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So, I'm in Jazz band as an Alto Sax player this year, which I was a Bari Sax player before. I'm not sure if this is the right place for this question or not, but oh well.

Anyways, I have been having problems hitting anything below a low E. I've showed it to many of my saxophone band buddies in my (high school jazz) band, but they can't seem to figure it out either.

I play (Bass) Clarinet and Alto, so they think it could be an embosure problem, but no matter what I can't get the low notes out.

Is it me or the instrument?
 

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From the sounds of it there could be a few causes. The first thing that comes to my mind is there may be a leak which can make low notes extremely difficult to play. You can find out by using a leak light. Another thing to check depending on the model of the horn is if a screw that connects to a rod like structure is loose. This happened to me once. All that was needed was to tighten the screw and the rod didn't wiggle anymore and it performed its function of holding done a key that pops open when you play the left hand spatula keys. On my saxophone the key with the rod was located two keys above my right hand finger "1" key. It's not a key you press with your hand. It is one of those keys in between your left and right hand placement. With this being said the best thing you can do is find a saxophone technician and and have them look the horn over. Make sure you don't take your saxophone to just anybody. Take it to a sax man. Your problem is most likely going to be fixed if the technician is someone very familiar with saxophones.

The final problem as you mentioned could be your embouchure, but I highly doubt it since you said you played the Bari. I'm assuming that you didn't have a problem with the low notes on the Bari. The embouchure on the Bari and the Alto isn't much different. The only difference really is the size of the mouth piece and the mouth pressure. For the alto you will need to have a slightly tighter embouchure, but remember don't bite. The pressure should be rounded or in other words the embouchure is "O" shaped around the mouth piece so think of it like a ring. The best advice I can give for playing low notes is make sure you have an open throat. Give plenty of air support, and don't go dropping your jaw.

First thing you should do is get your saxophone checked by a qualified professional. If they don't find anything then you will want to learn what a proper saxophone embouchure is like. After that the next best thing to to is play long tones. They really help you gain control over the whole range of the saxophone. Start on a comfortable note then gradually work your way down chromatically as far as possible. The goal is to get to the point that you can play the low "B Flat" no problem. I hope this is helpful. The Best of Luck.

Caruso
 
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