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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As the title so melodramatically states, I have begun experimenting with my tone on alto sax, trying to find my own voice. I've been doing a LOT of listening to various current and past saxophone masters, trying to pick out what it is about their tone that I like and don't like.

I currently play on a Yamaha YAS-23 on a Rousseau NC3 with a Vandoren Trad. 3.5 reed. Not a great sax by any means. I've been dealing with various frustrations here and there, namely the thin, nasal sound I've been getting from my sax. Well, after a day of experimenting with embouchure and, to a larger extent, tongue and throat position, I've gotten a much more pleasing sound. More of an 'O' vowel sound as opposed to a nasal 'eehhhhh'. Suddenly I'm starting to realize the creative aspects of the sax. It feels like such a versatile instrument. As I get better and more familiar with it though, I begin to become more critical of my own playing and the instrument itself. I notice the little nuances; where it's sharp, where it's flat, which notes get a good tone, which don't.

Then I wonder this...how much of your personal sound really comes from the instrument? I listen to two players for an example. Harvey Pittel on a Selmer, and Eugene Rousseau on a Yamaha. To me, Pittel has a very bright, but very pure tone. Rich, but a little high on the treble. Rousseau has a similarly rich sound, but his Yamaha sounds a tad nasal. When one is searching for his or her voice, how much of the instrument plays into this decision? Should Pittel and Rousseau be able to swap instruments and have a very similar sound, or will the instrument be a roadblock to what they like?

I just thought I would post this for discussion, and my own personal musings in practice. I'd be curious to hear your own experiences with finding your own voice. Thanks for reading my rambles :)

Jim
 
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