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Hey guys, I've really been working on trying to develop my tone lately as I'm a junior in high school and my jazz band's lead alto player, and it's coming along, but it's still missing that edge I'm looking for. The link below is what I'm really trying to emulate, it's Max Swan a great up-and-coming guy outta Philly. It's really smooth and bright but has that edge that moves it more into a funk and away from smooth jazz. If anyone could give me some tips to help achieve this I'd be very grateful. As of now I'm working on doing some long tones and occasionally some other exercises from the Top Tones book, as well as listening a lot. Also if you recommend anything different in terms of my setup I'd appreciate that as well!

Setup: Selmer Serie ii Super Action 80 (matte finish)
Meyer 6M Mpc
Vandoren Optimum Ligature
Vandoren Java 3 Reeds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdttFDtdUlI (skip to 4:35 for the Alto solo)

Thanks guys
 

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I think your setup is there. All you need is some time working on the concept and developing your control and airstream.
 

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Agree, I'd keep listening to great players and as far as practicing really try to get into that "space." Have you tried playing along with any of the recordings in real time and working to match the phrasing?

That Meyer is a favorite mouthpiece of a lot of great players so as long as everything is working appropriately I wouldn't worry about setup. It should be flexible enough to get a nice range of tone out of.
 

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Hey guys, I've really been working on trying to develop my tone lately as I'm a junior in high school and my jazz band's lead alto player

Meyer 6M Mpc



Thanks guys
I'm a junior in high school too.

Meyer 6M Mpc
Vandoren Java 3 Reeds
mleonard, you are not alone. I happen to be a junior in high school too.

btw, I use a Meyer 7M! :D With Rico Royal Reeds (just because I use this setup it may not work for you) :D I am relatively proud of my setup. I used to be just like you, I was searching for the right sound like you are now. I also do longtones..........a whole lot of them. Doing that got me a sound I like. The funny part was that i wasn't expecting that sound, i was expecting a bright sound, but after I got the sound I have now, I no longer felt desire for a bright edgy sound, I still do not.
 

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Transcribe this guy. Spend some quality time playing along with this clip and other clips of him. Not only will this subconsciously change your embochure and tongue and throat position to match his tone, but it will also give a good sense of his phrasing (which is really lovely). It won't make you sound exactly like him, but you'll be very close. In my experience, this isn't a slow, gradual change either; after a few months of transcribing Cannonball Adderly, I could hear a shocking difference in my tone, and so could my friends. It's a tool that all jazz guys are eventually told to do in college and onwards, too, so getting a head start could put you ahead of your competition, should you feel the need for a music degree. I never thought to start transcribing until this year, and I've had to catch up because of that (well, that and the fact that I'm not a particularly great player right now). But I've found there's no better way to catch up.

And as others have stated, your setup is great right now. Most of us have played Meyers at one point or another, and for good reason; they're the most flexible jazz pieces to use, so they allow you to really explore your personal sound.
 

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Homely Saxman said:
Most of us have played Meyers at one point or another, and for good reason; they're the most flexible jazz pieces to use, so they allow you to really explore your personal sound.
. I agree. Meyers tend to be real flexible. To think the meyer I play is suitable both for what I play/write and for straight ahead jazz/big band.
 
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