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Hi folks, Ive recieved a wealth of info from here in the past regarding learning how to play the sax. So Ive come back seeking more. Im pretty happy with how I play my alto, Im not good enough to play in a band, but still happy with what I can do. I purchased an older tenor "boosey/hawkes" and tried to play it and was having huge problems, so I assumed it needed repad ect. Just got it back from the tech all repadded resprung ect. The issue Im having is when I play D4 it sounds muffled very very muffled. If I play down the scale say c5 b a g f e then d all the note changes sound in tune until I hit the D, then it just sounds wrong, I grabbed a cigarette rolly paper and checked all the pads for leaks but they are all sealing fine. I contacted the tech and asked what could be causing the muffled sound, he said just open up lower c a bit more by trimming the felt pad, but this hasnt achieved anything. Ideas, or is this a problem possibly with me and not the horn, remember never played a tenor before, ideas, love the big horn but dont want to end up getting frustrated with it
Thanks
Steve
 

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Steve, let someone else, preferably a more experienced player, have a go at it with his mouthpiece and then with yours. D4 is problematic on many horns; if altering mouthpieces and reeds doesn't work you (assuming the technical repairs were well executed) could always try using the side D.
 

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My gut reaction to this is to check the octave mechanism. Make sure that the side octave pad is open and the neck octave pad is completely closed. This should be true for D through G#. If the neck octave pad is slightly open, you may only notice it on the D, though.

To check, finger a G with the octave key depressed. Then finger an A. You should see the octave mechanism switch from one pad to the other. Just make sure the neck pad is closing all the way, and be sure to push your G finger down as hard as you normally do when you play. Sometimes a little extra squeeze with that finger is enough to pop the neck octave pad open slightly.

Or it could be something entirely different, of course. :scratch:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info guys, yep the neck octave is switching over just fine, I know what your talking about there. Gonna try and find someone to give it a go for me, and see what they think
Steve
 

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Some notes on some horns will play less/more open than others. Do long tones on your problem notes and that will help the intonation of the note.
 

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Mouthpiece?

I can get down there with my more open tipped pieces, but for me there is not a hope in hell with a C** of getting below C4. Its either muffled or jumps up the octave on the overtone.

Has anyone else tried it? I doubt the tech would have sent it out without playing it, so Im guessing its not the horn alone.

I have experienced a similar thing with mouthpiece choices on alto, but for me, coming from alto to tenor the very lowest notes are harder to hit consistently on the tenor anyway...maybe something to do with needing a more relaxed embouchure I expect.
 

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Canadiain said:
I have experienced a similar thing with mouthpiece choices on alto, but for me, coming from alto to tenor the very lowest notes are harder to hit consistently on the tenor anyway...maybe something to do with needing a more relaxed embouchure I expect.
My experience exactly. I want to pinch the lower notes too much. My "alto" embouchure is too tight. If I consciously loosen up the low notes come out fine but any minor tightening of the embouchure will pop Bb and B up an octave. Old habits die hard. Good luck!
 

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However, even with the best will and the most relaxed embouchure I can muster, nothing low is coming out easily with a S80 C**, the mouthpiece in that case is also a limiting factor... A more open piece and they pop out OK.
 

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Oops, I read that in your earlier post and still I failed to mention that my mpc has a tip opening of 0.100" so it's the first tenor mpc and most open mpc I've ever used.

Sounds like the Selmer mpc just doesn't like you, your axe, and the horse you rode in on! :D

(at least on the lower register)
 

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Yes, I learned the lesson that just because a piece is good for you on alto there is no good reason to believe the same brand and facing will work on Tenor...I have the selmer and had a beechler bellite to back that up too:(
 

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Canadiain said:
Yes, I learned the lesson that just because a piece is good for you on alto there is no good reason to believe the same brand and facing will work on Tenor...I have the selmer and had a beechler bellite to back that up too:(
I agree. You've got to approach your setup on each different sax as though it were a unique instrument. Don't think the same setup will work on your tenor as with your alto. You should experiment with tip openings, chambers, baffles, reeds, ligatures, etc. on each horn until you find your ideal sound and response.
 

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Canadiain said:
Yes, I learned the lesson that just because a piece is good for you on alto there is no good reason to believe the same brand and facing will work on Tenor...
Oh yeah! That's so right! :thumbrig:
 

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Do you mean D2, on the sax, (middle D)? If this is the case, a lot of tenors have this problem. Try fingering low D, and add the high D key, if time allows. This really opens up that note. Good luck!
 

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simso

Open the D palm key at the same time as playing as middle D - that will make it sound less stuffy and stop it overblowing on certain passages.

Otherwise - its all about embouchure - it's got to be looser (but with support) than with alto. This takes time. IMO it's harder to get a good tone out of a tenor than alto.
 

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In fact, I don't agree on opening the side-D. It might help opening up that note, but in the long run it's a limiting factor for playing fast licks in my humble opinion.

D is indeed a note that can sound stuffed on a lot of tenors. Especially for beginners, that is. mouthpiece choice is already mentioned, but a tip opening of 0.100 should be OK.

Things you can try :

1) play your tenor with the bell pointing to a wall. The sound will reflect and you'll hear what comes out in front of the horn. That often gives a complete different picture of the sound already.

2) your embouchure shouldn't change over the whole range of the horn. This is not only important for playing in tune, but also for avoiding you "close" the tone in the upper register. Jumping the octave can result in (unconsciously) tightening your embouchure, and that's especially noticeable on the middle D and the upper end of the octave (middle B, high C and up).

3) focus on breath support. playing tenor asks a lot of it, also in the middle register. enough breath support opens up the tone.

4) be sure you have enough mouthpiece in your mouth. Not enough will make some notes stuffy, and middle D is one of them.

Some exercises you can try :

- the octave exercise : C2-C3-B2-B1-A1-A2-G2-G1-F1-F2-E2-E1-D1-D2-C2
play this in long notes, tongue them all, and make sure you play a perfect octave. This is a training my teacher gave me to get my embouchure under control and make sure it doesn't change over the range of my sax. While playing, focus on keeping the embouchure constant and the breath support. You can play this first slow, and then gradually speed up while focusing on embouchure, breath support and pitch. Pitch is a good indicator with this exercise of changes in your embouchure.

- play your D2 at full volume, and lower the volume gradually. Then the other way around. Focus on breath support and a firm but relaxed embouchure. Firm but relaxed means well closed, but pull down your jaw. There is more info on that in numerous threads. You can do this exercise also on the exercise mentioned above.

- one exercise I benefit from over the full range of my horn, are the ones mentioned in the topics below. It might sound strange, training other notes might help with difficult ones. By getting my high register good, I improved my lower tones and vice verca.

Good luck

The exercises "Tone Production part I and II by Phil Barone" :
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=65006
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=56166
 
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