Got a question about the middle D on saxophone and stuffiness. How the note seems to be harder to get out than notes around it and doesn’t quite sound the same, with the same tone & power you want to be able to get. Thought it was a great question that many saxophone players have likely experienced.
About the D and resistance, that’s a good question and cool you noticed it. The D has a LOT more resistance than most notes. So it sounds ‘stuffy’ often times. Especially compared with the note a half step below (middle C#). It just doesn’t seem to come out as easily as even a whole step above (E) either.
On some saxophones, the adjustment and fine tuning was done so well, that the middle D is not as much of a problem. But that tends to be the exception rather than the rule in my experiences.
If we think about the physics of what’s happening, The air has to travel much farther in the tube before getting out and because of the way the keys are positioned, the middle D happens to have a lot of resistance. The air stream has to go through a long section of tube and exits in a somewhat strange position on the bell. You may have to use more air on that note to compensate.
Also, depending on the adjustment of your saxophone, you might want to get pads above the holes on the bell raised a little bit, that can help may the D less stuffy. But be very careful with that, you probably want to get it done by a professional, basically don’t try it unless you know what you’re doing.
Curious to get some input about this since I have only played so many saxophones myself. How does your middle D sound on your saxophone? Leave a comment!