Saxophone Forum


by uncrazy99
(12 posts)
9 years ago

Alto Sax Tone Problems

I'm going into 11th grade and I've played alto sax since 5th grade. I think I've gotten quite good since last year...it helped with me getting a new saxophone (yamaha yas-52) and mouthpiece (selmer c*) and finding reeds that work for me (Hemke 3.5). I was a bad kid and didn't play my sax all summer, though. Today I got it out to run through marching band music, since band camp is on Monday. It was REALLY hard to play. Once I got it warmed up and my reed broken in, I immediately noticed a problem with my tone. It was FUZZY! All through middle school I sounded fuzzy, and I'd gotten it to go away in high school, but now it's back. Any ideas?

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  1. by saximous86
    (17 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

    This is usually done when one has a reed that is too soft or cracked almost invisibly. Usually when i get a fuzzy and shrill sound its cus one, my reeds not soaked and warmed up, or two, because its too soft or there is a nice hidden slice in the top section of my reed. When you speak of tone there are various variables that affect it like the mouthpiece or how tight you screwed the ligature. Also, you say you haven't played in some time. Your embochure might be somewhat flawsome. I recommend doing some long tones. Boring and redundant as they are they help lots. Hope this helps.

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    1. by brace_face
      (43 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

      is it not possible for a reed to sound fuzzy when it's too soft??

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      1. by saximous86
        (17 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

        Depends, embochure is another subject that might contribute to fuzzyness. ha, i lov that word now. Anyways, the thicker the reed the thicker the sound the thinner the reed the thinner the sound. But once again, there are just so many things that deal with tone quality but the reed is probably a main cornerstone of it.

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        1. by brace_face
          (43 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          hey i use a vandoren 3 alto sax reed, but i have to sandpaper it down a lil coz its still a bit hard! but then a 2 1/2s too soft!! whats the equivalent to a vandoren 3 in the la voz brand?

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        2. by saximous86
          (17 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          This link has a great chart of different reeds and their differences to one another. It has both Vandouren and La Voz: www.petethomas.co.uk/saxophone-reeds.html Oh u should also try to move the reed up. I usually play Vandouren Classiques 3 1/2, but at times i use a 3 and when its too soft i move it up a bit over the mouthpiece. Maybe u should push your 2 1/2 up a bit. However, to get higher on the scale of reeds you have to go through the process of having a hard time with them at first. Then after some time of playing the harder ones. You should feel more comfortable with them and in time will probably use them regularly. Hope this helps

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        3. by brace_face
          (43 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          thanks, saximous, it sure did!! & the chart is very useful! think happy thoughts, Stephanie

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        4. by uncrazy99
          (12 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          Thanks for the chart! That helps a lot. I'm really suprised at how the reeds compare. I start marching band camp today, and I don't think we'll be playing much, but if we do, I'll take some of your suggestions - moving up on the mouthpiece more, messing with the tightness of the ligature, long tones, etc.

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        5. by afterglows_fanson
          (18 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          Yey, I've wanted to see a chart like that and was wondering if it existed! I despise Vandoren V16 because you get maybe 4 good ones in the box and thats a lot of $$... and I have a whole box of LaVoz Mediums because my teacher made me stop playing them because theyre to soft. Definately stepping up on the reeds will help with that fuzzy sound. Its amazing what a piece of wood can do. Anyone else get annoyed by getting a crappy box of reeds?

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        6. by brace_face
          (43 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          yeah, i know what you mean. i only buy my reeds singly and i hardly ever get a really good one. and hey, dont chuck out your box of lavoz mediums, just trim the end of them a little until they are hard enough to suit you!

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        7. by uncrazy99
          (12 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          Yeah, I hate reeds lol. Now the one I'm using is too hard for marching band...it's more for jazz band, but I'll just stick with it. Hemke 3.5. I don't like Vandoren's very well either. I've had a lot of luck with the Rico Royal's, though.

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        8. by The_┬žax
          (147 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Alto Sax Tone Problems

          Different reed brands suit different embouchures, the same as reed strength. If it is possible, go to our local music shop and buy one or two of each and give them a fair go, play them for a few hours each. You'll soon know which one suits you and your style of playing.

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