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saxophone questions

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by pandaman37, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. pandaman37

    pandaman37 Inactive

    Sep 17, 2009
    Clovis, CA
    ok, ive really wanted to learn a sax for some o dat old school funk jazz blues stuff, but before i jumped into it i figured i should ask the questions i couldnt just read online.

    im not really aiming towards a particular sax atm, but is there a sax that would be easier to learn employing my knowledge of bass?

    in my theory class, there was a lady practicing the oboe with our teacher, and she taught us a little about the instrument, and i was really interested in learning that as well, but then she started talking about all the reeds and maintenance and all that. now, since sax is made out of brass, im hoping it isnt as high maintenance other woodwind instruments, but i cant be sure. do i need to make reeds for the sax?
  2. reeds are bought... and clamped to the mouth piece. They wear out like strings do. I played sax for about 10 years (4 of which were before I picked up bass). It's not a very hard instrument to play, but it ain't the recorder either. It'll take some time no mater which type you choose. I like Alto and it is the typical starter sax. Tenor might better suit your goals... no reason not to start on it over the Alto IMHO.

    As far as maintenance... I think I had one or 2 pads repaired in the 10 years I owned my Alto. Beyond that, kept them dry and it's all good.
  3. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    Check out saxontheweb.net

    I think you'd enjoy a bari sax coming from electric bass, but they are typically pretty pricy. I have an alto, but am partial to the lower notes, so if cost is an issue get a tenor instead of a bari. Sopranos are more difficult to play because of intonation issues.

    Consider renting for a month to see if you like it.

    Whatever you do, keep your mouth loose, don't clench on the mouthpiece. Find a good teacher to start off with.
  4. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    I forgot, Sax is the easiest of the woodwinds to start out with. It
    's also great for asthma.
  5. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    +1 on all counts... I played for ten years and was fairly accomplished, playing primarily alto and tenor, but doubled on bari and soprano when needed. They're fun instruments to play, and the part that takes the most time is developing your embouchure.

    Maintenance is pretty minimal, just make sure you use a pad saver when storing.

    It can be a fairly expensive instrument, I was playing a $2000 Selmer tenor, with a $200 mouthpiece back in the day. Sounded and felt incredible, but you can still get good sound from a Yamaha YTS-62... a fairly standard name brand entry level horn.
  6. Pilot172


    Dec 30, 2009
    As a sax player moving to bass...a sax is a sax. The most difficult for me has been the conversion to bass clef from treble. I played sax a LONG time and allnotes are moved down one space/line in bass. Difficult to get the old brain converted. Bass and contra saxes to saprano are available. Prices from cheap ebay to thousands...I will say the more expensive generally have an action that is to die for...smooth and fast. But to start buy cheap.

    A sax reed is clamped in a mouth piece, lower lip over lower teeth as you blow into the mouth piece. Purchase reeds at a music store. Reeds vary in stiffness, typically start on 2. Mouth pieces also vary in the degree of opening. I ran a 5 which is fairly open. Stay away from metal and use plastic mouth pieces, they are cheaper...

    As with any instrument practice, practice, practice. As a person not taking private lesson for bass, if your serious I would highly recommend a private teacher. Will provide a focused practice session...good luck

  7. lsabina


    Sep 3, 2008
    I'm mainly a sax player (40 years) and teach the instrument at the college level. Yes, sax is easy to play, BADLY. Just like any instrument, it takes time to get a good tone. I would suggest you start with either tenor or alto, for intonation purposes. Your embouchure can be looser with these two instruments. To play soprano, you should have already mastered one of the bigger horns, and I've found that baritone (for beginners) is not the greatest instrument to instill a good sense of intonation (it's almost too easy to be loose). Good luck!
  8. puddin tame

    puddin tame

    Aug 14, 2010
    Ive been playing bass for 9 years and sax for about 3 months (alto).

    I chose alto so I could learn something completely different to bass to expand my general musicianship understanding how mainly melodic instruments work
  9. colcifer

    colcifer Esteemed Nitpicker Supporting Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    A Galaxy Far, Far Away
    Rent an alto to start with and then buy a tenor.
  10. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.
    I beg to differ. The YTS 62 is a pro level horn. back in the 80s, if you didn't get a Selmer Super Action 80, you got a Yamaha 62. A used 62 is a great value.
  11. pandaman37

    pandaman37 Inactive

    Sep 17, 2009
    Clovis, CA
    so basically a good starter?
    i taught myself bass, through youtube and loooooads practice, going on a year and about 8 months now, and id like to say im reasonably proficient... i take it pretty seriously i suppose.
    id rather not have a private teacher. as pig headed as it sounds, simply for pride, but at the same time i want to learn as cheaply as possible, and i feel learning an instrument solo is a really good to develop your own style, i feel that a private teacher could only go so far as to help me learn proper technique, after that it should be personal expression. of course im going to learn proper technique first tho, i learned the hard way on bass... dont want to go through the whole process of re-learning an instrument properly again..
  12. crustychef


    Apr 4, 2009
    Seattle WA
    +1 on that. Played 15 years. I started on Yamaha YTS 23 tenor if I remember correctly. Cheapest beginner model back in the 80's. I upgraded to a Selmer Super Action 80 Series II. Played that through college.

    For funk and soul these days I's say get a tenor. Alto is the only one I never played in a band or ensemble. I never really warmed up to the sound of an alto. Don't get me wrong I love Canonball Adderley, Kenny Garrett and Charlie Parker but I think I would have liked them more on tenor.
  13. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Inactive

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Frankly get a carbon fiber reed. You dont need to wet them or upkeep them, for what your doing they will sound fine.

    Most people i know who also play multiple instruments in cover bands use either the carbon fiber or the plastic reeds so they don't have to keep re-wetting them.
  14. crustychef


    Apr 4, 2009
    Seattle WA
    I forgot about the carbon fiber reeds. Good call. I never really cared for the plastic ones but if it wasn't my main instrument then I don't see why not. I was kind of anal about reed though. I trimmed and shaped my own even after I purchased them.
  15. IIRC, the fingering for all saxophones are the same. The most common (in popular music) are the saprano, alto, and tenor saxs. Personally, I like the sounds of the alto sax best (that's the one I played). IMO, the alto sax sounds the closest to the human voice. Tenor is good too but it's a bit lower so it's more like the voice of Barry White, IMO. Those 3 saxs are also a good size to be easily held. The larger saxs (like the bass sax) is kind of a big monster and alot of players sit while they play it and rest the bottom of the bell on the floor--as far as I've seen.

    Anyway, reeds...you don't have to make reeds. You buy reeds online or at the music store. They're pretty cheap.

    Sax is pretty fun and got me alot of attention from the girls in highschool. There's something about expressing yourself through an instrument that you breathe your own air through. Very personal and intimate. I think you'll really like it. Good luck!
  16. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.

    I wouldn't waste my money on that horn. Saxophones are very delicate and if not made with care (which is expensive) there can be many leaks. They also easily get leaks after being shipped. Rent a horn for 3 months get used to it, and then buy something. The other possibility is to have a friend who plays test out horns for you. Saxophones do not have the consistency of basses when they come from the factory due to shipping issues. They usually need a set-up.

    If you insist on buying something check out http://kesslermusic.com/rentals/nationalrentals.htm they have good house brand horns and good service, if their reputation on www.saxontheweb.net is anything to go by. I would ask around on saxontheweb to see if there is a good tech near your house. maybe he is selling some quality used horns.

    With respect to teaching yourself, you can do it. but it is so much better to have someone help you out at the beginning. Saxophone is harder than bass or guitar to start out with.
  17. PaulNYC


    Apr 2, 2009
    New York, NY
    i got paid for a gig once.

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