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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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Discussion Starter #1
馃槩
 

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Nope
 

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Actually I do. I'll hear recordings of myself at various times in my past and I 'll say that was good, what happened. I think like anything else you pay attention to it or you have to at some point because its gone. K
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Its been a constant battle with me over the years because my sound is pretty much what I have and I haven't been happy with it very much of the time and frequently hated to hear myself. I have had a number of mouthpieces but have been with the same tenor and mouthpiece for the last 20 years. Now I struggle with reeds but always manage to have four that are players at any given time. I have finally learned to 'go with it' as far as the tone is concerned and being more relaxed has allowed me to get into that 'flow of ideas' bag where I always feel like the rides are too short. By 'go with it' I mean your sound varies with conditions, so instead of getting uptight about it not being exactly the same, let the slightly different time lead you into different areas. I actually learned this listening to a King Curtis song called "Foot Patting' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSYqpcm2AqE where its like he has a reed that was great for that unbelievable opening cadenza but after he gets into the song, it develops that squeaky, resistant thing that makes you wish the song was over - but he plows ahead and you can feel the change as he just refuses to quit, and he goes where the damn reed takes him. I have heard him do the same thing on other songs too, while some songs are just pure from top to bottom. Eventually I found myself doing it too, and it really takes the pressure off. I guess another way of putting it is to learn to not be so rigid in what you expect. You can maintain your standards and also allow a little flexibility. Another big factor in my transformation was when I began to appreciate how what I had previously considered 'weakness' in others' playing was really a warmth that was lacking in my playing. This process took some time, and now when I hear myself do the same thing, I embrace it and 'go with it' exactly as King Curtis does on that record after the guitar ride. His sound had gotten a little 'stuffy' and 'fuzzy' so he instinctively just went in that direction and made it hot. Another example - I hated Gato's playing but eventually came to appreciate what he was really laying down - with me it's been a process of allowing similar things to come out in my playing after suppressing them for most of my playing life. Consequently my tone has actually improved, something I did not expect at my age, which is pretty cool. Older players may wonder when they are going to 'lose it' and I am no exception. I don't know if the transformation is part of being an older player with everything finally coming together (about time) but its definitely a possibility.

Tony, I hope this helps you - it is a very serious thing when you think you are losing your tone, but bear in mind that these thoughts come and go, and maybe you're really having a transformation yourself!
 

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When I need to experience the full resonance of how I can sound, I will find a location that provides natural reverberation - this could an inside corner of a building, a local hockey rink, the side of an apartment building, an underpass culvert, a parking garage, etc. The reverb of these environments inspires me to work on my tone and play ballads, etc.

Try taking in a little more of the mouthpiece, so more of the reed can vibrate freely. Also try to put more air through the mouthpiece for each note.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think you guys are right.

1). I have been hanging on to this rotation of reeds a bit too long. I also go where the reed takes me which can be very interesting.

2) I鈥檝e been rehearsing with a group in a guy鈥檚 basement that he uses for a recording studio. Extremely dry sounding like playing in a closet filled with clothes.

3). I do think I鈥檓 transforming. I鈥檝e left the rock scene and have been focusing on jazz only. Listening to a lot of Chris Potter - not a huge fan of his tone but it seems I鈥檓 heading in that direction without even trying.

So I guess it鈥檚 good and I鈥檒l just see where this goes but I do miss the old days.
 

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To clarify your question, do you mean short-term or long-term?

Are you idealizing a specific sound, but finding you are developing a completely different sound? To me, that seems like a normal thing. Coltrane and Brecker both loved Getz, but you can't say they sounded (sound-specific) anything like him.

Sometimes you don't *quite* get the choice in what you sound like, you just sound like you! I always try to let my practice go to what sounds and feels "right" to me. In my mind, what feels best is going to sound best for me. I know I'll never sound exactly what I want/idealize, so I might as well do what feels best.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
To clarify your question, do you mean short-term or long-term?

Are you idealizing a specific sound, but finding you are developing a completely different sound? To me, that seems like a normal thing. Coltrane and Brecker both loved Getz, but you can't say they sounded (sound-specific) anything like him.
That a good point. My Tone Concept is changing because I'm moving musically in a different direction but somehow it's evolving into something that wasn't my plan but I'm not sure it's better or worse. Just different.
 

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Yeah, Bird loved Prez.

A. Green, I wonder just how clear a sound concept you actually have in your head. I'm not criticizing, this is just based om your posts. Equipment plays a significant role but there's some truth in "it's not the arrow it's the archer". Clear, unwavering concept, choosing equipment that compliments that concept. Regarding concept, it's amazing how the body can adapt on it's own with a true concept to guide it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, Bird loved Prez.

A. Green, I wonder just how clear a sound concept you actually have in your head.
Another great point. I think my concept is changing but not yet solidified. I don't think it's an equipment thing.
 

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It can happen, over the last yr I finally had my VI tenor completely overhauled..6 wks later I got it back, it didn't feel or sound to me anything like the old taped together version. Not bad but DIFFERENT, my sound felt different too..

It gets worse, in the meantime I had sent off my mpc of 18 yrs for a much needed and overdue reface..well guess what..different sound...

To make things even more screwed up I had been gassing over new mpc concepts, a couple of Links didn't work out, then on to several others..my sound ?? What sound..I'm still trying to find reeds for all these fancy new mpcs I'm trying out..plus reeds and more reeds....

Now, I've sold off a bunch of un-needed gear and got myself down to only 2 new mpcs to learn (sold the old re-face) and a brand new tenor to break in all over again.

Finally my sound is returning (best ever) with my new mpcs. It has been a trial, as my "tone" definitely went south and disappeared altogether a few times over the last year.
 

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A Greene - I know you are a distinguished member and I just joined the forum, but throughout life I have always found that if things are going the way I want, it is either bad strategy or bad execution.....and with the execution the devil is in the details.

....I鈥檓 a financial professional by day and I find that I lose customers when I stop doing the basic stuff well. I don鈥檛 find new customers when I have bad strategy. Let me relate that to the sax. If you find your tone is deteriorating, it is probably time to get back to the really basic stuff. Some thoughts from my sax playing.

1). I have gotten used to the sound when I play in my basement. When I am upstairs in my living room with 17鈥 vaulted ceilings, it sounds different. When I am in my office recording my sax on my Mac, everything sounds dead to me.
2). When I stand up, I sound different from when I sit down.
3). If my neck strap is not adjusted perfectly, I find that my tone deteriorates. Mouth angle is important.
4). If I wear a different collared shirt, which impacts the length of my neck strap, I sound different.
5). If my lip gets sloppy and starts to slip out from under my mouthpiece, my sound deteriorates. My ideal embouchure is not a relaxed position for my mouth....bad form is much easier.
6). If I deal with cane reeds, I have complete trouble with consistency, but not a constant deterioration.
7) Last night I thought my tone sucked. After playing my hour session, I swabbed out the inside of my horn, and there wasn鈥檛 much in there.....usually I can pour the spit out. I was just too dry to get a good tone....some water would have been helpful. (Are you taking some new meds?)
8). When I practice in the evening instead of the morning, I sound different.
9). When I do duets with my son, who plays the trombone I sound different.
10). When I take a music lesson, I sound different.
11). I find that as my mouth develops, =the reed I need changes.

Sometimes. I give up....take the horn of my neck and take a 10 minute break.....come back downstairs and redo my set-up....Voila, I sound better again.

The list goes on and on.

You sound totally normal.....
 

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A Greene - I know you are a distinguished member and I just joined the forum, but throughout life I have always found that if things are going the way I want, it is either bad strategy or bad execution.....and with the execution the devil is in the details.

....I鈥檓 a financial professional by day and I find that I lose customers when I stop doing the basic stuff well. I don鈥檛 find new customers when I have bad strategy. Let me relate that to the sax. If you find your tone is deteriorating, it is probably time to get back to the really basic stuff. Some thoughts from my sax playing.

1). I have gotten used to the sound when I play in my basement. When I am upstairs in my living room with 17鈥 vaulted ceilings, it sounds different. When I am in my office recording my sax on my Mac, everything sounds dead to me.
2). When I stand up, I sound different from when I sit down.
3). If my neck strap is not adjusted perfectly, I find that my tone deteriorates. Mouth angle is important.
4). If I wear a different collared shirt, which impacts the length of my neck strap, I sound different.
5). If my lip gets sloppy and starts to slip out from under my mouthpiece, my sound deteriorates. My ideal embouchure is not a relaxed position for my mouth....bad form is much easier.
6). If I deal with cane reeds, I have complete trouble with consistency, but not a constant deterioration.
7) Last night I thought my tone sucked. After playing my hour session, I swabbed out the inside of my horn, and there wasn鈥檛 much in there.....usually I can pour the spit out. I was just too dry to get a good tone....some water would have been helpful. (Are you taking some new meds?)
8). When I practice in the evening instead of the morning, I sound different.
9). When I do duets with my son, who plays the trombone I sound different.
10). When I take a music lesson, I sound different.
11). I find that as my mouth develops, =the reed I need changes.

Sometimes. I give up....take the horn of my neck and take a 10 minute break.....come back downstairs and redo my set-up....Voila, I sound better again.

The list goes on and on.

You sound totally normal.....

..this is worth repeating
 
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