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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I currently own three instruments - a soprano sax, a tenor sax, and a clarinet. The soprano to me is the most fun to play and I spend the most time on it, though I am aware it lacks the versatility of the other instruments.

My favourite music to play is Dixieland/Traditional jazz, which I usually play on soprano in that Sidney Bechet-esque way, though I do play other forms of jazz and contemporary music.

Due to limited time and money, I would like to drop one of the instruments. I don't spend as much time on either the tenor or the clarinet, though want to keep up a basic proficiency on one (where I could play in a section or do the odd tune etc) for the sake of playing music where soprano isn't appropriate (i.e. a lot of the time).

Which do people recommend I stick with, and which should I drop? Is one easier to keep up? I would love some perspective on this that originates outside my brain! 馃槅

Thanks (And sorry if I've done this wrong or been unclear, it's my first post)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just keep them. You never know when you'll need them. If you sell, you'll likely spend more to get back up and running.
Very good point. If I hypothetically didn't sell but put one under the bed for a while to have more time to focus on practicing two, would you have any more advice as to which one would be best to shelf?
 

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As someone who quit and sold all of my saxophones due to limited time and money, only to later pick it back up.... I agree with Merlin.

Pick one to play, put the others in the closet, and enjoy!
 

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I wouldn't sell the clarinet because its fingering is more difficult and you need to keep in practice.

I wouldn't sell the soprano because you said you enjoy it the most.

I wouldn't sell the tenor because it can get you gigs the other two cannot and is much more versatile in today's music.

In other words, I'd keep them all.

Insights and incites by Notes
 

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I played both. Started on saxophone. My sax teacher who was a doubler said 鈥測ou can only really good at one鈥. His point was that what you needed to do in throat and embouchure for sax and clarinet aee diametrically opposed.

I do not play clarinet anymore.
 

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How about this: shelf the tenor and mostly play the soprano, and also occasionally practice the clarinet as notes_norton suggests. For me, the soprano-tenor double was more difficult than the alto-bari double. Soprano just takes so much time to get the good tone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
How about this: shelf the tenor and mostly play the soprano, and also practice the clarinet as notes_norton suggests.
It's a good idea. My clarinet is an Albert system as well... just to make the fingering more challenging than it already is!
 

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As a "Dixielander", I'd concentrate on the soprano sax and clarinet, and keep the tenor under the bed. Most trad bands use the high reeds more so than tenor. Of course, very few bands are playing anything these days, but there'll come a day when bands reform and start playing again. If trad is your game, the two high reeds seem to me to be the best choices. DAVE
 

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I played both. Started on saxophone. My sax teacher who was a doubler said 鈥測ou can only really good at one鈥. His point was that what you needed to do in throat and embouchure for sax and clarinet aee diametrically opposed.

I do not play clarinet anymore.
I agree that saxophone and clarinet are distinct instruments that require very different approaches. However, the idea that "you can only be really good at one" is bunk. There are many examples of musicians (e.g., Paquito D'Rivera, Eddie Daniels, Anat Cohen, Victor Goines, etc.) who are world-class players on both instruments.

However, I would agree that if your time is limited, it's easier to stick to one instrument family (i.e., just the saxophones) because both the fingerings and the embouchure/approach are so different across the two families.
 

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Excellent ideas already stated, but I would like to emphasize keeping what you have. I really wish that I had kept my horns over the years rather than selling them for money at times. So shelve one instrument; do not sell it. Remember, when the time comes to "play it again," having to buy it again is a bummer.
 

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Well, there's a big difference between the question most people are answering ("which should I get rid of") and the question actually being asked ("Which one should I stop practicing on").

If trad is your main interest at this time I'd set aside the tenor (not sell it).

That said, I've played a lot of trad on tenor; but it doesn't really have a well defined space in the music, most of the time. If you look at instrumentation listings on old recordings especially of white bands, there's a certain amount of tenor in there but it's mostly less-essential parts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You have one tenor and are thinking of selling it?!?!? No!!!!!!!!
Turf is right, selling wasn't really what I meant, though I accept mentioning money might have made that unclear. I would only sell after a very long time of not playing an instrument I didn't have passion for. I learnt my lesson selling my first clarinet and somehow falling in love with the clarinet music as soon as I did. Had to buy another for double the price! When I referred to money, it was really about regular maintenance costs, reeds etc, though it was more of an afterthought - the real reason is a matter of time/priorities.

So far, I think I'll put the tenor under the bed, play the sop daily and make sure to pick up the clarinet a few times a week, so I'm not too incompetent at it. But who knows, I might change my opinion when Ben Webster clips start getting into my YouTube algorithm again...
 

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As other have said, you'll likely wide up regretting it if you sell one of them. However, if you have to sell one, perhaps the clarinet is the best one to go. You say you enjoy playing the soprano the most, and you enjoy jazz. The sax is defiantly a jazz instrument. It will pretty hard to find jazz gigs of you only have a soprano sax and a clarinet.
 

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Clarinet will likely be the ultimate keeper if Dixie is in your soul. As you say:

鈥...where soprano isn鈥檛 appropriate. (i.e. a lot of the time.)鈥

What do you like about soprano so much, other than its being easier to play? To me, the woody clarinet sound is so much more pleasing than the metallic tone of a soprano. That it鈥檚 more versatile an instrument is a given.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What do you like about soprano so much, other than its being easier to play?
Good question. Most of my love of the soprano comes from Sidney Bechet. Can't really explain more than I love the tone. I wouldn't say it's easier to play though. The fingerings undoubtedly are easier, but to play with a good tone is harder methinks.
 

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Try 鈥淪i tu vois ma mere鈥 on your clarinet, then get back to me. ;>)

Granted, to get a dependable non-ducklike tone on soprano takes some effort. Most players who double on it sound like snake charmers, myself included.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Try 鈥淪i tu vois ma mere鈥 on your clarinet, then get back to me. ;>)

Granted, to get a dependable non-ducklike tone on soprano takes some effort. Most players who double on it sound like snake charmers, myself included.
Haha! I have done - I love the version Patrick Bartley does with the Avalon Jazz band too. However, Summertime is a lot more exhilarating on the sop. Anyway, didn't Coltrane make a pretty good album sounding like a duck... Flame shield activated
 
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