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Discussion Starter #1
If my alto sax is tuned to EB what if I was to somehow tune it to E.?

If I was to pull the mouthpiece out further, would it make it easier to play in guitar friendly keys, guitar players often detune strings for various reasons.

Its probably not possible irl, but it was an idea I had last night.?
 

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No, sorry, it won't work at all. If you tune a saxophone as much as a semitone sharp or flat, the intonation will be horribly out.

In other words the instrument will be out of tune with outself - the octaves will be sharp or flat. Probably only the actual note you tune to will be the one note that is in tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
No, sorry, it won't work at all. If you tune a saxophone as much as a semitone sharp or flat, the intonation will be horribly out.

In other words the instrument will be out of tune with outself - the octaves will be sharp or flat. Probably only the actual note you tune to will be the one note that is in tune.

Ah ok thanks, oh well it was just a thought.
I find my guitar friendly keys are maybe the least friendly ones for my sax? E major = 7 sharps
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Ah ok thanks, oh well it was just a thought.
I find my guitar friendly keys are maybe the least friendly ones for my sax? E major = 7 sharps
Well, you can put a capo on a guitar, you can't do that with a saxophone.
 

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Maybe you'll find it easier to think in flats ? Concert E major > not C# but Db (5 flats).

You could always get yourself a C-melody (C tenor) sax — but that wouldn't entirely solve the problem. With the popularity of B E and A among rock guitarists, it's a pity there isn't a saxophone in A.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, you can put a capo on a guitar, you can't do that with a saxophone.

Or tune half a step down.

Maybe you'll find it easier to think in flats ? Concert E major > not C# but Db (5 flats).

You could always get yourself a C-melody (C tenor) sax — but that wouldn't entirely solve the problem. With the popularity of B E and A among rock guitarists, it's a pity there isn't a saxophone in A.

I don't really understand C melody saxes do they only play in C and associated modes defgab??
 

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I don't really understand C melody saxes do they only play in C and associated modes defgab??
No they are a regular saxophone in concert pitch, it's just that they are not transposing like tenor (Bb) Or alto (Eb) . So C on the C melody = C on guitar or piano (concert pitch)
 

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I don't really understand C melody saxes do they only play in C and associated modes defgab??
Since a C-Melody sax is in C or concert pitch, you would be in the same key as the guitars. When they are in G you would be in G also instead of E as on alto sax. A sax in C might be just what you are looking for. I grew up playing alto sax in garage (garbage) band when I was in high school and sharp keys became very natural and comfortable. It all has to do with how much you have played in those keys.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, you can put a capo on a guitar, you can't do that with a saxophone.
Maybe you'll find it easier to think in flats ? Concert E major > not C# but Db (5 flats).

You could always get yourself a C-melody (C tenor) sax — but that wouldn't entirely solve the problem. With the popularity of B E and A among rock guitarists, it's a pity there isn't a saxophone in A.
Since a C-Melody sax is in C or concert pitch, you would be in the same key as the guitars. When they are in G you would be in G also instead of E as on alto sax. A sax in C might be just what you are looking for. I grew up playing alto sax in garage (garbage) band when I was in high school and sharp keys became very natural and comfortable. It all has to do with how much you have played in those keys.


I see thanks, the c melodies seem a bit rare to find or expensive..
I have been going through teaching myself pentatonics in all keys to try and improve
 

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I see thanks, the c melodies seem a bit rare to find or expensive..
I have been going through teaching myself pentatonics in all keys to try and improve
Well, you need to achieve equal facility in all keys anyway, so this is your excuse.

Remember that whatever key the tune is in, the chords may go other places anyway, so even if you rarely play tunes in E you still are likely to need facility in E, A, B, etc. (all concert keys). Rhythm changes in C, for example, will go to A, D, E concert. Lots of modal tunes move by half steps so you may think starting out in F is cool, but then you're in F#.

And so on, and so on.

Personally I find keys with lots of sharps are easier on sax (sax key) than keys with lots of flats, just for myself.

But if you learn to play comfortably in all keys you don't get thrown when someone wants to do something in a different key. For example, the singer finds it's pitched just a bit too high in F. Fine - play it in E. Or D.

My favorite bandstand riposte: "C Jam Blues!" "What key?"
 

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OR, or, just become best friends with those keys? It's not that big of a deal.
+1. starry, let me tell you, playing in those keys with lots of sharps or flats is no more difficult than any other key. Reading music with lots of sharps/flats might be a bit more of a challenge (until you get used to it), but playing by ear/improvising is not. Fingering an F# or C# is no more difficult than an F or a C. An F# minor pentatonic (sax key) is no more difficult to play then any other pentatonic. Try it and see: F# A B C# E (1 b3 4 5 b7). As to guitarists, any half way decent guitarist is not limited to 'guitar friendly' keys; they can and do play in any key.

It's simply a matter of getting familiar with and learning to play in all 12 keys.

I've said this a million times on here, but one of the first things you need to do, once you have all the fingerings and some basic control over your tone down, is to learn (memorize and play by ear) all 12 major scales, up and down, backwards and forwards, inside out, in a variety of patterns, and every other which way, until you can play them perfectly and instantly know each scale degree in every key. Then go from there. Once you can do that, learning the major & minor pentatonics, blues scales, etc will be a piece of cake. And you'll have the foundation you need for learning chords, harmony, etc. Everything can be derived from and related to those 12 major scales (keys).
 

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As far as buying a C-Melody saxophone, they are not expensive, they are cheap. Of course, expense is relative, I suppose. But the C-Melody saxophone is not desirable in today's market and one can find them at very low prices. There are other threads on this site that discuss C-Melodies.

And it isn't that I don't like them - I have one and tried to sell it but got nowhere with that effort. It sits in my closet. I recently turned down an offer to buy a nice Conn C-mel for $200.00. True, C-Mels are not being manufactured these days, but they are around. DAVE
 

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April the 1st again guys.....there is weird and very weird. Very weird usually happens 'the night before' it appears here for some inexplicable reason.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
+1. starry, let me tell you, playing in those keys with lots of sharps or flats is no more difficult than any other key. Reading music with lots of sharps/flats might be a bit more of a challenge (until you get used to it), but playing by ear/improvising is not. Fingering an F# or C# is no more difficult than an F or a C. An F# minor pentatonic (sax key) is no more difficult to play then any other pentatonic. Try it and see: F# A B C# E (1 b3 4 5 b7). As to guitarists, any half way decent guitarist is not limited to 'guitar friendly' keys; they can and do play in any key.

It's simply a matter of getting familiar with and learning to play in all 12 keys.

I've said this a million times on here, but one of the first things you need to do, once you have all the fingerings and some basic control over your tone down, is to learn (memorize and play by ear) all 12 major scales, up and down, backwards and forwards, inside out, in a variety of patterns, and every other which way, until you can play them perfectly and instantly know each scale degree in every key. Then go from there. Once you can do that, learning the major & minor pentatonics, blues scales, etc will be a piece of cake. And you'll have the foundation you need for learning chords, harmony, etc. Everything can be derived from and related to those 12 major scales (keys).
Yeah I'm trying to learn them, I can read sheet for guitar and bass already, but most of the time music I play is not in 'sax' keys, I play bass in a jam band and we never yet have played in C#..
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As far as buying a C-Melody saxophone, they are not expensive, they are cheap. Of course, expense is relative, I suppose. But the C-Melody saxophone is not desirable in today's market and one can find them at very low prices. There are other threads on this site that discuss C-Melodies.

And it isn't that I don't like them - I have one and tried to sell it but got nowhere with that effort. It sits in my closet. I recently turned down an offer to buy a nice Conn C-mel for $200.00. True, C-Mels are not being manufactured these days, but they are around. DAVE
I've looked at them on ebay £1100 for a 1920s sax, which would equal about a months wage for me...so not that cheap, plus if they are rare in the states they will be even rarer in England?
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Buescher...706314?hash=item25f6efe30a:g:q0AAAOSwjXNbAXVX
 

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Don't confuse asking-price with sales-price. I'd like to get $700 for my very clean, totally playable, silver-plated Buescher C-Mel (1925). It is a perfect example of what a Buescher C-Mel should be. But I couldn't find anyone to pony up that kind of money for mine. Sure, somewhere in the world there MAY be someone who wants the thing and would be willing to pay that kind of money, but I have yet to find him/her.

Rare? Hardly, even though they aren't being made anymore they are not rare. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Don't confuse asking-price with sales-price. I'd like to get $700 for my very clean, totally playable, silver-plated Buescher C-Mel (1925). It is a perfect example of what a Buescher C-Mel should be. But I couldn't find anyone to pony up that kind of money for mine. Sure, somewhere in the world there MAY be someone who wants the thing and would be willing to pay that kind of money, but I have yet to find him/her.

Rare? Hardly, even though they aren't being made anymore they are not rare. DAVE

https://www.sax.co.uk/buescher-c-melody-1924-preowned.ir

They all seem to be about the same price here for a good playing one, not that rare then but not so much used?

I do like the look of older instruments, that one was 15-ish years old when WWII broke out, historic things have a charm about them.
 

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It's all what you are used to, I never "learned" how to play sax but just bought one and played along to my favorite tunes on Youtube or whatever and so the E, A and C scales are much more natural to me than Eb or Bb, actually, I tend to struggle with those and usually I get those looks "well, that's supposed to be easy". Just like Mandarin is supposed to be easy if you grew up in China ...
 

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Yeah I'm trying to learn them, I can read sheet for guitar and bass already, but most of the time music I play is not in 'sax' keys, I play bass in a jam band and we never yet have played in C#..
How about Db though? Listen to some great rock and roll, like Fats Domino playing Jambalaya in Db. Classic.
 
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