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Ok, so, a few weeks ago, i went to a clinic for jazz alto saxophone and the instructor was amazing. Perfect tone, style, everything. He was playing on a Meyer 5M and a Vandoren ZZ 3 jazz reed , the same exact set up as me. He was also playing a Yamaha but not the same kind as mine. So, my question is, how come he is like 1000000x better than me, and we're pretty much using the same exact setup. What can i do to also get amazing tone like him. I've been playing alto sax for 4 years now. Im in my schools jazz 2 band and i play lead alto. the lead alto in my schools jazz 1 band is amazing. he has super clean tone(no spit sounds). how can i also do that? cause most the time, i play with a spitty tone
 

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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Your instructor has most likely been playing for 20+ years (probably longer than that) and has put in A TON of hours on the horn.

You sound like a relative beginner. Do yourself a favor and get a private teacher in your area. After 20 years of practicing 4 hours a day, with private lessons from a professional, you'll sound as good as the instructor.

- Saxaholic
 

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INCOMING!!!:faceinpalm:

Practice and hard work is what will get you there.

As for your tone: Find a sound you like, and work on making it yours.
 

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Most definitely different horns have different tones. So that's a significant aspect. Just because your horns are from the same mother ship doesn't mean they are sonically similar. If that was the case, everyone would buy second and third-shelf models instead of the top-shelf ones.....

With that said, people spend tons of time and tons of money on the search for the 'right' horn. Sometimes they do this prematurely.

I also don't particularly agree with the "finding the sound you like then pursuing it" sorta advice. You are you. Let your own sound develop from inside of you, with your horn.....as opposed to digging someone else's sound and going on a quest to match it, wrangle it, conquer it. You can still dig someone else's sound, and you can still try to incorporate certain aspects of it into your own. But don't try to match it.

Meyer 5 is a great, in-the-pocket, down-the-middle mouthpiece. It is well-rounded, allowing high, mid, and low overtones in any horn.

As has been said...as you keep practicing and maturing and getting better, your sound will develop and perhaps there will arrive a time when you change something in your set-up because you know what you are after, or perhaps what just naturally works best for you. Don't rush it. If your set-up is working for you now...i.e. you can blow freely, get a decent sound, it works well in whatever ensemble you are part of, and you are enjoying yourself...stay on it for a bit....


When you can snatch the pebbles from my hand...it will be time for you to leave....
 

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You can take 20 players (for the sake of this, lets say pro players), give them the same sax/mouthpiece/ligature/reed and they will all sound a little different...maybe even significantly different.

While it is absolutely possible to emulate a player to a degree, the only way to really sound like them is to actually be that person.

Ultimately, the clinician sounds great because he has played for a significant amount of time (possibly longer than you have been alive...if you started in middle school).

I agree with finding a good tutor to give you private lessons. There's no substitute for someone with experience being right there with you to critique you, give you guidance, and help you grow as a musician/saxophonist. Having a more experienced sax player help you outside of normal rehearsals and practicing can dramatically boost your development...and certainly could help you get that much closer to the way you want to sound.
 

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It's called practice. You could have the exact same setup of Michael Brecker, or Phil Woods, or Cannonball, or whomever. You aren't going to get the same sound.
 

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I had the same experience while I was taking lessons from alto player George Robert. Same horn (Mark VI), same mouthpiece (NY Meyer 5M), same reeds (La Voz), but the sound was very different, with of course George sounding a lot better than myself. But I think it's not only practice, it's also the way you're built, starting with the mouth shape and going all way down to the diaphragm.
 

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I had the same experience while I was taking lessons from alto player George Robert. Same horn (Mark VI), same mouthpiece (NY Meyer 5M), same reeds (La Voz), but the sound was very different, with of course George sounding a lot better than myself. But I think it's not only practice, it's also the way you're built, starting with the mouth shape and going all way down to the diaphragm.
Nope. It's just practice. But practice has to be focused - this is not about technique or tone studies or anything like that, even though these things must have attention.

You have to have a sound in your mind, and then do everything you can to make the sound in the air the same as the sound in your mind.

Maybe every once in a while, the sound in your mind changes, because of something you hear (maybe even yourself!), but the sound in the mind is your master, so follow it!

I admit that you won't sound like anyone else, ever! You will always sound like you, no matter what horn or mouthpiece or reed you use. That is determined in part by your body shape and your habits, but these can be affected by the sound in your mind, so best to pay attention just to that.
 

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berketan94,
Learn two lessons from your observation;
One, you are going to have to play allot more than 5 years to get to a place where you sound good.
Two, hopefully you learned the most important fact that many saxophonists never learn (or want to) and that is no matter what set up or equipment you seek out to use never, never expect yourself to sound like a good (or great) player that had (or has) that same setup.

The good, very good and great players got that way by working hard, they very seldom worry(ed) over what they were playing on or with.
 

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It's all about the number of hours you have clocked on your long tones. A couple of thousand hours later, you might sound better than that guy so just keep at it!
 

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Why do people want to sound the same as someone else? Maybe focus on mastering the instrument, sound will come with time. Maybe for a listener is more important to hear good lines with harmonic sence (so give theory a chance) and beautiful melodys rather than playing with same sound as for instance a phil woods and than sound like crap anyway. To play everyday long tones can be really disapointing to. Go for the music.
 

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Do your horn and his have the same kind of finish? :twisted:
 

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Well, since noone has brought it up yet..... I betcha him & you haven't got the same mouthpiece. He probably plays a $500-1000 vintage Meyer NY and you've got the $65 modern version which bears little resemblance. That could explain many things IMO.... (BTW I play a good replica.... note that they also differ depending on whom is manufacturing them).... I agree about the other variables explained above, listen for instance to Phil Woods on his MkVI then and on his Custom Z now: not much difference in tone, right? or to Phil again and Andy Fusco (search Buddy Rich big band on youtube) for instance: similar horn (MkVI) and set up, completely different tone!
 

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My opinion is a great sax player can play good on almost any sax because of all the practice. I am a professional flutist and can sound pretty good on a very cheap student flute Its all in the breathing and the emboucher
 

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berketan94, to get started you need to be able to listen and hear something to aspire to. You have now done this.

If you really want to become a much better player, without a doubt you can do it, as long as you are willing to make and keep the commitment to put in the time, and do so under the guidance of a good private teacher.
 

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A simple secret for avoiding that spit sound is making sure the reed is correctly fastened to the mouthpiece. It might take you three or more tries to get a decent lay, but it's worth the extra time.
 
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