School Me On Saxes

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Michael Jewels, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. Hello, everybody.

    A few of you may remember me saying how much I love saxes, and that I almost bought a Selmer Mark VI in the early 80s.

    Well, I didn't, and it's a small regret in my life.

    But, the other day I thought, what's stopping me from buying one now?

    I have never blown one note through a sax, but I still want to try.
    So, please tell me anything and everything that you know about saxes and learning to play one.

    I'm not even thinking about a Selmer due to their price, but my budget could go as high as, $1,500.
    I've been looking at a few at Sam Ash.

    Note: I'm at the very beginning of gleaning knowledge about saxes.

    If I buy one, it wouldn't be for a few months.

    But, I think I will.

    Oh, and, tenor only.

    School me, please. ;)

  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Now there's a hole with no bottom. :)

    Here's mine:
  3. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Alto and tenor guy here. I gave it up (practice and gigs) in my mid-forties.

    I played hard rubber Selmer mouthpieces (mp), and kept an identical mp as a spare. I prepared my own reeds before using them. This mostly involved very light prep. with wet/ dry sandpaper and tap water.

    The saxes were never put away wet- tube or pads. Vandoren (some jazz reeds and some others in their lineup) reeds are very good. If you don't buy a full box of reeds, you should after landing on a model and thickness that works for you. Rovner ligatures are a great choice!

    The same sax may be available for hundreds less and within reach. Salespeople may be less helpful than you think. Plenty of amateurs are talking sax on the web right now.

    Simple tasks or techniques have been posted and should be searchable. I'm still into flute and those guys can often be found on the same forum as sax. Sax players may double on flute as pros, or hobbyists.

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    When a man loves a woman.......
    Winslow likes this.
  5. Es-La-Una


    Oct 27, 2016
    Do you live in an apartment building? Playing a saxophone might cause complaints from neighbors. Unlike a bass, you can’t turn down a saxophone’s volume by turning a knob.
  6. Thank you for your replies, everyone.
    @ Es-La-Una, I live in a two family house, and I practice bass in the basement, never loud. And I never play late at night.
    I'll probably be able to work something out.

    A good point you brought up.

    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  7. @Staccato: I've heard about sax players that make their own reeds, but I don't know that much about it.
    I also have no idea what it means to put a sax away wet or dry.

    I have a lot to learn, but I am not a quitter.

  8. @MD: this is perhaps the best advice so far.

    I visited the site, and will join it soon.

    The best place to read and learn.
  9. @bholder: a very pretty sax!


    Why are some saxes goldish and others black?

    Thank you all for your replies, and by all means, please keep them coming.

    I'll post a song with a very nice solo which I don't think most of you have heard.

    Mike :thumbsup:
  10. Tenor? Selmer MK VI. The end.
    My Dad had an old one.... to die for~
    M0ses likes this.
  11. wazzel


    Dec 27, 2007
    Cypress, TX
    Get a used one. Should be some good deals out there. My tenor is a student model Bundy (actually I think musicians friend purchased the name and gets in made in China or something). It is serviceable. My alto is a mid level Yamaha (YAS-26). Plays super nice, but was pricy. If I played tenor regular I would go with the tenor version of my alto.
  12. I know we can all post songs with beautiful sax solos, but this one is one of my favorites.

    I don't know how many of you heard of The Mark Almond Band, but this solo is just so good.
    If you don't want to listen to the entire song, the solo starts at 3:10.

    It's a mushy romantic song.

    Forgive me. :p Enjoy
  13. BassBrass


    Jul 6, 2009
    Boston MA
    One consideration is that it's good for you health-wise. Youll automatically increase your lung capacity and strength and cardio health. I'm pretty sure the vibration you feel is good for you too. To Really put in the hours of exercises it takes to get good, get captioned TV.
  14. Dis gonna be me in a few months!
    Alright, I'm getting silly.
    I'll be back later.
    Mike :D
    EatS1stBassist likes this.
  15. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    My kid has one. Wish he'd f'ing play it.
    I'll second @wazzel -- mid-level Yammy is a good call.
    M0ses, design, ShawnG and 1 other person like this.
  16. darwin-bass


    Mar 29, 2013
    Salem OR
    I'm a sax-dad. I don't play but my son does for a living. I've learned quite a bit:
    1. They're expensive. $1500 for a beginner instrument. Mid-level brings you closer to $3000.
    2. You'll be buying mouth pieces and ligatures. My kid has gone through many mouth pieces, rubber, metal, different bore diameters. Possibly hundreds of $ each. One type for classical, another for jazz, you get the idea.
    3. Lots of time spent finding just the right reed. I think my kid finally settled on synthetic? That may have changed.
    4. They're somewhat fragile. Seems they need more preventive maintenance than (some) other instruments. Pads, valve adjustments.
    5. They're loud.
  17. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    Assuming you haven't been playing another wind instrument lately, be aware that a tenor requires significant lung power. You'll probably want to start training on that right away.

    I had a tenor I inherited and I was really excited about getting into it, but later in life I just didn't have the air. I continue to dabble with clarinet instead.
  18. MD


    Nov 7, 2000
    Marin Co. CA.
  19. MonetBass

    MonetBass ♪ Just listen ♫ Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2006
    Check with the local music stores who rent them to music students. You should be able to find a decent one in excellent shape for a lot less coin. Good luck! My grandfather was a woodwind player, and sometimes I wish I'd learned at least the sax.