Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
28,511 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
1) Regardless of what the history of music has given us up to now and basing your answers on listening more than playing experiences,

Which do you feel fits/sounds best for each of these types of music, alto or tenor? Why?

Which do you personally respond to more as a listener? Why?

Which carries or projects best in the setting of a loud amplified band?

Note: I know this is a highly subjective topic for those who only play one or the other, so try and be objective in your opinions.

2) If you play both, which horn do you feel fits these genres best if either? Why?

If you feel that they both work well, what differences do you experience between the two.

Which do you feel more comfortable playing in most situations? Why?

Anything else you care to mention on the topic will be useful too, so feel free.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
28,511 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
If you mean a jam session where there are half a dozen tenor players queuing up to play blues scales as fast as they can, then hand me an alto please.

Or a baritone.

But not a soprano.
For purposes of some more balanced of a situation, let's say that only one sax is on at a time rather than an impromptu horn section. In Barcelona there usually are only two at most, and more generally only one. When there are two, rarely do they play at the same time, mostly because the guitar-heavy scene finds dealing with one sax a challenge to their dominance and would have a brain freeze if there were two at the same time.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
28,511 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Blues and rock...for me in those genres it's tenor hands down. Full disclosure though...I suck even worse on alto than I do on tenor......
O.K. but why?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member & Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
1,602 Posts
But not a soprano.
I don't know Pete, James Carter plays some raunchy soprano sometimes. I'd take that over your half dozen tenor players just playing the blues scale up and down.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
66 Posts
I'd love to be able to say alto, since that's what I usually play. But King Curtis & Dick Parry....
I appreciate the alto more when I compete with electric guitarists or try to sound a little like BB King in "The Thrill is Gone". On the other hand, a properly mic'd tenor just seems to have more "beef" in Rock, soul and R&B
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,229 Posts
Each horn has its advantages. Tenor adds muscle to riffs, but alto has that extended upper range that cuts through on solos. Much like trombone vs. trumpet, both are great tools depending on what the music calls for.

I play tenor and don't really have enough practice time to commit to both horns, so for purely practical reasons, that's what I'd choose to bring.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
O.K. but why?
For me an alto can get a bit thin and screechy in bad monitoring, blow the hell out of it situations. the tenor's got more weight to its response.... I suspect also there's something to do with the harmonic depth in that an alto will sit on top of guitars, electric basses, drums while a tenor blends in with them better... I find the feel of the horns quite different in that way when at rock/blues jams
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,329 Posts
For me, personally, it's tenor all the way. But, sort of along the lines of what Pete said, if I'm at a jam and other horn players show up that I'll be on stage with, I'd rather they were playing an alto or bari, just for the 'blend' when playing riffs and the variety when playing solos.

My preference for tenor is mainly that I prefer the sound of a tenor, but in a blues, R&B setting with guitar players I also think the tenor fits in better than an alto; it seems to blend better with the guitar, especially if you play lines with a guitarist. That could just be my imagination, but that's how I hear it (I just realized that nachoman said almost the same thing in his post above).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,365 Posts
Its also easier to make a tenor sound dirty (Earl Bostic being the obvious exception)
 

·
Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
Joined
·
8,588 Posts
I can reach for any of the 4, but it's almost always a tenor. Sanborn notwithstanding, it generally fits the genre better.

That said, if there is more than 1 sax playing, then I'll usually play bari.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' bit of clarinet
Joined
·
7,340 Posts
I would pick my tenor for a blues jam, and alto for a jazz jam. The tenor is a bit easier to play in "guitar keys" and fits better under vocals. Alto does project more and Edgar Winter sure had no problems playing it in rock situations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
848 Posts
Honestly depends on the song - both work one or the another can be more appropriate depending on the actual song being played.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
28,511 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
I almost always play tenor. I have played alto on at a few jams and even soprano twice. Once was because I had a shoulder arm problem and it was the only horn that didn't cause immediate pain, and the second time was just for the hell of it to be different. But I had my tenor also and that is the sax I favor. First because it is the sound that I feel is my own voice, but also because it fits better, IMO & IME, with most of the music I encounter at such jams. I can play bass-line riffs in the bottom of the horn and middle range for stabs and replicas of the singer or guitar lines and then go up higher to play over the entire mix for solos or for playing lines along or behind them when everyone is jamming together. I find that the upper register of my sax is richer than the alto sound and really carries well, and the bottom has that deep booming Bb and B that give you some similarity to what a bone or bari can do. What I haven't tried is a bari and next week I am going to test play some at my techs to see what that is like. If it is to my liking I can see saving up for one. Of course I'll have to put money aside to pay a Sherpa to lug it to gigs for me, but what the hey? That's show biz.
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top