Saxophone Forum


by mega band geek
(60 posts)
11 years ago

How can I get a good classical tone?

I play a Mark VI bari and normally play in jazzbands, but recently decided to go "legit" for a while. Problem is, my director says I have a "Big fat jazzy sound, that isn't suitable for concert band" I play on a hard rubber Berg Larsen mouthpiece. Any suggestions on how to improve my classical tone?

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  1. by saxflores
    (18 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

    Hey, I played classical bari in my school bands for about 3 years so I understand what your thinkin. Two things that you can consider doing is investing in a good classical mouthpiece and then revamping your style of playing for more classical music. For a good mouthpiece I really like my Rousseau 7R, sounds great for classical- I'd imagine that somthing like a Selmer D* would be nice too for bari, also a pack of good vandoren reeds would help. For your sound try to mimic good classical saxophone players in your band or in recordings. Generally its a more controlled, deep, mellow voice that your looking for. I hope this helps.

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    1. by saxflores
      (18 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

      Oh about your mouthpiece the berg larsen rubbers generally arent very widley used for classical. It could be that you have a big facing or more importantly a baffle built into the mouthpiece. Do you know the facing/table numbers written on it? This might help you figure out if its a mouthpiece problem or a personal problem.

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  2. by mega band geek
    (60 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

    I believe the mouthpiece is 120 over 1.

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    1. by sax_maniac
      (984 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

      The "1" means that your Berg is on the brighter side as far as the baffle is concerned. They're not obnoxiously bright, but I can see why it might be a bit much for a concert setting. Really, the bari sax should blend with the low brass - fairly mellow unless fff, know what I mean? If you really like metal, the Otto Link Super Tone Edge pieces are mellow-ish and could be used classically, but still may be edgier than your director desires. For classical, I find the S80's and Larry Teal "LT's" a good piece. There's no baffle, and the chambers are fairly open. The LT is round-chambered and, to me, blows a bit more freely than the S80 square-chambered pieces. I'll warn, though, that C* is a VERY closed tip opening (same for LT), so as a jazz player, you'll absolutely hate the C*/LT facing. Though the tone is appropriate, it will feel like there's a towel stuffed in the end of your horn when it comes to volume and expressiveness. I recommend for bari probably an "E" facing if you're used to more open mouthpieces. My last bit of advice is to give yourself time when switching to a classical mpc. You may not like anything you try, but it may be the right sound your director is looking for. Be patient. Good Luck.

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  3. by Elke
    (10 posts)

    11 years ago

    Embouchure

    I would like to also suggest, if you are not aware, that a classical embouchure required much more control and CONSISTENCY than an jazz embouchure. If you don't already, practice lots of long tones and check your pitch on the mouthpiece by itself. Bari is not as difficult as alto or soprano to switch. I would also suggest the Selmer S90 mouth piece with Vandoren reeds, if you like them.
    Elke Overton

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    1. by phathorn
      (165 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: Embouchure

      Actually, the old ebolin Brilharts aren't a half bad legit piece for bari. Especially when combined with the Alexander Classique reeds.

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      1. by morandjp
        (10 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Embouchure

        Elke's got a really good point... as much as you want to blame your mouthpiece, the mouthpiece doesn't make the man. It really comes down to consisentcy. Jazz playing gives you a lot of space for interpretation, so you can play however the heck you like. In classical, you've got to play as written, even with a reverent sound. Another point is that in jazz, bari players especially, clip the end of their notes off.... that won't cut it in legit.

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    2. by Kitch22
      (98 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

      A good classical mouthpiece would definitely help. I have a Selmer C* myself, and it is quite decent (although, I imagine there's betterconsidering that's the only classical piece I've ever tried). But a lot can be done to your embouchure to warm up your tone. Try using more mouthpiece (moving your top teeth further down the mouthpiece). Also, (this helped me a bunch) think of your embouchure as rounder and breath from your stomach, rather than using more of a tight, airflow from your neck strictly.

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      1. by mrsaxmanut
        (2 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

        I agree with kitch22, along with adding a softer reed and a more open mouthpiece.

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        1. by Elke
          (10 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

          Actually, I wouldn't suggest too soft of a reed, and generally, classical mouthpieces are more closed than jazz pieces. Most classical players work their way toward harder reeds, like maybe a 3 and a half, but not much harder than that in most cases. Too stiff is not responsive enough and will give you a fuzzy sound. The embouchure definitely needs to be 100% consistent and supported from the sides - shaped like an "O". Use warm air and support from the diaphragm.
          Elke Overton

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          1. by Face
            (11 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: How can I get a good classical tone?

            Hah...yes, my teacher likes to say that the proper embouchure is at the other end of the digestive system.

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