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Hello, my name is Ashley and I have been playing the Alto Saxophone since some time around December. I have been having trouble hitting the like the low c. :line0: .. Can I have some tips on how to get it out, is a maintenance problem, or experience? Tips would be absoutley wonderful.
=]
Thanks-
--*Ashley*--:D
 

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Make sure you get your sax checked annually for leaks. leaks can make it difficult to make low notes speak. Whan playing a low "c" relax your lower jaw.In other words you less pressure from lower lip on reed.
 

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Like Sycc said, have your sax checked for leaks first. Then I recommend the following:

-Go to this link for suggestions on embouchure and where to put the top teeth on the mouthpiece http://www.brucepearsonmusic.com/article/SaxEmbouchure.htm
-Play an Ab Concert on your neck and mouthpiece alone
-Using the same embouchure, playing loudly quickly slur from low G down to low C and hold it as long as you can.
-If it doesn't want to come out open the throat like the first part of a yawn or singing "AHH" and try again. Use "tons" of air. Try to make it "honk"
-Once you can slur down to low C and hold it loud, then try at softer levels
-When you can do that try tonguing low C legato as you are holding it
-When that comes easily, try starting out on low C keeping the throat, embouchure, air, and tongue the same as the previous exercises.

Remember that the open throat and lots of air is the key. Do not relax the embouchure to play the low notes. The embouchure should basically be the same throughout the range of the sax (except the altissimo). A softer reed might also help at first. Try a 2 1/2 or even a 2 (medium soft). Good luck. Hope this helps.

John
 

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pop it

additionally, you can use a little cheat called "popping it." what you do is finger the low C, leaving one key open, usually the G key. then when you tongue the note, pop in the G key. the closing of the pad excites the air in the horn and gives you an extra oomph to get the low C to speak. i think that's the theory anyway :) i've used the technique for years on alto, especially on quiet entrances down low.

good luck!
 

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Ashley,
Try the simple suggestions offered here. You shouldn't have to do anything unusual to make it sound the notes. The more difficult normal range notes on the sax are the lower ones but the instrument should speak without a great deal of fiddling.

There is nothing worse than trying to play a wind instrument that has a problem and if you are just learning it is even more frustrating because you haven't developed the skill to "play around" the problem and you naturally think it must be your inability. If you don't get a quick resolution to your problem take it to a competent repair person or get a more experienced player to try your sax.
Good Luck!
 

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sycc said:
Make sure you get your sax checked annually for leaks. leaks can make it difficult to make low notes speak. Whan playing a low "c" relax your lower jaw.In other words you less pressure from lower lip on reed.
I would argue that you shouldn't have to relax the jaw for low notes. It should be pretty relaxed throughout the whole range and most changes should take place in the oral cavity with tongue position, etc.. Only when going to extreme altissimo does my embouchure get noticeably tighter and that's not the jaw, it's the lips.
 

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sycc said:
Make sure you get your sax checked...for leaks. quote]

Out of everything said here, this is the most important. :)
 

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Gordon (NZ) said:
sycc said:
Make sure you get your sax checked...for leaks. quote]

Out of everything said here, this is the most important. :)
You're just saying that because you're a tech. If you were a teacher you'd be used to this conversation:

student:"This horn isn't working properly"

me: "Yeah, it doesn't seem to take a big breath before starting and won't support it's own airstream. I guess you'll have to do that for it."

At which point I try the horn and it's fine. The low notes on a saxophone are an excellent barometer for technique.

(Yes, horns do get banged around and this will cause problems. I realize this.)
 

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The low notes on a saxophone are an excellent barometer for technique
They are also an excellent barometer for leaks particulary the Articulated G#, the F# pad and the Eb.
l

In an ideal situation it would be great if you could let your teacher or someone else have a blow.

If you take it to a tech and there isnt a leak then I for one wouldnt charge the customer and I would also give him/her some playing advice/tips.

The difference in my last sentence is that the teacher can give as many tips on playing technique but IMHO most teachers haven't got a clue about the mechanics of the instrument and thus are more likely not to be able to find and rectify a minor leak.

so the teacher give the advice - it may still not play therefore it's still gotta go to the tech.
 

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interesting topic, how do you check for a leak? I am I am no technician, can i do something to check for a leak?

I have similar problem with my tenor yanagisawa, everytime I blow the lower note F, E, D and C (includes all the sharps/flats on those notes), the horn make something like vibration on the tone (like...brrrrooooorrrrttt...)and sometime the tone goes high. I am sure its not my embouchure as i can blow low notes easy on alto with my embouchure. And usually we wont have much problems with F E.

Is it leaking? Where is it leaking? I live quite far from the nearest sax technician so if I could fix it by myself, it would be much easier.

Thanks in advance
 

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Since our tech is so inexpensive;$10 to look at the sax(including minor work) and about $20 if it needs something,we get our saxes checked every 6 months. The youngest daughter A-901 yani needed some adustments in the right hand(minor leak). You would never know this playing the sax. Also leaks are gradual and you eventuaslly compensate for them and do not realize sax plays differant. Then when sax comes back from the tech it is like "WOW"!!! PS A overhaul of my Selmer USA pros was $275 each. Can't beat that!!!!
 

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littlemanbighorn said:
You're just saying that because you're a tech...The low notes on a saxophone are an excellent barometer for technique.
I'm both a teacher and a tech. If you played the student's sax starting on low B or Bb piano or even pianissimo and it responded instantly and clearly then the problem is with the student. If it did not, the following also applies:

The low notes on a saxophone (played softly) are an even better barometer for leaks in the air column.:)

John
 

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I wouldn't call myself a tech, but I know how to check for leaks and adjust the F# arm and G# adjusting screws.
 

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If I do any minor adjustments on any of the teachers instruments that come to the shop - time permitting - I always try to explain what the problem is - I always use a leak light in "the dark room" we have, and show the teacher where the leak/s is/are and explain how I go about rectifying the problem. like I say most I have come accross haven't a clue including a few pro players I may add.
 
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