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Hey wuz up folks? I have been playing the sax for about 9 yrs now. I am on a yanagisawa metal 7 mouthpiece with rico jazz selects 2m. I am trying to find my own personal sound. I notice that I have a pretty bright sound when I am playing. The thing is I have a feeling that I tend to sound like most other players around my skill level. I am trying to get my tone to the point where people can say hey that is Iceman (just using my username as an example). I am trying to get a sound between Dave Koz and Kirk Whalum. I have been playing along with people, but I don't know how much that is helping. People have told me I sound nice. I am just trying to get my personal sound to where I can be satisfied.
 

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Oh yeah I also play a Soprano Sax, a Jean Baptiste Soprano with a beechler 6 mouthpiece on 2 1/2 Rico Royal reeds. My alto is a Yamaha YAS-23 alto sax.
 

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Well, you must know that many artists are influenced by others and have many of those artists atributes. Really, I don't know if I'm on the right track here, you already have you're own sound. No sax sounds the same on 2 different people. Also, a person's sound also depends on the frases he or she uses, besides, for example, the brightness of their tone, which is given by your sax, your reeds, your mouthpice and you. I hope this was helpfull.
 

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long tones ;)

over time you will start to develop a personal sound

it's best not to try and sound like particular people but being influenced by their sound is fine,
 

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iceman, play along with Dave Koz and Kirk Whalum recordings everyday. Play along with similar-sounding players like Eric Marienthal, Everette Harp, Candy Dulfer, Warren Hill, among others. That's the only way you'll get there.

Start with ballads. Listen to how each note is played very carefully. Play along then play by yourself, repeat. Don't expect results overnight. It'll take literally years but man, it's worth it. :)

Oh, and voicing is the key. Those cats are all about voicing.
 

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If you want to sound different, you should listen to other musicians other just saxophonists.

Personally a saxophone sound is based on 2 things : Tone and Phrasing. If you listen to just other saxophonists, you will develop both of them but only until a point. Eventually, you will end up with a sound that is copied.

To really sound different and personal (I am assuming you want to sound different so people say "hey that is iceman"), you need to go beyond listening to just saxophonists. Every instruments has its advantages and weakness. For example, all wind instruments have excellent variation of tone but there is a limit to how long you can hold your breath. The piano on the other hand is kinda limited in tone, but you can play a pharse as long as your hands can take it. What you end up is that most saxophonists end up playing more lyrically while some pianist end up sounding like a typewriter (i am trained as a pianist, i know what i talking about..).

A lot of music pioneers sound different because they create something different from what is the "norm" for their instrument. If you listen to parker, he sounds as though he is playing piano lines. If you listen to Monk, he hears the notes between notes and hence bashes 2 notes on the piano a semi-tone apart. These are just examples of how some musicians "break" the mould.

One reason i went back to play saxophone is to find new insights on how to develop my piano sounds. I have become more lyrical in my playing, focusing on my breathing while i play the piano (yes, you need to breath properly when you play piano too) and other stuff.

What I am saying is that sometimes to find your own sound (voice), you need to look at places that are not obvious. Listen to everything and anything, it does not even have to be jazz. Your inner voice is something that is constantly being moulded from the music that you listen to. THe more widely you listen, the more insight you have into decide what kind of sound you want. Parker, Coltrane...they were all into other types of music too (esp Modern Classical music).

To sum up, I am just providing another view on how to find your voice. As i said previously, I am a pianist trying to be a saxophonist. Just focusing on other great saxophonists is a great idea but there are a lot more to learn when you step out and realise that you can learn from any type of music or any type of instrument.
 

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I believe that you already have your own voice. Put it in language development terms. You learned how to talk from your parents and others but you sound like you because of your physical structure, phrasing, thought processes, musical and life experiences. This "you" comes out in your playing. I'm sure if people who have heard you play heard a tape of you playing a similar song along with 10 other players, they could pick you out. Just keep playing and listening and your voice will become more distinct. :)
 

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iceman said:
Hey wuz up folks? I have been playing the sax for about 9 yrs now. I am on a yanagisawa metal 7 mouthpiece with rico jazz selects 2m. I am trying to find my own personal sound. I notice that I have a pretty bright sound when I am playing. The thing is I have a feeling that I tend to sound like most other players around my skill level. I am trying to get my tone to the point where people can say hey that is Iceman (just using my username as an example). I am trying to get a sound between Dave Koz and Kirk Whalum. I have been playing along with people, but I don't know how much that is helping. People have told me I sound nice. I am just trying to get my personal sound to where I can be satisfied.
I don't have the credentials of just about everyone in these boards, but my advice is to not over-spiritualize the concept of developing your own sound. Work on boring long tones every day and you will develop a good tone quality, then you can go from there. You have your own sound, whether you like it or not. It's pretty much just like talking or singing, you have your own voice. You take voice lessons and do vocal excercises to hone your skills, but your sound will always be yours. Of course, youcan be a sound-alike and come close to whoever you're trying to copy, but it will not be your own voice because there's always an extra process involved in producing the sound, and that is to check to make sure it sounds like whoever you're copying.
 
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