Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,660 Posts
Once again, your intonation (and the tuning of your instrument) needs to be greatly improved. Plus, that backing track sounded atrocious to me.

It sounded to me like you never tuned your horn to the backing track. Instead, you just set the mouthpiece in the usual spot and began blowing, not thinking that maybe the track was not at the same pitch as your horn. DAVE
 

·
TOTM administrator
Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
Joined
·
7,738 Posts
Did you listen to or practice this tune at all before recording? This one just seems rushed out - the melody, solo, and everything doesn't fit the song or track. I'm having trouble telling if you're in the wrong key or just very out of tune here. The mix seems a bit off as well - definitely sounds like the track and sax are separate and not blending.

Take some time with your recordings - nail down the head exactly as written in practice. Walkthrough the chord changes like a bass line, memorize the flow... And Tune to the track. It may sound boring, but in order to add the stuff you like - you need to nail the basics
 

·
Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
·
5,059 Posts
Didn’t get to hear, but How about recording yourself playing a song you know really well, analyzing your own performance, and critiquing yourself honestly. Transcribe your favorite pass through the solo and see what you’re playing. Being able to play in tune is not optional if you want to play music with others that people will listen to and enjoy. Reality is real.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
751 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
It's a bit of a challenging tune. I spent a good number of hours working on this tonight on soprano, and in the end I wasn't satisfied with my performance, but had fun anyway and got quite involved with trying out new things with engineering too. (I was reading about Rudy Van Gelder and Blue Note records today and thinking how to apply some of his methods using plug-ins, such as plate reverb, tube compressors, and tape saturation.) Also this is my first day with a new mouthpiece that is a size down from my previous piece. The intonation of the horn was kind of a little quirky for me, especially the middle D. I did a tiny bit of multi-tracking too, I replaced a small section. I'd rather not have done that, but felt like sharing this anyway. So this tune is definitely a work in progress. I used a home made backing track this time so I could slow the tempo down.

I need to practice more.

Soundcloud link:

https://soundcloud.com/olds1959special%2Fill-remember-april-1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
Wow, there's some great stuff in there, some really inspired playing. The major thing though, is the intonation, which was pretty dire! A couple more weeks on that horn should correct the intonation, hopefully. I thought some of the phrasing was a bit dodgy in the melody. It's a hard transition from tenor to soprano. I applaud your taste in tunes!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,660 Posts
The one thing I admire about your posts is that you have a great attitude about our (my?) critiques - an open, non-confrontational mind. Having said that, I once again mention your poor intonation.

From what you write in your posts, it seems that you are paying more attention to the technical aspects of making the recordings and your equipment than you are in making sure your instrument is tuned to the environment's pitch.

Good tuning is critical. I am curious about exactly how you prepare for doing this. How do you "tune" your horn before you play with these tracks? I recall someone in earlier posts mentioning that you should obtain a drone and learn to match various pitches being produced by the drone. In your case, that seemed like wonderful advice.

I don't know anything about such equipment but I think you need to find something like that and then practice matching various pitches (maybe even the same tone being played flat and sharp) so you can match the exact pitch with your horn. Good luck. DAVE
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
751 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
The one thing I admire about your posts is that you have a great attitude about our (my?) critiques - an open, non-confrontational mind. Having said that, I once again mention your poor intonation.

From what you write in your posts, it seems that you are paying more attention to the technical aspects of making the recordings and your equipment than you are in making sure your instrument is tuned to the environment's pitch.

Good tuning is critical. I am curious about exactly how you prepare for doing this. How do you "tune" your horn before you play with these tracks? I recall someone in earlier posts mentioning that you should obtain a drone and learn to match various pitches being produced by the drone. In your case, that seemed like wonderful advice.

I don't know anything about such equipment but I think you need to find something like that and then practice matching various pitches (maybe even the same tone being played flat and sharp) so you can match the exact pitch with your horn. Good luck. DAVE

Dave,

I appreciate everyone's feedback, positive and negative. I do feel that you and most others are genuinely trying to help me and not just bash my playing. As for intonation, I get how important it is and I spend time before playing to tune up. Sometimes I rush myself and don't get it exactly right. In the case of the most recent recording I kept pulling my mouthpiece out because the middle D was pretty sharp, which I think has to do with the mouthpiece I was using, so I'm switching back to my other mouthpiece. I'm also considering trying to just focus on one horn (soprano) because any time I spend away from it seems to hurt my chops. I do get quite involved with the recording process as it's a passion of mine and I know it's unrelated to the playing and not relevant to our discussion. But in the end the engineering stuff could be helpful because one day I will hopefully make recordings that are better and involve other musicians besides myself too so I don't need backing tracks (that's the goal.) Back to the woodshed!

Wow, there's some great stuff in there, some really inspired playing. The major thing though, is the intonation, which was pretty dire! A couple more weeks on that horn should correct the intonation, hopefully. I thought some of the phrasing was a bit dodgy in the melody. It's a hard transition from tenor to soprano. I applaud your taste in tunes!

CJames,

Thanks! Yes, this song is great and deserves more study! Gotta keep working at it!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,660 Posts
I'm guessing that the one problem your soprano does NOT have is being in tune. Yamahas are pretty good in that regard. For several years, I played a YSS62S and the scale was good. Not so with some Bueschers and Conns - those horns made me work at pitch. I even had a few mouthpieces shortened so that they could shove on far enough on my TrueTone without being stopped by the upper octave vent's rib.

Positioning your mouthpiece on the cork may be the key to intonation for you. One issue is to ensure your soprano is matching the pitch of the environment (in your case, the recorded backing tracks). But another separate issue is to ensure that your soprano's overall intonation is also spot-on.

Mouthpiece placement on the neck is the control point. It has been my experience that with almost every mouthpiece I've blown, my sopranos are on pitch and the overall tuning throughout the horn (intonation) is good, so I tend to think your mouthpiece is NOT the issue.

Thus we come to your ear and your embouchure. It isn't just enough to finger the correct note and blow. That, by the way is why so many junior high school bands are painful to hear - no thought to the correct pitch. It is a multi-faceted system that produces a note that is the correct pitch and your ear and embouchure are THE issue. Spend time on that. DAVE
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
751 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Dave! I agree you have to hear and feel the note to be able to play in tune and I am usually pretty aware of this. In this case the mouthpiece did seem to make a big difference for me though. Using my old mouthpiece I was able to cobble this together with a few takes and some editing. Hopefully I'll be able to play straight through and make a video next time. I used much more minimal mixing this time. FWIW, Here's "I'll Remember April" again. I left the old recording with other mouthpiece up for comparison.

https://soundcloud.com/olds1959special%2Fill-remember-april-better-intonation-mouthpiece-test
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
Thanks Dave! I agree you have to hear and feel the note to be able to play in tune and I am usually pretty aware of this. In this case the mouthpiece did seem to make a big difference for me though. Using my old mouthpiece I was able to cobble this together with a few takes and some editing. Hopefully I'll be able to play straight through and make a video next time. I used much more minimal mixing this time. FWIW, Here's "I'll Remember April" again. I left the old recording with other mouthpiece up for comparison.

https://soundcloud.com/olds1959special%2Fill-remember-april-better-intonation-mouthpiece-test
Intonation wise, this take is a lot closer to the mark, and you sound much more comfortable with the horn. I got a little lost in the latter part of the impro, chordwise. Nice work.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,660 Posts
Olds: That was an enormous improvement over previous recordings. I'll admit that I am not familiar with the tune but this recording allowed me to "hear" the chord changes much better, just from what you played. So what did you do besides use a different mouthpiece?

Comment . . . that backing track seemed useless in support of the melody. DAVE
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
751 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Olds: That was an enormous improvement over previous recordings. I'll admit that I am not familiar with the tune but this recording allowed me to "hear" the chord changes much better, just from what you played. So what did you do besides use a different mouthpiece?

Comment . . . that backing track seemed useless in support of the melody. DAVE
My tuning / warm up routine consisted of matching overtones, playing for a little while without headphones and getting in tune with the track. Then I put the headphones on and do more adjustments if needed.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top