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Discussion Starter #1
Hello!

I'd like to ask if you had the same problem as me:

I came back to classical studies after a while and noticed that on my AL3 mouthpiece in piano dynamics C#2 played with octave key and G (essential for having smooth legato between 1st and 2nd octave) is veeery stuffy - I'd even say useless and unplayable (compared to c, b or d2 it's much more quiet).

Another thing i noticed is also stuffy G#2.
Can it be caused by setting the key pads opening too less? With a proper tuning my low Bb is way to sharp - about 23 cents, but none of my friends has vi alto with short bow to check it out.

I'd be grateful for any advice, because it makes me pretty irritated for last few weeks.
 

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How lond has it been since you had an overhaul or a proper setup on your alto? It sounds like there's a venting issue or a small leak that's causing it.


Where are you located? There are good techs but you might need a great tech who knows about how to setup a horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply!

The story is:
I'm from Cracow (Poland) and bought the hirn about 1.5 years ago. At the beginning the horn keys were setup way too low, so i went to the service and told the guy to fix it the way it should be. I've noticed that it still wasnt open so much, but i thought "that's the way it should be"' but after a while I started to struggle a little with intonation and this malfunctioning fingering. There is also a problem with high e played with the front keys, which is 20 cents sharp, the f is ok and the f# with Ta key is kind of low 😕 but i dont know if it affects this c#. I'd try to adjust it, but i'm not sure if i can handle it by my own.
 

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I'm not a trained musician but I've never heard of this fingering. Why would you use the octave key to play C#2, which is a low register note?
 

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If you have a way to measure the opening of the RH F key in millimeters it may provide a clue about the effect of the key heights. The Yamaha suggested key openings on their altos is 8.2 and 8.4mm for this key which determines the openings of all of the other "stack keys". I'm not saying your Mark VI has to be set to these specs, but in my repair I use the Yamaha figures as a good "ballpark" starting point. My personal 1950 Selmer SBA alto is set to these key heights and the action and venting are very good in my opinion.
 

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Are you saying that you're closing the key of the ring finger on your left hand, while playing C#? And are you talking about C# in the treble staff (as written), or two ledger lines above the staff?

I would just use the regular old all-open fingering for C#, myself.
 

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I'm not a trained musician but I've never heard of this fingering. Why would you use the octave key to play C#2, which is a low register note?
When you close the G key while fingering open C# with the octave key it closes the neck octave vent and opens the body octave vent which is located in a position that it does not force the C#2 to go to its 2nd mode C#3. Closing the G tonehole sends more of the soundwave farther into the body tube which gives the open C# more "sonority". Opening the body octave vent raises the pitch slightly which helps the typical flat sounding C#.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Saxoclese, thanks for participating!

I don't have any tool, but tommorow i'll get one and check it.

Turf3, I'm talking about middle C# (C#2) on the 3rd intervening space. It's helpful when you want to achieve smooth legato between e.g. d2 and c#2. Used mostly in classical music. So far it worked on any sax i've tried.
 

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If the up/down of six fingers at one time is a problem, leave some of the right hand fingers down. Depending on the horn, this might end up giving a clear in tune C natural for some fingers, but I think for a Selmer it ought to be OK. This is what we often do on flute. I see, however, mention of the "typical flat Selmer C#" and this will probably make it worse.

If it's tonal, maybe use the "long" fingering, like low C# but with octave key?

It seems that the octave C#-C# is usually wide. Older horns seem to have been designed for the middle C# to be in tune, letting the upper one go sharp. Many older instruments have a little lever that partially closes the topmost pad of the upper stack when you press the octave key (especially on sopranos). This works quite well.

Then apparently Selmer decided to adjust the scale to make the upper C# better in tune, but this makes the lower C# tend flat.

Personally I'd rather have to bring down a sharp upper C#, either by voicing or by closing a key below it, than try to raise a flat middle C# by (what? Not easy either to lip it up and you can't lift any key above it, and it's well vented).
 

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Personally I'd rather have to bring down a sharp upper C#, either by voicing or by closing a key below it, than try to raise a flat middle C# by (what? Not easy either to lip it up and you can't lift any key above it, and it's well vented).
You can raise the pitch by opening the middle side key. I have used that for years when C# is played as a longer note and I don't want to use the "long C#".
 

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C#2 played with octave key and G (essential for having smooth legato between 1st and 2nd octave) is veeery stuffy - I'd even say useless and unplayable...
It's very stuffy because you are using the wrong fingering. Sorry to put it that way, but in 50 years on the sax, I've never used the fingering you describe for C#2. I don't think such a fingering is "essential" for a smooth legato into the upper register.
 
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