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So like most I started on alto but bought a tenor in8th grade. Of course through college I took classical lessons on alto but always gigged on tenor. It’s been 30 years since those days and I’ve been gigging on tenor and sometimes soprano but still leave the alto at home. I use alto as a teaching instrument ( middle school). Recently I was asked to sub as lead alto in the teacher big band so I’ve been spending quality time with the alto. It’s just so high. Just not me but it’s a great opportunity to work it out.
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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I hear what you're saying, mine is kind of the opposite experience though. I have done all my gigs the past 10+ years on tenor pretty exclusively, but I'd rather be playing alto. Probably from when I was a kid obsessing over Paul Desmond....hard to get gigs in rock/blues groups with a fluffy, sweet alto sound. LOL

I love my tenor and do enjoy playing it; but my heart is always in the alto. Every time I pick up the alto I feel like I'm "at home."

- Saxaholic
 

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And not just you. It is a tad high up there.

In addition to focusing solely on tenor for a while now, I've even found myself sticking in the tenor's low register most of the time and my teacher eventually started telling me to start using the octave key more.

This, of course, has caused me to now start looking for a bari.
 

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I’ve been gigging on tenor and sometimes soprano . . . Recently I was asked to sub as lead alto in the teacher big band so I’ve been spending quality time with the alto. It’s just so high.
To each his own with respect to choice of horn, but rationales like this never make sense to me.
 

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To each his own with respect to choice of horn, but rationales like this never make sense to me.
Yeah, a lot depends on the player's style. Like from my listening, Parker spends a lot more time ripping through the upper register than Hodges, who seems to work mostly in the middle of the horn and saves the high notes for impact.
 

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Tenor was my first horn, all way back in 5th grade. Didn't even own an alto until my third year of college when my professor made me buy one because "that's where all the repertoire is!" More recently I've been neglecting my tenor in an attempt to really find my voice on alto and soprano. After a few months of limited tenor playing, plus probably about 2 months of sop and alto only, I picked up the tenor the other day, and even with all that time off it just clicked. Everything was so much more fluid and comfortable than I've been with either soprano or alto, despite the extra focus. I feel safe neglecting the tenor for a while longer while I continue my exploration of the higher voices -- they really are kinda fun!
 

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Still trying to get there with alto after 25 years of tenor and baritone.

The lower register alto I like, the upper register is a problem for me.

Putting in a lot of work up there in the palm keys to stay relaxed and keep the sound full and rounded.

Work. That is the word for it.
 

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When you're playing alto, just think baritone — think down an octave…
 

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Funny, I was just going to post a question, or comment thread about this. I'm strictly amateur, just trying to get back into playing, and I have a tenor that is all out of whack, but I love playing it, it just sounds and feels right.
I want to enjoy playing the alto, but it sounds like there's something missing. Like, the tone is focused and strong, but it lacks a certain depth of character. I'll keep trying long tones and stuff but I think I just like the tenor better.
 

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It's a weird thing. Each of us has a "voice" and when you find it, it just sounds right. There's no use in justifying it, like saying "oh alto's too high" because the next person won't feel that way at all.

For me, my first saxophone voice is baritone and my second one is alto. This despite the hundreds of gigs and thousands of hours I have made on tenor. I have just never felt quite right playing tenor. Clearly it doesn't have to do with a register being "too high" or "too low" since my favored instruments bracket the tenor.

Bass sax is cool but I don't think it will replace baritone the way baritone replaced tenor back when I was about 16. I can see how someone might end up playing only soprano, but it's not really right for me either.

My sound and style on alto vs. baritone are quite different.
 

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I am a soprano sax player. For years I dabbled with alto, even bought a tenor not too long ago, just to test the waters. Now I find myself playing soprano exclusively. Not too high for me, but then again, I don't venture into the palm keys or altissimo. DAVE
 
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