Saxophone Forum


by counterstrike532
(3 posts)
7 years ago

New to jazz, need advice.

Hello, I've only been playing saxophone for about 3 months now, but i really enjoy it. I rented one because i couldn't play oboe in the marching band for obvious reasons. After taking it up, i started to look past marching band music and into music that i really enjoy; blues and jazz. Now i have an issue. I recently picked up some music (which came with recordings of the songs). i can technically play the music (right notes, rythms, fingerings), but i just can't get a bright sound out of my alto sax. I use vandoreen 2.5 reeds, and some (probably poor quality) plastic mouthpiece that came with the sax when i rented it, and also the stock ligature also. i was wondering if switching to a brass or hard rubber mouthpiece and/or a different ligature would help me get a brighter sound, and possibly allow me to growl also. thanks

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  1. by counterstrike532
    (3 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: New to jazz, need advice.

    ughh i hate to double post but i dont see an edit button anywhere... sorry. anyway i was going to say, if buying a new mouthpiece or ligature would get me a better tone quality, what brand/model would you recomend for either the mouthpiece or ligature? as long as either of the items dont cost a rediculous sum, of course.

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  2. by threetenors
    (18 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: New to jazz, need advice.

    I would say the the best thing that you can do to improve your sound is to look into a new mouthpiece. I would not nessesarily suggest a metal mouthpiece, simply because you are new to the sax, and it would be a good idea to get a real handle on the horn before getting into the big mouthpieces. Look into a larger hard rubber mouthpiece, maybe a 5,6, or 7. I personally really dislike the sound that vandorens produce when it comes to jazz, but, everybody is different when it comes to reeds. If I were you, I would look into some rico jazz selects, 3 probably. At the same time, it is important to realise just how important air support is when it comes to projecting sound. You might find that if you really breathe "from the bottom of your feet", and use your diaphragme really well to shoot the air out, you may find that that brightens up your sound considerably (it will also make it a lot louder, and easier to project). That's my two cents at least. Hope that helps, and Gook luck! Ryley

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  3. by peter090
    (155 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: New to jazz, need advice.

    Take the money you were planning on spending on a "pro" mouthpiece and take some private lessons. Changing gear to beef up your sound before you've got a good handle on the fundamentals of sound production is a big mistake.

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    1. by Donnie The B
      (282 posts)

      7 years ago

      Re: New to jazz, need advice.

      Peter is right. Don't buy anything else until you've got a good private sax teacher. He/she can help you with equipment advice as well as techniques for sounding nasty or sweet - when the time comes. The advice about pushing more air can be right too. One of the tougher things to learn for me was how not to sound weak/wimpy when needing to play softly. And remember this - if you don't listen to us and run out and get an Otto Link 7* metal piece, the more open the tip, the softer the reed can be. --- Good Luck.

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      1. by Sax Mom
        (964 posts)

        7 years ago

        Re: New to jazz, need advice.

        I also affirm what Peter and Donnie advise. Do not try for the growl until you have a good handle on saxophone fundamentals. As you know, she's a totally different animal from the oboe. Also, many advise not to use a metal mouthpiece on alto... although you will find some who disagree.

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        1. by Christian Anderson
          (73 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: New to jazz, need advice.

          I agree with the others that lessons should be a priority, but also one of the most important things that will help you is listening to good jazz saxophonists so you can pick up more than just growling, try to imitate their tone and style. One thing that helped me a lot was the aebersol series, lots of people hate them but they will give you a way to practice and gradually play more difficult songs while learning as you go.

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        2. by counterstrike532
          (3 posts)

          7 years ago

          thanks for the advice

          Thanks for all the advice guys. well this past weekend i had an opportunity to talk to a professional saxophone player of eastern michigan university when i went there for a clinic. i brought up the question of mouthpieces to see what he thought of them and he basically says what you guys said: get good before buying equpiment. however, the next day in band class, my teacher allowed me to try out one of his metal mouthpieces and i really do like the change in tone. however im going to hold off on buying a nice mouthpiece until i have a deeper understanding of the saxophone.

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