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Jazz Sax Lessons: High Notes: High F# - The “Money Note”

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Here's a lesson now,
on what my friends use to
affectionately call the money note.
Whenever I would play this high F sharp
and split tone it, they would say,
man, that is the money note.
So I want to teach you how to get
split toned or the F sharp money note.
So, now let me give you the example.
Is that money or what?
So, I have had a lot of questions on how
to do this, so I want to impart
this amazing wisdom on you.
So here we go.
The only thing I'm doing, with this note,
now, the F sharp tends to come out on,
you know pretty much any horn I've played,
any mouthpiece setup, the F sharp seems
to be the easiest one to split, hence the
money note, cause that's the one you can,
you know, it's money, you can bet
that that one will come out easier.
Let's see, so the three things I'm
doing to get that note to split.
One, I tend to bear down
more on the heart of
the reed with my embouchure and
So I'm thinking, not
actually doing, but thinking about putting
the pressure farther down the reed.
Definitely not like changing where my
bottom lip is on the reed I'm not bringing
it down, not moving anything, don't wanna
do that, everything has to be universal
from the top to bottom on the horn in
terms of your embouchure position but
I am when I play the note when
I go from just the F sharp.
this is the alternate F sharp fingering.
That's an important point by the way.
So, I don't even have an F
sharp key on my Mark Six here.
But if I did I'd be using
the traditional F sharp fingering.
I mean I could and it wouldn't split.
It might split.
Actually it could work.
It's not as easy.
It's easier to get the notes
over the altissimo break to
split than it is
the traditional fingering.
So again,
my F-sharp fingering is my plateau key and
my A key and then the side B-flat and
octave key of course.
So I'm just imagining more
imagining than really doing.
Like, kind of really doing,
but not really, really doing.
[LAUGH] Bringing my lower
lip forward a little bit so
that I can push more pressure
on the heart of the reed.
Not that.
Okay, so I'm just pushing forward and
thinking about the pressure again being
more in the heart of the reed and
pushing but not changing here.
The other thing is that
you can sort of tell,
I'm kind of bringing my horn
back a little teeny bit so
that the angle of the horn is
a little bit In an upward direction.
See that, so as I bring my,
I guess more than bringing,
I mean I'm kinda
bringing my horn back a little bit but
more kinda,
just, bringing my jaw
forward a little bit.
Same effect, by bringing my jaw forward
it changes the angle of the horn so
that I can approach the heart
of the reed a bit more.
And again get that pressure on the upper
lip, get the pressure on
the heart of the reed, okay.
The third thing, quite frankly, is to,
hate to say it, but blow like mad.
I mean, this note isn't for the squeamish.
You wanna put it out there.
So it's not something that you're
gonna play on some romantic ballad,
if you intend to be very romantic anyway.
So, when you're playing just make sure
that you're giving it plenty of air,
because it's requiring, now you're
essentially closing down the reed more
because we're putting a bit more pressure.
Now it's a little bit more pressure,
don't get me wrong,
I don't want you to cut your
lip by chomping down on it.
But we are putting more, I am putting
more pressure on the heart of the reed,
therefore the reed is
being closed down more,
therefore it would tend to vibrate
less if we don't give it extra air.
So, don't go nuts, but you have to
kind of manhandle it a little bit.
[SOUND] There we go.
So, there is the F sharp money note.
So, this one can be tricky.
It can be tricky in terms of again, your
gear, you know if you have a really soft
reed, if It won't work as easily if you
have your ligature too far forward.
You're closing up the reed a bit and
that's gonna effect how well the altissimo
notes, in general, come out.
And certain mouthpieces to
be honest are more forgiving
with altissimo notes in general.
I haven't come across too many mouthpieces
that if you're doing it right those notes
won't come out, but I'd be lying if
I didn't say that certain mouthpieces
are friendlier to altissimo
notes than others.
But, not to get off topic but
the best mouthpiece you can play
is the one you already have.
It's not about what we're playing nearly
as much as it is how we're playing.
So don't run out suddenly and
buy a mouthpiece just because, you know,
I wanna play the F sharp and
split it and it's not working so
I've gotta run to the store or run to my
computer and go buy a new mouth piece.
Let's work with what you've got first,
and see if we can make that happen.
All righty.
Send me your video of your F sharp
money note, and let's make some money.