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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It seems there is a shift happening with my tonal perspective on my tenor saxophone. I feel my tone has lost some of its lushness. Could the sax body (pad issue, alignment issue, etc.) cause tone change? Or could it be my ears (early stage of Hyperacusis or Tinnitus)!? Although when my repairman played his sax (another sax body / mouthpiece) I felt it sounded well although I was in front of the horn not behind it (playing position) and he is a really good long time player. Could it be that my playing style is shifted, i.e. I'm not using the same embouchure, taking the same amount of beak in, same amount of pressure on the reed, etc.? My repairman fixed a few leak spots. I thought I would have less of that harshness and get some of that lushness back but hasn't made whole lot of difference. Has anyone else experienced this that suddenly you are not happy with the tone no matter what? I guess I could go and play with a few other horns in the shop see if I feel any different.
... Weird!
 

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It seems there is a shift happening with my tonal perspective on my tenor saxophone. I feel my tone has lost some of its lushness. Could the sax body (pad issue, alignment issue, etc.) cause tone change? Or could it be my ears (early stage of Hyperacusis or Tinnitus)!? Although when my repairman played his sax (another sax body / mouthpiece) I felt it sounded well although I was in front of the horn not behind it (playing position) and he is a really good long time player.
Did your tech play YOUR horn in comparison?

When was the last time you bought new reeds? Reeds can slowly go bad such that you are not aware of it.

Have you slacked off in your practice? Lost your air support? Getting lazy about playing?

When you go to play some other horns, be sure to take yours along for a direct comparison.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Did your tech play YOUR horn in comparison?

When was the last time you bought new reeds? Reeds can slowly go bad such that you are not aware of it.

Have you slacked off in your practice? Lost your air support? Getting lazy about playing?

When you go to play some other horns, be sure to take yours along for a direct comparison.
Yes the repairman played my horn. His tone was not as good on my horn but not quite thin / harsh. The same with mouthpiece. His mouthpiece sounded damn good (Theo Wanne Durga 10*). when he played my SR Technology 7** I felt the tone was not as lush and too mid-rangy which is probably the mouthpiece differences both the design and the tip opening, also his reed had a much warmer tone as well which I could see creating some of the difference). I just don't know what happened that I suddenly don't like my tone. Unless I always had a not so good tone but now my expectation has increased! I've been playing pretty much a few times a week. I've been away from the mouthpiece I normally use because it is gone for repair but I used to make good warm tone with that SR Tech mouthpiece. I think I started putting more beak in my mouth with the other mouthpiece (one in repair) and may be I have to learn to put less beak in my mouth with this mouthpiece. Not sure!
 

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'Unless I always had a not so good tone but now my expectation has increased!'

Bingo. We all go through this. As we learn and hear more sax players, the 'sound in our head' that we strive to get out of the sax can change. Suddenly you realize that you aren't sounding like you thought you wanted to. Also, as already mentioned, it can be an equipment/reed thing too. Frequently sax players start looking for a new mouthpiece at these times but I have learned over the years that its usually the sax being 'out of whack' that causes the trouble and makes the reeds play bad. In your case, the sax was checked out and it still isn't right. Maybe for you its a mouthpiece/reed thing. In reading over your comments again I see that you are playing a different mouthpiece recently because your 'good' one is being fixed. Basically, that's your problem right there. You have no reason to expect some other mouthpiece to sound like the one you like. This is why we are so particular about our mouthpieces - steal my horn, that would be a problem - steal my mouthpiece, that's a disaster.
I think its pretty clear you are having a mouthpiece problem because you are being forced to play a different one. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be not very experienced on the sax. I say this because a 7** mouthpiece seems a little open for a younger/newer player, which could be part of your problem. Its great that you want to get a lush tone but on that mouthpiece it might take a #1.5 or #2 reed to get it.
 

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Recordings help when we feel differently about our playing. When I was first developing my sound I would record for hours without stopping to listen until I had recorded enough playing time to hear and focus on my good playing moments. Sometimes we get more discouraged by our bad playing moments and not encouraged by our good playing moments. Even great recording artist have had times they didn't like what they played while recording, but on playback realized it was very likeable and marketable. I always focus on what I like about my playing and build on that. Otherwise like other players I'll start blaming the equipment. Find what is likable in your playing and repeat it, and repeat it, until it becomes your sound. If you can't find anything likable, then yes it might be the setup. "Just my thoughts". Hope it can help some players out there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Recordings help when we feel differently about our playing. When I was first developing my sound I would record for hours without stopping to listen until I had recorded enough playing time to hear and focus on my good playing moments. Sometimes we get more discouraged by our bad playing moments and not encouraged by our good playing moments. Even great recording artist have had times they didn't like what they played while recording, but on playback realized it was very likeable and marketable. I always focus on what I like about my playing and build on that. Otherwise like other players I'll start blaming the equipment. Find what is likable in your playing and repeat it, and repeat it, until it becomes your sound. If you can't find anything likable, then yes it might be the setup. "Just my thoughts". Hope it can help some players out there.
Thank you. Good tip.
 
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