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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi.
Finally, after opening this thread: https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?242190-Should-I-pick-up-the-sax and exploring my options from then, I finally got myself a sax.
I was drunk, came home. Started the computer and thought I'd get one. Just like this, I now have a sax coming home on Monday.

I started to look for a teacher in my area. There is not any. One of the guys told me that there are not any person who plays sax, let alone teaching. So I'm all alone in this.

Then, I started to look for a method book to follow. Unfortunately, there is none in my language (Turkish). So, I thought I'd get an English one. This also proved difficult, because they're expensive (Thanks to the exchange rate) and shipping and tax in the customs make them more expensive.

So, I'm in need of a method book which has a pdf or ebook format as well. When I look for them on Google, it leads me to illegal download sites. Most of them leads to payment sites, but payment for the site and not the book. Actually, I got my hands on Larry Teal's book while searching for one. I read it for a bit and it is good. I also read that it's kind of a Bible for sax players. I'll keep reading it. But, what I need is something that includes exercises that corresponds to the level of the section. For instance, exercises that include only the notes I learnt. So, please let me know if there is anything like this in pdf or ebook format. Price is important, but if it's good, I have no problem in paying.


The other thing is, I am trying to decide when to add learning (popular) songs to my practice routine. I also play guitar and I got bored from exercises and theory until I decided to learn a couple of songs that I could show off my skills with or songs I like listening to. So, I am aware that I should start learning early, but I'm not sure how early. After what threshold?

Huh... I thought I have more questions, but that's all for now :) Back to Lary Teal then.
 

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Just go on youtube and look at the different online tutorials there. Some are very pretentious but there is also a lot of very good material out there that will help you get started. And there are a lot of good recordings on Youtube ranging from very simple tunes to the most complex stuff from Charlie Parker and the likes. I found that listening to Scott Hamilton is a very good exercise to focus on just the essential notes and intonation / playing clean and in tune.
 

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Remember to blow into the small end, not the big one. I was taught that by a trombone player, and it worked!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just go on youtube and look at the different online tutorials there. Some are very pretentious but there is also a lot of very good material out there that will help you get started. And there are a lot of good recordings on Youtube ranging from very simple tunes to the most complex stuff from Charlie Parker and the likes. I found that listening to Scott Hamilton is a very good exercise to focus on just the essential notes and intonation / playing clean and in tune.
Can you recommend a couple of video creators? I don't want to start with the wrong guy. It's youtube, nobody checks for the correctness of the content.

Remember to blow into the small end, not the big one. I was taught that by a trombone player, and it worked!
I was planning to blow into the part that fits into my mouth. Let's hope the big end does not fit.
 

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Can you recommend a couple of video creators? I don't want to start with the wrong guy. It's youtube, nobody checks for the correctness of the content.
here are two links for starters: McGill Music and Better Sax. Don't get lost on these particular links but just use them as entry points. I found the Better Sax teachings really helpful because they are concentrating on the very basics and once you have those down, they are a good foundation for anything else forward. Don't try to impress by getting too advanced for your skills because you may get frustrated.

And remember, the reed is at the bottom side of the mouthpiece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxteXpex06E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-Qg96dpdGY
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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You definitely don't want to play that old reed that is 'kind of damaged.' I see you've ordered a box of reeds, which is what you will need. However, a 3.5 reed is going to be pretty hard. So if (when) you find it difficult to play and get a rather dead, stuffy sound, order another box of softer reeds. A #2 is a good middle of the road choice to start with.
 

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I agree, start with a 2. I still won't use anything more than a 2 1/2. Why work extra hard? Well, at least at the beginning . . . .
 

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OK, so.....welcome to the Forum.

1) Do you know ANYONE near you who plays even a little bit of saxophone ? Or clarinet at least ? Ask around, ask more than one person.
I ask because it sounds like the sax you purchased is used, so it would be good if a sax player could test it to make sure it plays OK. Because if it has problems (such as leaks), it will make your efforts quite difficult.

2) The same holds true for the mouthpiece. I hope it is a half-decent one, because if it is not, again...it will make your ability to play properly all the more difficult. Once again , a sax player can help determine this.

3) OK, so if there is no sax teacher near you, and you are having difficulty finding written lesson material....what about taking Skype or FaceTime lessons ?
There are quite a few teachers worldwide who offer online 'live' lessons. Your english is quite good.
Perhaps you should look into this as well.
 

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Welcome to the forum and, I recon, a great journey.
I'm posting as another "self teacherer" of just a few years, with little previous background in playing anything. None the less, some thoughts.

First, learning stuff by yourself is not just a matter, IMHO, of getting a book and getting stuck in - there's a whole pile of stuff - as you've discovered, like reeds, maintenance, embouchure etc. - that you need to get a hang of; including the list of 'stuff' itself! Spend a pile of times reading sites, watching youtube, and not least of all reading past posts here. Map out the world... (IMHO mapping the world is an advantage of self teacheringing because you get to understand more why and not just what; and you build skills of finding answers). IMHO don't shy away from reading / watching stuff that's beyond your current pay-grade; it helps map out the road ahead.

Also, don't get hung up on gear. If you have a reasonably sound sax, mouthpiece and reeds; 99% of all problems are not in the kit. There are lots of discussions on all these things here - but, I recon, the folks most engaged in these issues can feel and hear stuff I certainly don't have the ability and experience to sense. When you need a better MP etc. You'll know...

Next, Find an online (well, PDF+video) course which you like the sound and style of. The sound and style of the player. Two notable examples from this site are Pete Thomas' Taming Sax and Randy Hunter, Begging Sax (there are others, some are more advance...) both of these are full of instruction from getting a sound out through to learning tunes and technique. I did the latter with great satisfaction, but the choice seems marginal to me. Such course are great value. They will get you comfortably navigating around the horn.

Next, don't stop reading, exploring.

In any case: have a little patience, seems to me the essence of learning to play is repetition. Build habits of fingering and breathing etc. Take your time and experiment. When you have a question - don't just do what the first post / person / blog says; but scan the answers and find one that suites you.

Finally, when you can; play what you want! It's your sax, your time - if a tune is within reach of the notes you know, play the bloody thing! Personally, I make a point of finishing a practice session with playing stuff for the music rather than development of technique... that is the point, after all!


Hope that helps, wishing you a great time,
2 ¢/øre/p/kuruş
 

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Consider taking a few lessons online with one of the great instructors who provide that service. I was essentially self taught and early on developed a lot of bad habits (despite using a lot of the great material that is available). I finally took a few months of lessons a couple of years ago (mine were face to face), where I learned about my many bad habits - and it was a real eye opener and incredibly valuable, and my sound and playing improved immensely. My instructor also laid out a more systematic and effective approach to learning the material. Just a handful of lessons can get you on the right path, make practicing and playing more enjoyable and efficient/effective, and can give you a ton of stuff to work out on your own until you feel you need more lessons to take you to the next level.
 

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You've already found "The Art of Saxophone Playing" by Larry Teal, so you're off to a good start. A good video to watch is The Saxophone Standard by the US Army Field Band:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE8c_Z4g0-s

Do realize, though, that while this book and video will teach you saxophone playing from a classical standpoint, most of the YouTube videos that you'll find will teach it from a jazz or blues standpoint and those 2 approaches can be quite different and produce very different results.

A good and easy-available method book is the "The Universal Method" by Paul de Ville, which you can download for free via this link:

https://ia802604.us.archive.org/31/items/universalmethodf00villuoft/universalmethodf00villuoft.pdf

Or the blue-covered Rubank Method books.
 

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.....second the recommendation to find a clarinet teacher. Embouchure is different, but fingerings are different. A local clarinet teacher could help you make a lot of progress.

Also, if you are going to purchase a new reed, I would recommend purchasing a synthetic reed of 2.5 strength. A traditional cane (wooden) reed can cause a beginner a lot of frustration. Because synthetic reeds can be expensive, I recommend a 2.5, which is still a proper strength for a beginner. Sometimes a 2.0 is too soft for a beginning/stock mouthpiece that comes with a horn. (A synthetic reed can cost the same as an entire box of cane reeds. After starting with cane, I switched to a synthetic that cost US$7. I then switch to one that costs US$30.)

Good luck......and remember, nothing substitutes for practice time....though admittedly, to get you started, 1 or 2 lessons would be very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the answers! They are really helpful.

@JayeLID
It seems nobody picks saxophone or clarinet here. I visited music shops with no results. Today, in a GAS STATION, I found a clarinet. I waited for its owner just to meet another beginner who looks for a tutor. You should've seen the looks of both of us, thinking they found a tutor. But nope.

@lesacks
I find Pete Thomas' lessons fine. He has a youtube video which lasts one hour and half, and I hope he knows about it, because I am using that video right now. In the video, he says what he gave should take between 6 months to 2 years. I'm hoping in the meantime, I can acquire the necessary information to distinguish good lessons from the bad ones and pick another good beginner/intermediate lesson.

@mi000ke
I think I'm going to try to find a good online teacher, but the finances really make it hard nowadays. Turkey is going through some tough economic situation and it affects me really bad. But that's a hobby, so I might get a couple lessons.

@jzer21,
Thanks for the video. It is a good, detailed one!

@Bjroosevelt,
I think I'll have to stick to the one I already bought, I can make a sound from it lol.


A quick question... Because sax is a transposed instrument, when trying to tune it, the tuner will show a different note, right? For my alto sax, if I play G, I should get a Bb. Or, I can transpose the tuner to Eb and I'll get a G when I play G. Correct?
 

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@JayeLID
It seems nobody picks saxophone or clarinet here. I visited music shops with no results. Today, in a GAS STATION, I found a clarinet. I waited for its owner just to meet another beginner who looks for a tutor. You should've seen the looks of both of us, thinking they found a tutor. But nope.
Hey...look on the BRIGHT side....with no other sax players in your town....once you learn a couple of songs, you will get ALL the Ladies.
 

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A quick question... Because sax is a transposed instrument, when trying to tune it, the tuner will show a different note, right? For my alto sax, if I play G, I should get a Bb. Or, I can transpose the tuner to Eb and I'll get a G when I play G. Correct?
Yes, it is an Eb instrument. Most tuners are simple tuners and in concert C.

Therefore, when you play 'your C' on Alto, the Tuner will read it an Eb.

So, indeed, 'your G' on Alto will appear on Tuner as a Bb. Etc, etc....
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hey...look on the BRIGHT side....with no other sax players in your town....once you learn a couple of songs, you will get ALL the Ladies.
Here's your bright side: In Turkish, sakso (saxo) means blowjob lol. It takes a great deal of courage to tell someone that you're sax player, you're trying to learn sax, or, OR YOU PRACTICE YOUR SAX. "Someone did not like my sax, so I'm trying to improve it"
 

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It seems nobody picks saxophone or clarinet here.
Well there's at least one sax player there. Here's a video of Mitch Woods on tour in Istanbul and I'm pretty sure he was using some local musicians, including the sax player, who is top notch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQjClpIq210

I've had the privilege of sitting in with Mitch Woods on a few occasions and he's been around for years; a great piano player & vocalist!
 

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Hey...look on the BRIGHT side....with no other sax players in your town....once you learn a couple of songs, you will get ALL the Ladies.
LOL at this. too bad the ladies in my town don't really dig the saxophone... they dig the miners and the dirty stuff lol
 
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