Saxophone Forum


by Brede
(11 posts)
11 years ago

A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

Yes, I am a lousy little 8th grade girl and one of the only saxophones left that is willing to play in jazz band(mind you our school has a population of 800 students).I'm playing on an old Yamaha YAS-52 with a selmer cstar mouth piece with a 31/2 reed. I have a problem with playing loudly, and squeeking. Any ways I could improve my sound and stop the squeeking??

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  1. by Emilio
    (1 post)

    11 years ago

    Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

    The first thing you could do is ivest in a new mouthpiece. I recommend a Meyer 5M mouthpiece to start out with. then you can take you reed strength down a little maybe to a 3. I personally like to use Rico Jazz select 3M . I dont really think a different ligature matters for you right now, but the mouthpiece does. your not going to get that bright vintage sax sound with a C*. so it would be wise to get a Meyer 5M sax mouthpiece. Another good thing to do would to maybe purchase the first volume of the Jamie Abersold collection. it would really help you to understand chords and help greatly with you improvisation skills. you can go to this web site and look at his books. www.JAZZBOOKS.com hope this helps GL

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    1. by YanagisawA-901
      (312 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

      im not bein mean...but this guy.. ^^^^ right up there...dont listen to him... spending a lot of money on "meyer" mouthpieces wont give you the tone you want..thats all within you..your c* is fine, i own one and my tone is sickeningly bright, my teacher is pissed that his 2nd alto can out blow and stand out better than his lead alto senior. what you need to do is just practice. youll get better, play with people a lot better than you, itll help you a lot, trust me. and if theyre real musicians theyll help you out personally. about your squeeking..its one of 2 things..your "biting" which means ur putting too much pressure on the reed and u need to lightin up the way you put your mouth around the piece... try to think of it like a sinch sack with that rope and the bag...ur tightening equal amounts around the whole thing...or you have your sax cocked too far upward into your mouth... meaning ur neckstrap is too tight...the neck has to form parallell to the line of your face..youll figure it out

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  2. by c_turner3
    (1 post)

    10 years ago

    Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

    I am in the 10th grade and I play lead alto in my High Schools Jazz Band. The biggest thing I find with squeeking is Ombature, but mostly confidence. When you play with confidence you will find that you will sqeak much less. You have to play like you know that you sound good. My freshmen year in the Jazz band I was timid about making a mistake. Now this year I told myself that I know music very well and If my teacher asked me to be in the band he must see some talent. When you become more confident your sound will improve not to mention your improv solos.

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  3. by Spunky2sax75
    (75 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

    I'm also in 8h grade and I am the lead alto player in my schools jazz band. I personally like my Selmer C* mouthpiece... I`m not saying you shouldn`t invest in a nicer one, but I am fine with mine right now. I also agree that you should try using softer reeds. I personally like 3 strength reeds. Opening up your throat and ombiture helps to stop squeaking and also give you a bigger, fuller sound. I would look into a nw sax too... I'm not a very big fan of the Yamahas. I use a Yanagisawa in jazz band and a Selmer otherwise and I think that they are some of the best saxes out there. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE. If you want to turn some heads and do a good job, you have to practice a lot. I practiced for a couple hours a day when I first got my jazz band music and when we had our next rehearsal, people were amazed at how excellent I sounded. I got a round of a applause and itwas the best feeling in the world. That is a good thing to work at and practice always helps. Well, I'll shut up now that I've written a novel, hope I helped.

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  4. by pbsax
    (1 post)

    11 years ago

    Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

    That's good that you like to play jazz. It's too bad none of the other kids want to play it, they just have no idea what they are missing out on. The horn you have right now will be sufficient for what you are doing, but if you continue to play, look into getting a pro horn later in highschool or college. The first thing you should do to solve your problems with sound and squeeking is get a new mouthpiece. A C* is a classical mouthpiece and, coming from a jazz musician, extremely resistant to play on. Try a more open mouthpiece and you will find more ease in playing as well as a better sound and more volume. Some mouthpieces to try and are easy to find are Beechler, Otto Link, Meyer, Vandoren, or Berg Larson. You can find these mouthpieces in hard rubber or metal. I would reccomend a hard rubber; it will most likely be easier for you to play on. If you want later on, you can try a metal mouthpiece. If you get a more opened up mouthpiece you will need a softer reed. Start out around a 5 or 6 rating for a mouthpiece wich could be between 70-90 for, i.e. Otto Link 6=90. Try between a 2.5-3 reed. Also look into which reeds you are playing, some good jazz reeds are Vandoren ZZ, Java, Alexander Superials and DC's, or Rico Jazz Selects. A new mouthpiece and reed set up should make a world of difference. If you still see problems, make sure you have the correct embouchure. If problems still, then make sure there are no leaks in your horn. Good luck, keep on playin.

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  5. by kelsey
    (815 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

    Get a meyers 5* mouthpiece and softer reeds. Try 2M rico jazz reeds. Since it has been 4 years since you made this post, , you might have even found some other way......kelsey
    Barry Kelsey

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    1. by chalazon
      (547 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

      kelsey..ya got it goin' on, man..stick with it , baby!

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      1. by cuber
        (653 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

        @chalazon- are you kelseys fan club?

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        1. by chalazon
          (547 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

          Brother..I'm Everymans fan club...really, I was just getting a kick out of Kelsey's way of proving his point..found it amusing HOWEVER.. he does have a valid point..bringing up long dead threads does seem to be weakening the forum. Go in peace..

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      2. by Lotus54
        (32 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

        I see this is an old thread- did you get the problem solved? I don't think there is anyway to play very loudly at all on a C*, it is just too small. A hard reed is the only way to pull it off in my experience. As mentioned, a Myer 5M is a good medium setup for an alto and can get a good range of sound. Sure, most of the sound comes from the player, but you have to have a MP that will work with you too. Like I've mentioned before, first- play from your diaphragm. Solid breath support is a huge deal. Next, play long notes, IN TUNE! Listen and develop your ear so you can hit those notes right on pitch and stay there (bending notes etc excepted). As mentioned, a loose throat, not too tight jaw will help to make a bigger sound. I tend to be too tight and blow fairly hard for the loud stuff. That can makes squeaks, especially if the reed isn't just right or dry. Oh yeah, soak those reeds! Nice and wet work better, I use warm water. Mark

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      3. by sax_maniac
        (984 posts)

        11 years ago

        Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

        Solid advice from pbsax. I'll throw in that getting some private lessons would be a good idea (even if maybe a little pricey). You'll get some individualized advice - particularly about your embouchre - that you might not be able to swing from your school teachers as they are probably spread a little thin on time.

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      4. by Brede
        (11 posts)

        11 years ago

        Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

        I've checked my embouchure several times and found nothing wrong with it.None of the all county judges, my teacher or anyone has ever said anything is wrong with it.I'll look into a hard rubber mouth piece when I go to get my sax fixed(the soddering was bused on a key guard)but there are hardly ANY music stores in my area where I can actually try a mouth piece...

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        1. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

          ok I'm not up on my technical skills and t... but isn't a 3 1/2 reed really hard? You don't need to bite really hard or use a really hard reed to get a good sound out of the horn. finding a new mouthpiece can be a real pain. However you don't need a jazz sound to "study" jazz music. Start learning the styles, scales, and music as you're looking for a piece. This will save time and allow you to know what you're doing when you go get the right equipment. Lessions and listening are a must! You can't find your own sound unless you know what it is you're looking for. Get a few complation cd's with differnt styles of jazz and find out which one you like. Then get more music of that style and so on. good luck!

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          1. by sax_maniac
            (984 posts)

            11 years ago

            Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

            Hmmm. good point, ch-ch-ch-chiamac. I find that stiffer reeds tend not to squeak as much. A squeaking 3 1/2 speaks to something else going on. The mouthpiece could be a little out of whack - not sealing evenly left to right or something. And I'm wondering - I'm hearing mention of squeaking problems yet no complaints from the judges. A larger tip opening might help. It will also allow the horn to naturally play louder. It's possible that the mouthpiece is being overblown in terms of volume. I've got an Otto Link Tone Edge hard rubber 7 I'd sell for $40. I'm using a Vandoren A55 now.

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        2. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

          For mouthpiece trials, check out www.weinermusic.com

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      5. by divesta
        (11 posts)

        11 years ago

        Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

        First I want to wish you luck with you persute of jazz. It is a long persute, but a fun one. A couple of people have said that you need to check your embochoure. My advice on that is to relax you jaw, pull it away from your mouthpiece and use the muscles in your lips to focus the air into your mouthpiece. This is a hard thing to do, but with practice it will help with your sound. This will also enable you to use more air when you are playing. The other thing that I have been taught to do is to say "EE" with your tounge inside your mouth while you are playing. This helps focus your air before it goes into your saxophone. This will also help if you switch to a larger mouthpiece. Good luck in your music.

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        1. by Hexaclon
          (90 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

          Hi, Well I agree that you should change your mouthpiece and reeds. But most importantly are long notes, practice long notes on all your register. Fist play it very softly, play them so soft that you cant even hear them. Then loud, but still maintaining your sound. This will give you resistance and control of your sound.

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          1. by JaZzer
            (25 posts)

            11 years ago

            Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

            Yeh, that always works. I'd say listen to some jazz musicians, and pick one you like, then think about their sound. Try to immitate that sound. Charlie Parker is a little too technical for a beginner, and Coltrane is everywhere as well. Phil Woods and Eric Alexander are pretty good to listn to, ans Sanborn is pretty innovative. Cannonball is pretty original, just found a sound you like and go for it. Personally, I'm a high schooler (just a freshman), but I've been playing jazz since 7th grade. Try the Aebersold books at jazzbooks.com, or you can try going to one of his camps during the summer, which are really good. I went last year and I was still learning all the stuff in september. I use a meyer 6m moutpiece and swtich between java 2 1/2's and 3's. I use a different mouthiece for symphonic though. If your playing alto, don't try to go too much for a metal moutpiece, stick with hard rubber. Memorize jazz scaels, or just all the scales, from memory, anything any musician shold know is all their scales. Focus on chord changes (root, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th) and stick around them if you need to solo. Basically, anything else, just get private lesseons, and read the music, think about the notes aswell, just because one note is in tune, doesn't mean they all are, so keep an open ear.

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            1. by thattenorplayer
              (18 posts)

              11 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              hey I'm in 8th grade too. I play tenor in my school's concert and jazz band, but play alto in our community band. I use a selmer s80 c* and vandoren zz jazz reeds size 3.5 for tenor and 3 for alto. I just got a new selmer early 80's mark 7 tenor, my alto is a bundy selmer thing (not sure what to call it, lol) well i just got a new guy hawkins metal jazz mouthpiece that says 6 on it, i can't get the dang thing in tune. its sharp so i have to pull it out to the end of the cork and then after 10 minutes its flat. takes a while to warm up. I play on a vandoren zz 3 for this. its hard to get out anything below a low c. that was on my old tenor (bundy/selmer. piece of crap that thing is) i can barely get a thing out on my new selmer. any advice? and, ya i forgot. i'm also loooooooove jazz a lot. i got a charlie parker music book, but the guy i got it from suggests i get one of his cd's. can't find one. anyone know a good place to look? thanks everyone

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            2. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              11 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              TTP - I've got a Guy Hawkins for my tenor, and it fits rather loosely compared to other mouthpieces I have. Your comment about not getting anything out below low C might be related to a poor fit. Put some teflon tape around the end of your neck cork to ensure a good seal and see if it is still a problem. If below C is still a problem, it's probably a pad leak. And I dug out my Bundy II alto this weekend and gave it a tune up. (This was my first sax in 1980). It sounds absolutely wonderful - tone, intonation, etc. With the exception of not having a high F#, I'd have to say a Bundy II is the best bang for the buck - at least as far as altos are concerned.

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            3. by Spunky2sax75
              (75 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              I also agree with Sax Maniac. I play on a Selmer Bundy II alto and the only problem I find is the tuning in the very high register and the middle C. I play on a Selmer C* mouthpiece and I like that too. I am getting a metal one to try for jazz band next year, but I'm not sure how thats going to work out.

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            4. by saxguy9345
              (21 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              I love my old Bundy II, but through the 5 marching seasons it developed major ionization (green specks all around the bell and inner tube). Other than the appearance, its dead on, and built like a tank. To the jazzer on the C* mouthpiece, I suggest you play on softer jazz reeds (Vandoren ZZ 2.5, Alexandar DC 2.5-3) but keep your mouthpiece unless you definitely NEED one. Develop a jazz technique and be comfy with it before you start worrying about getting a new mouthpiece. You're on the way!

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            5. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              Oh no, 2.5's with those Vandoren ZZ reed's Those are the flimsiest lightestt reeds. I hate them, but if you get them get at least a three. I would hate to recommend at 3.5 on a jazz piece, but I don't know, those run pretty light. Get a 3 Java reed. They're a lot better.

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            6. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              Oh no, 2.5's with those Vandoren ZZ reed's Those are the flimsiest lightestt reeds. I hate them, but if you get them get at least a three. I would hate to recommend at 3.5 on a jazz piece, but I don't know, those run pretty light. Get a 3 Java reed. They're a lot better.

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            7. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              You can't find a charlie parker cd? You're joking, right?

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            8. by tommyt
              (3 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              I'll be a junior in high school and i have a otto link 7* jazz metal mouth peice and i can just now play on it... it takes a lot of air for those mouth peieces. With my mouth peice, i have to grip a lot harder and blow a lot harder to get the notes out clear, their comes a lot of squeaking at first while your gettin used to it but after a while you'll be able to play it with no problem... with metal mouth peices, you ahve to constantly blow air into them to keep them warm because the metal cools and warms much faster than a hard rubber or plastic mouth peice, that can help but all in all it just takes practice and time to find where its tuned best at. A good charlie parker jass cd is Diz N' Bird at Carnegie Hall.. it has tons of solos and big band stuff on their that you woudl love to listen to, you should give it a try, you can find it on the net if you search hard enough... if you just type in Diz N' Bird at Carnegie Hall in a search engince it will bring you to a page that will have a few different places to find the cd

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            9. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              What the ? Look hard enough? How about open your eyes. If you can not find a charlie parker CD on the internet......... Just go to Amazon and type in Charlie Parker! And there's a trillion on Ebay!

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            10. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              No kidding. Forget eBay and go borrow one from the library for God sakes...

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            11. by Manchesteru13
              (4 posts)

              6 years ago

              Re: A beggining jazz saxist!!!!!

              What you really need to do is sit down and do lots of long tones and overtones to make sure you are getting a pure tone. A lot of people will tell you that when you go into the low register you should drop your jaw, this is actually not accurate. You want to move your embouchure as little as possible. If you watch videos of Coltrane or Sonny playing, you'll notice that their mouths do not move at all. You should position your mouth so that you can get the low notes out and change it very little. This will allow you to make large leaps and move into the lower register with ease. Make sure to keep your mouth a little looser as you get into the higher register and if you have to tighten a little and push up on the mouthpiece to get the lower notes out.

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