Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

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    Default Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Is there some technical reason for this? I have only been able to find one tenor and alto brand that has a high G, the Sax Gourmet Super 400's and they're not really a well known brand, and likely a KHS made stencil. Why haven't Yamaha, Selmer Paris, Yani, Keilwerth etc done this yet? Altissimo G is the hardest note to hit on the horn, period. I can only hit it reliably on my Bueschers which seem to play the top tones much more easily than Conn, Selmer etc. It seems like a modern pro horn should have a high G, since the notes above G3 speak relatively easily and it's more about intonation with them, but the high G itself is very difficult on most horns and even very good players with a well developed altissimo range will trip over it sometimes. My Yani sop has a high G and it's very useful, I play it frequently and though I can hit a high G on my other sop too, not nearly as fast with false fingering, takes effort, and with a cold reed nearly impossible.

    Just my thoughts on the matter. So many pros are playing altissimo register now it seems only natural that if they added the high G key that would eliminate that one speed bump between the palm keys and the top tones.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    That's an interesting question (I would add: Why do curved sops tend to omit the high G key?). It's also a perfect example of the type of good question that is often asked in this forum, but seldom answered, because we have almost no representation from any of the big sax makers, who could conceivably provide factual information rather than speculation.

    Rich Maraday had a say in horn design when he ran Viking. If he sees this thread, perhaps he can offer his view.

    Btw, in my opinion, high G is tough on alto, but not so tough on tenor if the tenor has a high F# key (play high F# using the front F key and then just lift your LH 2 finger).

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Because if they all had a high G everyone would want a high G#

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post
    That's an interesting question (I would add: Why do curved sops tend to omit the high G key?). It's also a perfect example of the type of good question that is often asked in this forum, but seldom answered, because we have almost no representation from any of the big sax makers, who could conceivably provide factual information rather than speculation.

    Rich Maraday had a say in horn design when he ran Viking. If he sees this thread, perhaps he can offer his view.

    Btw, in my opinion, high G is tough on alto, but not so tough on tenor if the tenor has a high F# key (play high F# using the front F key and then just lift your LH 2 finger).
    Yeah I have only seen one curved sop with high G, the LA Sax Signature Series, which is BTW a KHS stencil and exactly the same horn as RS Berkely's curved sop, which costs twice as much, LOL. It had good tone and intonation, and was well built, all the things you'd expect from a KHS horn, but had a major design flaw too, a raised, convex pearl on the Bb bis that was awkward to play and always in the way too. It forced me to have my forefinger in a weird position. I find curved sopranos in general awkward to play with not enough room for my fingers, but that domed bis was just an awful design that I would have had replaced had I kept the horn.

    I would really like to hear from the big companies on this. Any of them extending the range to high G would definitely give them an edge over the competition. There are so many videos out there trying to teach people to play altissimo G that it's clear this is a major issue that could be solved relatively cheaply.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Because of manufacturing design.

    To have the high G, you need of course the high F# (= weight + more weight)

    Both on alto and tenor... the tone hole for the high G should have to be made near the tenon which is not ideal.

    So you should reshape the whole body to allow this and made the body/neck cut higher... so shorter neck and not standard profile... as you can see on the SaxGourmet.
    A side effect of this is to have the whole instrument moved down, becoming less comfortable to hold.
    (Try to hold your instrument, enlength your neck strap for about 1" and see what happens...).

    I've never tried a Super 400 tenor... but the few samples around on YouTube don't me so enthusiast about that horns.


    Sopranos, relatively, have the cut body-to-neck placed much higher... so it' not a problem to make a 0,8 mm/0,03" tone hole.

    On the curved sopranos I think the issues is related to the neck profile.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianCC View Post
    Because if they all had a high G everyone would want a high G#
    As I explained, the top tones above high G are relatively easy to get out, and the only difficult part is finding the fingerings that work for your horn. The high G is a very difficult note to get out no matter what fingering you use. So no, I don't think there would be a lot of clamoring for a high G#, since any horn player with a developed embouchure can get the G# out pretty easily without having a dedicated tone hole for it, and the notes after it all the way up to another 5th above it too.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzadik View Post
    Because of manufacturing design.

    To have the high G, you need of course the high F# (= weight + more weight)

    Both on alto and tenor... the tone hole for the high G should have to be made near the tenon which is not ideal.

    So you should reshape the whole body to allow this and made the body/neck cut higher... so shorter neck and not standard profile... as you can see on the SaxGourmet.
    A side effect of this is to have the whole instrument moved down, becoming less comfortable to hold.
    (Try to hold your instrument, enlength your neck strap for about 1" and see what happens...).

    I've never tried a Super 400 tenor... but the few samples around on YouTube don't me so enthusiast about that horns.


    Sopranos, relatively, have the cut body-to-neck placed much higher... so it' not a problem to make a 0,8 mm/0,03" tone hole.

    On the curved sopranos I think the issues is related to the neck profile.
    OK that makes sense. I've never tried the SaxGourmet horns, are they uncomfortable to play for that reason? If it's that difficult to add a high G I find it rather interesting that KHS is able to make them at a price that SG can sell them for about the same as most any other new pro horn. I guess I don't see why you'd need to hold the horn lower either. Why couldn't you just make the neck curve sharper so the mouthpiece is lower and meets your mouth in the same place as a regular tenor? Kinda like a bass clarinet?

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tzadik View Post
    Both on alto and tenor... the tone hole for the high G should have to be made near the tenon which is not ideal.

    So you should reshape the whole body to allow this and made the body/neck cut higher... so shorter neck and not standard profile
    You could just have a hole in the tenon itself. The Buffet Senzo already has one. The Selmer Series III with the harmonic mechanism has an extra hole in the neck. Solutions of this type probably would be simpler than remodeling the tube.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Don't axe me, I don't even like the F# key. I have a Taiwan soprano with G and G#. I was hitting them when I didn't want to so I corked them shut. Ridiculous, esp. on a soprano.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
    Don't axe me, I don't even like the F# key. I have a Taiwan soprano with G and G#. I was hitting them when I didn't want to so I corked them shut. Ridiculous, esp. on a soprano.
    It has an altissimo G#? For real? What brand model is that?

    I love my high G soprano. Unlike most soprano players I focus on the high register and throw in a lot of those high notes in a low to mid range lick just for color. As a trad player I'm playing an awful lot of tunes in C and G especially which really makes that high G useful, allows me to play a lot of my licks up an octave that I couldn't do easily without the high G.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Its one of those Woodwind 'saxellos' (tipped-bell) from 1998 or so. They were made to be LA Sax but they got re-branded to Woodwind. Here's the weird part - I've had it all this time and love this soprano! I've tried Selmer Paris, R&C one-piece tipped bell, a Jupiter Artist, etc., and every time I go back to the Woodwind - it just has some kind of funk to it I can't describe. A few years ago I got a Soprano Planet Missing Link for it and that was the end of the mouthpiece hunt.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    There’s one factory in China that makes altos and tenors with high G. I played a couple at the trade show in Shanghai. The extra key doesn’t add any significant weight. The tone hole is very close to the tenon. They were decent horns, but most wouldn’t call them pro level.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by dlrsax View Post
    There’s one factory in China that makes altos and tenors with high G. I played a couple at the trade show in Shanghai. The extra key doesn’t add any significant weight. The tone hole is very close to the tenon. They were decent horns, but most wouldn’t call them pro level.
    You know, with a high G the tube is getting very short. Intonation and tone quality are going to be a lot more squirrely with such a tiny tube length than with overblowing a longer-tube note. Personally I think F is about as short as you can reasonably go, and even then there is a significant difference between the tone quality and intonation stability of the front F (overblown A) and the palm F.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    1. Any tone hole mucks up the integrity of the conical bore. The further up a sax, the worse the muck-up. Already some players reckon high F# mucks up a sax.

    2. "Pull-down" damage is quite common on necks. Straightening such a neck is relatively staightforward. Imagine if you pulled down on the neck of your sax and instead of bending the neck, the weakest point was the G tone hole, causing the sax to buckle and fold at that location. Pretty expensive repair!
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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sax Bum View Post
    Yeah I have only seen one curved sop with high G, the LA Sax Signature Series, which is BTW a KHS stencil and exactly the same horn as RS Berkely's curved sop, which costs twice as much, LOL. It had good tone and intonation, and was well built, all the things you'd expect from a KHS horn, but had a major design flaw too, a raised, convex pearl on the Bb bis that was awkward to play and always in the way too. It forced me to have my forefinger in a weird position. I find curved sopranos in general awkward to play with not enough room for my fingers, but that domed bis was just an awful design that I would have had replaced had I kept the horn.

    I would really like to hear from the big companies on this. Any of them extending the range to high G would definitely give them an edge over the competition. There are so many videos out there trying to teach people to play altissimo G that it's clear this is a major issue that could be solved relatively cheaply.
    Stephanhouser had a high G on their curved soprano.

    High G is common on sopranos: Yamaha 875EX, Selmer Series IiI, and Yani WO all come standard with high G now. You can get Selmer and Yamaha altos with high G, but it’s a custom part and expensive.
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Selmer Soloist D, Ishimori lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Selmer Air Flow C*, Ishimori lig,Hemke 3.5
    Buffet S1 Silver Plate Tenor, Selmer Air Flow C*, Ishimori lig, Hemke 3.5
    Kessler Solist Bari, Selmer Air Flow C*, BG Tradition lig, Vandoren 3

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Professionals don't even need a high F# key, so why clutter a horn up even more.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    My Yanni sop has a high G, but when I play it, every dog in the neighborhood comes to the door!

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumps View Post
    Professionals don't even need a high F# key, so why clutter a horn up even more.
    ^THIS. Mic. drop.

    If you struggle getting a high G out of any horn and call yourself a professional......well.....never mind.

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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianCC View Post
    Because if they all had a high G everyone would want a high G#
    Why don't they all have a high G#?

    Oh, then everybody would want a high A

    Then we can all stop practising overtones.
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    Default Re: Why don't more professional altos and tenors have a high G?

    Practise overtones ? But they're just the mistakes that happen when I squeeze the reed too hard. Why practise mistakes ?

    High F#, high G, high G#, high A… That's a lot of extra keys. Why don't they just add another octave key ?
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