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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
just got my new alto playing in tune today (I think?) and decided to try and record something of myself playing. Here is my version of 'All of me' using backing from playalongstudio.com.



intonation is a bit wily at times but its my first week with this alto. :D
 

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Hey, nice going! You're getting a pretty nice tone in alot of spots there (and Ornette Coleman'd be proud of the last 1/3 or so! ;) )
One suggestion would be to test out the lower range of that horn a little more - some of those honks down there sounded pretty good to me :) - and Martins are known for having a nice bottom range. I think consistently playing the entire range of the horn will also help your embouchure. Keep it up!
 

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Are you reading Eb music? Please check it. Also were you in the right places in the form as you played? Did you wait too long before beginning? I would spend a lot of time playing intervals particularly and listening to your tuning. Then check it with a tuner periodically. Please learn the song before you attempt to improvise on it.

If you can't play the tune or the chord changes then your time would be better spent working on fundamentals. That is, fundamentals of sax playing aside (which I'm sure you're working on) learn the melody cold. Then try improvising using the melody as your point of departure, that is embellish the melody but stay close to it. Gradually play with more embellishment and less melody. When you can do that then you'll have a good foundation for extended improvisation.
 

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gary is absolutely right here, coolsax. Do take note of what he said and good luck working on the tune and with playing your new sax. And yes, weirdly, there *was* a touch of Ornette Coleman about the later bits!!!
 

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nice tone!

You have some nice ideas, but try to play less and more precise, or your ideas won´t come out clearly enough!

That is, even when you´re in the groove and have a lot to say, be sure that every note is in time!!!
It sounded a bit as if you were ahead of yourself and losing your path.


bye!
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Thanks for the productive comments. I can never learn tunes right, though, especially from music. I'll spend 4 hours just trying to get the head right and then by that time I have no energy left for improv (lol?) But I know its respectful to the composer and will help me play better.

When I play the low notes on this thing it sounds like it's barking. A blast to play! :D
 

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coolsax2k7 said:
I can never learn tunes right, though, especially from music. I'll spend 4 hours just trying to get the head right and then by that time I have no energy left for improv.
Hey man, I don't want to discourage you, but if just learning how to play the melody is that big a chore, you need to spend a lot less time improvising, and recording and posting yourself, and a lot more time learning your fundamentals. It's like trying ride a Harley if you can't manage a bicycle. I don't mean to be blunt but if you've got the right tools, you'll be able to express yourself a lot better. I mean it about having such a struggle just to learn a tune. Work on your fundamentals and the rest will follow.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
gary said:
Hey man, I don't want to discourage you, but if just learning how to play the melody is that big a chore, you need to spend a lot less time improvising, and recording and posting yourself, and a lot more time learning your fundamentals. It's like trying ride a Harley if you can't manage a bicycle. I don't mean to be blunt but if you've got the right tools, you'll be able to express yourslef a lot better. I mean it about having such a struggle just to learn a tune. Work on your fundamentals and the rest will follow.
not discouraged, I agree. I was going to delete that part of my post where I'm whining about learning tunes. :p I'm just lazy.. but it is my intention to overcome my aversion and get down a few tunes.
 

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Great job!
 

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Ahhhhhh Ahhhhhhh Ahhhhhhh no comment...
 

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Saxmusiclover said:
Great job!
:?

Coolsax, I have to agree with Gary. I'm a beginner myself, and I know I have a long way to go also. Listening to your clip, my comment would be that you really need to focus on the fundamentals - long tones, scales, arpeggios, etc. You really need to get a solid base down before you can work on tunes and truly make progress. Understanding the melody and chord changes (along with a good knowledge of chord structure and fundamentals) is key to being able to improvise well. I shy away from improvisation because I'm nowhere near skilled enough to make a good attempt at it. I focus on the melody, and my phrasing and tone when I work on tunes. The rest will come.

And I hate to say this, but I'm a little annoyed at those on SOTW that only make comments like "Great playing!" when it's clearly not. What kind of help is that to a beginner or aspiring player? I'd much rather get constructive criticism and tips on how to improve my playing than hollow comments that bear no relation to my playing at all. Has world become so PC that we can't even make honest constructive comments for fear of offending others? I coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball for 13 years, and it used to really irk me when other coaches would go out of their way to praise a player when he made a mistake, especially mental mistakes. Wow, sorry. I had three or four more sentences here that I just self censored. Boy did I get off on a tangent. You get the idea.

Good luck...
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
I guess I was a bit too eager to post. I appreciate the comments, positive and otherwise, but I realized that I do have work to do. Actually, the mouthpiece still wasn't in the right place. I now *believe* thats its perfectly in tune. It's a brand new sax for me and it will take some getting used to for tone and intonation. You're right, it's not great playing, and that's why I wasn't sure. I'm not really trying to show off so much as just get help and advice. Anyway, I now think it's absolutely spot-in in terms of intonation, but before I was struggling with sharp low notes and flat high notes because I didn't push the mouthpiece into the right spot. I also didn't play for a few months after I quit playing tenor. Some good advice I got here was tuning/matching overtones. By matching the overtones I was able to find the right spot to put the mouthpiece on the neck, and the tone and intonation drastically improved. But I didn't have time to record anything tonight, except for some playing where I did nothing but listen to the intonation while switching between the low and high octaves and listening to the intonation of each note. I hope to grow and develop with this sax. I played tenor for 10 years, (but never owned an alto or bari,) so this is a whole new ball park for me. It's exciting! I will post more later, and try to get the melody down and focus on the melody and chord changes more instead of just flailing my fingers around, which I know I like to do sometimes. :p (I deleted this clip.)

I did not find a tuner useful for checking the intonation of this sax. Everything played 5 cents flat on the tuner, but when I played along with music I naturally lipped up more and I could hear the tuning was spot-on. But the troubles with the tuner threw me off at first.
 

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It's good that you're taking direct criticism seriously, coolsax, and not getting riled about it. That's a good sign for you. One other point: there is a dedicated thread for posting recordings by players who are in the early stages of development (as you clearly are on the alto) or are still happy to call themselves "beginners". There are, in fact, some very good recordings there. I know it may be tempting to post your own thread about your playing and it may draw more comments at first. But if you continue to do so people will probably start to feel "well why can't he post on that other thread like everyone else?" And at that point you may find that someone might start to say stuff that's not as constructive as the criticism you've had so far. All the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
RootyTootoot said:
It's good that you're taking direct criticism seriously, coolsax, and not getting riled about it. That's a good sign for you. One other point: there is a dedicated thread for posting recordings by players who are in the early stages of development (as you clearly are on the alto) or are still happy to call themselves "beginners". There are, in fact, some very good recordings there. I know it may be tempting to post your own thread about your playing and it may draw more comments at first. But if you continue to do so people will probably start to feel "well why can't he post on that other thread like everyone else?" And at that point you may find that someone might start to say stuff that's not as constructive as the criticism you've had so far. All the best.
Yea, I posted it there too. There is tons of stuff in that thread to listen to! Although it was a bit confusing keeping track of what was going on with everyone posting at once. I got very helpful advice from this thread, but I will post my upcoming recordings there from now on (which I'm sure I will have plenty of. :toothy8:) Thanks!
 

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I'm also impressed with the way you are reacting to these comments. Good on ye.
So, LOL--we might as well peel the onion a bit more.

Regarding your comments about the intonation now being "spot on" after some experimenting. These are just some things to chew on and if they're off the mark that's great, because it means there's really no problem. The intonation on your recording is so far off, it implies that your ear is not yet developed. If it is developed and you were just having chop problems, then I would never have posted that because I would have heard how arbitrary the tuning was. That's why I am concerned when you say the tuning is now spot. If I'm wrong, that's great. But the fact that you posted that with such questionable intonation makes me take a step back and ponder.

Since you've been playing tenor for ten years, it might be instructive if you could post a recording of that same song on tenor for comparison. Because if it's evident the problems of pitch, rhythm, etc. were due to your unfamiliarity with alto, some constructive ideas might be focused more on alto vs tenor playing, than on the other factors.

BTW, I don't want to offend anyone who is trying to give some morale support, heaven knows we can all use it, but I have to agree with what fballatore said about cheerleading vs giving tactful, but clear and constructive support. It just gives the player a false sense of direction. Personally it helps me much more in the long run when someone give me the hard truth (tactfully and respecfully, of course) so I know exactly how to focus my energies and improve.
 

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I listened last night. I think you started out in the wrong key and in the wrong place. Difficult to tell in one listen because the backing track's volume is way below the sax's. I was going to listen more closely today, but you've deleted the link.

The backing track is in concert C. The intro is 8 measures.

Think of the last 8 measures of the head for the intro. I didn't record the intro with that melody because of copyright considerations. As soon as the track starts playing, hum the tune to yourself from "You took the part, that once was my heart, so why not take All Of Me..." and come in at the top after that phrase. If you are playing alto, your first melody note is A. If you are playing tenor, it's D.
 

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It was really frustrating to read this interesting thread and then find that the relevant clip has been deleted :(
 

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posting clips

The Internet and wonderful cheap audio technology make it so that pretty much anyone can post a clip of themselves. That doesn't make a good, or even productive idea to do so.

I saw a woman once, as big as me, with Guess jeans on. So I guessed 280. She wasn't happy, but it was such a clear invitation.

You have a lot of potential. Please find and listen to a good teacher.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
I really didn't put a lot of effort into that clip. I feel bad because I screwed up the melody, chords etc. too. (And I don't want to post my old tenor recordings that badly.) But I will work on this tune 'All of Me' in Eb and post again soon (in the beginner's thread.) It will probably take me a few months to sort out the intonation of the new sax. I will try to avoid posting for as long as possible, and I may seek out a teacher.

Al, your playalongs are great, I've been looking for quality playalongs forever! I like the your choice of tunes you offer on your site. Please keep adding more. :)
 

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coolsax2k7 said:
Thanks for the productive comments. I can never learn tunes right, though, especially from music. I'll spend 4 hours just trying to get the head right...
And you wonder why the neighbors get upset?

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=63409

Seriously, how're things working out on the homefront? Are you getting along any better with your upstairs neighbor?
 
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