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I've been thinking of this lately. Some alto players have that "nasal" (or strained) quality in their sound that I'd describe as "boxy" or "deepness of sound" or even "hollow". It's hard for me to even find the correct describing words on my native tongue (which is not english..) I found few youtube-links of alto players who have this quality in their sounds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDT8g_i6Yqg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEEd1RT3LuI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCaoG5fIc9Y

Why am I asking this? Well, I find this quality "cool" sounding and I want to know which elements affect this (is it gear-related or not). Sometimes on my alto I can produce this kind of sound. I wish I could do it more often :) When I press my metal Link all the way down to the end of the cork it (sometimes) happens. My cork is so thin on my regular neck that almost all of my mouthpieces fall down too much (the alto is waaaay too sharp) but then my sound, although not in-tune, reminds me of that described sound. I don't know if it's my imagination or if there's some truth behind this theory. Or could it be something to do with mouthpieces? Round vs. square chamber?? I'm confused!! If you know what I mean I'd love to hear your comments or experiences on this matter!

Thanks!
-TH
 

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I know what you're trying to describe. Boxy and hollow are probably the best words I could come up with too. That is all relaxed embouchure and controlled air. You can see in the second video just how far he has his mouthpiece on the cork.

Much more important that gear is sound concept. When I was in school, I wound up taking a summer off from playing. But I did spend the whole summer listening to Kenny Garrett (Trilogy and Pursuance, if you care). Back in school, I killed the audition. It was a blind audition, and my teachers didn't know who was playing. I attribute it partly to my out of shape chops (so my embouchure was nice and relaxed), but mostly to having obsessed over Garrett. It was something close to his sound that was coming out of my horn. That was just a stock Meyer 6M, if you're curious.
 

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I call that the Soloist sound, because the tone of nearly every alto player who plays jazz on a Selmer Soloist short shank has a similar quality. In general, smaller chamber mouthpieces help to produce this kind of tone.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
lhoffman: Nice that you understood what I meant! Relaxed embouchure is surely one thing that helps to get that vibe but I doubt that there's more.. I've had this sound in my head for years but I haven't been able to produce it (only sometimes briefly).

jmsax: I agree that Soloists have that dry-ish, nasal quality to their sound but none of those players on the Youtube-clips were using Soloists. I have one Soloist (and I have owned many) and they help a bit achieving that quality but I have had better luck with other mouthpieces. I've listened to Sherman a lot but sorry, I don't find that sound quality in his sound.

So I keep searching..

-TH
 

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well, I can hear that in video 1 and 3 not so much in 2 .

I think this is the " modern" sound mostly practiced with high baffled MPC and common since the '80 especially in the smooth jazz and related genres.
I think it is a way to play best suited to this type of music. I personally would never describe it as hollow (which I remember using it as a synonym for " spread" " ).

Samborn was the champion of this type of sound
 

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Hi Th,
I came across your post while procrastinating...

While working at the Frankfurt musikmesse a few years back I tried the Vibrato polycarbonate saxophone - more as a joke and out of curiosity. It is actually not a bad instrument. They filmed me noodling around and checking the instrument.
Aside from that, the quality you are hearing (if I understand you correctly) is that of focus and resonance. It comes from not pinching the reed with the lips but using only enough pressure between the bottom teeth/lip and reed to cause vibration and can be done without the top teeth touching the mouthpiece. The next "component" is mellowing the tone using mild lip pressure and then manipulating your mouth/pharynx cavities to produce overtones as in singing "yo-rr-ee-rr-ee-rr-ee". Of particular interest is the sound transition between "rr-ee". Also if interest is the ability to bend the pitch down using the tongue at the back of the throat. Another way to get an idea of the pharynx area is to try to make a tone with the flap of skin that closes off the nose from the mouth cavity. This is like snoring with your mouth closed. One can practice making the pitch of this vibration lower and higher.

There are some other examples of my playing here:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sp=CAM%3D&q=david+beecroft+saxophone

All the best with your pursuit of the ideal sound!

David Beecroft
www.beecroft.de

I've been thinking of this lately. Some alto players have that "nasal" (or strained) quality in their sound that I'd describe as "boxy" or "deepness of sound" or even "hollow". It's hard for me to even find the correct describing words on my native tongue (which is not english..) I found few youtube-links of alto players who have this quality in their sounds:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDT8g_i6Yqg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEEd1RT3LuI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CCaoG5fIc9Y

Why am I asking this? Well, I find this quality "cool" sounding and I want to know which elements affect this (is it gear-related or not). Sometimes on my alto I can produce this kind of sound. I wish I could do it more often :) When I press my metal Link all the way down to the end of the cork it (sometimes) happens. My cork is so thin on my regular neck that almost all of my mouthpieces fall down too much (the alto is waaaay too sharp) but then my sound, although not in-tune, reminds me of that described sound. I don't know if it's my imagination or if there's some truth behind this theory. Or could it be something to do with mouthpieces? Round vs. square chamber?? I'm confused!! If you know what I mean I'd love to hear your comments or experiences on this matter!

Thanks!
-TH
 
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