Certain notes on saxophone, cough cough middle D,
seem to come out stuffy on almost all saxophones.
Why is that?
The sound that you create when playing saxophone isn’t just coming out of the bell of the saxophone, except when you’re playing low Bb.
The sound goes through every open tone hole on the saxophone. So for a note like C# (in the middle of the staff) not very much sound actually goes through the bell at all. All the open tone holes are options.
With more fingers down, the sound is more closed.
So middle D is more much more closed than C# and they’re only a half step apart.
Eb, E, F all have a good number of tone holes closed and are a bit more stuffy than their open holed counterparts.
But middle D does seem to be the worst culprit.
Some sax players will suggest adding the palm D key when you’re playing middle D to open it up.
This action does open the sound a bit….. it’s practical part of the time. But not necessarily something you should always rely on.
As you play saxophone longer and learn the nuances of your horn, you should realize the differences between open and closed notes and adjust accordingly. Give middle D a bit more air, back off of notes like B and A that are more open by a little bit.
The distance that the low Bb and B pads are open can also be adjusted to help stuffy notes. Be very careful with this though, don’t want to mess up your saxophone!
Any thoughts on the issue of stuffy saxophone notes?