Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
263 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am a clarinetist of 4.5 years, and I was wondering about whether I should take up Alto sax freshman year(and later switch to tenor sax, but that's a different story). Would my clarinet experience help? If so, why? Oh, and I plan on doubling, so I'm still going to play clarinet. Thanks
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009-
Joined
·
2,758 Posts
I think it helps indirectly by giving confidence and experience. If you can meet the demands of thepickier instrument you'll have developed essentials of windplaying which will ease your introduction to the sax. There are some superficial similarities in fingering and having familiarity with reeds and their quirks is a plus. The size of the mouthpiece isn't all that different but it would be a mistake to use an identical embouchure. Note the different angle at which the two mouthpieces are held. It's generally considered easier to go from clarinet to sax rather than vice versa. After you have a good command of the alto it won't be difficult to pick up tenor or any other saxophone.
 

· Out of Office
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
30,061 Posts
Yes, it helps a lot, but it can also hinder if you think of the saxophone like a clarinet.

The embouchure needs to be looser usually (especially for jazz and pop), and the angle of the mouthpiece slightly higher (almost perpendicular to your face). If you intend to just play classical, there may be more similarities than otherwise.

Basically train you mind to think "saxophone" , instead of "big curly clarinet"
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,621 Posts
I Started out playing Clarinet then started playing Alto Sax after 5 years of Clarinet playing. The thing that amazed me about playing the Sax was that you didn't have to cover any stinkin tone holes !!! All you had to do was push the pearls down !!! And also the fingerings were the same in both octaves !!! You didn't have to remember two different fingerings for notes just push the octave key down !!!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
Much easier going from clarinet to sax than the other way around.
Agree 100% I picked up clarinet some years back after playing sax exclusively. I can get a pretty good sound up and down, and do the alternate fingerings etc., but I am nowhere near as adept on clarinet. I only use it on a few tunes solo, and on big band parts in stock arrangements as called for, and maybe as a second in a local Octoberfest band. Wish I could play clarinet well enough to be in our local symphony, but that's not going to happen.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
I would say that clarinet is the worst instrument to transition to sax from, because it is so similar that it tricks you into thinking it is the same. My experience was that, embouchure-wise, my clarinet experience ended up being a major hindrance, and I would have been much better starting off with nothing and a good teacher. I ended up permanently injuring my lip and losing several years trying to unlearn bad technique.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
I would say that clarinet is the worst instrument to transition to sax from, because it is so similar that it tricks you into thinking it is the same. My experience was that, embouchure-wise, my clarinet experience ended up being a major hindrance, and I would have been much better starting off with nothing and a good teacher. I ended up permanently injuring my lip and losing several years trying to unlearn bad technique.
Ouch. Did you injure your lip on the clarinet or while trying to transition to sax? What happened? Deeply biting into lower lip perhaps?
 

· Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008-2017
Series II with Sterling Silver Series III neck. A55 or A45 Jumbo Java. Java Green or Red, 3 or 2.5.
Joined
·
2,313 Posts
At the College in Mexico, the most respected teacher insisted in all saxophone to be players to finish first their preparation in clarinet to then start saxopohone. I do not know what happened to him, I guess he is a very old man now, but he new pretty much of both instruments.

His position is now hold by Remi Alvarez (remialvarez.com) who has a different view and teaches what might be called a different embouchure for the saxophone, so much discussed around this forum. Bottom line, with less lip over the bottom teeth... you all know what I mean. He was my teacher.

Mr. Alvarez believes that clarinet can help, of course, but he thinks that saxophone can be approached independetly and if not being careful, the clarinetists embouchure cannot help in the developement of the modern saxophone embouchure, which has evolved. If a more "classical" approach is maintened, it is perfectly possible to do so, an perfectly valid, but he is of the opinion of learning each instrument by its own standards.


All the best,

JI
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
1,122 Posts
Bird thought it was a good idea...

Frank Morgan in an interview with All.About.Jazz: ...And when Charlie Parker stood up to take his first solo on "Hootie Blues", my father said I turned to him and said "Listen, dad, that's it for the guitar." And he took me backstage and introduced me to Bird.
AAJ: At seven?
FM: Yeah, at seven. And Bird made arrangements to meet us at the music store the next day to pick out what I thought was an alto saxophone. But Bird made me start on clarinet.
AAJ: For your fingering?
FM: For the embouchure. It's a great thing for you if you aspire to play the saxophone. Because you have to get in touch with your face muscles just to stop the clarinet from squeaking. I didn't like it at the time because I wanted to play what I heard, but I certainly appreciate it now.
You can read the whole interview here.

Reine
 

· Registered
Joined
·
599 Posts
Ouch. Did you injure your lip on the clarinet or while trying to transition to sax? What happened? Deeply biting into lower lip perhaps?
While transitioning to alto. I was biting my lip, not terribly hard, but I practised a lot, thinking it would toughen up eventually. It might have healed better if I was in my thirties, but in my fifties my body can't repair itself. It now has poor muscle tone and is hyper-sensitive to pressure and rough reed surfaces.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,619 Posts
Yes, it helps a lot, but it can also hinder if you think of the saxophone like a clarinet.

The embouchure needs to be looser usually (especially for jazz and pop), and the angle of the mouthpiece slightly higher (almost perpendicular to your face). If you intend to just play classical, there may be more similarities than otherwise.
I agree with this. I played clarinet for a long time before taking up sax. With the caveats described above, I have found it very helpful. Even after only sporadically playing the clarinet for years, my embouchure is much stronger and my lip tougher. In a group class of sax players, some who had been playing sax longer than me, I found I could play much longer before my lip/embouchure gave out. I do still have to remember to loosen up, but those low notes not coming out is a good reminder.

And Tom Scott credits his success on sax at least in part to starting on clarinet.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
11,464 Posts
If you remember when you began playing clarinet, you'd realize that you are much more capable at sight reading than you were 4.5 years ago... That is a HUGE plus! The things that you've learned about rhythm and lyricism will stand you in good stead on saxophone and are not just time wasted. Enjoy the clarinet AND the sax.. don't worry yourself.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
I Started out playing Clarinet then started playing Alto Sax after 5 years of Clarinet playing. The thing that amazed me about playing the Sax was that you didn't have to cover any stinkin tone holes !!! All you had to do was push the pearls down !!! And also the fingerings were the same in both octaves !!! You didn't have to remember two different fingerings for notes just push the octave key down !!!
The above is great. The difference is in the speed, and the range. A regular sax range is 2.5 octaves.
You'll experience more resistance on the fingers, hence it will be slower. Smaller the sax, faster you can play.
Clarinet is again faster than Soprano. But you'll play different music anyway.
 

· Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2008-2017
Series II with Sterling Silver Series III neck. A55 or A45 Jumbo Java. Java Green or Red, 3 or 2.5.
Joined
·
2,313 Posts
The above is great. The difference is in the speed, and the range. A regular sax range is 2.5 octaves.
You'll experience more resistance on the fingers, hence it will be slower. Smaller the sax, faster you can play.
Clarinet is again faster than Soprano. But you'll play different music anyway.
This territory is out of my knowing, because I have never played the clarinet. Now, for the altissimo, which I know is very used for clarinet players, in saxophone, many fingerings come along... About speed... of course I can tell I have heard incredible speed on many instruments... turmpets come to my memory, too, but you specialists must know. Charlie Parker comes to my soul, not to my mind...

All the best to everybody and yes, as much you can enjoy anything you play, the better... it is great to enjoy the gift of having a musical instrument in your hands. I have as a second percussions, and ended a gig playing a whole set of any kind of things I could only imagine were thought to be hit, snail shells, bottles with water, spans.... I had such a good time!!!
 

· Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Yes, it does! I played clarinet for several years before starting saxophone. I actually played tenor first, then alto. Your emboucher is the biggest difference. You must not tighten up as though you are playing clarinet. If you play bass clarinet, you will notice some similarities. I know many great saxophone players who also played clarinet or still play both. good luck!
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top