Home Forums Altissimo Course Hitting An Overtone Wall

This topic contains 27 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  sxpoet 3 weeks, 2 days ago.

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  • #56395
    saxjohnny
    saxjohnny
    Keymaster

    work just on the low Bb. you need to play this low note with the “wrong” embouchure. something needs to be different with the way you approach it until you break thru and actually play an overtone.
    also, can you play a middle Bb while doing the low Bb fingering?

    #56396

    JD Smith
    Participant

    That’s what I have been doing. Just the low Bb. I can consistently play the low Bb and then the first overtone and switch between the two with just embouchure adjustment. I cannot hit the third nor forth but maybe 1 time out of 10. Trying my very best to remember what I do. It’s just not “jelling” in my brain!

    #56414
    saxjohnny
    saxjohnny
    Keymaster

    ok that’s pretty good.
    you’re getting a couple overtones I thought you weren’t able to get any.
    it’s more trial and error then.
    what is your mouthpiece and reed setup?

    #56415

    JD Smith
    Participant

    I amd using my “practice horn”, not my Selmer MK VI. It is a newly overhauled Buescher Tru-Tone C-Melody sax with a 1960s Brillhardt Level-Air mouthpiece withe a #3 Van Doren Reed. The horn plays perfectly, all notes up and down without ANY problems. I figured it I could master this on that horn it would be a breeze on the Tenor MK VI.

    #61391

    JD Smith
    Participant

    Well, I have basically GIVEN UP on playing altissimo. Just can not figure it out. I will just pick up the Alto when I need to play higher notes!
    Never got past the Overtones section of the JF course…. 🙁 I’m sure this is not the first time or the last time I waste money!

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by  JD Smith.
    #61402
    Pete
    Pete
    Participant

    JD
    You can survive without altissimo.

    #61403

    JD Smith
    Participant

    Yep, I have for 50 years. I guess it’s true about what they say about teaching and old dog new tricks!

    #61415
    saxjohnny
    saxjohnny
    Keymaster

    what most sax students don’t understand about being able to control and play the altissimo range is that it’s not just about being able to play the altissimo range…
    the journey of months that it takes to master those specific exercises and techniques is that by the time you discover that you can hit all those higher notes something else has happened along the way… you sound much better. you play in tune, and you’re in more control of your entire horn.

    one of my pro sax player buddies was telling me about when he was younger and studying with his teacher, he would always bug him to teach him the altissimo range but the teacher said no, just do the exercises I’m giving you (long tones, overtones etc)
    further into his studies his teacher showed him some altissimo fingerings and he instantly was playing up there. he WAS studying altissimo without even knowing it.
    so anyway, we certainly don’t need to play up there but don’t underestimate the value of those altissimo exercises, they make us better all-round sax players.

    #61434
    brother cavefish
    brother cavefish
    Participant

    at this point, i really don’t see a need to hit above A on the altissimo range, and rarely that, i like mostly ballads , stan getz, Ben Webster kind of things, rock and roll from the 50s, is good too,

    #61441

    JD Smith
    Participant

    The primary reason I signed up for the course was to play a Junior Walkers “What Does It Take” which he does on the tenor. Like I said, I’ll just play it on the alto. I’ve been playing for over 50 years, have done studio recordings, in fact you can hear me on the ’50s Do Wop group, The Coasters on their “Christmas With The Coasters” album done in 2015.

    #61448

    sxpoet
    Participant

    When i started learning to play the sax, i’d only been playing for about 6 months, then i started Johnny’s altisimo course, and within 6 months i was hitting the altissimo G but not consistantly. In my case i initially could only do the first three overtones, before i started hitting the altissimo G.
    I tried for ages to get the fourth overtone and couldn’t get it, but for some strange reason, i found i could hit the 7th overtone. So i then worked down from the 7th overtone to the 4th overtone. The 4th overtone was last overtone for me to get. Once i’d got all the overtones, then i found it a lot easier to get up to the 2nd altissimo G. In the altissimo range, my altissimo notes only sound ok up to altissimo E, above altissimo E up to the 2nd altissimo G sound very screechy. But i only play on the Alto, so i guess the Tenor could be harder to play in the altissimo range.

    now i find i can play up to two overtones on a lot of the high keys, and a lot of the altissimo fingering positions you find on the internet and there is lots of variations, they do actually work.

    But what pays off, if you do JF’s altissimo course, the range of fingering positions selected make it easier when you play altissimo scales, the last thing you want to be doing is tying your fingers up in knotts when going up and down a scale by moving through awkward finger change positions.

    some things i found with the sax – 1) if you want do something on the sax, there’s no reason to start right away (don’t be put down by people saying you have to be playing donkeys years) 2) there is a natural progression and steep learning curve, use your common sense, you can’t run up and down a scale until you’ve learnt where the keys in the scale are. 3) for anyone wishing to improvise – take my advice start straight away, i know a few people who got all there music grades out of the way and then started learning to improvise, and wished they’d started from day one instead of 8 to 10 years down the line.

    #61456

    Jeff
    Participant

    I’ve received my copy of the saxophone book by John Harle and was busy with an exercise in the first chapter, trying to do what he says and suddenly I was able to hit some really high notes from the same fingering. That’s never happened before and I’ve spent quite some time trying to get past the second overtone, without success. What I found interesting is that I wasn’t blowing harder and it wasn’t difficult to play at that moment. It seemed to be happening in my mouth with focus on tongue and angle of attack etc. However after a few minutes I wasn’t able to do it again. This is obviously a skill one has to master which will take me plenty of practice.

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