Saxophone Forum


by cjbass
(14 posts)
9 years ago

Problems with High G

I have a problem with my high G sometimes coming out as a horrible sounding flat palm key D. This happens alot when I slur from any note higher than B to G. This is where the octive key switches, and I know that saxophones (tenors especially, which I play) inherently have this problem. I have tried many mouthpieces and saxophones, and there is no difference, I suspect it is my embouchoure. I never had a problem with this when I was younger, but now as an adult, I cannot seem to overcome this, and it has become extremely frustrating. Just to add, I had a problem with my wisdom teeth removal that shifted my jaw a bit, I'm pretty sure this has something to do with it. What I am looking for is any advice to overcome this problem.

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  1. by musickman
    (10 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Problems with High G

    This is going to sound like a stupid question, but I need to know how in the world you hit a high G (G3) on a Tenor Sax? I can get to the F#, but the G is quite impossible. I'm not even sure of the fingering for it.

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    1. by ludovico5678
      (1 post)

      2 years ago

      Re: Problems with High G

      There a few different fingerings for high G.  I use the bis key fingering and it seems that some horns have it and some don't.  Don't know why, it's a strange phenomenon.  All the recommended ex. Are fine for sound. They can't hurt, but, depending on your horn, you might not end up with a dependable G.  The other fingering has more of the high A quality, as opposed to the tortured sound of the bis G.  I rarely use it because, for me, it seems unstable. Good luck.

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  2. by selmer 4evr
    (309 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Problems with High G

    You seem to be having a very re-occurring problem with tenors. The high G is usually a very touchy note. You mentioned that you never had this problem when younger. Please do not take what i am about to say as a reproach since I have never heard you play . Your problem is easily fixed ,,,but a knowledge of how a conical bore actually works is of benefit . If you wish to know more about this email me I will be glad to explain this a bit more, but you need not understand the theory to apply the solution. You might not believe this but you probably have had this problem all along and compensated for it with extra bite. I also suspect that as you move up during scales that the color and timbre of the notes change especially when you pass through a bridge key. This is a no no as,, (musicality is dependant on eveness of timbre and volume),,,,, and it's the first sign of more fundemental problems. If this is the case then your real problem is lack of air pressure. Saxophone is a tricky instrument to play well. The air going into the horn needs to enter at incredible speed ( we are not talking quantity here). The air going in should go in because the air pressure in the horn is lower than that in the lungs . The result is that as the two pressures are trying to balance each other out and air enters into the horn on its own and extremely fast. When you can properly compress the air in your lungs by using your diaphragm (it feels like a sustained push downwards towards your pelvis, while these latter muscles prevent a ballooning outward) the now pressured air will be expulsed ,,,on its own,,,no need to push air out ,, at a high speed. The result of this will be more efficient acoustics . You will notice-- eveness of timbre,,less adjustment of embouchure required ,,,,more reeds are playable,,,constant volume ,,,,,,better pitch ,,,,better and cleaner attacks,,,,, leaks will be more evident,,,high notes will sound lower pitch than they really are because they will be more full ,,,,,,palm notes will no longer be shrilly ,,,,,and more .. one caution-- always make adjustments with air pressure not bite

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    1. by cjbass
      (14 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: Problems with High G

      Thank you Selmer 4evr. More than anything this year I worked on breathing, above all else. My private teacher worked with me on it and it is definately the one thing that I have improved on was my breathing. That being said I noticed my tone was great in the lower registers but became very thin and weak, when using the palm keys. After your post and a couple of hours playing I now realize that I am closing my embouchre slightly more in the palm key range than the middle range of the sax (less air pressure), now that I am aware of this, the problem is gone. However now I have learn all over again how to play in the higher register :) Again thank you for your detailed post, you have helped a very frustrated saxophonist. Later CJ

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      1. by selmer 4evr
        (309 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Problems with High G

        Also make sure you don't sing the notes there is a tendency in the high reg to close the throat in a singing fashion this also reduces pressure . Make sure the high reg is blown through not sung or hummed. but lastly here goes the pearl,,,,,,the biggest leak in the system is an open soft palate this is a big deal as it hinders the production of pressure see link below www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/1118.htm

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      2. by selmer 4evr
        (309 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Problems with High G

        again I strees that it might be a good idea to investigate how a conical bore works you will definately understand why it must be so!!!!

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        1. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          Oh !! re-learning how to play in the middle and high regs you will re-learn how to play all ove the horn you should look for lower notes that nare not as wide but deeper ( if you can understand this ) Also here is an excercise--- play a high B flat-- without changing anything remove the octave key and the sax should respond immediately ---do it again from high B flat to A without the octave key and work your way down the scale ending up with a two octave drop . The sax should repond without any lipping or increased blowing . When you can accomplish this try this other one . Place your toungue on the reed preventing it from vibrating . develop air pressure to encompass the reed and the inside of your mouth (( using the proper technique ))) without permitting the reed to vibrate --remove the toung and the reed should vibrate without added assistance . You will notice that air must be applied before the attack ( actually it should be called detachment ). Enough for now but there is more!!!

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        2. by barimachine
          (323 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          geez you sound like the guy to talk to! i always feel my upper octave get weak depending and suffer from many of those problems i try so many different kinds of breathing and embouchure but i never think im getting it right. how do I get the diaprham to push this way and increase that pressure? Give me your explaination of conical bore. If you can can you email me this at monkeyman0077@juno.com THANK YOU! you sound like the guy with the answers ive been looking for

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        3. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          Sounds like advice that's worth trying, thanks from me too, selmer4evar.

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        4. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          I emailed you a prety good explanation time being limited. read and get back to me i will add to it later

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        5. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          hey barimachine or should I say monkeyman0077 I hear you are coming up to montreal for the festival ????

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        6. by barimachine
          (323 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          yea for atleast a little bit of it it will be my birthday up their but im also in camp at that time so I am trying to miss as little as possible

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        7. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          Hey I emailed you with the info that you requested on breathing does anyone else from this discussion want it ?

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        8. by saxman 227
          (4 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Problems with High G

          Hey, Can you email me the info and give me a few tips? I am also looking to buy a new alto. what brand should I choose? My email is josephw@lwbwb.org. thanks

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