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Thread: Airy notes

  1. #1

    Default Airy notes

    Hi guys
    I have some notes that are airy, my d in with the octave key in the middle register and d without the octave key? What am i doing wrong? Better embouchure? More Air? Please help

  2. #2

    Default Re: Airy notes

    O yes btw i have a custom z yamaha alto if that helps

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Airy notes

    Could be a leaky Eb key. Take a strong LED and shine it down your sax in complete darkness, works good to see any light leaking from the pads.

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member CarlHeanerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Airy notes

    The saxophone is a glorified reed organ. Some notes require more "pipe" than others. The ones with more "pipe" travel further down the body of the horn and require more air to speak properly. Middle D is the perfect example of this. A large reason for the timbre difference between palm D and middle D is due to the difference in distance travelled by each. Less distance = freer, more open, etc. It's just part of the horn.

    Your reeds are probably too hard too. Stick with a 3 for an S80 C* until that becomes too light.
    Soprano: Selmer Series II • Vandoren S27 + Traditional 3.5
    Alto: Selmer Series II • Vandoren AL3 + Traditional 3.5

    Tenor: Barone Vintage • Selmer S90 170 + Traditional 3.5

    "Respect the air."

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Airy notes

    A good thing for you to tell us (which you didn't) is how the notes below D1 play? I agree with the reed problem, could be a little hard, maybe even go 2.5, but I still suggest checking with a leak light

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member CarlHeanerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Airy notes

    Quote Originally Posted by maiaihii View Post
    ...I still suggest checking with a leak light.
    +1 to this.
    Soprano: Selmer Series II • Vandoren S27 + Traditional 3.5
    Alto: Selmer Series II • Vandoren AL3 + Traditional 3.5

    Tenor: Barone Vintage • Selmer S90 170 + Traditional 3.5

    "Respect the air."

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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    Default Re: Airy notes

    Could be leaks, too open mouthpiece, too hard reed, biting too hard.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Airy notes

    That middle D is a stuffy note in general. I don't know your level of experience from reading your post, but generally it takes a bit of time to learn to overcome the timbral difference between middle D and open C#. What helped me the most was practicing the tone matching exercise that Joe Allard used. You learn to match the open C3 to the color of the overtone C# (low note fingering), or vice versa. The exercise encourages good air and voicing which also helps unstuff the middle D.

    I also played a lot of five note scales "across the break". For example a five note scale ----> ll: A B C# D E D C# B :ll will take you over and over the break. After a while you will adjust your blowing until it feels like you're playing a long tone. For starters ll: B C#D#E F# E D#C# :ll might be less frustrating.

    It's not often discussed but why the middle D is stuffy is that it is "undervented". This falls more in the area of acoustics, but if you check out your saxophone you will find that the clear sounding notes such as B or F have two open tone holes below the closed tone hole. A stuffy (or undervented note) like A or C has only one open tone hole. B is well vented and the C is poorly vented and you can clearly hear it. There are necessary compromises in instrument design. It's hard to fight physics.

    If you are holding a middle or low D, you can improve the venting and clear the tone by depressing your low C# key. That opens another tone hole below and you will immediately hear a clearer tone, although it may be too sharp for your use. You can sometimes use your palm D for the middle D (minus octave key of course) for a brighter color that more closely match the C# and C below the middle D.

    Other things that might help:
    1. Check that your side keys are not blowing open when you play the middle D. (Weak springs will allow your side Bb or B/C trill to blow open.) You may be surprised how often this happens.
    2. Try a much softer reed.
    3. Try a different mouthpiece. Brighter or darker; more open or less open.
    4. Try a different horn. I know you have a great horn but some individual examples are greater than others!
    5. Learn to accept it. At least for now. Your tone will certainly improve with time. You don't want to get hung up to the point or frustration. You are sure to find the answer eventually.

    Best of luck!
    Dale.

  9. #9
    frnkfrkl's Avatar
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    Default Re: Airy notes

    One more thing to look at: See if your low C key is open enough. On my Beaugnier Special Perfect I had to open it up quite a bit to get the D to sing ( middle and low ).

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