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Old 08-19-2012, 02:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Saxophone Help

Hi, I've been playing the alto saxophone since early 4th grade, and now I'm a sophomore in high school. I've stuck to the alto for the entire time, when band camp started this year, (last 2 weeks of June) my director asked me to march with a bari sax, while remaining an alto for concert band and basketball pep band. I'm very well rounded with the both of them, and I'm able to use my experience with an alto's higher embouchure while playing the bari to reach really high into the altissimo range, and visa versa while playing the alto. The only problem is, I signed up to take jazz band this year, and the director told me he needed a tenor sax, the school is loaning me a fairly nice student model tenor sax, but I'm having serious issues even being able to produce a sound from it. My friend who is an incredible sax player and had used the same sax before, says I really need to honk the thing to get a sound, and another tenor player that marches with a bari with me says I need to try to use a cross between my alto and bari embouchure. I'm doing all that and it's a little bit better, but still needs A LOT of work, and I was wondering if anybody with any experience with something similar to this had any tips for me. All help appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2012, 03:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It could be the size of the reed. What size are you using? I know that 2 and 2 1/2 are easier to get a sound from, and they produce a great tone in the lower register but it's harder to get a clear tone in the higher registers without squeaking. Sizes like 3 and 4 have a better tone in the higher ranges but they require a little more pressure from the lips around the mouthpiece. Experiment with different sizes of reeds and if you find a size that produces the sound you're looking for with the embouchure you use. If that doesn't work, it could be the mouth piece itself. Will your school allow you to use your own mouthpiece? If so, buy one (or two different kinds if you have the money) and try them out with the reeds. I guarantee you'll find a solution one way or another.

Those are just suggestions based on what I've learned from friends and colleagues who play saxophones of all types. I'm a flute player (obviously I don't use a reed on a regular basis), but I am learning clarinet and so I have been experimenting with reeds and a couple of mouthpieces. I've found that an aftermarket plexiglass mouthpiece works fine for what I need, so that's why I suggested it might be the mouthpiece you're using.

Good luck!
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm not a saxophone genius but one good advice is that you quit alto for a while, because you can't play two different types of the same instrument in the same day -for example-. Just focus on the tenor sax and everything will go well.

I've played alto sax for a little time, is a little advice.

Good luck.
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