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Thread: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

  1. #1

    Default Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    On tenor and soprano playing high E

    I will use left (lh) hand 123 + right hand (rh) palmkey (Pk) E
    or lh PK D + Rh pk E

    F lh pk D F

    F# lh pk D F + rh high F#
    Or lh pk F + rh E high F#

    On soprano it's hard to even hit, play the note the usual way. I have been playing saxophone for 3 months now after a very long break, but I remember that the high notes was too sharpe on my tenor

    Is it my embuchoure, build of mouth cavity? Does any of you have use alternative keys to play clean notes?

    I think I have seen a place a saxophone that was built with a left front key for high E F that lifted the high E instead of F..

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Sfhansen
    I might be misreading your question, but it looks as though you need to study a fingering chart.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Why?

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    Forum Contributor 2013 skeller047's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    You need to hold the LH Eb palm key down for both high E and F.

    The correct fingering for E is : LH palm key D, palm key Eb + RH high E key.

    The correct fingering for F is the same as above PLUS LH palm key F.

    Alternatives, if you have the alternate F key on the left hand:

    High E:
    LH 1 2 3 , with 1 on the alt F key instead of the B touch

    High F:
    LH 1 2, with 1 on the alt F key

    The alternate fingerings are altissimo fingerings in the sense that they depend on overtones higher than the 1st. One has to voice them differently, meaning the throat and tongue will be in slightly different positions than for the standard fingerings.

    Depending on your sax, if these notes aren't in tune, then it's a combination of mouthpiece choice, mouthpiece placement and embouchure to fix it. How to go about that is a very long story...
    Steve Keller

  5. #5

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    That's exactly what my question is about, I have to leave out lh Eb and only hold lh D + rh pk E or an alternative hold lh 123 + rh pk E to get a clean E, it get's to sharp when I add lh Eb and on my soprano it's even not a reliable way to hit it.

    But when I use the way I describe it is clean as a whistle and I don't have to alter my embouchure. i'm just wandering if there's anyone else than me having that experience?

  6. #6
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    What happens when you go from D to Eb or Eb to E?
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    For D3 through F3 I've never had or known anyone else to have had any trouble using the palm keys and getting good intonation playing on a tenor, alto or soprano. From F#3 and higher into altissimo I use pretty much the "standardized" fingerings from Teal and Nash that I learned a long time ago.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    What happens when you go from D to Eb or Eb to E?
    Thank you for for responding to you all!

    D to Eb I use the regular keys lh pk D and Eb, though the Eb is less clear than the D and E taken my way. I'm looking out for a clearer Eb

    from Eb to E I let go of the Eb and hold lh pk D + rh E or lh 123 lh pk E (last one best sounding) I'm gradually getting used to it and I think it will work out fine

    From the responses it seems like that I'm the only one with those fingerings?

  9. #9
    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    You are using "flat" fingerings, correcting for sharpness. While it might be the instrument, it is quite possible that you are biting/pinching in that register. This article may help.

    http://www.steveduke.net/pdf/steve_d..._placement.pdf
    I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass. - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
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    I am a Conn-Selmer and Rico artist, and Membership Director for the North American Saxophone Alliance.

  10. #10
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Are you certain that you're not confusing the Eb and F keys? I once had a student that did that, and it had a bad effect on intonation.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  11. #11

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyJ View Post
    For D3 through F3 I've never had or known anyone else to have had any trouble using the palm keys and getting good intonation playing on a tenor, alto or soprano. From F#3 and higher into altissimo I use pretty much the "standardized" fingerings from Teal and Nash that I learned a long time ago.
    I'm pretty amazed too. I've been playing a piazzolla piece 'Insencias' on soprano for some time. It stranded on the high E everytime until I found my own way of hitting the E, it's the same thing with high F-G (G selmer series 3 soprano) if I don' leave out the Eb key I'm in trouble. Until then I just thought I didn't have the soprano chops/embuchoure to hit them. Now it's happening I wont say easy but it's happening

  12. #12

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    Are you certain that you're not confusing the Eb and F keys? I once had a student that did that, and it had a bad effect on intonation.
    Yes I know difference between Eb F I and I have known that for 35 years

  13. #13
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Quote Originally Posted by Sfhansen View Post
    Yes I know difference between Eb F I and I have known that for 35 years
    Just checking. My student had been playing several years, too.

    In that case, I suspect that drakesaxprof is correct about the voicing.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  14. #14

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Quote Originally Posted by drakesaxprof View Post
    You are using "flat" fingerings, correcting for sharpness. While it might be the instrument, it is quite possible that you are biting/pinching in that register. This article may help.

    http://www.steveduke.net/pdf/steve_d..._placement.pdf
    Thank a lot it looks interesting, I'll look into that to see if there is something to get from it.

    I used to play to play my tenor too sharp on the high notes from around b3 but I've learned to relax my embuchoure a great deal, I'm pretty clean until Eb and if use my fingerings I stay clean and as I said earlier relaxed without having to alter my embuchoure on E - F#. I'm not biting at all I would fall if I relaxed more. I have never played cleaner all my life.

    On the other hand, if I use regular keys on soprano for E3 to G3 I have to bit so hard it hurts to even play the notes. The sound is terrible and it's way to sharp, when I use my fingerings it much easier sounds nice and in pitch

    Well it looks like I'm a stranger in the night or at least my fingers are

  15. #15

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    I wish I could remember the name of that saxophone builder whose saxophone was made with front key for E -F#3 lifting E3 instead of F3 and something in that connection about pitch and short shank mpc, because I use the same keys for E3 lh 123 rh pk E

  16. #16
    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    When you play on just the mouthpiece, what (concert) pitch sounds? What mouthpiece/reed combination are you using? I've played many Serie III sopranos, and they rarely play sharp in the palm keys. However, in the end, if it works for you, great.
    I lean and loafe at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass. - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
    jimromainmusic.com
    oasisquartet.com

    I am a Conn-Selmer and Rico artist, and Membership Director for the North American Saxophone Alliance.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    I play a sopranoplanet refaced bundy mpc o.86 tip 2,5 - 3# blue vandoren and on the tenor I play a selmer classic F fluted body 2,5# vandoren java reed or blue vandoren 3#. I haven't done much mouth piece practising yet I think I played c# with most ease on the soprano last time I did it.

    When I started on the soprano only 2 months ago I played a selmer s80 C** It was very hard for me to get it up in pitch, I made a thread about it but that is not a problem anymore. if I play it know I play it with 3,5# blue vandoren reed. The high notes are easier with that piece, but my alternate fingerings works better for that piece too.

    I've very little experience with different brands of reed. Blue vandoren came with both my saxophones, so I'm open to suggestions. I could wish for a little more warmt a little more trompeth in the top of my soprano sound. I love the soprano sound of branford marsalis its very hard to pick that sound and some of the music too, being classical or jazz

  18. #18
    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    If I gather correctly from your replies you've got to be at least in your 40s, played when you were young and now you are playing the soprano again.

    Did you have this trouble when you were younger and playing? It should not matter a whole lot which mouthpieces or reeds you are using. I'd suggest you have another (or two) competent players play your horn and a trip to a "good" tech. You just should not be having trouble with in the soprano's normal range, something else has to be going on.

    (I just got done putting away my horns getting ready for a concert performance tonight and I attempted your alternate fingering you have above...I sounded awful with those fingerings!)

  19. #19

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Quote Originally Posted by RandyJ View Post
    (I just got done putting away my horns getting ready for a concert performance tonight and I attempted your alternate fingering you have above...I sounded awful with those fingerings!)
    I'm so sorry I hope You didn't break anything, I would feel very quilty about it

    I'm 55 and I used to play tenor saxophone in my twenties, now I play tenor and soprano, so I use my fingerings on two horns and yes I was sharp in the high notes then too. I remember I had alternative fingerings F#3 lh va8 13 + rh 13 Eb it was cleaner not the sound though, but it had it's own charm and I would use when it fitted into what I was playing! Sadly it doesn't work on either horns to day

    I'm not worried about my fingerings I just think it's percullier. I'm doing it because it's working better that way.If I use the regular fingerings I have to alter my embuchuore so much that it will often break or become unstabile and fragile. I work hard on my embuchoure every day and has changed quit a bit from the way it used to be, Maybe one day I wont need to use different fingerings anymore

    There is difference though on tenor I'm able to hit the D-F#3 very relaxed, but on the soprano I have to hit D-G3 with confidense, there is more resistens to it than on the tenor, maybe that would be a good idea to have that checked out, because as I said earlier it's hard to even hit a note E-G3 with regular fingerings

  20. #20

    Default Re: Using alternative grips keys to get a clean high E - F#

    Let me start by saying that I have limited experience, having only played a soprano twice. I'll do my best to use my alto/tenor experience to help.
    In my high school band, a lot of the members come in as freshman playing horrible mouthpieces on Rico Royal reeds. Forget all of them, because mouthpiece and reed really do make a difference. I recommend getting a Selmer Paris mouthpiece, if you're just getting back into it, an S80 in the C* size is supposedly the easiest to play.
    As for your reeds, that is as much up to personal preference as your taste in the saxophone itself. Many members of my band play the standard Vandoren reeds, and they love them. I usually only like one or two of the ten in a box, and hate the rest. I prefer Frederick L. Hemke reeds over everything, and I don't even like the highest strength, I prefer the second-highest. The soprano player in the band plays Vandoren soprano reeds, but prefers Hemke on her alto. Just buy a few of several types from some music store or buy a few different boxes online, and see what you like. Vandoren makes a huge variety of reeds, as I recall, so you could even try different types.

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