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Old 10-05-2012, 10:04 PM
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Default Saxophone hints and tips

I'm new to the saxophone. I bought a fairly cheap student alto sax - the Trevor James Classic II. It was sold as an 'ex rental' model, so even cheaper than list price, but to me it looks brand new - whoever rented it must have hardly ever used it.

So I know a couple of members here play the sax; also some children of other members. Do you have any hints and tips to pass on to a beginner like me?

What do you use to clean the sax after playing? Do I need a teacher or can I muddle through learning from books / DVDs / internet? Do you bother to get your horns serviced, and if so, how frequently?

:shakesax:
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2012, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I can't decide whether I should run with 'ex-rental' or the part about getting horns serviced.

I don't know anything about saxophones, but I feel like I need to contribute somehow.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:08 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I would recoment that if you want to play music, from the printed sheet, get a teacher, and learn to play that way. If your interest is more into freelance jazz you might be able to pick it up and play by ear. You just need to decide what you want to play.

I play the piano but I am a slave to the music, I need to memorize it to play it at all, I have a friend who plays by ear. He is a succesful professional jazz musician who records, sells CD's, and gives concerts, but doesn't read music at all.

BTW, care and cleaning should be easy to find on the internet, I would suggest looking up Saxophone and go from there.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:25 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Gettin' Kenny G up in here.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:30 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I think you should tweet @billclinton and see if you get a response.

Then post it here of course. :twiddle:
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I'd say we could definitely attract Slick Willy here, but nobody links to us. So. :sadcheer:
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:34 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

A little inspiration, just don't get discouraged, keep trying.

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Old 10-06-2012, 05:36 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Something a little less intimidating,

amp;feature=related
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I would check the pads on the finger thingies. They can be bad and then sound is off.


Signed, former flute player who sat in the woodwinds section.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:58 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
A little inspiration, just don't get discouraged, keep trying.
Based on my efforts so far, I think that after a year or so of practice I may be able to play like this guy:

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Old 10-06-2012, 05:22 PM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

This should be your goal:

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  #12  
Old 10-06-2012, 05:32 PM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Except for the blood and dolphins, yes. You should do this Cep.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Yes, learn to play this good, but Please learn more than one song.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I don't think I have any real groundbreaking advice, but I can't just ignore a thread that is so relevant to my interests.

I would say definitely get at least some beginner lessons, but then I learned before youtube, so it might not apply anymore. But if you've never played a reed instrument, you'll want someone to teach you about moistening the reed and then attaching it to the mouthpiece, and then how to do your mouth when you play (embouchure), how to tune, all that basic stuff. But maybe that is something you can learn on the internet now. Beginner lessons probably wouldn't hurt, though.

Also, mostly, just keep your stuff clean. You can buy specially-sized brushes that look like bottle brushes, and you'll want to dry the saliva out of it after every time playing. Most altos don't have a spit valve, so you need to tip it forward and actually pour it out of the bell. Then get in there with the brushes and dry it the rest of the way. Take the mouthpiece apart and dry off the reed every time you put it away. Also store the reeds in little protective coverers so the tip stays nice and fine and does get all tore up and jagged.

Okay, have fun!
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  #15  
Old 10-06-2012, 11:14 PM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Work on your breath control. I know reedists who just went around blowing through the mouth piece for practice, to get it right.

I dunno, reed instruments strike me as boring. I played the trombone, though, so what do I know.
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  #16  
Old 10-07-2012, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

I watched some YouTube about putting the thing together. I have a tuning app for my android tablet, so I used that to position the mouthpiece on the cork. I can occasionally play the C major scale (E flat really in concert pitch) over 2 octaves without it farting or sqeaking.

I have a pull-through that came with it that I've used both times I've practiced. I've ordered some of those bottle brush things now too.

I don't want to develop bad habits with my embouchure but I'm also tempted to learn a few sharps and flats before finding a teacher - I think I'll give it a couple of weeks by myself first.
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  #17  
Old 10-07-2012, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

The problem with going it by yourself, is that if you pick up bad habits that are not corrected by the instructor, the bad habits will be reinforced by repetition and when you finally get to the teacher, they may just take one look, throw up their hands and say "you're on your own".
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Also the problem with going it by yourself, is that if you pick up bad habits that are not corrected by the instructor, the bad habits will be reinforced by repetition and when you finally get to the teacher, they may just take one look, throw up their hands and say "You're on your own, Chelsea! I am just not able to teach you in my shop class! I am done with this bullshit!" And then storm out to the parking lot and drive home in my Ranchero, but stop at the 7-11 for two packs of twizzlers because I always stress eat, and watch Red Dawn because that's my happy place.
:shiftier:

Er, or something else equally non-specific and also totes not about me. You're welcome for all my saxophone advice.
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  #19  
Old 10-07-2012, 02:56 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by chunksmediocrites View Post
You're welcome for all my saxophone advice.

And did that advice amount to any more than 0, did you actually have to give that response any thought at all?
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Old 10-07-2012, 03:25 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

PTL. THERE IS A SAXOPHONE VERSION.

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  #21  
Old 10-07-2012, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Okay, but for seriousness, you need to learn the cantina band song from Star Wars (easy!) and the solo from Smooth Operator Your Love is King (difficult):

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Last edited by Ensign Steve; 10-07-2012 at 03:44 AM. Reason: derp! wrong song
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  #22  
Old 10-07-2012, 04:06 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
PTL. THERE IS A SAXOPHONE VERSION.

Twentieth Century Fox Theme on a Sax - YouTube
That was OK, if you had a 'tin ear' and were totally tone deaf, otherwise it should be religated to the dust bin.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:10 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

or this,

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Old 10-07-2012, 05:11 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Reminds me of this:


Musical scores are very important for setting the mood.
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  #25  
Old 10-07-2012, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: Saxophone hints and tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedoc View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by chunksmediocrites View Post
You're welcome for all my saxophone advice.

And did that advice amount to any more than 0, did you actually have to give that response any thought at all?
Now that you mention it, there wasn't a lot of real good saxophone-specific advice in there. Good catch!

However, I did have to give that response a modicum of thought. Like the kind of car, for example. I almost said El Dorado. And when I went with Red Dawn, I wasn't sure if it was too soon after discussing how John McCain watches Red Dawn on Laser Disc. Plus, I wasn't specific about which Red Dawn, or the format, but I decided brevity was called for in this instance. If I had it to do over again, I might of gone with Slim Jims instead of Twizzlers, especially since two packs of Twizzlers seems excessive, and gross.
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