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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I have been playing alto Sax for about 1.5 years now. I have a student model sax from Tenon called as Chateau. I have a problem , the tone from my sax sounds like a harmonica or a piano and doesn't sound like alto sax.
1. Could it be a problem with the sax?
2. Are could it be that I am not using right combination of mouthpiece/reed. Currently I am using yamaha 4c and vandoren 2.5 reeds.

3 Or last but not the least could it be a problem with my emboucher that I am not able to get "Sax like" sound out of the intrument?

Can anyone please throw some light what could have gone wrong because I want to correct it in the initial phase itself.

I have posted a sample piece here please give your suggestions on how to change the tone of the instrument...

http://www.esnips.com/doc/2279f6fa-40ca-4bc9-bcdd-9a11567c1069/2.1
 

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i have tried anything to open your file but it doesn't open
I can imagine that a saxophone can sound like an harmonica (or accordion?) but can't imagine it souds like a piano.
 

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No big problem with the sax IMO. Probably not the best sax around but at least nothing that makes it sound like a piano (!). Your teacher is the right person to check it out though. Ask him.

Now you should focus on breath support and stable embouchure, as well as intonation. A more genuine sax sound will come that way and later on when you will be able to articulate. The latest involves more elaborate tonguing and dynamics. But be patient.

Also: what kind of sax do listen to ? Do not expect to quickly get that bright/punchy sound you often hear on pop/rock songs. Even with a pro set-up.
 

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I was going to say that you should get a tenor or bari if you don't want to sound like a harmonica, because that's exactly how altos sound! :D

But then I actually listened to your clip. It certainly does not sound like a piano (!), and not really like a harmonica either. Are you looking for a brighter, more piercing sound? Might try a Java reed, same strength or down a half. But I wouldn't obsess over gear at this point. Work on getting an even, consistent tone (and timbre), work on intonation, work on articulation. The sound that is inside you will come out eventually, but you have to have the skills to let it come out. That takes time.
 

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It is an ok sound to me. It reminds my tone in the very beginning with a small tip opening piece and #2 vandoren reed. Also my students' (I just get them started on saxophone. me no pro...just a helper) tone were mostly similar to that. And you are doing pretty good in terms of tone and intonation. You just need to practise more with long notes to get the idea of a round, mellow and focused sound...

Like other members have recommended, your teacher is the best person for direct advice.
 

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Thanks for comments folks. If this how a beginner's sound is then it is OK I was just worried that I don't carry my mistakes forward. I am just not able to get what is this focus/projection about. I read a few threads but I am not able to understand but the good thing is I know my sound is not well focused or projected but don't know how to get that focus. I do play long tones every session for about 5-10 min may be it is not sufficient..
My sound is kind of wavy I don't know how to explain but I clearly know it is not well projected...
 

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Perhaps a harmonica sound is nothing to be worried about -- download the song "Days Like This" by Van Morrison and you'll hear a very honky, harmonica-like saxophone solo. Maybe not so traditional, but it is on record with a rock star!
 

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rs1026 said:
Thanks for comments folks. If this how a beginner's sound is then it is OK I was just worried that I don't carry my mistakes forward. I am just not able to get what is this focus/projection about. I read a few threads but I am not able to understand but the good thing is I know my sound is not well focused or projected but don't know how to get that focus. I do play long tones every session for about 5-10 min may be it is not sufficient..
My sound is kind of wavy I don't know how to explain but I clearly know it is not well projected...
Before you really know what sound you want and what sound you could get, it is always good to spend some time with long notes. I once have read an article from a pro sax player saying that if you only have 1 hr everyday to practise, spend at least 25% of it on long notes, whatever level you are.
 

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freeflier said:
I was going to say that you should get a tenor or bari if you don't want to sound like a harmonica, because that's exactly how altos sound! :D .
Ha Ha, you took the works right out of my mouth!

Hey freeflier, totally off topic, is that you going off the bridge in a kayak? I've done that off a 20 foot-high rock (into the river, of course).
 

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I used to sound similar. My teacher got me doing overtones and showed me what "resonance" really is. Finger low Bb and try and get the Bb an octave up (you have to "hear" the note in your head to do this) Then aim for the Octave + F. You will get all sorts of howling dog noises to start with but keep at it. A tuner is also handy.

A week of this constantly every day drove my wife and kids nuts but completely changed my tone.

It also sounds like you are holding back a bit, don't be afraid to blow the thing hard, I used to worry about offending the rest of the house and surrounding houses... now I just honk the living daylights out of it. Are you breathing from the pit of your stomach or your chest?

I've also just gone back to tenor, but that's another story
 

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@saxpunter
I think you are right. I do hold back a bit and put less air through the instrument, sometimes I become very conscious and do this but have to get over this. Coming to the breath support I am not very sure about the breathing it may be from the pit of the stomach itself. BTW what is this focus and projection all about.
 

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Someone else here once described picking a point on front of the bell and blowing 'through' rather than 'into' the horn.

I found that quite useful to think about, but the overtone exercises made the big difference.... I guess the way I would describe resonance is a 'ring' in the sound. I've also found that when I get the horn sounding that way my intonation is a lot better. I have made myself play with a tuner on all of the time. The other thing is I don't play from sheet music when I work on tone, I find it easier to concentrate on one aspect as I do have a tendency to back off on the air when sight reading anything but simple tunes, scales are the go for me here.

Don't be afraid to honk it and show it who's boss!
 

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SaxPunter said:
Someone else here once described picking a point on front of the bell and blowing 'through' rather than 'into' the horn.

I found that quite useful to think about, but the overtone exercises made the big difference.... I guess the way I would describe resonance is a 'ring' in the sound. I've also found that when I get the horn sounding that way my intonation is a lot better. I have made myself play with a tuner on all of the time. The other thing is I don't play from sheet music when I work on tone, I find it easier to concentrate on one aspect as I do have a tendency to back off on the air when sight reading anything but simple tunes, scales are the go for me here.

Don't be afraid to honk it and show it who's boss!
great advice-- listen to this cat:cool:
 

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JL said:
Hey freeflier, totally off topic, is that you going off the bridge in a kayak? I've done that off a 20 foot-high rock (into the river, of course).
Yeah, this drop was less than that, maybe 15 feet. Not sure I'd want to take a bigger drop than that, too scared of a bad landing.:silent:
 
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