Saxophone Forum


by Roy McGrath
(7 posts)
5 years ago

Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

Hey everybody, I've been having problems pretty consecutively with passages that involve these two finger movements. My horn is in great shape, and I was wondering if this is something that I need customized in order for these movements to be smoother. I've worked it slowly with the metronome and I don't find any possible ways of moving my fingers without some awkward obstacling happening. Any ideas? Thanks!

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  1. by cuber
    (653 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

    pick up a different instrument. just kidding those are kinda difficult, but luckily theyre rarely played. Just slide the finger over the roller.

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  2. by MartinMods
    (63 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

    Lubricating your finger will help a lot.

    Reply To Post AIM


    1. by saxandbassplayer
      (42 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

      Are the key heights fairly even? It is one of the most difficult things to do on the saxophone, and really just takes patience and slow boring practice. There's no quick fix. Stretching out before you practice is helpful. It gets the body working better in unison, and the less tension you have the better you can focus on small fluid motions. How are the notes themselves speaking? Sometimes on those low registers, the notes have a hard enough time speaking that you might think there's something wrong with you. Have you checked it with a leak light? That, and if you can get ahold of a sax mute (a ring, usually covered in cloth, that you can stick in the bell which helps with table key response and intonation). Also, have you lubricated the rollers themselves? Along with making a really disgusting rattling noise after time, that can make a small difference. Those are just my initial troubleshooting questions. Let me know how things turn out!

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  3. by SuperSax875
    (55 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

    It's all about muscle. My saxophone teacher identified this to me when I was struggling with the same problem. Practice it slowly at first, just like any other technical passage and get faster as you build up pinkie muscle. Start slow enough that you can play it perfectly. You have to force your body to do it. It's not impossible, it just requires a bit of physical work. It's just like weightlifting: no pain, no gain. Stop working it when you can't possibly do another rep then come back in a few days. Your pinkie muscles get grotesquely big this way very quickly. Hope this helps. Best wishes SuperSax

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    1. by Roy McGrath
      (7 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

      Are the key heights fairly even? This is my main problem, If I have the low Eb (or Low C#) fingering pressed, to slide my pinky to the C (or Low B) my pinky has to slighly travel upwards (like going up stairs?!?). I'm wondering if this is natural, or if I should get someone to adjust these keys so that when Eb is fingered its almost paralell to the C. The only problem I see with that is that if you're fingering anything other than Eb, the C key is automatically going to be lower than the Eb. How are the notes themselves speaking? Have you checked it with a leak light? Yeah, my horn is in great condition, I just got it overhauled by Jim Germann out in Pittsburg. Great guy and a repair artist... Also, have you lubricated the rollers themselves? The rollers are new, and I had to sand them down a bit because they wheren't fitting in correctly with my MkVI. I've done this before and its nothing that could affect my performance. I've also practiced very slow, and this is how I noticed that the problem might be mechanical since my pinky hits the key and has to adjust because of the difference in key heights (which is only about a quarter of a centimeter or less) but enough to make it feel like I'm tripping. Great suggestions guys! Maybe I just have to deal with it. But I really think its mechanical!

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      1. by Roy McGrath
        (7 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

        Oh and in response to Supersax's muscle theory: I went through that phase already, where your hands would hurt (because of the use of muscles you're not used to) and you'd basically be making your pinkies stronger. So I don't think that's it. But then again, I've noticed that over the years of playing my hands have actually gotten skinnier (but way stronger)!!!!

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        1. by Hunter R.
          (13 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

          I have a cannonball sax and it will let me adjust my key height and width between keys. If yours can, do that. Use your rollers, pick up your fingers only a little, and slightly stop air flow in between each note, so if you do mess up it will be less noticable. Hunter R.

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      2. by Sax Mom
        (964 posts)

        4 years ago

        Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

        Check out the angle of your pinky on the key as well. If your pinky is curved like a "C" when on the upper key, it will be more difficult to slide, than if you press down so that your most extreme joint of the pinky is bent almost backwards. That way the curve of the tip of your finger helps to bridge the "step up" to the lower key. ... of course, you'll only need to do this when that particular combination is required...

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        1. by Roy McGrath
          (7 posts)

          4 years ago

          Re: Low Eb to C and Low C# to B

          hey everybody, thanks for your input! I had a great repair guy in pittsburg work on the keys, bending them and such, and found the best position for me to play it in. It was just a matter of "molding" the horn to me. Thanks all!

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