Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Tone Quality

Kristin
User ID: 2720884
May 29th 10:03 AM
I have been playing the saxaphone going on 8 years now. I had purchased a Vandorean Jazz mouthpiece, but my tone still is not improved. I have done all of the excercises that are said to help tone and I do them religiously. But my tone still has yet to improve, I play in a variaty of bands includind Jazz, Concert, Pep, and Marching Band. I need some new ideas on what to do, so if you have any thoughts please write.
-Tourtured By Bad Tone-
Sax
User ID: 2720884
May 29th 10:11 AM
What mouthpiece did you use before the Vandorean?
Kristin
User ID: 2720884
May 29th 10:12 AM
I used a stock mouthpiece, but it vroke. My tone was whinner before the Vandorean.
Kevin
User ID: 9753653
May 29th 11:07 AM
I think harmonic and pitch bending exercises are the best things to do for improving tone. First, get Raschers Top Tones....this book is for tone improvement as much as it is for altissimo....it really is great in that regard. The reason is, it forces you to use a good, unrestricting embouchure.

Check out these topics in the "altissimo" section......like I said, these are equally good for tone improving.
David Apolloni
User ID: 7565973
May 30th 6:49 AM
Kristin--you are rather unspecific about what is wrong with your tone. (Your tone was a "whiner" or a "winner"? I can' tell from your spelling.) I disagree with Kevin. The general advice everyone gives concerning tone is to do long tones. The more air you can get through your horn in the shortest amount of time, the better.

If you have been doing those,Vandorens are good mouthpieces, but you do not specify which kind of Vandoren you are playing. They range from dark and classical to very bright (and loud) for rock music. You might have chosen a mouthpiece ill-suited for you. Try a variety of mouthpieces, and get the advice of a teacher to work with you on it. In general, you should look for something in the moderate range.

Other than your mention of the Vandoren mouthpiece, you say nothing about equipment. Many of the student horns these are also poorly made, and are incapable of producing a good tone. Invest in a good intermediate to professional range horn. Selmer (USA) makes a fine alto for this purpose.

I'd work with your teacher as well (or a professional player with years of experience) before moving to that kind of investment, though.
stevew
User ID: 8868883
May 30th 6:55 AM
I would say if after 8 years you don't have a good tone, you need to find a good teacher! I was dissatisfied with my tone a while back and because the teacher I had at the time didn't 'get it', I found someone else and rapidly got much closer to what I was looking for.

The equipment is one thing, but equally you could be labouring under (for example) a poor embouchure, or maybe breathing, which a professional will soon put right for you.
Kevin
User ID: 9753653
May 30th 9:13 AM
Longtones should be done by everyone, but the control of the harmonic makeup of each individual note can only be done with harmonic and embouchure flexibility exercises. All the great teachers agree on this. The longtones are a very basic, beginners approach to tone....the flexibility exercises are for those who want more control and refinement.
Jax, FL
User ID: 8604013
May 31st 9:33 AM
All of the above mentioned exercises are good. What I beleive helped me with my tone this most is listening and playing along with some of your favorite saxophone players and attempting to mimick their tone/style. Also listen and play along with your favorite singers. After doing this try recording yourself periodically and record yourself playing and notate in your own words how open your throat is, loose/tight your holding your emboture, how far the mouthpiece is in your mouth, reed placement on the mouthpiece, tongue placement, and be sure that you have a steady stream of air.
Hope this helps, Kristin.