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this is my first post so please be lenient. i just bought a sax because i love jazz and figured ive got some free time i should learn an instrument. the problem with that is im impatient and for lack of good music shops in southwest texas i bought something cheap i found online (a weimar alto). ive been learning the fingering and sheet music from a book that is given to 6th grade beginners but im hung up on a few things. first, no matter how i alter my position on the mouthpiece of flow of air, every note above E (so far all i know is F, F#,G, and A) sounds lower in tone than E istelf. if that because im missing something? is it because i opted for a cheap sax i bought online? could it be that the book i use is based on a yamaha sax? can i tune the sax in any way if its required? the book mentions the octave key once very briefly (at least in the part ive learned up to) but i still dont know when to use it. please! any and all advice is much appreciated! i may be over a decade older than those 6th graders for which the book was originally intended but ive learned enough to know i probably missed something and cant learn everrything from a book.
thanks much!
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, seeker of the knowing of t
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Welcome to SOTW

If the notes you are playing are F here :space1: G here :line2: and A here :space2: there are two more notes you DONT use the octave key for B :line3: and C :space3: for D :line4: and above on the stave you press the octave key which is just above your left thumb (if you are holding the horn correctly)

I'd strongly suggest you get a teacher so you dont learn bad habits.... I'm still trying to break some of mine. It is important your embochure (how you hold the mouthpiece) is correct as this can affect the way notes sound.

Also a good teacher will look over your hotn and play it with their mouthpiece to check it out.

Enjoy!
 

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It could be that you're playing the upper octave E even though you may not be pressing the octave key (the one above the LH thumbrest). If you can't find a sax teacher, find a sax player to talk to, or at least someone with some instrumental experience who can help you sort out the difference between what you are doing and what you are trying to do.
 

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If you mean this E :line1: then you need a teacher as you are probably overblowing or biting the lower notes require more air but not faster air
Maintain your embouchre but drop your jaw whilst maintaining the same pressure on the reed. try at first with the tip of your thumb in your mouth nail down, that way you can feel the pressure on your thumb and what your jaw is doing.
(does that make sense)

Oh and get a teacher did anyone mention that yet:twisted:
 

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You should get a teacher and skip the following. It will prevent you from getting bad habits. If not (or assuming you are too impatient) then this may help you:

- There is definitely NO dedicated methods for each saxophone brands / set-up. Every set-up has inner characteristics combined with player level of skill. But fingerings as well as breathing techniques stand alone.

- The notes you mention : are there actual notes ore transposed ? Be aware that your alto sax is Eb so when you are fingering a C what you hear is an actual Eb.

- The octave key is used for notes higher than middle C#. The basic fingerings for the following (D and higher) involve the octave key. But as a beginner you should start on the middle register.Do not be impatient. I suggest that you make some exercise with the mouthpiece alone as well. You must first start working on individual notes (long tones) and NOT blowing pieces of scales. Forget about fingers tricks and focus on sound producing (breath support and stable embouchure).

- Make sure you understand the fingering charts in the book you use. This may seem silly but the convention rules/typo/charts may vary from one book to anther. Also if old or a copy it may be that fingering charts printing are partly erased.
 

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You're almost certainly overblowing low E. +1 for "get a teacher", even if you can only afford a few lessons.
 

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I tried for months to teach myself green. Too embarrased to show up and not be able to play. Wasted a lot of time and tears.
Also had the same problem couldn't get some notes. Went to a teacher who had a quick honk only to find the horn had a spring off and consequently wouldn't play. It leaked like a sieve but was ok for a start
Saxophones are notoriously hard to master and maintain.
I'm yet to meet anyone who can honestly say they have mastered playing one. I doubt there is such a thing. Masters spend hours practicing and don't seem to ever be satisfied.
Get a teacher and get the horn checked for leaks
Easier to learn right than to un-learn wrong
I was 30 odd when I started. Lessons are my only time out that is purely for me and the teachers neighbours don't biff rocks when I'm playing.
My Seiko sat 500 chromatic tuner is my best friend
 

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What kind of mouthpiece are you using?

I started 7 months ago. I had difficulty reaching any note that required the octave key. I would press the octave key and blow but the note sounded just as if I did not press the octave key. No change to octave. My sax teacher tried the horn with his mouthpiece and it worked fine.

I got rid of the generic no-name mouthpiece the music store threw in the case when I bought the sax and bought a Yamaha 5C tennor mouthpiece. It only cost about $30.00 and greatly improved the ease of playing. After about a minut or two I was able to play all the way up the scale.

Don't misconstrue, the mouthpiece alone is not the golden ticket. There is still a lot of practice, practice and practice that is required. Is still have trouble reaching the low notes (Low C and below) but am continuing to work at it. I can walk down to reach them but still can not just hit them on the head.

Nor am I recommending the Yamaha 5C over any other mouthpiece as I do not have enough experience to do so. There are wiser folks than me in this forum who can speak from broader experience on this topic. There is a slew of info on mouthpieces in this forum so I'd suggest you do a search before you buy something. But the Yamaha seemed to work for me.

Additionally lots of folks here recommend trying them before you buy them if you can find a store that will let you do so.

I'll also echo everyone in recommending you get a teacher even if only for a few lessons to make sure you are at least starting with no bad habits.
 

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I'll add to the chorus: Get a teacher and take a few lessons!

Beyond that, you'll have to learn to have patience (and perseverance) if you ever want to learn to play a musical instrument. No way around that.
 

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The first thing you need to do it relax because everyone has been a beginner just like you are now. Now practice fitting the reed correctly to the mouthpiece, then the mouthpiece onto the neck, and then the neck on the saxophone. Once that is done you put the neckstrap over your head and fasten the neckstrap to the saxophone so the weight of the horn hangs from your neck. This is the most basic procedure you must know. Are you with me?!! Now you can remain standing, or sit in a straight back chair, and start thinking about correct posture. Have I forgotten about trying to make any sound from the horn? No!!!

Once you have repeated the procedure outlined above you may now confdently start to hear what the horn sounds like. You must resist the temptation to noodle randomly with your fingers. Teach' don't dig that. :cool: Choose one note. I suggest middle C :space3: :D

First free 1 hour lesson is now over.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i tried finding lessons online but with no luck. theres only one music store in town and when i went in to buy my learners book the lady didnt know where i could get lessons. any recomendations on directories or thigns like that? i live in del rio texas, a small border town. thanks again for all the advice!
 

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Sometimes the band directors at your local schools give lessons on the side.

Perhaps try calling your local school district's office.
 

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tomalite said:
I was 30 odd when I started. Lessons are my only time out that is purely for me
Could not have said it better myself, after a couple of years in my 20's coming back at 38, lesson time is like meditation now... time away from the world!
 

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You need a better horn..what you have won't play anyway.
 
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