This lesson on playing saxophone high notes and their related problems is for those players who at least know the fingering and are already playing those notes. If you are not familiar with the finger positions for those last few high notes of the saxophone’s range called the “palm key notes” then you can learn them here. You’ll see the complete saxophone high notes finger chart there.
The middle range on the sax is relatively easy to play compared to the bottom few notes and the upper register. While the very low end can be fixed by simply applying much more air support, getting the highest notes to play strong and in tune can be a bit more complicated than that.
Sometimes, and depending on what stage of development you’re in, it’s not just about changing reeds or getting a better mouthpiece. Ok, there’s the bad news, the goods news is that you have the necessary tools to improve your flat and thin high notes already with you.
Producing a nice sound in that upper range can be a little difficult to say the least for a new student. At the beginning we don’t have good control over our embouchure. When reaching for those higher notes it’s natural to slip back on the mouthpiece, meaning less of it is in your mouth. We tend to bite hard as well and less air is being pushed through from the diaphragm, where it should be blasting out from.
Also, a common newbie question is; Are the notes the same for tenor and alto? Yes. The entire saxophone family shares the exact same fingering positions. So if you’ve learned the alto saxophone high notes, everything is the same if you change over to the tenor, or any other type of sax.