Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
15 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I bought a new to me tenor and I'm finding it plays quite a bit differently than my other tenor. It's a little frustrating, I feel like I'm almost starting over. Is it common that different horns require different technique?
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,876 Posts
I bought a new to me tenor and I'm finding it plays quite a bit differently than my other tenor. It's a little frustrating, I feel like I'm almost starting over. Is it common that different horns require different technique?
I've never noticed anything like that. Obviously there can be slight differences in ergonomics tone and possible response but once you can play a saxophone, then they are all quite similar really. Are you using the same mouthpiece?

have you had it checked to make sure it's all working properly? maybe it has some leaks which could certainly make it more difficult to play.

As you have probably realised though, the old advice to try before you buy is sound advice.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
eons ago when I was in middle and high school my first horn was a bushier (sp?) aristocrat tenor.
I Had to really open up for the high notes which were very sharp. When I finally got a Selmer in college I had to do a lot of adjusting , basically re-learning my emboucher.
I think with some vintage horns you will have a learning curve adjusting to modern horns.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
eons ago when I was in middle and high school my first horn was a bushier (sp?) aristocrat tenor.
I Had to really open up for the high notes which were very sharp. When I finally got a Selmer in college I had to do a lot of adjusting , basically re-learning my emboucher.
I think with some vintage horns you will have a learning curve adjusting to modern horns.
Buescher
Embouchure

Just sayin'.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2008
Joined
·
1,492 Posts
:mrgreen::whistle:Siri needs to learn to spell
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,925 Posts
I bought a new to me tenor and I'm finding it plays quite a bit differently than my other tenor. It's a little frustrating, I feel like I'm almost starting over. Is it common that different horns require different technique?
What are your horns?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,328 Posts
Good question, Dr. G. I was thinking the same thing, wonder what would feel so different.

I'm only speaking for myself (as someone who doesn't put as many hours on the horn as a lot of you)...I prefer horns that have a similar feel. So I'm playing horns with modern ergonomics. There are always some minor differences, like altissimo fingerings. Anyhow, I prefer the modern ergonomics for that reason. Could be Selmer, Japanese Vito, Yamaha, Yanigisawa... there's a good number of options that would feel comfortable to me. Nice to play different horns and nothing feels weird.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
391 Posts
I bought a new to me tenor and I'm finding it plays quite a bit differently than my other tenor. It's a little frustrating, I feel like I'm almost starting over. Is it common that different horns require different technique?
When you changed horns, did you change mouthpieces too? Did you only change the sax?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
39 Posts
Without knowing what horns are you comparing it is hard to tell.
The main differences I have ever experienced are:
Ergonomics (including the neck strap ring which make the sax sitting in a different position)
Fingerings (from horns with high F# and without) which can alter the altissimo fingering a bit.
Setup (eg. Height of keys, spring tension) which may affect the response
Tone
In some cases the spatula keys are different and require some time getting use to them

IMO none of this require a different technique per se, just some adjusting

My 2 cents
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
I bought a new to me tenor and I'm finding it plays quite a bit differently than my other tenor. It's a little frustrating, I feel like I'm almost starting over. Is it common that different horns require different technique?
What are the horns? And how do they play differently?

If you're going from say a modern Yamaha to 1920's horn then I there are some differences, mostly ergonomics (how you fingers fall on the keys), and usually horns will need to be voiced a little differently as each will have their intonation quirks. But generally speaking the differences shouldn't be huge. Hard to make a judgement without knowing your level of experience and the horns in question.

As others have said condition will definitely make a horn play differently e.g. If it's leaking the low notes can be very difficult to play
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Is it common that different horns require different technique?
I looked up the word technique in a dictionary and here's what I found: "a way of carrying out a particular task."

So, yes it's common that different horns require different techniques. (Different horns require different ways to carry out a particular task.)

For example, the way your left-hand pinky finger moves on a brand new Selmer reference series horn is going to be different than the way your pinky finger moves on an vintage Conn.

The same could be said about intonation, volume, etc.

It's a little frustrating, I feel like I'm almost starting over.
Reframe your thinking. You're not starting over, you're just making minor adjustments. :)

If you are switching horns, there are going to be trade-offs. One horn will be better at one thing than the other. It's up to you to decide what is most important and what you're willing to do to achieve the sound you want.

For example, let's say you have a modern horn with awesome ergonomics, a good tone, and horrible intonation. Let's also say you have the opportunity to buy a vintage horn that has less than ideal ergonomics, a great tone, and good intonation. At this point, it's up to you to decide what is most important balanced by what you're willing to do. You can either go with the tone/intonation of the vintage horn and work on fingerings/speed for the out-dated ergonomics or you can work on the intonation/tone of the modern horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
Joined
·
5,431 Posts
It sounds as though one person's huge adjustment in technique might be another person's inevitable variation between horns to recognize.

It could be perception or could be merely the definition of terms.

"Plays quite different" in which ways?

It would be interesting to know the details of the two tenors involved and the differences noticed by the OP.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,876 Posts
It sounds as though one person's huge adjustment in technique might be another person's inevitable variation between horns to recognize.
Yes there can be a huge difference. Much is to do with the number of different horns or sizes a player is used to.

If someone has only ever played one horn, they may find adjusting to something slightly different quite challenging until they get used to it.

But if they have already crossed that hurdle, e.g (at an extreme) they have got used to playing baritones and sopranos, then most likely no slight differences will faze them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,585 Posts
Exactly Pete. Just try out a Couf Superba I tenor and then a Yanagisawa T991 to feel a difference. That’s just one example of comparing a traditional in line tone stacks sax pre original Selmer SA to what the Super Action’s standard setting off set LH and RH tone hole stacks.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
7,594 Posts
I've owned only about 10 tenors in my lifetime (so far). I use them all on the gig, it's what I do for a living.

Each horn has it's own "personality" (for lack of a better word).

The thing I have to adjust for the most is intonation. Each horn has it's own intonation signature and the first thing I do when I get a new one is sit in front of a tuner and make mental notes of which way I have to humor each note to get it in tune. Ears are required, but if you know which direction to go, you can get there quicker.

Other than that, they range from limited flexibility of tonal colors (My Mark VII was the most limited) to a great range of flexibility of tonal colors (The Yamaha YTS-52 that I just bought as a back-up horn seems to have the most flexibility). That affects technique.

Some of the horns I've owned are more difficult to get the highest and/or lowest notes out, others are more forgiving. The more difficult ones keep you from getting lazy ;)

The keys can be in slightly different places, but the hands learn where to find them, so I don't consider that technique.

All in all, I find different tenors much more similar than different.

But that could be just me.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
17,951 Posts
It sounds as though one person's huge adjustment in technique might be another person's inevitable variation between horns to recognize.
Yup.
Yes there can be a huge difference. Much is to do with the number of different horns or sizes a player is used to.
Mmmm...yes and no.....
Exactly Pete. Just try out a Couf Superba I tenor and then a Yanagisawa T991 to feel a difference. That’s just one example of comparing a traditional in line tone stacks sax pre original Selmer SA to what the Super Action’s standard setting off set LH and RH tone hole stacks.
Mmmm...yes and no.

I think what Click was getting at is...what might be a matter of a few degrees to one person might seem almost insurmountable, or alien, to another.

I am of the school, having had the opportunity to actually play over 1000 horns of god knows how many models...maybe 50 or more ?....that different saxes are actually far more the same than different. So while indeed the design, 'feel' and 'response' of different horns vary (and they vary quite wonderfully, mind you - I find it nothing less than brilliant in that aspect)...I (personally) have always been a bit baffled by folks who get to the point where they seriously cannot adjust to a different piece of hardware in their hands. This simply because the human body is quite capable of adjusting to various implements....

So Pete, in your example...my view is rather than Soprano and Baritone being far apart, IMHO they are really quite similar from a player's perspective. Going from one to another really would not, IMHO, 'trip' a player up. Feels different, yes. Blows differently, yes. But familiarly navigable ? Most definitely.

"Just consider how different they are !" vs. "Just think of how similar they are, really".

As Notes notes...."The hands know where to find 'em"...and the embouchure knows where to find 'em...

I know this is variable from individual to individual. Some folks just expect a narrower scope of experience.

Getting back to the OP's semantics....would one particular piece of hardware lend itself to tweaks in a player's technique ? Yes.

I guess I just don't see this as anything alarming or frustrating. And I (personally) would not ever characterize it as 'having to go back to square one'. To me, it's called 'Woodshedding to familiarize yourself with your new axe'.

End of day, you may find it does or doesn't suit. Or you may find (probably) that the positive aspects of the horn (sound for example) outweigh the fact that you may have to navigate it differently, and not as your usual. Or the opposite...horn may not really ahve the tonality you seek, but you can move around on it like quicksilver, so the latter trumps the former. Etc...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
167 Posts
On a positive note I've always found that every new horn teaches me something about playing the saxophone, as you try and overcome it's short comings or discover it's strengths - especially vintage horns!
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top