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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I suddenly find that I'm getting a chirping sound, especially when I move to D with the octave key fast/with tonguing. I haven't had this happen in at least 6 months. I did get a new horn (Cannonball alto) and a new mouthpiece (Jody Jazz
7). I suspect that I need a tighter embouchure with the Jody Jazz than I did with a classical large chamber mouthpiece. But any other possibilities you can think of are welcome.
 

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it's quite obviously an issue of gear. Or, more correctly, of getting used to your new gear. Been there ;)

Some mouthpieces tend to be more sensitive than others, although I noticed that chirping is something that can be ligature-dependent as well (one of the few things were a ligature does make a difference in my opinion). But more often, choosing another brand of reed, or another strength, can make a huge difference already.

I notice that even with the same mouthpiece and reed, the amount of chirping depends on which sax I use. My teacher noticed that I had to get used to the speed of the valves of my new sax. I chirped quite a lot, because the octave vent was just a little slower than on my former one. Might be something to look at as well.

Overall advice : fumble a bit with reeds, if no solution, check a ligature, but first of all : get used to the new gear. I do so by starting of slow and increasing the speed of my patterns at every exercise. In the end, you're bound to get the right movements in your fingers to avoid the chirping.

My 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Excellent advice. Thanks. I never thought about the ligature. I actually went from a 3 to a 2 1/2 reed to help with the adjustment. I will try several of my reeds since I have Vandoran V16 3s, and ZZ 3s, LaVoz Meds. and another brand of 2 1/2s. I have a Vandoran leather ligature which worked well before. I'll slow down on my scales and see if its the timing of the valves as well.

Thanks for sharing your experience. I think I'll probably eliminate the problem by paying attention to each thing you mentioned. The culprit will be eliminated!
 

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I had a similar problem recently after getting my alto fully overhauled. Same note, same circumstances.

I went to pick up the horn from my repairman. I put the mouthpiece on the horn and and play the intro to Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson's "Juice Head Baby"


G Bb B d g g g f d f g....

I'd hit the d and every now an then, the d would jump up to the a.

It turned out that I'd been compensating for the leaks by overblowing. Try relaxing. Worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I find that it's also very easy to jump an octave on the low end noted, especially low Bb to C. Harmonics and altissimo are really easy on the cannonballs, so yoy can very easily slide up an octave on those notes. Nice, but for a someone playing only a year, another challenge to controlling the horn. A good lesson though all of this I think, because it teaches about the relative qualities and characteristics of gear. A bit frustrating at times though. Makes me feel like I'm moving backward instead of forward.
 

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NU2SAX said:
I find that it's also very easy to jump an octave on the low end noted, especially low Bb to C. Harmonics and altissimo are really easy on the cannonballs, so yoy can very easily slide up an octave on those notes. Nice, but for a someone playing only a year, another challenge to controlling the horn. A good lesson though all of this I think, because it teaches about the relative qualities and characteristics of gear. A bit frustrating at times though. Makes me feel like I'm moving backward instead of forward.
Easily solved.

Eliminate "getting used to new gear" from the equation. Get the horn set-up properly. Get a decent mouthpiece. And stick with it.
 

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I suggest you first check your neck octave key. Finger low G and press the the thumb octave lever firmly and watch to see if the neck octave key opens slightly. Then "pop" the thumb key hard several times still fingering G and see if you can make the neck key bounce a bit. If there is any movement or bounce, this can be a contributing factor to your problem. Take it to a tech to get adjusted---usually fast and inexpensive. If you bought the sax new from a dealer recently, the adjustment should be covered by the warranty.

The other (non mechanical) cause may be "biting" on the mouthpiece or keeping the back of the tongue too high coaxing the D fingering to produce a high A overtone. Make sure the pitch of the mouthpiece alone is a concert A (or lower)---usually G or F# for a jazz tone. Also make sure you are playing with a "first part of a yawn" feel in the throat and that the back of the tongue is down in and "AH" shape not an "EE".

One more common cause of what you are experiencing is the third finger of the left hand being a bit slow when closing the G key when going to the D. This can have the same effect of slightly opening the neck octave key as the mechanical problems discussed above. Good luck. Hope some of this helps.

John
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks jbtsax. I will try those things. Also, you may be right about tongue position. I think that when I tighten embouchure a bit I tend to move to the ee tongue position more than the ah. I'll have to pay attention to that as well. I am under warranty so if the octave mechanism is moving to much I'll have the tech take care of that.
 

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I never had a problem with sqeeking and chirps and stuff, but started doing it recently. Turns out I had some leaks in the horn. Once fixed -- no problems.
 
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