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Bassist picking up the saxophone?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Hordehunterx, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. Hordehunterx


    Apr 26, 2011
    Was just wondering how many of you play sax? And what do you bassist think of the instrument ( thinking of picking it up myself )
  2. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    Sax was my first instrument, and I may pick it up again sometime before too long. I highly recommend it. It's so different that it's actually less confusing than playing a somewhat similar instrument, and it can be really great for learning more about melodic / lead / solo playing. Go for it!
  3. I want to learn baritone sax, but they cost too much for me to justify plunking down money that I need for other things. Eventually, someday I will. As a lover of ska and swing music, I figured it's the next logical course for a new instrument.
  4. kreider204


    Nov 29, 2008
    If you have a music store nearby that caters to school music programs, they usually have rent-to-own options - you should check around.
  5. Bjazzman


    Dec 7, 2004
    Madison WI
    i play bari sax as well. in fact im getting back into sax with this new band. i learned how to solo on sax by drawing the fretboard of the bass and put the notes of the sax on there. it helped me visualize patterns.

    i fix saxes for a living
  6. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I had wanted to play bass, but my grade school didn't offer stringed instrument training, so in 4th grade I picked sax. I played alto mainly and spent 3 years (school was K - 8th) as "First row, Second chair" because I filled in on oboe, bassoon, alto & bass clarinets as specific songs called for those specific voices. We had a fairly small band and nobody dedicated to those instruments. I continued to play some in high school, but pretty much switched to bass by that point.

    I sold my alto 3 years or so after HS, wish I still had it. I've almost picked up an intermediate level alto at a local pawn shop a couple times. Maybe someday.
  7. Mark 63

    Mark 63

    Apr 3, 2012
    I'm a tenor player learning bass. The saxophone is a blast. Baritone parts are similar to bass lines in a lot of music.
    Quality Taiwanese horns are available at good prices, but entry level is pricier than in the bass world. Be careful of used instruments. They can be bargains, but if the horn isn't adjusted properly it'll cause frustration.
  8. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I would love to learn sax. Played trumpet in school, but never got into reed instruments so much.
  9. Jhengsman


    Oct 17, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Clarinets, flutes and saxes during my school days. In my last school band marching/pep, graduate and upper level music students did the arrangements and almost always the tenor section doubled the bassline
  10. T-MOST

    T-MOST Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2004
    NJ via NYC
    I played sax all through Jr. High school. Gerald Albright was a session
    bass player with Anita Baker in the 80's when the sax player was late for rehearsal. Gerald picked up the horn and played for her and never went back To session work on the bass. Naturally he had been playing all along but he was "that good" on sax as well.
  11. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    I used to play sax. I really like sax, I think every band should have a sax in it :D

    However, they are loud. You can't practice a sax silently like you can a bass. So I gave up sax for bass.
  12. It's not actually hard to pick up at all. Most weigh less than 10lbs.


    Seriously, I've been told by quite a few band teachers over the years that it's one of the easiest horns to learn to play.
  13. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    Same with me.
  14. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Did you initially learn on a bari? I have played alto, tenor, and bari. Not sure I would recommend a bari sax as a "first sax".
  15. 4StringShooter

    4StringShooter Banned

    Jun 26, 2011
    London, Ontario, Canada
    GBX Member #1
    I play Bari. It's a totally different world from Bass Guitar.
  16. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    I played sax all through school.

    This is what you'll notice right off - with a guitar if you learn one pattern (Maj / min / whatever) you know the Major scale (for example) in every key just by moving your root to where you need it. With the sax you gotta learn each scale individually. There are no 'patterns'.

    That being said, you can start off learning a few of the common ones and you'll be able to play along with the band.

    Another thing I noticed: Playing sax didn't help getting me chicks like the bass did. I'm just sayin'..... :smug:
  17. ShoeManiac

    ShoeManiac Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    I started playing music on the alto sax. From the standpoint of being a complete beginner, it was the right place to start as a kid. Physically, it was the right size instrument for a kid to play. And in terms of the wind you need in order to get a decent tone, it's a good starting point.

    I had played alto sax for about 4 years in school before the band director tried to get me to play baritone sax on one particular number. And even after having played alto for a while, the wind I needed in order to get a decent tone on the bari was tough to generate.

    That experience was kind of a letdown, because I really liked the sound of the bari sax then. And I've come to appreciate it more in recent years. I've thought about revisiting the bari sax. But just getting your breathing right is a major undertaking for playing the bari.
  18. t77mackie


    Jun 13, 2012
    Wormtown, MA
    Yeah, playing bari is like using a paper towel roll for a drinking straw.

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