fokls:

I can use some recommendations here. My church is small in a physical sense. So much so that when I play it is from the choir balcony in the storage room.

Here is part of my problem. I played daily from 1965-1967 as I wanted to be a pro tenor. Quit school and gave up the idea of the career to join the Army in 1968. I purchased a 1943 Conn tenor "The Lady" two years ago.

The choir director lets me play when I want and what I want. I go solo. However, I have found this year I only have about 65% of my lung capacity which I suspect is due to Agent Orange. This was discovered during a pulminary test. So when I play I am getting a louder sound than what I would like since I cannot hold as much air as I used to 40 years ago.

What combination of mpc and reed would you recommend that I could use to tone down the volume somewhat. I currently use a reed strength of 2.5 and generally use the synthetic reeds.

Thanks.
George
 

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Interesting, George. Intuitively I would have thought that reduced lung capacity would lead to lower rather than higher volume. Is it that because your lung capacity is reduced you can't hold the air in as long and it rushes out faster?

What kind of mouthpiece are you currently using?

Also, check out this thread: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=66315&highlight=quiet+gig

The old Stan Getz teatowel-in-the-bell trick might be called for here.

Good luck, man. Nam vets got a raw deal.
 

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I want to say.
Thank you for serving our country. You might try a weaker reed, and a smaller tip opening. Best of luck though. Whats your current set up?
 

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I can't offer a comment on what mouthpiece to use, but I can share my experience playing in my church. When I played a solo part on my soprano sax (while accompanying the full choir with an about 8-piece orchestra) I was stunned at how loud my soprano sax sounded. The real problem here was that I don't really have control of my soprano, and not being able to play soft notes is a symptom of this.

On a later occasion, I played a duet with a pianist at the same church. I have much better tone control on my alto, so I knew my alto was the only choice.

I managed to find a very good reed which happened to be softer than what I would use for pop music, and it enabled me to play more softly than I usually can. It did not have nearly enough punch for playing in my rock and roll covers band, but it was perfect for this occasion.

I don't think your lung capacity should be crucial to playing at a soft volume. If you normally play in a "louder" setting, such as when playing pop or jazz, you might to take a second look at some reeds you may have set aside as not having enough punch for those louder settings.
 

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Lung Capicity

George I'm just going to toss this out here, my apologies in advance for knowing zero about agent orange's long term effects.

I had a lung infection a few years ago and it it took three months to recover. I could barley breathe at times and there was a whistling in my lungs. It turns out that the house I was in was infested with mold. I was trying to recover in a really lousy enviroment that compromised my immune system, sustaining the infection. My breathing habits changed to very shallow short breaths and I had alot of trouble playing the sax after I recovered. I thought my lungs were damaged and could not get air in. Blowing extra hard to get out the little air was how I played for awhile, with a fast beating heart.

I ended up going to an osteopath who told me that my muscles had changed the breathing pattern because that was the only way I could survive with all the junk in the lungs. It was such an ingrained breathing pattern that I would not revert back on my own. My basic survival instints kicked in and would not let the muscles relax even after I was better. In one hour she worked on the muscles so the chest cavity expanded and my old tone came back instantly. She also said the reason I had three beers effect me like I had 6 was because of oxygen deprvation.

I'm suggesting that it is possible that muscles that control the lung function may be impaired. A massage therapist or osteopath may be of great help here. Saxophone players like Ben Webster and Dexter Gorden smoked and I'm sure they lost alot of lung capicity. I used to smoke tons inmy teens and my 20's, a pack a day, and could still find the right resonance and balance. I'm guessing that at least 25% of my capicity was not functioning then.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Folks: thanks for tyour kind words and suggestions. Sorry for the delay in thanking you but the better half has been sick this week.

Reedsplitter: it appears that I use the reduced lung capacity to get what notes I can out in a short breath since I cannot hold as long as I used to. I think I overcompensate and thus blow it out harder than before. Thanks also for that thread. I purchased some of the Rico Jazz Select 2.5 reeds.

Saxland: thanks for the tip on the massage therapist and osteopath. I will inquire into this. My allergist could find no reason for the shortness. My regular doc and I think it may be due to weight but I cannot forget that I quit smoking about 10 years ago.

My setup currently is a Morgan mpc and I keep searching for that right reed. Most of the time I am using a synthetic reed.

However, one good piece of news. I took the neck in for a new pad and cork. Since it also would not tighten down, the shop indicated the tenon could be spread out for just a few bucks. So I took the horn back and they did that and the tech also found my Gkey was not working probably and a couple of other problems so he fixed them along with it. I know that is going to make a difference. Haven't had a chance to try it out yet but hopefully I can this weekend. I will keep you posted.

Thanks folks.

George
 

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definitely check in with the massage and osteopath route, it just might do
the thing for you.

you might also want to experiment with other mouthpieces and try one that
is less open to see if you can soften up your tone a bit.


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