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Discussion Starter #1
Apparently I am not wired as most saxophonists because my A3 is super unstable and hard to hit whereas it is supposed to be an easy one.
Besides I can play quite easily G3, G#3, B4, C4, even Bb4 is ok if I compare to A3. I tried different fingerings (I play the tenor) :

* -23 | --- : easy but super-flat, almost a Ab
* -23 | 123 or -23 | 12- : instant loud squeak
* -23G# | --- : very unstable, can squeak very easily
* -23 | --- + side C : my least worst option right now, can make it sound 33% of the time when coming from G# otherwise ..nope


I know there is no shortcut when learning altissimo... still playing overtones each time I pick my sax, I'll be able to stabilize A3 in few months/years I hope!
 

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I do *-23|123 and always have. Whatever finger combination you're using, it sounds to me like you're overblowing it. Try it more softly to build some confidence/consistency, then blow the walls down. Just a guess...
As you probably already know, there's a VERY fine line with some altissimo notes in regards to your "aiming point". If it's instant squeak, it leads me to believe that you're (again) either overblowing it or missing your aiming/target point.
Good luck!
 

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Sounds like a biting problem. Can you hit that partial on the low B fingering cleanly? It's hard to do. Hear the note you're trying to hit in your head and at least try to sing it. L23 + R123 is the most stable fingering on about every horn I've played. You can add low C or try some LH pinky keys to adjust a little.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm pretty sure that I'm not biting. I can hit D3 from the low Bb, and on a good day I can hit F3 but it's fairly rare. I removed all my biting bad habit by doing the sluring overtone exercise (comes from rascher's book if I remember correctly), sluring back and forth between two different overtones, you can feel if you're biting or not easily. It's weird because I can make the L23 only work 100% but as long as I add any finger on the right hand, I got a squeak. But you're probably right, I probably overblow too much, I need to calibrate.
 

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Try the alternate F#. I have a couple horns where the high A pops out more readily if that's added.

However, I see that the LH 2-3 fingering works for you, only very flat. I don't know what to do about that.
 

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I'm new at A3, but -23|-2- has worked for me on occasion, though -23|12- is usually better.
 

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I have the same problem with -23 | --- being flat. The most in tune A3 for me is X-2-3 | 1-2-3 plus the side C.
 

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I also use 23/123 (+ octave key). I'm assuming you are using the OK, but if not, then try using it.

I find altissimo A to be BY FAR the easiest and most 'forgiving' altissimo note, aside from F# which is equally easy. If you aren't getting it while hitting all those other altissimo notes, something strange and inexplicable is going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
If you aren't getting it while hitting all those other altissimo notes, something strange and inexplicable is going on.
I know, that's super weird! Also I can hit Bb4 23|12- + palm D but if I remove the palm D to play a A note I get a squeak. That's the cursed of the A note ;) I have not a big range in the altissimo, except the A3 I can play from G3 to D4. All notes are not equal, some are super easy to sound (G#3 for example or D4) but I find strange that everyone has no issue with A and I do. Guess everyone is different!
 

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Have had some success with students doing this ...

Intervals.

Start low and end up on the problem note.
From the bottom of the range:

C# E A open C# E A C# high E (* 23| ) high A (* 23|123)
Then back down all the way. Back and forth a bunch of times.
Slow then faster then slow.
Then just the higher notes:
Octave A C# E high A

Then try D F# A similar pattern.

And relax.
 

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Does the same thing happen regardless of whether you try to hit it straight on, approach chromatically from below? Above? How about from a larger interval like a 3rd (datsaxman’s exercise for example)?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Does the same thing happen regardless of whether you try to hit it straight on, approach chromatically from below? Above? How about from a larger interval like a 3rd (datsaxman’s exercise for example)?
Using the C side fingering, I am able to approach A3 from the G#3. I definitely do arpeggio when practicing altissimo notes to hear the notes and check the intonation. But straight on is almost impossible. I'll try the datsaxman's exercise to see if I can play the -12|123 fingering from the E
 

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Using the C side fingering, I am able to approach A3 from the G#3. I definitely do arpeggio when practicing altissimo notes to hear the notes and check the intonation. But straight on is almost impossible. I'll try the datsaxman's exercise to see if I can play the -12|123 fingering from the E
I’d say it’s a combination of tightening up too much and not voicing the note like you’re singing it. A lesson or two with a solid teacher would be much more helpful than any of our speculation.
 

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Wish I could help 12/12 works for me...and it was the easiest (and first) altissimo note I learned. The D above that is about as high as I use - mostly. The C# is a great topper for a blues sole in Concert E, but beyond that everything above (for me) is just speculation. Fingerings seem to be less important than attitude at that altitude....
 

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I'll try the datsaxman's exercise to see if I can play the -12|123 fingering from the E
While it's true that a variety of fingerings can be used for most altissimo notes, if you're trying to hit that altissimo A, then at least try the 'standard' fingering first. I'll post it again: 23/123

Here's another notation for that same fingering (the "X" means the finger is down)"

0XX/XXX (plus octave key).

Geolm, have you tried that fingering? So far you've listed fingerings that may or may not work (none that I've ever used for that note).

p.s. Just noticed you said in your OP that with the fingering I'm recommending, you get an "instant loud squeak." As someone else pointed out, that sounds like you are over blowing or biting way too hard. Try it again and back off a bit; it isn't a difficult note unless you are maybe tensing up and trying too hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes, a teacher would be a good idea but so far can't find a good one in my area ... seems everyone is interested only in hard rock music in the Québec province :(

JL, I tried the "basic" fingering but it doesn't work. What I found very suspicious is that I am able to play a flat A with -23|--- but once I add RH fingers, it squeaks. I am not bitting, I worked hard to be relaxed when playing high notes (even palm keys) and make them sound with a steady air stream instead of bitting. I play a yanagisawa t901 and I found that fingering depends a lot on your instrument. For example, most books said that if you overblow a Eb palm you get a C4 but in my case it's a perfect B4. In the beginning I was worried about that until I found a video by sirvalorsax that has the same "issue". Actually most of "his" altissimo fingering are working on my tenor.

Right now I am trying to stabilize the A3 fingering with the side C when I am able to play it, I keep it as long as possible to remember my oral cavity configuration. I don't to work on the "normal" fingering because it's a dead end currently and I cannot invest too many time on altissimo, I have a lot to work (sound, effects, speed, fluency in 12 keys), you know the drill.
 
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