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Discussion Starter #1
Quick question and I know the topic has been dealt with in other contexts but let me narrow it down. I am trying Tenor after playing alto (with previous clarinet experience). On tenor I am getting squeaks. I am using a Rico Jazz cut reed 2medium I thing the tenor itself is in good adjustment . Using Yamaha 4C mouthpiece.

Just to narrow in on the subject of the reed....would trying a softer or harder reed possibly help? Any suggestions as to strength of reed, etc.? On clarinet I use a Vandoren #3 on alto a Rico 2.5
 

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You're biting, and closing off the reed, causing the corner of the reed to vibrate at a different rate than the rest of the reed, causing a "squeek". You can also be "voicing" it higher using your clarinet airstream, or both. The saxophone may seem close to a Clarinet, but they aren't brothers, they are "3rd cousins". Some similarities, but many differences!

On a 4C I'd use a 3 1/2 or 4 myself, but I never use a mouthpiece that small on tenor anyway (my smallest tip is .090. I use BARI* Med reeds on it. My largest is a Drake Studio .110. I use the same reed on it).

Biting will also affect intonation making you play very sharp, and with a thin tone.

Instead of putting pressure on the bottom of the reed, it has to be at the sides of the reed (like an "O", where a Clarinet, as you know, is like a sideways "D").

It will feel strange and foreign at first, but scales and long tones will improve it.

Then again, you could just have a bad reed, or a bad mouthpiece (hey, even Yamaha doesn't catch all of them!).
 

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Yes, thanx Pete. Forgot about a mal adjusted sax. Very common squeek perpetrator.
 

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I'm with NSV's suggestion that you may be biting. I'm a convert from the alto sax (sorry no clarinet experience but I hear their embouchure is even tighter than the alto sax's) and I'm surprised at just how relaxed the tenor sax embouchure is.

If you can rule out maladjusted equipment as Pete suggests, I'd put money on operator error! :)
 

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Squeaking is nothing to do with reed strength. It can be leaking instrument, mouthpiece table/rails out of whack, distorted reed, broken or badly fitting ligature or operator error. My favourite reed strength is 2.5, but this is a very personal preference.
but this does change with what kind of reed you use, although in your case i don't think is that the problem..
 

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Find the best starting spot for the top teeth on the tenor mouthpiece by putting a business card between the reed and mouthpiece up to where it stops. Take a pencil and make a mark on both sides of the mouthpiece when the edge of the card sits. Remove the card and draw a line across the beak of the mouthpiece connecting the two marks on the side. This line is the best starting placement for the top teeth. You may find it helpful to use a thick rubber patch over this spot and redraw the line---especially if the top teeth are a bit uneven.

The next thing to address is the tightness of the embouchure. Remove the mouthpiece and neck and play with your regular embouchure. The pitch should be no higher than an E concert (written F#). Adjust the embouchure if necessary to produce this pitch and put the sax together. Play the same pitch (F#) as a long tone with the same embouchure. Make sure the mouthpiece is parallel with the lips so that there is an even pressure of the bottom lip on both sides of the reed.

Once you can play slurred scales throughout the range of the saxophone without squeaks then try articulating. Oftentimes tonguing will bring about squeaks that are not present while slurring because the jaw or chin moves while tonguing. If this is the case, work in front of a mirror and practice moving the tongue a much smaller distance when you tongue and keeping the tongue movement independent of the jaw and/or chin.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The next thing to address is the tightness of the embouchure. Remove the mouthpiece and neck and play with your regular embouchure. The pitch should be no higher than an E concert (written F#). Adjust the embouchure if necessary to .
Thanks, and just to clarify, to do this I would play on the mpc/neck without the body of the sax and see if I can hit a E concert on a tuner?
 

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..what are the most common operator errors that cause the squeek??? i have the problem only occasionaly with my Guardala,and everything Pete mentioned is in order so I'm sure there is something different about how i blow the guardala that makes it happen..... the beak is very thin and more angled...maybe that is making me bit more???
 

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Heehee.... Clarinet to tenor sax. I've done it!
IF the instrument is free of leaks, the reed is on the mouthpiece correctly, and you have your neck strap adjusted properly I can tell you what I did to make sure the 'embouchure' was sort of correct.

Put the mouthpiece in your mouth. About 1/3 of the tip should be a good starting point.
Start 'blowing using absolutely NO embouchure what so ever and gently increase the pressure until you get a good steady tone.
Remember how that feels and start a basic Bb concert scale, first slurring then tonguing.

If you can't get it to play without squeaking then it's Tech Time!
I apologize if you already knew how to do this...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the advice everyone. My second practice session with the tenor went much better although there still are some squeaks, but far fewer so I think I am on the right track. I think a big part of it is embouchure and air. I am going to have a pro player check out the horn later this week to see if it needs an adjustment. I ordered a #2 legere reed to try out
with the tenor although I always have used cane reeds when I play in a group. The tenor sounds really good. I want to work on getting the low notes out. The lowest notes on a clarinet are easy for me but for some reason I have trouble hitting the low notes below a C on the sax (alto and tenor).
 

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Discussion Starter #17
well if it's ok to take the thread into the subject of low notes, any advice on hitting the low notes? Let's assume the horn is in good adjustment....so I would assume we are talking about embouchure and air?
 

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Long tones also help you on intonation and tone as well. Before you know it, you'll be able to whisper out low Bb and tounge it!
 
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