Saxophone Forum


by Stewart_Dreis
(12 posts)
10 years ago

How to hold a saxophone

I'm in 10th grade and in a dispute with my director... do you hold the saxophone between your legs or on the side? Any comments would be aprechiated. If you know any web sites that talk about this please state them. Thanks for your time.

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  1. by saxmanBSHS
    (4 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: How to hold a saxophone

    I am a freshman and I know that I can get a better airstream if i hold it in the middle, the first sax in my band holds it to the side though...anyway choose whatever feels best for you unless it is a tenor or bari, then definately to the side. I dont think it is possible to hold a bari in the middle, even if you are marching with it.

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  2. by barisax999
    (400 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: How to hold a saxophone

    i didnt read through all the other reviews, but its quite simple. if you play alto its in the middle, if you play tenor, bari, or bass, its to the side. this of course is if your sitting. and if you play soprano i would say in the middle

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  3. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: How to hold a saxophone

    Either way is legitimate if you're talking alto. Just need to be sure that the mouthpiece is entering your mouth at the appropriate angle and your hand positioning is comfortable. I find center position easier on my neck and upper body, but harder on my wrists. Playing tenor seated center is awkward - even for me at 6' 3". I would advise against it for tenor. It is possible for some reason your director wants the section looking the same during performance. If they say one way is absolutely right and the other way is absolutely wrong from a technical standpoint, they must be either a trumpet player or percussionist.

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    1. by Sonny_Rollins
      (18 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: How to hold a saxophone

      Ha, 6' 3"? You think you're all big and bad sax_maniac. Well guess what....YOU'RE NOT. TRY 6' 7" (THAT'S ME, 6' 7".) i WOULD DESTROY YOU. Ok, now...oh yeah how to hold a sax. It's simple....if you're tall enough, place it in between your legs.

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    2. by karebear1012
      (395 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: How to hold a saxophone

      In concert band, my director makes us put it between our legs. We can hold it on the side if we're in jazz band or anything else.

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      1. by YanagisawA-901
        (312 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: How to hold a saxophone

        IMO in the middle is the only way to go.. how do you hold the sax when your standing up? do the same thing when u sit down.. if ur holding ur alto on the side standing up, ur a freak and ur doing it wrong.. my 2 cents

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        1. by jaggtagg7
          (40 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          pretty sure either way works fine. only thing is that smaller ppl have trouble holding it in the middle b/c it puts their right hand at a weird angle. For me, i go middle because it gives me better posture and i play in marching band so its become more natural to hold it in the center. i did start out on the side as my instructor told me to when i was in 8th grade.

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        2. by joel amos
          (1 post)

          3 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          @jaggtagg7 That's exactly what happened to me! Marching band confused me, and now I'm uncomfortable any way I sit.

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        3. by Dirty_Reggae
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          Its always in between. If you do it to the side, then you will crook your neck foward, and that will affect your air stream. Only tenor and bari should be the sie when sitting. Tenor is in front when standing. Bari is always to the side wince its frickin huge.

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        4. by definition
          (963 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          "Then you will crook your neck..." Is it not possible to rotate the mpc slightly? lol I dont see a problem with that!

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        5. by barisax999
          (400 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          on top of that, you have to stretch yourt neck to the saxophone instead of the other way around

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        6. by Dirty_Reggae
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          crook your neck FORWARD. Kinda like a bird. If your an alot player, you should NEVER play to the side. Tenor, however is to the side when sitting and in front while standing.

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        7. by Dirty_Reggae
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          i meant *alto

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        8. by Jazz Man
          (9 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          y cant an alto player holed it to the side , give me one good reason . and FYI i holed my sax to the side because i find it more relaxing + i get a bedder air stream ... i cant speel '-'

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        9. by west
          (242 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          Here's how i think it works. If you play alto or soprano, it can go in the middle or side(whichevers more comfortable) If you play anything else, tenor bari etc.... it is probably more comfortable to go on the side Although, you should tell your teacher that she is technically not right. there is no certain way you have to hold a sax, it all depends on comfort

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        10. by Jellybean666
          (31 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          I totally prefer to sit cross legged and have my sax infront of my legs, lol, however the conductor gets rather annoyed at me, so i hold it to the side, but it kills my neck after a while of playing and my wrist gets sore, heh, but im not allowed to complain or i get the evil eye thrown at me!

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        11. by Jellybean666
          (31 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          By the way, i play alto, lol, forgot to mention that! :)

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        12. by barisax999
          (400 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          but then theres the problem of vonforming to your section section. im not some hard core conformists, but when you play in a wind ensemle setting, you need the same sax positions

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        13. by jaggtagg7
          (40 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          hmmm... conformation seems more due in marching band. i dont see the reasons for making everyone hold it the same way. either way works so why would you mess up someone's 'style'. it would kind of be like forcing students to play on a certain size reed or certian anything else.

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        14. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          Ok. I sort of had a revelation today - and try to follow me here - this is no B.S. I was comparing some different altos and realized that some horns play/feel better to the side than at center. While some of it has to do with the position and angle of the bell, the primary factor in terms of ergonomics is the nature of the lower stack toneholes. If the lower stack toneholes are offset from the upper stack - more to the right than in front, then playing with the horn at center cocks your wrist back when you play it. Putting the horn to the side with this configuration is more natural - your wrists and arms at a more relaxed position. A horn with inline toneholes (playing to the side) sort of kicks your elbow out a bit - away from your body. I noticed it while looking into a mirror. My YAS-23 has offset toneholes as SBA and Mark VI's do. Good for side play. I'm a center player by habit, though. Great horn, but I think I'm going to be moving on soon. (If anyone wants a older but minty YAS-23 for $500, shoot me an email). So if you ever have a chance to try a few altos at the same time, take note of the stack key toneholes and see if you notice a difference with inline vs. offset when playing at center or to the side.

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      2. by bandgeek
        (11 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: How to hold a saxophone

        I always play to the side, even alto. Hey, but then again I'm only 4"11 so... I'm not sure if I count

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      3. by JazzSaxophonist
        (4 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: How to hold a saxophone

        Well, I've been told by a pretty professional sax player, while you play alto, if you're bell of the alto is curved outwards it's easier to play on the side and if it just goes straight then it's easier to play in the middle... I personally find it easier to play on the side (because of the neck strap being so high up) because of the fact that it shouldn't be able to move if you let it go from your neck..

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        1. by Sonny_Rollins
          (18 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How to hold a saxophone

          I know that if you are tall enough, you play the alto between your legs when you are sitting. I'm not sure about this "rule" about playing the tenor to the side.... I have this CD of John Coltrane with a booklet thing along with it and it has a picture of him playing the tenor sitting down and in the middle....

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          1. by sax_maniac
            (984 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: How to hold a saxophone

            Short or tall, watch the position of your right wrist when playing center and then when playing with the horn to your side. I think you'll generally agree that your wrist is in a more natural position when playing with the horn to the right. Especially if you have offset toneholes in your lower stack. Do what's comfortable, play good notes. Have sax. Will Play.

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            1. by martin-instyle
              (24 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              How about playing alto on your right knee?

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            2. by afterglows_fanson
              (18 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              my teachers been playing since he was like 8 and he has conditioned me into playing it between my legs... which means i cant wear a skirt while playing.. pitty, but it helps you sit up straighter and use your diaphragm(sp) more. I also no that the thumb rest can become uncomfortable, but on most saxophones its adjustable using a coin to loosen the screw. He told me that that;s the proper way to play sax and he plays tenor and alto.

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            3. by RoYrOy
              (51 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              I'm a tenor player from Puerto Rico, my experience, a year and a half, obviously nothing in the sax world, but I'm as passionate as they are and it's allready turned into my life. When I play in gigs and in jam sessions, I continually find myself switching from right side to center, just depends on what im playing, it seems to me that when I play the melody I'm always to the right, but I like to solo centered because my tone comes out fatter, more solid! And I can hear myself better. Are there any left sided sax players out there? Just out of curiosity. Long live music, food for soul.

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            4. by GzsKerqt
              (77 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              Left sided? Actually, its possible, if they change the keys the other way round; ie. our left hand on top and right below. I just encountered a problem and need help. Our band just changed conductor, and he wants me to play my sax on my right (i have been playing in the centre for 3 yrs). Everytime i play, my right hand would press one of the 3 buttons at the side(D,D#,F) and it always happens when i am in the middle of the song-the notes can't come out. What should i do? Practice more?

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            5. by selmer 4evr
              (309 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              sure there are just look

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            6. by selmer 4evr
              (309 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              sorry you need to copy and paste the link

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            7. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              I had a student with small hands that kept accidentally opening his palm keys. He was a younger new player, so some of it was just his smaller physique. Make sure you are putting your fingertips on the pearls - not getting lazy and putting them too far forward on the key. Keilwerth SX horns have adjustable LH palm keys which helps. On other horns, it is possible that the keys can be bent by a conscientious tech to lower them some. That's a last resort though. Always practice more. You'll either grow out of it or figure out what you need to do.

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            8. by rhino2104
              (15 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              GzsKerqt as far as the problem with your director, I experienced the same basic thing, you need to figure out where you get the best sound. After you do that, talk to him in a calm, civilized manner and ask him what is more important; your sound or the way you look playing. If he is worth his salt, then he will say his sound and let you play where you get the best sound, unless he is a trumpet player and just has to be right all of the time. It's just a thought.

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            9. by GzsKerqt
              (77 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: How to hold a saxophone

              haha! ok. Thank you. I'll take all ur advices.

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