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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

I may need to probably separate these two issues because my Tenor Yamaha YTS-61 always had the stuffy middle D other than the time I was trying it with a Otto Link STM NY 6 with Rovner Light ligature on it, and even then it got improved (not that stuffiness completely disappeared). Although the overtone prone situation was mostly with my higher octave G in my previous mouthpiece (Otto Link STM 6) and even then I had some repairs done on it that made it better, and now that I switched to another mouthpiece (Otto Link STM 7*) I get overtone on Middle D when I'm switching from lower to higher octave. The sax went for a repair recently again so it adds to the variables for the situation as below:

A- Is it to do with the new mouthpiece? Otto Link STM 7* is a warmer and nicer sounding Otto Link compared to the Otto Link NY that I had before.

B-Is it because I was working with a 6 for quite a few months and now I'm in only playing this 7* mouthpiece for a month (one hour average every day). So will my ambouchures get used to controling it so I don't jump to overtones when switching notes in legato from lower octave to Middle D note?

C- Is there any improvement in that mouthpiece that could help, i.e. refacing?
I must say I bought this second hand Otto Link STM 7* from a senior repairs person that has been playing and fixing woodwind for a long time and he said this Otto Link mouthpiece is not refaced but it is a "good" Otto Link mouthpiece. He played with it and of course I didn't see that particular overtone prone situation with his playing but of course I compare my situation with my previous situation and I wasn't with him long enough to compare anything about his playing condition, etc.

D- Is there anything else that can affect this issue, i.e. ligature or reed? Are there some ligatures that reduce the middle D resistance or generally create more core frequencies rather than overtones? How about reed? If so please point out a few that you found they could be good candidates for this purpose.

E- If this issue is primarily to do with the physics of open holes, it may be something that can be fixed in the sax body. If the holes are not opened and closed at the same time (even with a tad of a time difference) this situation happens. As you know the octave key opens the higher octave hole if pressed by itself but again it closes and another octave hole opens up if all the middle D keys are pressed. I'm wondering if tightness of the action on my octave key (or may be any other key) can improve this. I really really try to synchronize my finger actions but still 5 out of 10 it jumps to the overtone note. I can't recall doing this before I switched to this 7* mouthpiece and prior to the last round of repair.

F- If it has to do with ambouchure, etc. technique for getting more pure sound rather than overtone (or having handle on creating a more tendency for one or the other) is there any particular technique or source you can point at, or just keep playing (only time and experience as a generic advice)?

Thanks a lot (as always) for your feedback.
 

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What's your experience level with saxophone?

I remember once in high school (7 or 8 years of experience at this point) taking my horn to my repairman complaining of a stuffy middle D. He took out his mouthpiece, put it on my horn and blew and said there was nothing wrong with the horn. When he played it, the stuffiness was gone. The point was that it was the player, not the horn. When I became a better player, that stuffy D pretty much went away.

I tend to think of it not so much as the D being stuffy (though it is), but as the notes below it, C#, C and B being thin. You're going between a fingering that close most of the holes on the horn to fingerings that close off very few (if any) holes and there's a noticeable different in timbre when you do that. My approach is less to make the D less stuffy, but to make those lower notes bigger and fatter so that the difference is less noticeable. I'd practice this by practicing the first overtone off of low Bb, B, C and C# and then trying to match the tone of the normal fingering for middle Bb, B, C and C# to the tone of the overtone fingering. Because the overtone fingerings are "long" fingerings, they sound closer to middle D than the normal fingerings and the more you get the normal fingerings to sound like the overtones, the less that D is going to stick out.

As for the getting the overtone on D (to an A, right?), I think that's usually caused by either having too tight an embouchure and/or voicing the note too high (ie, your oral cavity is more in the shape used for an A so that note comes out instead of the D). Again, overtone practice can help with that. Work on jumping around instead of just going up and down like an arpeggio. Go from the 3rd to the 1st to the 2nd to the fundamental. Make up your own. There's an exercise I do where I start on a higher overtone then I go to the one below it, then back to the original note, down to the overtone two below it, back to the original, down to the overtone 3 below it, etc. And I do that starting on each overtone. This way, you learn how to go from each overtone to every other overtone and by skipping notes, you really have to get your throat and oral cavity in the right position to get out the note you want to come out.

If it's caused by biting, it might be an issue with playing a setup you're not ready for. If you just went to a 7* from a 6, you may not have adjusted yet and developed your muscles to where you can play on that tip opening without biting. Playing on bad reeds or reeds that have been played out can cause you to bite too.
 

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If you switch the mpc you will need time to get used to it. Expecially if you change the tip opening and the baffle. It will take time to get used to the right voicing of the notes (throat, tongue, embouchure, breathsupport). Exercises for sound, soudflexibility, overtones etc, dynamics etc. could help. But expect that it will take some time. If the horn is ok it has to be the player. Also some people have problems playing smaller tip openings if they are used to more open mpcs. You could also try different reeds (brands, cut and strength) and see what is happening (some mpcs need other reeds than the ones you are used to).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you so much for the replies. If I have a certain embouchure form and while keeping it in that form, keep making legato between lower octave middle C, C# (below the break) and higher octave middle D (above the break), 5 or 6 out of 10 it jumps to the overtone. Since for middle D it needs 7 keys to be closed simultaneously rather than one or no key for C and C#, the synchronization for pressing the middle D keys makes a difference. I found if I really really work hard in synchronizing the keys the number of the cases for overtone reduces to let's say 3 out of 10. I'm just comparing the two situations: A- same horn (before last maintenance), Otto Link STM 6, comfortably playable reed, no overtone jumping, B- same horn (after last maintenance), Otto Link STM 7*, comfortably playable reed, overtone jumping. Even assuming my skill level is not good enough yet, why would my horn become suddenly so sensitive for creating overtones for that note?
 

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Thank you so much for the replies. If I have a certain embouchure form and while keeping it in that form, keep making legato between lower octave middle C, C# (below the break) and higher octave middle D (above the break), 5 or 6 out of 10 it jumps to the overtone. Since for middle D it needs 7 keys to be closed simultaneously rather than one or no key for C and C#, the synchronization for pressing the middle D keys makes a difference. I found if I really really work hard in synchronizing the keys the number of the cases for overtone reduces to let's say 3 out of 10. I'm just comparing the two situations: A- same horn (before last maintenance), Otto Link STM 6, comfortably playable reed, no overtone jumping, B- same horn (after last maintenance), Otto Link STM 7*, comfortably playable reed, overtone jumping. Even assuming my skill level is not good enough yet, why would my horn become suddenly so sensitive for creating overtones for that note?
Could be many reasons.
a) a change of mpc always needs time until you are used to it (could be thousand reasons why it works on the 6 not the 7, it could also be that there is something wrong with your mpc)
b) faster mechanics of the horn after maintenance are more sensitive to sloppy fingers (fingers are too slow, the synchronization of the fingers is not good)
c) you simply voice the d bad. Try to take the tongue a little bit down more like if you wanted to say ahhh. Do you know anything about voicing notes with your tongue through vowels?
 

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Maybe you don't have the control in the embouchure, oral cavity, and voicing to handle a 7* yet. It'd help to have a video or a recording of whats happening to help with your diagnosis.
 
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