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I put this in Learning/Playing/Performance/Teaching section mainly because I felt for a while that I didn't want to play cause I wasn't getting the sound I wanted.

I've been a tenor player since early highschool. During highschool I don't think that I ever really "found" the sound that I really wanted, I had a pro horn that I found at a great price that helped a lot! I ended up getting a decent jazz piece (Otto Link STM 7), and playing on a fibracell reed. I liked it and it felt right, but I never got the sound I wanted out of it. I did practice long tones, and did play quite a bit.

In college I played with people who were more skilled than me (juniors and seniors), we had only one big band and I was able to get into it playing second book tenor. These people introduced me to how they developed tone... Long tones using harmonics probably helped me the most, followed by listening to players I really liked (to get a goal sound in mind). I think it took me about a year to develop a sound that I really like through the standard range of my horn.

I think developing a tone that you really like is very important to wanting to continue to play. I find it funny/interesting that just over the course of time (about 11 years) that I've been playing this setup (tenor in my sig), I only found my sound in the last few years... Now I'm working on getting my altissimo to sound a bit more consistent, although I'm pretty sure that's a bit on the impossible side. I think that if I had a real Private Teacher, I think this would have been something I'd have found MUCH MUCH sooner.

All in all I've made this post way too long, and the bottom line is, how long did it take for you to get/develop "your sound"?
 

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Let's see, I turned 51 in March. Playing sax since age 10. Well, I'm ALMOST pleased with my sound on alto, the horn I started on. My sop is acceptable. Couple more years, my tenor sound MIGHT get there. Bari---five year plan is being put into place.

Be PLEASED with your sound-----NEVER satisfied.;)
 

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To latch on to hakukani's theme.

I'm 27 and started playing at 11 so that's 16 years. I've gone through periods where I thought my sound was great, then I develop more as a player and it got better. It's an ongoing process and I don't know when (if ever) I'll get to the point where it stops developing.
 

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Read Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. It is the cornerstone of what I do in music now. It took me nearly 5 years to digest it though.
 

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Regarding this question, I always quote two standard songs:

"The Song Is You"

and

"There Will Never Be Another You".

In orther words: If you don't like your sound, it COULD be that in a way, you're trying to be something you aren't.
 

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How Long To Get "Your" Sound?

So far, my answer is a lifetime. I enjoy the journey.
 

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been playing for ard 12 years... took me ard 7 years to really search for what kinda sound I want. haha well the funny thing is, I've played alto all these years and started playing tenor this year, I got the tenor sound I wanted in less then 9 mths! haha
 

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I think you already have ' your ' sound. It is the most natural element to playing, the thing that is most easily come by. Who else do you sound like?
 

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TJS said:
My sound concept seems to change every couple of years so I seriously doubt I will ever reach my goal. Maybe some day my tone will become a combination of all the different tones I strive for and I will be happy with the results, but I doubt it.

That is me too, only insert "months" instead of years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
A lot of this is really interesting. The idea of changing often, and trying things new... Also what I think I've seen most interesting (and it shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did), but after listening a lot, I start to pick out shades, and complexities, that I try to aim for. I guess maybe I haven't really found "my" sound (even though it's really part of me) but I have found a core sound that I'm fond of adding to or taking away from.

In a lot of all of your quests for different tones, have you been working out on different pieces? How long have you worked on a piece before saying something to the effect of "this just isn't going the right way"? Has you tonal quest also become a bit of a GAS excursion?

I tried a few different pieces at one point in time (some from peers I was playing with who were trying to unload "back up" pieces; one just out of WWBW) just for the sake of curiosity. The longest I ever really tried to work with a piece was for about a month. Even in this time frame, I don't think that it was really enough for me to warm up to that piece.

I think I'm really rooted in working with one decent MP and trying to develop it if it has potential for a good core sound.

Maybe when you talk about your changing tonal concept, you're talking drastic changes that require a different setup (more baffle, bigger chamber, etc).
 

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dburlone said:
A lot of this is really interesting. The idea of changing often, and trying things new... Also what I think I've seen most interesting (and it shouldn't have surprised me as much as it did), but after listening a lot, I start to pick out shades, and complexities, that I try to aim for. I guess maybe I haven't really found "my" sound (even though it's really part of me) but I have found a core sound that I'm fond of adding to or taking away from.

In a lot of all of your quests for different tones, have you been working out on different pieces? How long have you worked on a piece before saying something to the effect of "this just isn't going the right way"? Has you tonal quest also become a bit of a GAS excursion?

I tried a few different pieces at one point in time (some from peers I was playing with who were trying to unload "back up" pieces; one just out of WWBW) just for the sake of curiosity. The longest I ever really tried to work with a piece was for about a month. Even in this time frame, I don't think that it was really enough for me to warm up to that piece.

I think I'm really rooted in working with one decent MP and trying to develop it if it has potential for a good core sound.

Maybe when you talk about your changing tonal concept, you're talking drastic changes that require a different setup (more baffle, bigger chamber, etc).

My tonal quest has not become a GAS excursion; I cannot afford that. I own two mouthpieces, with another on the way. I have in my posession a Rousseau SJ6, which is a fairly dark piece (at least the way I use it) and a Dukoff D7. Obviously, these are about as opposite as you can go. My sound concept can go anywhere from Dexter to Brecker, and all shades in between.

My piece on the way is a Barone Hollywood which will be hopefully in the middle, although closer to the Rousseau. I am planning on sticking with it, and getting the rest of the sound with different reeds and years of practice.
 

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In my way of seeing it, the influences that constitute a player's "sound"are much more complex than his "tone" (whatever that turns out to be).
It's a complicated mixture of tone, phrasing, air control, vibrato, sub-tone application, amount of MP taken in (Eg: get a look at Coleman Hawkins some day - most of the time he barely put the MP between his lips while Stan Getz seemed to swallow it whole.), choice of MP/reed strength and make, and last but not least, that nebulous element of playing called "conception".
Get simultaneous control of all these and you can sound like any player you like. ;)
ATJ//
 
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