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Hours and hours of overtones. Look at Liebmans book developing a personal sound K
I'm more in the Branford school of practicing what you'll actually play on a gig.

I did overtones a little when I was a teenager figuring out altissimo (early 1980's), but hardly any since, unless you count the altissimo notes themselves. Kind of like riding a bike or learning to drive a stick, IMO. Once you get the knack, no need to drill anymore. Then practice to learn new stuff. Maintaining what you've already learned should mostly happen coincidentally.

Plus, spending an inordinate amount of time working on one tiny aspect of your playing makes no sense. There are only so many hours in the day. Spend your time on the hard stuff and the important stuff.

Also not a fan of Liebman's tone or style at all. He's a brilliant guy. But I don't want to hear him play or sound like him.

Regarding being original, that's easier said than done. The masters copied their idols as well, so nothing wrong with that. Standing on the shoulders of giants is a very valid approach to just about every endeavor in life.
 

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Oh damn, yeah, that's what I've done wrong all along. Silly me, trying to be proficient on my instrument when I should have been trying to emulate one of the great's sound all this time. What was I thinking? Oh well, I can correct this. Time to buy a multitude of mouthpieces trying to sound like my idols. Nothing like a good rabbit hole I always say.
I didn't mean buy gear. I agree with all the other comments about listening and listening more and transcribing. Imitating and emulating is what you have to do as a musician.

We always sound like ourselves. It's inherent. All the jazz greats talk about copying their idols.

Buying gear won't help you sound like someone, but the other stuff will.

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I'm more in the Branford school of practicing what you'll actually play on a gig.

Also not a fan of Liebman's tone or style at all. He's a brilliant guy. But I don't want to hear him play or sound like him.
I dig Branford's method too, but it depends on what stage of development you are at. Sometimes you aren't ready for the gig and need to focus on foundational aspects of your playing.

As per the Lieb quote. Depends on the era of Lieb. There are some that are Killin!

I'll find one of my favorites and post it here.

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Die and be reincarnated as John.
Wouldn't it be a bummer to die, only to find out that John has already been reincarnated elsewhere?
 

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Decades of personal experience as a dedicated jazz musician focusing on how to make practice time as productive as possible and figuring out how to tap directly into cosmic energy flow is how I come up with my magical numbers. Overtones are a simple exercise, not terribly interesting or creative, and once you develop a strong embouchure are not necessary AT ALL, unless you are integrating them into your playing as part of your style.

Brother, you are wearing some Emperor's clothes with this overwrought nonsense..."crafting a long time from air to sound back to air and contouring a beautiful arch of sound is incredibly hard to do and can be very beneficial in gaining control...These exercises are hugely beneficial in learning tonal mastery and manipulation, but you have to work at them the right way."

Stop spending your life doing exercises, warmups, long tones, get past the equipment hang ups and horn/mouthpiece/reeds distractions and get into MAKING MUSIC. Crafting ideas, harmonies, tones, shapes and colors and making musical connections.

How'd you come up with that magical number?

You need more than 2 minutes a day. You also don't need to spend an hour a day on it either.

As with most things in life, it's balancing it and recognizing what you are trying to achieve.

Same with long tones. Holding a note to just hold a note is pointless. But crafting a long time from air to sound back to air and contouring a beautiful arch of sound is incredibly hard to do and can be very beneficial in gaining control.

As with everything, you have to dig deeper and know why you are doing it and what the point is. These exercises are hugely beneficial in learning tonal mastery and manipulation, but you have to work at them the right way.

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+1. Agree with all of this 100%

I'm more in the Branford school of practicing what you'll actually play on a gig.

I did overtones a little when I was a teenager figuring out altissimo (early 1980's), but hardly any since, unless you count the altissimo notes themselves. Kind of like riding a bike or learning to drive a stick, IMO. Once you get the knack, no need to drill anymore. Then practice to learn new stuff. Maintaining what you've already learned should mostly happen coincidentally.

Plus, spending an inordinate amount of time working on one tiny aspect of your playing makes no sense. There are only so many hours in the day. Spend your time on the hard stuff and the important stuff.

Also not a fan of Liebman's tone or style at all. He's a brilliant guy. But I don't want to hear him play or sound like him.

Regarding being original, that's easier said than done. The masters copied their idols as well, so nothing wrong with that. Standing on the shoulders of giants is a very valid approach to just about every endeavor in life.
 

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Decades of personal experience as a dedicated jazz musician focusing on how to make practice time as productive as possible and figuring out how to tap directly into cosmic energy flow is how I come up with my magical numbers. Overtones are a simple exercise, not terribly interesting or creative, and once you develop a strong embouchure are not necessary AT ALL, unless you are integrating them into your playing as part of your style.

Brother, you are wearing some Emperor's clothes with this overwrought nonsense..."crafting a long time from air to sound back to air and contouring a beautiful arch of sound is incredibly hard to do and can be very beneficial in gaining control...These exercises are hugely beneficial in learning tonal mastery and manipulation, but you have to work at them the right way."

Stop spending your life doing exercises, warmups, long tones, get past the equipment hang ups and horn/mouthpiece/reeds distractions and get into MAKING MUSIC. Crafting ideas, harmonies, tones, shapes and colors and making musical connections.
Pick a tune. Let's each record a version and post them. Let's let the masses decide who's spent their time wisely.

I spent 15 years playing Jazz music for a living. No day job. House bands, touring, playing with great players, studying with great players.

I didn't make this stuff up. It's what I was told by my saxophone idols and what they were told.

To a certain extent you quit when you've tapped out but then you come back to it. These are foundational exercises.

Joe Henderson was crazy into overtones.

Sh*t dude, aren't you a Brecker fan??? Talk about a dude that was mega into overtones!!! It's not like he practiced them just to write Delta City. In fact that tune is based on a Joe Allard exercise. Wanna record Delta City??? I'm game:)

These are certain things you need to master to be able to play and sound how you want.

I never said you have to practice them your whole life everyday.

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Hours and hours of overtones. Look at Liebmans book developing a personal sound K
I'm more in the Branford school of practicing what you'll actually play on a gig.

I did overtones a little when I was a teenager figuring out altissimo (early 1980's), but hardly any since, unless you count the altissimo notes themselves. Kind of like riding a bike or learning to drive a stick, IMO. Once you get the knack, no need to drill anymore. Then practice to learn new stuff. Maintaining what you've already learned should mostly happen coincidentally.

Plus, spending an inordinate amount of time working on one tiny aspect of your playing makes no sense. There are only so many hours in the day. Spend your time on the hard stuff and the important stuff.

Also not a fan of Liebman's tone or style at all. He's a brilliant guy. But I don't want to hear him play or sound like him.

Regarding being original, that's easier said than done. The masters copied their idols as well, so nothing wrong with that. Standing on the shoulders of giants is a very valid approach to just about every endeavor in life.
I wish there was a "like" function on this forum. Good point about standing on the shoulders of giants. Everyone starts out copying artists they admire. Nothing wrong with it at all. It's a Handy shortcut to getting where you want to be. Not only in music but in just about anything.
 

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Why? Be yourself.
Pat didn't have a problem sounding like Trane here. Great album and Pat still has his own voice on other Albums.


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If you want to sound like Trane, you need to spend a ton of money on a horn that someone like Maurice calls "killin' Coltrane serial number." Even if it was just a horn Selmer gave Trane that he didn't play very much, Selmer sprinkled the magical Trane tone dust on that horn and that's where the sound came from. I hear they dusted that serial number plus or minus a thousand.
 

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Lots and lots of long tone and harmonics/overtones exercises. The mouthpiece is probably the least of your worries as long as it is in tune, even and free blowing. Coltrane once said he played 5 reeds on a 5 Link, but I’ve heard players channelling Trane on 7* Linkd with 2.5 - 3.5 reeds. There are are a lot of higher harmonics in Coltrane’s sound which has also been described as “thin and vinegary” by a respected older critic! Sigurd Rascher’s or Eugene Rouseau’s works on high tones will be useful to you.
 

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Wow, Deja Vu all over again. How many times have I read or heard someone ask "what set-up did so and so use to produce the sound he had?" Nonsense! That's what that is, especially when it comes to John Coltrane. Coltrane had an alto sax case filled with mouthpieces that he used to carry around with him. On any given album he may have used two or three different mouthpieces to achieve a certain sound based on the tune being recorded. Buying equipment based on what Trane had won't do you any good. Not unless you have the same mouth, palate, tongue, throat, teeth and brain as Trane had.

My advice for what it's worth (yes, I am held in low regard.) is to find a set-up that get's you in the ballpark for that sound your searching for. Then, wait for it.... Put on Coltrane's records and play along with them, trying to sound as much like Trane as you can. This is the method I used years ago when I wanted to sound like Johnny Hodges. And no, I do not sound like Johnny, but my sound is closer to him than to say Jacky McClean or someone with that kind of edgy tone.

Eventually, you're gonna sound like you. Otherwise what's the point.
 

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My advice for what it's worth (yes, I am held in low regard.) is to find a set-up that get's you in the ballpark for that sound your searching for.
People always get all high and mighty when this question is asked, but what you're suggesting is exactly what people are looking for. I.e. something that helps them get closer to the sound, not something that automatically takes them there.

I don't understand why this is controversial. No one is saying you can skip practicing.
 

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Daryans, I think you are right indeed. Listening, transcribing and repeating favorite passages would get you close to what you want. If you are not there, than it just requires more time. Check out this James Carter interview channeling Byas:

I don't understand the heavy sarcasm in some of the responses; especially from long time posters. I really don't find the question to be that off, especially since it's a matter of searching a similar sound.
 

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All these posts about Coltrane's sound and no one mentioned the baffles he put in his Links.
I was going to but realized there was no point. Then the replies would go something like "he has every right to do that", or "why shouldn't the OP aspire to be more like his idol. All the great ones wanted to sound like the previous great ones..............." and so on.
 

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Yeah, I don't get it either. How would you even learn to play without emulating your influences to some degree? So the ideal situation for the purists out there would be to never even hear another sax player so as not to adulterate your "original" sound concept? Odds are that you're NOT going to be the next Trane. So it's probably ok that you sound a little bit like him rather than have some completely original sound unlike anybody else.

Those artists who DO have completely distinct and unique sounds did so in spite of their influences. Sanborn is a great example. At the time, he sounded like nobody else (now, nearly every alto player sounds like him). He lists many influences, but doesn't sound exactly like any one of them (probably couldn't if he tried). I'm sure he imitated his influences, but still managed to develop an original sound. No harm done.

Sentient beings on this planet learn by imitation. We speak with the same accent as our peers which we learned by imitation. We learn our language and practically everything else by imitation. Why does playing an instrument have to be different? Imitation is not going to ruin your "original" sound. It's going to enhance it.

I remember the very first day I joined the school band and brought my sax home. Before the teacher taught us a single note, I was playing along (as much as possible) with my Dad's Ace Cannon records. Thanks to my passion for the instrument and ability to emulate good players, I ended up being the best sax player in my high school and my college and am still a pretty decent sounding player to this day. I sound like me today, but along the way, I sounded a little bit like Bird, Illinois Jacquet, Ben Webster, Dexter, Trane, Rollins, Stitt, Moody, Turrentine, Grover, Brecker, Sanborn, Menza, Mintzer, Branford, Redman, Potter, the list goes on and on. I cherry picked whatever I liked from all of those great players and worked it into my own sound. From what I've read, that's exactly how those players developed their sound, imitating bandmates, peers, mentors, idols. Simple but effective.

As I side note, I went through all these phases over the past 40 years of playing on essentially 3 very similar mouthpieces. I did not have to change equipment to change my sound aside from that first jump from the Selmer C* that came with my sax.

Besides, it's a heck of a lot more fun playing along with a Trane record than doing hours of long tones in an isolation chamber.
 

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Go right ahead and keep wasting your time and energy on useless long tones, I will be over here working on making MUSIC. The entire woodwind and saxophone world is delusional with this perceived need for a long tones. Just be thankful you're not a brass player because they have no choice if they don't do long tones and lips slurs they will never develop their embouchure.

Lots and lots of long tone and harmonics/overtones exercises. The mouthpiece is probably the least of your worries as long as it is in tune, even and free blowing. Coltrane once said he played 5 reeds on a 5 Link, but I've heard players channelling Trane on 7* Linkd with 2.5 - 3.5 reeds. There are are a lot of higher harmonics in Coltrane's sound which has also been described as "thin and vinegary" by a respected older critic! Sigurd Rascher's or Eugene Rouseau's works on high tones will be useful to you.
 
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