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Ive just started a new band for fun we are older guys having fun making noise
I am the only Sax (alto) with 3 guitars a bass guitar and drums.
some of the guys play great but dont read music so my question is how do you play with guitars? :)
 

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Learn to play in your keys of C# and F# with all their variations like it's second nature... those dang guitar players tend to play EVERYTHING in concert E or A, it seems.

And I feel for you... three guitarists? Talk about a "wall of noise"...

What kind of music are you playing?
 

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On being a MUSICIAN

I'm really surprised at you kids. I thought sax players were more civilized, and certainly thought they knew the basics of musicianship.

The solution is to request the guitarists to play in F. It is that simple. Bass players shouldn't have any trouble with this, and guitarists can always capo first fret (if they are that novice, they will have a capo)

Better still, get them to play in G-minor pentatonic, it is a very cool blues key, easy as pie to play on the guitar (first and third frets only, plus open strings) and if you educate them about Muddy Waters (esp "Electric Mud") or Howlin' Wolf, you can get a lot of mileage out of that key. If you want to make your life easier, you can ask them to play in C, only you play in C minor pentatonic, very bluesy, you can do all the pyrotechnics that will blow their minds and for you, it's Eb, couldn't be easier.

And if you are truly stuck playing E and A, it's not the end of the world; you're the musician, be musical, search for enharmonic keys, simplify your playing, go meltdown nuclear on the side keys, become possessed, roll your eyes back in your head and wail ... either they will dig it and you're hired, or you will freak them out completely and they'll shift to F and G just to keep you clamped down :) ... seriously, tho, if you learn your basic blues scales in C# and F#, then pick your spots and play them. Remember Neil Young's "Cinnamon Girl": the guitar solo is pure classic raw feel, but it is one note.

But most of all, if anyone shows up with ANY kind of instrument, if you consider them less than you because "He can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarettes as me" then you disgrace the trade by your bigotry. Musicians have the sacred duty to hold the people together, ours is the job of social cohesion -- The name of the game is music, and music is about harmony and working together to make the Joyful Noise.
 

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I'm hoping that the guitars are spread out: Lead - Rhythm - Acoustic. If not then quit. Too much undisciplined noise (I'm primarily a guitar player BTW).

As far as getting the guitar players to change keys; you've got a better chance of becomming a nun. A lot of players look at playing with a capo as a cop-out. Changing the key may also screw with the vocals. The advice posted above; learning your C# and F# blues scales is best IMHO.
 

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BigChas said:
The advice posted above; learning your C# and F# blues scales is best IMHO.
Get a C sax in good condition and find a loud mouthpiece that will play in tune on it.
 

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Sax players who can't play in all the keys get to be a bit of a joke among good guitarists. The best solution is just to learn to play well in those keys. I've been playing regularly with guitarists since 1962, and became one myself in self defense, so though I'm not a very good guitarist I know the instrument. Concert E, concert A, concert B: those keys are not difficult. Concert A-flat is a standard R&B key: get used to it. Concert D-flat shows up once in awhile. You don't have to ask the guitarist to change anything.

Now, the one thing I DON'T like is running across the occasional guitarist (usually a Stevie Ray imitator) who insists on tuning the axe a half step flat (because it "sounds fuller") and insisting that everyone play in whatever results (G-flat is a favorite of mine!).

Also: invent a capo for the saxophone. That will solve all your troubles.
 

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Playing the guitar is also useful (if you're playing with guitarists) because if you know the instrument you can "read" what the guitarist is doing: you'll recognize the chords easily. 9/10s of them are easy to see if you know the chord forms on the neck.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
Now, the one thing I DON'T like is running across the occasional guitarist (usually a Stevie Ray imitator) who insists on tuning the axe a half step flat (
I don't get you. If the guitarist tunes down his open string keys are (Concert) Eb, Ab, Db, alto C/F/Bb, tenor F/Bb/Eb. I like those options a lot better than F#/B/E (tenor) - unless we're just talking some minor pentatonics and general hooting and screeching (which is fine, of course!)

Or am i being thick?

Again.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
I don't get you. If the guitarist tunes down his open string keys are (Concert) Eb, Ab, Db, alto C/F/Bb, tenor F/Bb/Eb. I like those options a lot better than F#/B/E (tenor) - unless we're just talking some minor pentatonics and general hooting and screeching (which is fine, of course!)

Or am i being thick?

Again.
It works fine if he's playing in his key of E, which puts you in E-flat. If, however, as often is the case, he wants to play in his G, that puts you in F-sharp, which on the alto is D-sharp. How do you like them apples?

Actually, even that key is fine with me. I just don't like the presumption that, hey, I can tune my guitar any way I want and the rest of you just have to accomodate my whim. The only one who doesn't care is the drummer.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
It works fine if he's playing in his key of E, which puts you in E-flat. If, however, as often is the case, he wants to play in his G, that puts you in F-sharp, which on the alto is D-sharp. How do you like them apples?
Sorry, but i'm still being thick (??) If he has detuned a half step his "E blues" is now in concert Eb and i'm in F on tenor (alto C). His "G" is now Gb and i'm in Ab on tenor (alto Eb). No?
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Sorry, but i'm still being thick (??) If he has detuned a half step his "E blues" is now in concert Eb and i'm in F on tenor (alto C). His "G" is now Gb and i'm in Ab on tenor (alto Eb). No?
Thats right.


Just learn to play in all keys equal. And remember that the Sax does not have equal muscle memory for every key like guitar does. So dont feel like you're some kind of underachiever when some red-neck hillbilly player can transpose all over the guitar and you can't on sax. They do basically the same things up or down the neck. On sax we have 24 different sets of muscle memory for all the major and minor keys.

Peace man!
 

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HOUSTON NONET said:
Some serious theory study needed here. Step back and write down what you thinking
I'm sorry, Houston, and i wish i was the kind of guy who could let that go. But i'm not. :)

The placing of your post makes it look like you're referring to what i just said. If it does, please explain further. If it doesn't i'd suggest greater care if you don't want to be misunderstood. All the best.
 

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All this talk about guitarists tuning down :?

All guitarists I've ever played with tend to creep up in pitch, they like the brighter sound, so encourage them. Say that they're all a tad flat, play an alto D and say it's concert E (whereas, being real musicians, we all know it's concert F...) and let them tune their top and bottom strings to that.

Once they've wound everything up, the odd broken string, or even a collapsed neck will be a bonus. :D Then, their key of E will be F, and the alto can play in D - very civilised...

When they eventually tune back down to E, for whatever reason, their sound will be lifeless (to them...) - so the guitars will probably end in dumpsters :twisted: QED.
 
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