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Discussion Starter #1
This is probably the stupidest and most ameteur question to ask but, should I buy a alto or tenor? Here is an explanation. I am an alto player and own some old student alto. I also play the bari at school. I am in eigth grade and I want to get a C-ball sax. I just don't know wheter to get an alto or tenor. I love both the sounds and I defintatley am going to continue playing well through college.
I play jazz stuff mostly. Your opinions?
 

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Have you played any tenor before? (you mention alto and bari above)
if not, maybe you should try playing tenor for some time before thinking of buying one... then... if you get the chance to play some soprano... ;-)
Why Cannonball? because of Gerald Albright? (check him out if you don't know him!)...
 

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If you only intend to buy one sax at this stage, I would recommend
tenor.
I think the tenor covers a greater range of genres more easily,
and I think the tenor is more forgiving pitch and tone wise.

I'm sure that many of the dedicated alto players here will not agree
with me.
 

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Buy an alto

I think an alto is a better horn to start with. Classical saxophone study is important and I think that most teachers (at least the dozens I've had) would rather have you get a good foundation on the alto. It's a bit less forgiving and IMHO would only make you a better saxophonist overall in the end. I started on alto and when it came time to play tenor, it was a seamless transition. The bigger horn actually felt easier to play and control. That's just my experience though.

As a professional musician for the past ten years or so- I've gotten three times the work on tenor- however, I truly feel that my background and classical training on alto is what has made me a decent tenor player.

Here's what I would do if I had the chance to go back in time... keep your student alto (make sure it's in good playing condition) and bust your buns making it sound good. With the bread you would've used on a new horn, buy a clarinet and invest in some sax and clarinet lessons with a great teacher. A clarinet background AND a good foundation on the alto will give you a great advantage in the long run. Add a tenor, soprano, bari, and everything else later. I wish I would've done that. The greatest sax players I've met or had the opportunity to work with have all been fine clarinet players. I'm telling you- learning how to play clarinet seems to give you an edge when it comes to saxophone.

Good luck either way!
 

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Kiyoshi said:
The greatest sax players I've met or had the opportunity to work with have all been fine clarinet players. I'm telling you- learning how to play clarinet seems to give you an edge when it comes to saxophone.
I have a friend who swears that if you have the time to only practice one instrument, it should be the clarinet. His theory - and I fairly agree - is that the clarinet is so difficult to play consistently well, both in technique and sound, that the saxophone is "easy" comparitively speaking. The transition from calrinet to saxophone is much easier than the other way. I know as I began on saxophone and then began playing clarinet when I was in college - NOT an easy transition, at least for me.

I would also add that you should defintely consider adding flute to your list of instruments to play as well, just from a working musician point of view. Pretty much the last bastion of serious, high paying work is doing show pit work and that means playing all the saxophones, flutes, clarinets, AND oboe, english horn and bassoon if you can stand it... (I'd like to go back in time, find the first woodwind doubler, and SHOOT him...)

I also mostly agree with everything Kiyoshi said about alto vs tenor, and I also agree you will find more work as a tenor player in the long run. Even considering the doubling, find a horn you love to play, an excellent teacher and learn the instrument inside and out as well as you can.

Look at other threads on these boards about the Cannonball horns (I for one, like them very much) and different issues with them. Most importantly, play as many different horns as you can, and take a saxophone teacher (or great playing friend) with you to pick out your horn, to be sure you get a great horn. The most frustrating thing is to have badly performing equipment...

Peace,
John
 

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Discussion Starter #7
well i just went to my music store and played and alto next to the tenor. I loved the tenor and it's ease of playing. It sounded great. I think I am leaning towards the tenor
 
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I started on Tenor myself, and have since owned and played alto's
and bari's. IMHO, the tenor is the all around, easiest to play. I also
agree with Kavala, the tenor is the most versatile of the two.
Another poster recently asked while so many pros play the tenor.
I believe for the same reasons Kavala mentioned.

As for playing other horns to practice on. I don't buy that for a second !
To me, it's wasted effort, and the realized effects are physcological.
Mechanics require training, no doubt. But the real work needed to become
a great musician, is becoming adept at transmitting your emotional and
personal expression . Becoming one with your horn , allows this to flow more
easily, and any time spent elsewhere means less time on your chosen horn .

Good luck with your new horn, whatever it may be !

P.S. I originally started on piano. The first woodwind I started on was the clarinet.
 

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I'm making a concerted effort to play more tenor around the house. In my band I play 60/40 tenor/alto, but I think developing a good sound on tenor is harder than on alto. What do I know, though, I mostly feel that I suck on both.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I love the tenor sound sso much. I am going to go back there another time and compare a few next to eachother in a practice room. The only one I plyaed was the nickel Albright model
 

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If you love the tenor sound so much, that's probably where you should go.
I have a good alto, but I hardly touch it.
1) because of time constrainsts.
2) and more importantly, I don't relate very well to the alto sound and
always end up not pitching it right and trying to make it sound like a tenor.
 

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I love tenor - that's my working horn at the moment BUT when I get a promising saxophonists in my middle school band who wants to switch to tenor - I STRONGLY encourage this student to continuing playing alto in the concert band but play tenor in the jazz ensemble. Tenor parts in concert band are the WORST. BORING, LOW, AND QUIET. (Just my opinion)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
well I decided on one and arrived home with a new Albright Black Nickel Tenor. I just couldn't put it down. I compared it with a lot of others and it was between that one and the Raven. I love the sax and can't put it down!
 
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