Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 29 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
150 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have good advice for taking the tongue out of the equation? I play much better when I can keep my tongue of the damn reed, it seems to get in the way a lot of the time. I go through periods where I can get it to calm down for awhile, but it always sneaks back in, especially if I'm nervous. The last thing I need during a stress gig is my tongue making things more difficult.
 

· Super Moderator
Joined
·
26,725 Posts
Practice long tones while wiggling your fingers.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
38,857 Posts
Practice long tones while wiggling your fingers.
Best answer so far!

Another consideration is to actually practice phrasing and varying articulations vs tonguing every.darn.note.
 

· Banned
Joined
·
2,815 Posts
Play your major scales (for starters) SLURRED, at a consistent tempo. Not too slow, but not stupidly fast either. As you move on, you can increase the speed.... You're getting a two-fer! Scales and getting rid of the damn tongue. I agree that tonguing too much (especially when improvising) is annoying and does slow you down.
I'd also advise working on your D consonant (or "doo") type of tonguing, which is much more applicable in most styles of music other than traditional/classical.

Oh, one other thing you'll most definitely and painfully realize...... How incredibly sloppy your fingers are (and in turn, how bad your time is) when you eliminate tonguing all of the time. It's going to be a cold slap in the face, but a necessary one. Ahh......memories. ;-)
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Super Action 80 Tenor, Buescher 156 Tenor, Yamaha Vito YAS-21 , Kessler Soprano, Superba II Bari
Joined
·
5,154 Posts
George Garzone discussed this very issue at a clinic in Russia a few years back. His experience has taught him that saxophonists over tongue as a compensation mechanism for having poor timing in their fingers. If your timing is precise enough, the fingers will separate the notes with very little to no tongue just fine. I found that little tidbit of advice to be worth its weight in gold in helping me with my over tonguing issues. So, the short answer is, "metronome and scales". Here's the original clinic video if you're interested in checking it out.

 

· Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,950 Posts
Anyone have good advice for taking the tongue out of the equation? I play much better when I can keep my tongue of the damn reed, it seems to get in the way a lot of the time. I go through periods where I can get it to calm down for awhile, but it always sneaks back in, especially if I'm nervous. The last thing I need during a stress gig is my tongue making things more difficult.
Take lessons with George Garzone! That will fix it!
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
38,857 Posts
You could probably have it removed, if you are that dedicated.
How 'bout a nice tongue piercing? :shock:
 

· Registered
Joined
·
1,691 Posts
George Garzone discussed this very issue at a clinic in Russia a few years back. His experience has taught him that saxophonists over tongue as a compensation mechanism for having poor timing in their fingers. If your timing is precise enough, the fingers will separate the notes with very little to no tongue just fine. I found that little tidbit of advice to be worth its weight in gold in helping me with my over tonguing issues. So, the short answer is, "metronome and scales". Here's the original clinic video if you're interested in checking it out.

+1 Garzone hates hearing a tongue in the sound
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,631 Posts
George Garzone discussed this very issue at a clinic in Russia a few years back. His experience has taught him that saxophonists over tongue as a compensation mechanism for having poor timing in their fingers. If your timing is precise enough, the fingers will separate the notes with very little to no tongue just fine. I found that little tidbit of advice to be worth its weight in gold in helping me with my over tonguing issues. So, the short answer is, "metronome and scales". Here's the original clinic video if you're interested in checking it out.a

That's where the truth is always found. It is exactly like panning for gold. From all the muck and noise, you extract that little gleaming nugget of information and truth out. Usually it's something ridiculously simple and obvious, but eludes most people looking for a more complex answer.
 

· Banned
Joined
·
2,815 Posts
How come most of the great players I love sound like they are tonguing quite often?
Because it's an illusion. Seriously. It's called literally having their fingers do most of the articulation for them (as swperry mentioned above). By no means does that mean there's no tonguing, but the combination of *very* clean fingering, plus strategically placed breath accents go a LONG ways.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
9,979 Posts
One of the things that annoys me is that there has been for some forty years or so a cadre of teachers who tell players that the way to articulate in jazz is to play long strings of eighth notes and tongue every other one, so you end up with doot-dah-doot-dah-doot-dah-doot-dah-doot over and over and over. They even call this the "Cannonball Adderley articulation" never mind that I have never heard Cannon play long strings of eighth notes like this - he played like the great player he was, with a wide range of articulations and constantly breaking up the rhythm.

I can always tell the young players who've been indoctrinated wtih this stuff; their articulation sounds like poop and their lines are all chopped up into two-note groups. Of course the doot-dah-doot-dah-doot pattern has its (occasional) uses and it's probably worth practicing it, but it is not "the way to tongue in jazz".

The truth is that when you're playing lines whether improvised or written, the tongue plays a host of different roles from staying the heck out of the way to lightly brushing to starting notes explosively to stopping them gently to stopping them harshly. Think of all the different things your tongue does when you're talking.

OP, I would suggest that in practicing, you work diligently on playing for minutes at a stretch with no tonguing whatsoever, and learn to construct lines and rhythms that work with no tonguing at all. With enough practice, these will become part of your working vocabulary just like the stuff that you feel is overtongued is part of it now.
 

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
38,857 Posts
One of the things that annoys me is that there has been for some forty years or so a cadre of teachers who tell players that the way to articulate in jazz is to play long strings of eighth notes and tongue every other one, so you end up with doot-dah-doot-dah-doot-dah-doot-dah-doot over and over and over. They even call this the "Cannonball Adderley articulation" never mind that I have never heard Cannon play long strings of eighth notes like this - he played like the great player he was, with a wide range of articulations and constantly breaking up the rhythm...
I agree that the tonguing pattern that you cite is not appropriate to all phrasing. It is a starting point only.

The "Cannonball" articulation that I recall (using your syllables) is doot-doot-dah-dah, doot-doot-dah-dah, doot-doot-dah-dah, but that, too, is fitting only to a particular need (and tempo) and is NOT to be used ad nauseum.

BTW and FWIW: I would use "doo" vs "doot", so smooth out the articulation. "Doot" implies a hard end to the note, and chops the flow of the phrase.
 

· Registered
Joined
·
443 Posts
For a different perspective, you might want to try a different reed strength. My gut is to say try stepping down a half reed strength. Sometimes I find with the wrong reed strength, I tongue too much.. my personal theory is that I need that little burst of air before the tonguing to so that my attack is clean. With a reed that better matches the strength and development of my embouchure, I can be much more fluid in my slurs. (There are somethings your brain does automatically for compensation).

You might also need to try a different style of reed. (Jazz v. Classical / Vandoren v. Rico / etc.).

Also, make sure to focus your air support out of your gut, not your chest or throat.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top