Saxophone Forum


by dry_martini
(3 posts)
8 months ago

Tips on how to play Eb to low C smoothly?

Hi,

First post here.

I'm a complete beginner on sax (alto) (though 30+ years guitar player), so I'm just learning fingerings and scales by heart at the moment.

I'm working on the C minor pentatonic scale,  and I have trouble playing the Eb to low C smoothly. Unless I play very slowly, I'm not able to NOT play D. Is there a drill to get the Eb to C step down smoothly? I play Eb with my right pinky (obviously), and I'm trying to play C with the joint of that finger. Is that the way? Any advice would be much appreciated.

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by mijderf
    (269 posts)

    8 months ago

    Re: Tips on how to play Eb to low C smoothly?

    Low Eb and low C are both played using the right hand pinky finger.  To go from Eb to C (or vice versa) you slide the right pinky over the rollers to get from one note to the next.  This will avoid having the Eb release prior to the C being depressed (this is what makes the D play).
    There are also rollers on the left hand pinky table to allow your finger to roll from one key to the next.
    It is not a perfect system, and it can take a little practice to get these transitions to sound smooth.
    Good luck! 

    Reply To Post


    1. by dry_martini
      (3 posts)

      8 months ago

      Re: Tips on how to play Eb to low C smoothly?

      Original Quote:

      "Low Eb and low C are both played using the right hand pinky finger.  To go from Eb to C (or vice versa) you slide the right pinky over the rollers to get from one note to the next.  This will avoid having the Eb release prior to the C being depressed (this is what makes the D play).There are also rollers on the left hand pinky table to allow your finger to roll from one key to the next.It is not a perfect system, and it can take a little practice to get these transitions to sound smooth.Good luck!" 

      Thank you for replying.

      Yes, that's what I've been trying to do, slide the right hand pinky across the roller from Eb to C, but I find that very difficult to do. It's almost as if the C key is just a tad too high. That's why I've also been trying to hit C with the side / joint of my pinky. But, OK, if sliding is where it's at, I'll keep working on it.

      Reply To Post


      1. by mijderf
        (269 posts)

        8 months ago

        Re: Tips on how to play Eb to low C smoothly?

        I have seen that before.  It is possible to modify the Eb and C key heights and level them, but if you are new the to sax, I recommend taking it to a technician to have this done, as changing those key heights could also require changing cork thickness on the bottom side of these keys.  He should also check spring tensions and lubrication at the same time.  
        This should be a fairly inexpensive fix.  When the keys are the same height, you should be able to play Eb to C smoothly like you want.

        Reply To Post


        1. by dry_martini
          (3 posts)

          8 months ago

          Re: Tips on how to play Eb to low C smoothly?

          Yes, that's definitely the case here (see photo). I'll take it to serviceperson.

          Now it all makes sense :)

          Thank you for your input.

          EDIT: I figured out how to adjust it. The little felt piece above the C hole pad (correct term?) was very compressed. I suppose a technician has purpose-made felt pieces for saxophones, so I just cut a piece of felt that normally goes under chair legs and stuck that on. The low C key is now flush with the Eb key, and going back and forward is no problem at all.

          Reply To Post


        2. by mijderf
          (269 posts)

          8 months ago

          Re: Tips on how to play Eb to low C smoothly?

          On many horns the D in the middle of the staff is stuffy sounding, and sometimes people remove or compress the C key felt to allow the C to open more.  The larger opening allows better venting for the middle D.  Check your middle D and see if you think it is stuffier (has more resistance) than before.  I mention this because there are is another way to adjust the low C height without reducing how far the C key opens.

          On the other hand, if middle D sounds good, then you may have just found an easy mod that solves your problem. 

          Reply To Post