Jump to content
T-Bay

Saxophone virgin

Recommended Posts

Just agreed to buy a mates Tenor saxophone, it’s and Elkhart series 100. I have no experience whatsoever, play no woodwind instruments (can get a tune from a harmonica but don’t think that counts). Any tips from our resident sax experts?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you can get a tune from a harmonica, then you're doing better than most of the harmonica players I know!

  • Haha 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The scales don't transpose easily...learn the C Major scale first , get your confidence before trying to learn another (A minor?).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The fingering and learning scales will be the least of his problems.... the mouth shape and getting any sort of sound that does not resemble strangling a cat, will be the first priority...... I couldn’t get a consistent tone when I tried to learn many years ago, so I bought a Yamaha wind synthesiser with the excellent VL-70m tone module....  of course, a tenor saxophone looks way cooler than a WX-5 wind synthesiser, but that cool look might go straight out the window once you blow it !!   Best of luck with it though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I must be lucky as two days in I am getting quite a nice tone and have been practicing simple scales which sound quite nice according to the wife. It feels very weird and the number of keys is daunting. I am having to use the garage as it’s VERY loud. Might be getting ahead of myself but looking into how to get that dirty ska tone. Several videos mention ‘tongueing’ but unfortunately do not explain it well and there is no way I am typing ‘tongueing a saxophone into the search bar!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you don't tongue you will be playing legato all the time. You go t-t-t-t with your tongue. That's all part of articulation. 

I would advise loads of tone exercises each day. Long notes... followed by more long notes. Then long notes crescendo and diminuendo... hold the notes  when your breath is tailing off. Don't play flat at low volume and don't play sharp at loud volumes. Then play more long notes... then repeat.

All those keys are actually an advantage. If you include the octave key you've virtually got a key for each note... easier than playing a flute, which has a greater range and fewer keys.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Trueno said:

If you don't tongue you will be playing legato all the time. You go t-t-t-t with your tongue. That's all part of articulation. 

I would advise loads of tone exercises each day. Long notes... followed by more long notes. Then long notes crescendo and diminuendo... hold the notes  when your breath is tailing off. Don't play flat at low volume and don't play sharp at loud volumes. Then play more long notes... then repeat.

All those keys are actually an advantage. If you include the octave key you've virtually got a key for each note... easier than playing a flute, which has a greater range and fewer keys.

When you do the T T T bit, does your tongue touch the end of the mouthpiece or is it just bouncing off the roof of your mouth?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You wont be a virgin forever so we'll be expecting some gratuitous sax at some point.  Dont give up  :)

 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, T-Bay said:

I am having to use the garage as it’s VERY loud. 

Not the way to do it.
Way to do it: play whilst lying in your bed, under a duvet. Summer duvet for brighter sound, winter duvet for mellower sound.
At least that's how I did it. Garage was occupied by a means of transportation, and it was cold as well.
😁

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, T-Bay said:

When you do the T T T bit, does your tongue touch the end of the mouthpiece or is it just bouncing off the roof of your mouth?

Off the tip of the reed. You're basically interrupting the airflow so you don't play legato.

It might be worth having a few lessons... just to make sure you've got the basics... or an easy starter book, just for the technique. There are probably you tube lessons... there wasn't any you tube when I started.

... and don't even think about playing "Baker Street"... listen to King Curtis' "Memphis Soul Stew"... THAT'S how you play it. In fact, listen to everything by King Curtis (Curtis Ousely)... his version of Peter Gunn is awesome.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, Trueno said:

Off the tip of the reed. You're basically interrupting the airflow so you don't play legato.

It might be worth having a few lessons... just to make sure you've got the basics... or an easy starter book, just for the technique. There are probably you tube lessons... there wasn't any you tube when I started.

... and don't even think about playing "Baker Street"... listen to King Curtis' "Memphis Soul Stew"... THAT'S how you play it. In fact, listen to everything by King Curtis (Curtis Ousely)... his version of Peter Gunn is awesome.

One of my best mates is a saxophone teacher, first proper lesson tomorrow on face time. Added benefit that it will be free! Already watched a few YouTube videos and signed up for a free two week course. Very early days but please with progress in a few days. Making a much more consistent noise already.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am having a lot of fun. I have no interest in Jazz, but love that dirt Ska sound. I don’t see it as something I would be likely to do in a band situation as it doesn’t fit the bands I am in. Just looking to have something  else to enjoy and keep me occupied in these weird times.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

According to top online tutor Scott Paddock, the way to tongue properly is curl your tongue over so the tip of your tongue goes down behind the teeth, and you close the reed with the arch of the tongue.  Using the tip of your tongue to close the reed, or tapping the end of the reed, will get you nowhere, so he do say.  Others disagree but Mr Paddock is a pretty awesome saxist so maybe he's worth listening to.

 

Edited by lownote12
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

FWIW, my favourite online sax trainers are:

Scott Paddock: free, YouTube videos.  Nice, guy, very able, plenty of good stuff.  No courses, just lots of free YouTube videos

Jay Metcalf (Better Sax): some free content, courses cost money.  He's all about playing by ear, not music.  Ex tech, knows his gear.  Videos are worth watching for his style.

Nige McGill: some free content aimed to suck you into expensive paid content, very entrepreneurial over smooth even syrupy style which isn't everyone's cup of tea.  But there's lots there if your pockets are deep.

Saxophone studies: mostly paid for content. Weird, slightly creepy presenter.  Useful stuff on a selection of basic numbers for the beginner. 

Edited by lownote12
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, lownote12 said:

FWIW, my favourite online sax trainers are:

Scott Paddock: free, YouTube videos.  Nice, guy, very able, plenty of good stuff.  No courses, just lots of free YouTube videos

Jay Metcalf (Better Sax): some free content, courses cost money.  He's all about playing by ear, not music.  Ex tech, knows his gear.  Videos are worth watching for his style.

Nige McGill: some free content aimed to suck you into expensive paid content, very entrepreneurial over smooth even syrupy style which isn't everyone's cup of tea.  But there's lots there if your pockets are deep.

Saxophone studies: mostly paid for content. Weird, slightly creepy presenter.  Useful stuff on a selection of basic numbers for the beginner. 

I have come across the Scott Paddock ones and like them. Nige McGill is offering a free two week trial (with lots of pressure to join no doubt, but that’s fine) so I may well give that a go once I have the basics down.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, T-Bay said:

I have come across the Scott Paddock ones and like them. Nige McGill is offering a free two week trial (with lots of pressure to join no doubt, but that’s fine) so I may well give that a go once I have the basics down.

Nige has a lot of really useful stuff, if you can stand his style, which is purely a personal thing, obv.  Be wary that with Nige its all about you opting out, not opting in.  Think Scott Devine but Australian. 

Edited by lownote12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, lownote12 said:

Nige has a lot of really useful stuff, if you can stand his style, which is purely a personal thing, obv.  Be wary that with Nige its all about you opting out, not opting in.  Think Scott Devine but Australian. 

That seems a common business model for this sort of thing. I have to admit to have used the free bits of Yousician, Scott Devine and others and never paid a penny so perhaps I should support them a bit more.

Edited by T-Bay

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Just had my first lesson from my mate over face time (a first for both us) and, apart from some quirks where face time decided my playing was noise and cancelled it out, it went very well. I have some great exercises to work on over the week. Next week we are going to look at some bits from one step beyond as a simple pentatonic practice. Very happy.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, T-Bay said:

 Just had my first lesson from my mate over face time (a first for both us) and, apart from some quirks where face time decided my playing was noise and cancelled it out, it went very well. I have some great exercises to work on over the week. Next week we are going to look at some bits from one step beyond as a simple pentatonic practice. Very happy.

How much does your mate/teacher charge for facetime lessons? I have a sax gathering dust & I'd like to give it a try ... cant find a local teacher here for love nor money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, sammybee said:

How much does your mate/teacher charge for facetime lessons? I have a sax gathering dust & I'd like to give it a try ... cant find a local teacher here for love nor money.

I have no idea if I am honest as he very kindly doesn’t charge me (we have know each other for twenty odd years and I fix all his music stuff for him). I will ask him and let you know. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, sammybee said:

How much does your mate/teacher charge for facetime lessons? I have a sax gathering dust & I'd like to give it a try ... cant find a local teacher here for love nor money.

He has got back to me and doesn’t have any spaces at the moment unfortunately and has a waiting list. Nice to be popular! He said he charges £15 per half hour, not sure how that compares to other teachers. He said the best way to find someone if you are interested it to look on saxophone cafe which is a UK based sax forum, sorry I can’t be more help. Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, T-Bay said:

He has got back to me and doesn’t have any spaces at the moment unfortunately and has a waiting list. Nice to be popular! He said he charges £15 per half hour, not sure how that compares to other teachers. He said the best way to find someone if you are interested it to look on saxophone cafe which is a UK based sax forum, sorry I can’t be more help. Good luck.

ah never mind, seems to be the way with Sax teachers - all the decent ones are full or retired! £15/half hour is reasonable I think for music lessons. I'll take a look at Saxophone Cafe. Best of luck with your Sax journey!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



×
×
  • Create New...