I believe the F# is the most in-tune note on the saxophone. As long as you don't tune your sax with C#, arguably the worse note on the sax or use any trill fingerings, any note should do. Also really high notes (D, E, or F with ledger lines) would also not be a good idea.
I typically use G (concert Bb) just because I always tune with other instruments in band, and Concert Bb is the "standard tuning note" in band, but not necessairly the best for tuning a sax.
There may be some other issues: I notice I deliberately tune a bit sharp when checking against an electronic tuner. The reason being that when I play with another instrument or play-a-long CD the overall results are a bit better. I believe this may be due to the fact that my embouchure is falling off a bit as I play. I heard a presentation by a very knowledgeable band director once who made the point that it's easier to lip a note down than to lip it up, Also as your embouchure fatigues, you are likely to drift flat. All this said, I find electronic tuners to be very useful and helpful, but in the end, your ear has to be the final judge, but not so much on the tuning note, but as to the final intonation you are achieving when you actually play with others.
Play middle C and high C (without the octave key, by raising your tounge) and if the 2 are in tune, the rest of the horn SHOULD be in tune.
Could you be a bit more specific and say the range of the two "C's" as expressed by lines and spaces on the musical staff? Do you mean middle C as being the note one line below the staff, and high C as being the note two lines above the staff?
From what I read here, sounds like F# of G is the note to tume with.
1. Which F# or G? With register key pressed or without?
2. ON alto I always seem to play sharp in the upper register. So should I tune for the upper resister and "tighten up" in the lower register, just the opposite, or what?
C is the tuning note for tenor sax and G for the alto sax for most bands because they tune to the concert key of Bb. For an alto C2 is a notoriously hard note to get in tune with the rest of the notes on the sax. If I have a sustained C2 or C3 to play, I will usually add the middle right palm key to bring it in tune with the ensemble.
I usually tune to G3 because I can hear the differences easier than in the middle and lower ranges. Playing out of tune by more than 5 cents really ruins a song for most musicians.
Saxes constantly need to be tuning as their instruments warm up. Ear training is essential to be a performing saxophonist. If you ignore this, you don't get gigs because the dissonance caused by intonation problems hurts most people's ears, especially your fellow musicians.
Hi folks, apologies for butting in here, but could some one please clarify how I tune my alto sax. I can never remember which way the mouthpiece goes for sharp and flat. If I am tuning and am flat, do I push the mouthpiece further on or pull out?
Has anyone got an easy way for me to remember what to do (which way).
Dont think of pushing or pulling in or out. Rather consider that you are lengthening and shortening the entire instrument. Then it becomes apparent that if your flat your playing an instrument that is too long (so push in). If your too sharp your horn is too short so pull out to lower the pitch. Think about how different lengths of rubber bands (or strings) would vibrate at the same tension (long strands would vibrate at a lower frequency, shorter at a highter one).
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