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Saxophone Overtones When You Don’t Want Them….

saxophone overtonesReceived a question from Tim about saxophone overtones that seemed to be coming out unintentionally.  He was working on altissimo.  My first thought was that it might be leaks, but he has a pretty new horn.  Might also be an issue of the timing of lifting the fingers between the notes.

Hi Neal
I hope you are doing well.

My question is about overtones. I have been working on some altissimo notes, and I guess in the process overtones. My problem is I hit ovetones in my normal playing. Just going from low F to low A.

It really sounds very bad when you hit a high A instead of a low A!
Don’t get me wrong I like have the use of overtones, but I want to be able to control them.
Is there something I can work to get some control with overtones?
Thanks for your help!
Keep rocking!

Neal: I’m doing well, thanks. I know you have a pretty new horn…. but it sounds like there might be leaks. They would cause the higher overtones to come out when you’re not trying to play them. Playing long tones in general will help you control your saxophone including when overtones come out. Also, is your setup comfortable? I’m talking about the reed/mouthpiece combo.

Tim: I’m having the horn checked out in a couple of weeks and I’m going to try some different reed combo’s to see how that goes.
Thanks for the info, I’ll let you know how it goes.

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  1. Tim Smith says:

    Hi Neal
    I changed up to a different stronger reed and I’m not getting the overtones usless I really try to play them now. Thanks for your help as always. My horn is fine, but I’m getting it checked out in a couple weeks.
    Keep rocking!

    • Hey Tim,
      Cool, glad you figured it out. A reed that’s too soft (or too hard) can cause a number of problems.

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