Saxophone Forum


by jazzplayer15
(27 posts)
9 years ago

How can I get my alto to sound better?

I sit up straight and all that but it still sounds REALLY airy. I was thinking it was becuase of my reed but when I changed to the reed size I play on my Clarinet, it didn't help at all. What else should I do?

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  1. by Princerd
    (2 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

    Some music school systems require you to start out on clarinet if you want to play saxophone. One very obvious reason is because the clarinet will teach you to focus your breath control and require a much stronger embrochure, therefore strenghtening the muscles needed for playing. You will develope a greater sense of breath control and improve your muscular control learning to play the clarinet. You may be suffering from the feeling that the saxophone blows too easy and may be failing to use the control you learned on the clarinet. Saxes definitely "play" or blow much easier than a clarinet. But easy blowing can lead to bad habits. Mentally focus on a full rich tone (sing it in your head) while maintaining a little more control of your embrochure. PLAY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! Continue to play the clarinet from time to time and learn the flute (good for breath control). Most professionals play Sax, Clarinet and Flute since they all compliment one another.

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  2. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

    How can I get my alto to sound better? PRACTICE! Really, it sounds like you are doing everything right. It's just going to take some time to get familiar with the embouchure and develope a technique. What is your current set-up? (what mouthpiece, horn, reed?)

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    1. by jazzplayer15
      (27 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

      I am using a school instrument. It is all Yamaha. (mouthpiece and horn) and I am using a Vandoren 3 reed on it. How is the embouchure different from the Clarinet? I can feel that it is different from the Clarinet but I can't quite figure out how to hold it in my mouth so it sounds good.

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      1. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

        Having played clarinet should actually work to your advantage. The clarinet requires more precise embouchure control than alto sax, and it is actually more difficult to play a clarinet in tune than a sax. You should hold the saxophone in the position that is most comfortable for you. I'm a pretty big guy; 6'2" and about 255 pounds. When I play alto, I hold the sax on an angle, the bell on my right side, and I turn the mouthpiece on the neck so that it is straight up and down. This seems to be the most comfortable position for me. You may need to relax your jaw a little more. Saxophone doesn't require as stiff an embouchure as clarinet. A good neckstrap like the Neotech might help also. I would try a La Voz medium reed instead of the Vandoren. I think you'll find that they are much more consistant, and they play better. The Rico Jazz Select reeds are pretty good too. Another suggestion: for about $17, you can buy a Rico Royal Graftonite mouthpiece. They're cheap, but they sound really good. It would give you a bit more edge than the yamaha mouthpiece. But, the main thing is practice and just getting comfortable with the instrument. Jim

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        1. by uncrazy99
          (12 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

          This was actually helpful to me too...I've played sax since 5th grade. All through middle school I tried every reed type you could imagine because my tone was airy or "fuzzy" as my director called it, and we couldn't fix it. In high school I bought a new saxophone and it did WONDERS for me. But I haven't played my saxophone for about 3 months. I decided to try it out tonight, and my airy/fuzzy tone was back. *shrugs*.

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        2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
          (767 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

          --------------------------------------------------------------- and it is actually more difficult to play a clarinet in tune than a sax. --------------------------------------------------------------- That's quite different from what I've heard. I understand that clarinets are much more in tune to begin with and clarinetist won't tollerate the shakey scales that sax affuendos burden themselves with. From my impressions, a clarinetist auditioning instruments will toss aside anything with a significant problem note. The best saxophones all have a couple problem notes as far as intonation goes. The saxophonist is simply taught to deal with it.

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        3. by GzsKerqt
          (77 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

          abt that fuzzy thing... well... i have my 'good days' and 'bad days'. Normally, for my sax, either after warm up it'll be ok or juz blow more air and make sure the embrochure is firm.

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        4. by brace_face
          (43 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

          yeah, i have 'good' and 'bad' days too. do you have those days where u pick up the sax and you just..cant play? like, the tone and the airyness and everything sounds absoloutly horrible and u just cant fix it!! then u try the next day, with the same instrument and reed and everything and its all good again!!! hm.

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      2. by tyaltosax
        (2 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

        hello.if you playing a alto saxophone you need to play saxophone reeds.other reeds well not work.to get good sound try a 2 1/2 reed or smaller.bigger the reed harder to play.i play a yas 23 and a simba sax.if you are just learing to play.go to www.eaby.com get altosaxtoday level 1 with CD.that well help you a lot.good luck.

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        1. by tyaltosax
          (2 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

          sorry www.ebay.com

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          1. by saxophonik
            (73 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: How can I get my alto to sound better?

            Actually, a clarinet mouthpiece is much different than a sax mpc. A clarinet is designed to play down at an angle with a considerable overbite, and with much less of the mpc. in your mouth than a sax. Try sitting down with your sax. Be sure to sit upright. Then, with your hands, bring the sax up to your mouth. If you find you're sitting with the sax like it was a clarinet lower your strap just a touch. You want the sax mpc. to rest in your mouth a little more squarely to the floor. (Not at a full 90', but straighter than a clarinet.) Also, try taking in a little more of the mpc. and support the airflow from your diaphram.

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