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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000237.txt from 2002/06

From: CBA <>
Subj: [kl] Kevin Fay (Saxophone Stuff)
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 2002 16:25:13 -0400


Sorry for the delay in responding to this one. I've
been out of town and hadn't been checking massages.

Easy fix for the first one...

The Buffet "Expression" model saxophone is a much
newer design than the Selmer Mark VI. This means that
while the Rascher mouthpiece, which is a large round
chamber mouthpiece, works well on the Selmer Mark VI
(older saxophones work great with large round chamber
mouthpieces,) the Buffet horn you have should have a
rectangular chamber, small round chamber, or boxed
oval chamber to make it function correctly above the
high C.

Older instruments favor lower notes of the scale,
while mewer instruments favor higher notes and
altissimo notes. In turn, round chamber mouthpieces
give a more German School sound (rounder with less
focus) and favor lower notes of the saxophone, while
mouthpieces with at least 2 flat sides to the chamber
favor upper notes, make altissimo notes infinitely
easier, and have a much more focused, but more
laser-like quality, like the French School of

I have used Rascher mouthpieces while I was studying
with a Rascher style teacher, and didn't like the
mouthpiece on my Selmer (Mark VII type...newer
instrument) but loved it on the old Bueschers and
Kings my fellow students had. I chose a Bilger-Morgan
mouthpiece that has a oval with the 2 sides flat
(boxed oval) as a hybrid for getting altissimo notes
out, clearing out the upper palm key notes, and also
opening up the bottom range I had trouble with when I
used Selmer C*, C**, and D* square/rectangular
mouthpieces. Unfortunately, Bilger and Morgan both
make mouthpieces for saxophone now (separately,) and I
am not familiar with them. I have not been able to
find my mouthpiece on the market now.

I would try a round chamber mouthpiece with a smaller
chamber, or go to a flat side oval chamber (boxed
oval) mouthpiece, maybe like a Ponzol or maybe one
from our own Klarinet list...Clark Fobes has a "Nova"
Alto Sax Mouthpiece, although I am not sure of the
chamber shape. I would specifically stay away from
LARGE round chamber mouthpieces, and also from fully
square or rectangle mouthpieces, as they will give you
the extremes. The Racher gave you the extreme of the
large round chamber mouthpiece, and the square or
rectangle mouthpieces, like some of the Selmers, will
give you the opposite...all top, and no bottom without
honking. Selmer does make some round chamber
mouthpieces, and some oval chamber mouthpieces with
the flat sides, so you might try those too. Whatever
mouthpiece you get goos results from while playing the
Buffet, you will probably NOT be able to get good
results from your Selmer Mark VI.

The second thing is about the alto sax, and where to
put it while sitting.

Get a hand towel or some other soft material and fold
it to the desired height for resting the sax on the
chair while you play. Then get a small piece of wood,
metal, or even a very small paper tablet or book and
attach it to the top for the sax to rest on (where the
key guard is on the crook at the bottom of the sax.)
You might want to cover the top with a light fabric to
keep from scratching the sax. This will support the
sax while you play in an upright position. You can't
sit the sax directly on the towel, or the towel will
interfere with the C and C# low notes.

Hope that helps! Drop me a line directly if you need
me to clarify this stuff.

Kelly Abraham
Woodwinds - New York City
Kevin Fay wrote:

My alto saxophone is a Buffet "Expression" - a model I
never heard of before I bought it. I have also never
seen another one. Becuase it has a rather large bell
and adjustable palm keys, however, my guess is that it
was built after Boosey & Hawkes acquired Keilwerth,
and is based on that tooling. I have two problems
with it - one real, and one for fun.

The real problem is that it doesn't much like to play
above a high D - at least with my Rascher mouthpiece,
the tone turns into sort of a little grunt. This
isn't a problem for scales or runs, but is found while
trying to articulate. I can force the note out by
adjusting my embouchure and voicing it as if
altissimo, but that's too much work much of the time.
The high C is a bit stuffy, too.

My first thought was simply that it was my fault -
that my saxophone embouchure wasn't up to snuff.
Turns out, however, that I don't have it on my older
student-line alto or my friend's Selmer Mark VI.

My second thought was that there's a leaky pad. This
can't be, though, becuase all of the holes are open
for the high F, and the lower notes speak just fine.
Is this a design problem I have to live with? Any

Second problem - for alto saxophones generally, but
esp. this one. I find that the perfect position for
which to hold the beastie while standing cannot be
replicated while sitting - my right leg is squarely in
the way.

Because I am unwilling to amputate said appendage to
advance my saxophone playing, I must therefore put the
bell between my legs or off to the right side. While
both positions are serviceable, I find both less

So - a survey, just for grins. Which way do you go?

Kevin Fay

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