Saxophone Forum


by Jazz-girl
(1 post)
10 years ago

Hissing when I blow

I play alto sax and dont seem to be able to stop that hissing sound when I blow. Also can anyone give me advice about circular breathing and altissimo registers for alto. Books to buy etc

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  1. by AlwaysBored89
    (10 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Hissing when I blow

    I encountered that problem during one of my 5 private lessons my mom got me 2 years ago. The lady told me to just suck the spit in from my mouthpiece. Some people don't like doing that, though. I know my one friend just takes his mouthpiece off and blows it through. I wouldn't suggest doing that, though, cause the spit kinda goes everywhere and can get on the people sitting next to you and make them hate you. Yeah, I have no idea why my friend still does that... Try sucking the spit in from it, though. That always helps me.

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  2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Hissing when I blow

    to stop the hissing, I'd try a reed a half-strength softer. circular breathing? I can't do it and never tried it much. I've heard good practice is to blow bubbles into a cup of liquid with a straw (lke you did when you were five), but continuously by inhaling through your nose while continuing to blow with the air left over in your cheeks. Altisimo? There are tomes written about this (and probably circular breathing too). To be perfectly honest yet respectfull, if you are having a perplexing problem with hissing, you don't have enough control over the airstream to warrant even worrying about altisimo yet. Perhaps the first practice at altissimo can be had by mastering the high palm notes and by playing all notes above middle C# without touching the octave key.

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    1. by saxgrobie
      (86 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Hissing when I blow

      For the hissing, also make sure you don't have a whole bunch of spit in your mouthpiece. That might sound kind of gross, but its true. When you wet your reed, just stick it in your mouth, don't slobber all over it or try to wet it while its on the mouthpiece. Besides, thats just nasty. Kelsey

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      1. by golferguy675
        (600 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Hissing when I blow

        Actually, spit would just make a gurgling sound. What johnson siad was some good advice, because that hissing is air escaping from the eombechure. So either soak your reed better, get a softer reed, or tighen up your corners.

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        1. by spottspidermunki
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Hissing when I blow

          does the hissing occur throughout the entire register? or just on the octave A and above? if it starts at the A, then the hissing might be the result of ur top octave key vent. i agree w/ the palm keys without depressing the octave key. also try fingering a low Bb while playing various bugle calls using overtones ( the horse-racing call, charge!, etc) Joel

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        2. by zrice03
          (6 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Hissing when I blow

          The same thing happens to me, but I can overcome it if I take a little more mouthpiece and open up my throat. A little more support goes a long way. My private lesson teacher also told me a good mouthpiece shouldn't that (I'm currently playing on a cheap stock Yamaha).

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        3. by mintyfreshjam
          (48 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Hissing when I blow

          Check the seal on your mouthpiece. The reed may be warped on the back. a way to check is to put the mouthpiece on the neck, cover the big end of the neck with your hand, then suck all of the air out of the mouthpiece and neck, if it seals, the you should hear a pop, if not, then it doesn't seal and you need a new reed.

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        4. by george.cranmer@ntlworld.com
          (10 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Hissing when I blow

          The 'pop' test is fine - BUT - if you don't get a 'pop' the first thing yo do is make sure the reed is properly set on the m/piece. Is it lined up to the rails OK? Is it too far back from the tip? It is not aleays the case that you need a new reed>

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      2. by george.cranmer@ntlworld.com
        (10 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Hissing when I blow

        Your problem may be with your emoucher. Here are 2 tips that may help. Long notes - when you practise long notes start at a medium volume, then get as loud as you can, then try and get so quiet that you can hear more air than tone - repeat this as often as you can in one breath. Harmonics - play bottom B or C and then 'overblow' - using the lip to get the harmonic series up from the root note, you should aim for the fifth and two octaves above the root. Try to play a chord using those harmonics. This will 'firm up' your lip.t

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        1. by SelmerParisPassion
          (59 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Hissing when I blow

          I'd say it's emboucher (sp) or your reed. Mebbe boef. (my jamacain moment for the day, thank you) I used to have a hissing problem on my a series III- it's got a huge bore and I'm a small person, and I was trying to use 'bout size 3 Vandorenish area on that sucker. I shaved it down a bit to between a 3/2.5 and the tiny bit of hissing was history. But, reeds are only a small part- it's mostly all in the mouth and how you blow. Hissing is basically air that goes through the sax not being used to make noise. You have to get your mouth to be buddies with your setup (and vice versa) so all of your air goes towards the sound, not just going through your sax. As for altissimo, you can play around with them, but you'll learn them on the wrong emboucher (sp). so then it's all pointless b/c you won't be able to play them when you learn how to play your sax correctly. Take it from someone who was retarded and knows- it's a pain. Christie J

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          1. by connsaxman_jim
            (2336 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Hissing when I blow

            OH NO!!! THERE'S A SNAKE IN YOUR BELL!!! DROP YOUR HORN AND RUN!!! Ok, seriously....it's most likely an emboucher problem. I would first try a softer reed and work on your emboucher. I'm really picky about the reeds that I use. I like Vanduren reeds and found them to play the most consistant. You might try a different mouthpiece too, depending on what the facing and the taper is. They're a little pricey, but a Selmer C* 80 with a #3 facing is the absolute best mouthpiece for a beginner. You might also try a Rovner ligature. The Rovner design allows the reed to vibrate more, and might also help with the hissing.

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            1. by martysax
              (148 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Hissing when I blow

              It could be Lee Konitz! Less reed-strength and bigger facing for you! Make sure the horn has no leaks. Even then, half my reeds give me a hiss, and I discard them. The rest buzz more.

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            2. by mooing_sheep
              (20 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Hissing when I blow

              The hissing happens to me sometimes, too. Most of the time it's just because the reed is not on straight. If it's crooked, air might be escaping out of one side of the reed, causing a little hiss.

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            3. by mooing_sheep
              (20 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Hissing when I blow

              The hissing happens to me sometimes, too. Most of the time it's just because the reed is not on straight. If it's crooked, air might be escaping out of one side of the reed, causing a little hiss.

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