Saxophone Forum


by Hotmilk
(2 posts)
6 years ago

Slight Problems

(This will be long, but I really need help) I consider myself a good saxophonist, I'm a member in Jazz Band and Marching Band. I play Alto, Tenor, and Bari sax (alto as my favorite). When I play the saxophone, especially Alto sax, all the technical fingerings and fast moving parts is the main reasons why I'm really good at playing the Alto sax because I love playing them. But!, my tone quality isn't all that great and I don't know what to do. (Don't take me as a cocky saxophonist, hard fingerings and fast difficult parts have always been my trademark at any school that I've attended to and I play so I can be heard because I like to lead or be the only woodwind to a play 8th or 16th note section or feature. I have sort of a passion for that and I take it seriously.) I've tried new mouthpieces, I practice basically everyday since I have a band class everyday, plus with my private lesson teacher once a week for 30 minutes and then I spend the rest practicing for an hour. My directors and private lesson teacher say I have more potenial, but when it comes to tone quality I think I suck. This is what I do when I play: 1. I play loud when needed and I actually contribute to the ensemble sound (at least in Jazz Band since I play Bari) for the alto sax. Problems: 1. Every once in a while or when I'm in my excited moment because of a fast moving part, I don't have that easy control or .....its as if my saxophone is very cold even though its kind of not and I can't play anything above a E natural without sounding thin or airy. My set-up: Regular mouthpiece ( I forgot the name and it wouldn't matter because my saxophone section has to play with the same mouthpieces), Vandoren 3 size, and a CannonBall if this information will make any different to solving my problem. So basically how can I improve my tone even though I practice everyday and how can I get that control of my saxophone without waiting for it to come?

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  1. by saxxsymbol
    (217 posts)

    6 years ago

    Re: Slight Problems

    Do you do long tones and overtone exercises? Also could very well be your mouthpiece. I had much the same problem for years until I went to a 7* opening on a mouthpiece and a little softer reed. I understand what your director wants but not everybody's oral cavity is the same. Find out what size the opening is on your mouthpiece and go 2 sizes larger and see what your results are. Try new, softer reeds with it. Don't expect that your old reeds will work. Larger openings require a softer reed. If your tone is great your director won't care what you did if you keep it to yourself and don't upset his rules.

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    1. by cuber
      (653 posts)

      6 years ago

      Re: Slight Problems

      forget all the faster technical stuff for a while. find a slower piece, and concentrate on the emotion you put into it. maybe your embrochure isnt quite right. could be reeds, could be mouthpiece. alot of the times, stock mouthpieces suck. dont worry so much about the faster technical stuff. to be honest with you, there is always someone who can do it 100 times better than you. what seperates musicians and players is the ability to put musical stuff into their playing. if you work on that, your tone quality will improve. who are you comparing your tone to?

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      1. by Hotmilk
        (2 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: Slight Problems

        I honestly don't have a single person that I compare my tone quality to. That could be a problem. Sometimes my saxophone works for me and sometimes it doesn't, for example today. I'm in marching band and for some odd reason I felt tension in almost every note I played, I was also playing inside a fairly warm school. Then I went outside into the cold all P/Oed about my sax and for some reason out of the blue after 5 minutes I was able to play a note without much tension. I don't understand why this is happening to me. Back in middle school this never happened to me and now being a Junior, it been happening since my Freshman year.

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        1. by cuber
          (653 posts)

          6 years ago

          Re: Slight Problems

          how do you know your tone quality is bad if you dont compare it to anything? listen to the greats, it helps. When was the last time a tech (not a jack-of-all-instruments guy, one that actually knows shit about saxes) looked at your horn? the tension thing could be a reed issue. reeds suck. they never quite work how you want them too, and if they do, theyll never be like that again (end rant). Marching band tends to be MURDER on horns. its one of the many reasons i hate marching band... but thats a rant for another time

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      2. by wkusax87
        (12 posts)

        6 years ago

        Re: Slight Problems

        If you want to keep going with sax, buy a master class book. I would suggest Saxophone Master Class by Michael E. Hester. Read everything, and apply it. Also, I play a Cannonball, so its not the horn. Try using less lip over your bottom teeth, and try to play with less pressure on the reed. Also, make sure you soak your reeds enough.

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