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I'm 61 and play harmonica (harp). I play blues, rockabilly, rock, some country and often back up jazz vocalists. I've recorded 13 CD's in the blues/rockabilly/rock sort of genre. I often sit in with local bands have shared the stage with working pros.

A couple of months ago I bought a Selmer Bundy II alto and am able to play along with a lot of the music I usually play harp to. Many of you know that determining what key harp to play on a tune in a known key is a no brainer. In other words, for example, when the band's going to play blues in C, I know to blow a F harp. :)

That's a whole different story with the sax. While I feel good that after only a couple of months I can pick up the horn and play with many tunes, I have no idea what key I'm playing in. I want to get to the point where I can know how to play in every key. I do plan on breaking down and taking some lessons from a human being, but I also want to get some videos that show me what keys to use to play scales in each key. Dig it? My goal is to be able to jam with this axe by this coming December.

So, if anyone can recommend such videos, that would be fab. I'm happy to share things about harmonica, the most disrespected instrument after the kazoo.
 

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I want to get to the point where I can know how to play in every key.
It takes years to be able to do this :) Probably best to pick a few keys and concentrate on them. Unfortunately, the keys blues/rockabilly/rock are usually done in (A/E/B) are the most difficult keys for sax :violent1:

I've just put together some videos that talk a bit about what you're looking for:
Part 2, in particular, talks about the relationship between scales and chords. Things are not quite as simple as they might be on harp :) - while a song will typically only be in a single key, the scales you use are constantly changing, depending on what chord is being played at any given time.

These videos are still WIP (the supporting material on the website is not up yet) so feedback is most welcome.
 

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First of all, get a teacher. It is very easy to fall into bad habits that will take a very long time to undo (and prevent you from moving forward).....As far as the trasposing, Pretty simply put, its the same as the harp. You just transpose in a different way. For Bb Tenor and soprano sax you transpose up a whole step. If the guys call out the key of C, you will be playing in the key of D. For the Eb alto and Baritone sax, you transpose down a minor third, or three half steps. If the guys call out the key of C, you will be playing in the key of A.

A good visual help would be to google the circle of fifths (tonnes of pics on the internet). Print it out, laminate it and carry it with you. Not only will it help with key signatures it is a quick reference guide for transposing.
For tenor, in a clockwise direction, skip every other key, for example, if the key is C, skip G and you have D. In the key of Ab , skip Eb and you have Bb.
For alto, in a clockwise direction, skip every two keys. For example, if the key is C, skip G and D and you have A. In the key of Ab, skip Eb abd Bb and you have F.

As far as practising, it sounds like you are playing in a rock and blues environment, guitar players dont understand transposing, or care that they put you in a different key. I would start with learning F# blues scales ( played in the key of E), B blues (played in key of A) and E blues (played in the key of D). Start with those and once mastered, take on another key.

That should get you started.
 

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The way it was explained to me by my alyo sax teacher when the C key is played, what you are going to hear is Eb ( the alto is a transposed instrument, the Eb below middle C) sound. So starting with the song in the key of C, every note needs needs to transposed to the A scale for the alto. I don't know if there are any videos on this but if you know what harp key to play in then playing the sax in the right key to match "concert pitch" is no problem.

p.s.- I also play harp. Don't knock the harp, it's a very versatile and useful instrument.
 
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