Saxophone Forum


by Aurora
(2 posts)
8 years ago

My alto plays a whole tone too high

I recently bought a used Yamaha YAS-23 alto sax. It sounded fine in the store, but when I got it home I realized that it plays one whole tone too sharp. For example, the fingering for an A plays a nice solid B. I play the flute and a variety of other woodwinds so I would like to think that it's a mechanical problem and not just me playing poorly. Any ideas? I should mention that the store is about 350 miles from where I live so simply taking it back may not be the easiest solution.

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by Sax Mom
    (964 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: My alto plays a whole tone too high

    My guess is that it is actually 1/2 step flat, and that you want to push the mouthpiece further onto the horn. You're used to the flute, which is an instrument in the key of C, and the notes match those on the piano. The Alto Sax is keyed to Eb, so a C sounds like an Eb. The A should sound like a C, a G should sound like a Bb. That's my guess.

    Reply To Post


    1. by Aurora
      (2 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: My alto plays a whole tone too high

      Thanks for the advice. I just checked with my chromatic tuner and I think you're right. However, I'm somewhat confused. Why do the saxophone fingering charts show (for example) a G played with three fingers of the left hand down when this doesn't produce a G sound? Does this mean that I will need to learn new fingerings in order to produce the notes that I need, or will purchased sheet music (written for alto sax) have the appropriate changes made to compensate for this key change? Thanks.

      Reply To Post


      1. by newreedsyndrome
        (343 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: My alto plays a whole tone too high

        Fingering charts for alto sax will say the note name in the alto key of Eb. A fingered G on alto is a Bb in concert key. Sheet music for alto will be written in Eb for the most part, though it is good to know how to sight transpose from concert key charts. When you are reading a concert part on alto, just play everything a 6th higher than the written part, or a minor third down, if it's easier to think of it like that.

        Reply To Post


        1. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: My alto plays a whole tone too high

          Don't be afraid that you will need to transpose everything! Music written for band will always be already written in the key you need. It is only when you're trying to play with others and they do not have music written for each part that you will need to transpose. There are several music-writing programs for the computer that can transpose parts automatically, for those who cannot (yet) transpose by sight, if you have the time to enter it in, and then change the key. When I get music ready for small bands at church, I use the program called "Scorewriter." It is much more affordable than the high-end products like "Finale," and does everything I need it to do.

          Reply To Post


      2. by franciante
        (6 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: My alto plays a whole tone too high

        hey aurora, also be aware that the tranposition for alto sax its the same as in sopranino and baritone sax. for tenor, soprano and bas sax its different transposition. enjoy the saxophone! its a wonderful instrument! good luck!

        Reply To Post