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Hi, I'm a beginner and I start learning saxophone from pete thomas DVD['learn the saxophone']. Now I'm practicing for 2 hours+ a day. I use vibrato saxophone (a polycarbonate one) A1S with Yamaha4C, Rovner Dark Ligature, and Rico Jazz Select No.3.

The problem is, when I play, I don't sound like pete at all. My sound looks bad. When I move from C to high D, my sound suddenly gets blurry and inconsistent.
Actually, here is my sound recorded using my Macbook.
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13853055/test.mp3

I think it's because of my embouchure or the way I blow. I've been practicing using wind from my stomach from the beginning.

I don't have any teacher to teach me so I'm in need of advice. Sometimes when things don't seem to be improving it kinda decrease my spirit a little bit :cry:

The question is, how can I improve my tone? I want to play these 2 following styles
sharp and strong, like kaori kobayashi
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXxxWJ-yDfM

Any advice would be greatly appreciate :bluewink:

Ps: It seems to me that because I just registered a couple of days ago, I cannot post directly without first having my post reviewed. I tried to post a similar thread once but when my youtube links didn't work and I try to edit my post, the whole thing was gone.
 

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How long have you been playing, total?

Honestly it's hard to evaluate your sound b/c you're "peaking" on your mic. The gain is too high.
 

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The #3 reed is a bit strong for a beginner. You might try #2 reeds, and see if you get a richer sound.
 

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I thought the Vibrato saxes had a few design issues, mainly how soft the plastic the pads and cups are made of are making hard to create a good seal?

Anyways, judging from your clip, you're talking about middle C to middle D, aren't you.

This is a problematic area of the sax as you're transitioning between a fingering with a lot of open tone holes to one with most of the keys down. As a result, those middle C and middle D have a wild tonal difference. The only way to make it sound right is to practice playing over the break and try to match the color.

This takes time (some would argue it takes a lifetime) so I wouldn't obsess too much about it. Why don't you learn to play some tunes? Playing a good melody is a great inspirational way to improve your tone.
 

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The #3 reed is a bit strong for a beginner. You might try #2 reeds, and see if you get a richer sound.
I totally agree with the above. A softer reed will help, but it is still early days for you. It seems that some people think that to progress, you have to go to harder reeds. This is complete bunkum, the reed, mouthpiece combination should be matched to your embouchure/ability. Later in your development, you will find that you can match a reed to your mouthpiece by sanding it until it blows easily with good tone/vibrato, but that is a long way off yet. Remember you shouldn't be blowing hard!

John.
 

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I agree that your sound clip sounds like you are playing on a reed that is too hard for you, and that a softer reed would be a better place for you to start.

I also agree with the statement above that playing harder reeds is not "better". Over the years, if you keep playing the sax your journey might have you play harder reeds.....or not - but don't make playing a harder reed be "the goal".

As far as not sounding like Pete Thomas, he is a professional sax player. I have been playing sax for 40 years, and I don't sound close to Pete Thomas either, but I'm gonna keep playing anyway! It will take a while for your sound to develop. If it were easy, anyone could play the sax well.
 

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Anyways, judging from your clip, you're talking about middle C to middle D, aren't you.

This is a problematic area of the sax as you're transitioning between a fingering with a lot of open tone holes to one with most of the keys down. As a result, those middle C and middle D have a wild tonal difference. The only way to make it sound right is to practice playing over the break and try to match the color.

This takes time (some would argue it takes a lifetime) so I wouldn't obsess too much about it. Why don't you learn to play some tunes?
Thanks for this. I've only been playing a couple months and seem to have trouble getting the middle D sound quite right, esp going from middle C. If I take my time or playing a scale, it's generally there...otherwise not so much. Glad to know it's not just me.
 

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"Hi, I'm a beginner"

That's your only problem. As long as you don't still sound like a rutting moose with asthma after the first 6 months you are doing well for a beginner.
Tone development is helped by a good gear setup, but mostly comes with practice, followed by practice, and after that a bit of practice.
 

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Playing long notes IN TUNE with a reliable backing is the usual way to build a good sound. A cd backing track designed for sax players to use is a good idea.

To stop getting bored with long notes as a beginner, it's a good idea to go for tunes with long notes, again "Over the Rainbow" is a common choice.

It takes years to sound anywhere near as good as pro players, so please do not be discouraged in the short term - and as I once heard Sonny Stitt say to a succession of young players who approached him for advice; " . . . keep playing.".
 

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I agree with the previous comments. Step down to a very soft reed and keep practicing, you goal is to control the reed reliably (intonation, dynamics, and articulation). You should be able to start any note at ppp and increase the volume to fff. If you have problems with the reed closing off when you increase volume and can be sure that you weren't biting, then increase the reed strength. In the meantime, learn to play a soft reed.

Also, in the beginning, stick to the middle range of the horn. You can do long tones slurring up above the high C, and down to the low C and below, but all of those notes can be very tricky for beginners until you develop a proper embouchure.

I don't mean to discourage you, but the ability to make the sounds that you want will take many (thousands of) hours of practice. I have been practicing for a little over 3 years now, and I did my first couple years with 2+ hours per day. Lately it has been more like an hour a day, with some missed days here and there, but I still have a long way to go to be able to sound like Pete. (not that I am trying)
 
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