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Discussion Starter #1
Ever seen an ad like this? If you have, please let me know! It seems like there's a higher expectation for sax players. People expect saxophonists to blow the roof off and be able to do anything and everything.
 

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Well, the expectations might not be quite THAT high, but you gotta sound good and add something to the band. Otherwise why would anyone hire you? I think the real problem is, at least imo, it is more difficult to sound good on a sax than on a guitar or piano. I'm not saying the sax is a harder instrument to play, just that it won't automatically play in tune with a good tone. Hit a chord on the piano and it will sound good, even if you really can't play the piano. Same with a guitar. Blow on a sax with little or no training and what comes out won't be fit for human ears!

At jam sessions I've heard quite a few out-of-tune sax players, running scales and playing without good tone, generally making noise. So yeah, you have to reach a level where the horn is in tune, with good tone quality, AND learn some of the essential licks for the genre you are playing. Then you have to get out and show you can play and meet other musicians who just might be into having a sax in the band. The other problem is nowadays the sax is not considered essential in a lot of bands. So it's not easy. But if you get at least up past the bar (good tone, in tune, some knowledge of the music) and get out there, you'll probably find something.

Oh, and don't wait for an ad like that. You won't find one.
 

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John reminded me of a conversation I was involved with once. Keyboard player hit the A on his keyboard and said "the engineers in Japan tell me that's 440." (it was a Casio I think).. :lol:

don't wait for an ad, the bands I have started, I placed the ad looking for other players. If it's "Your band" the sax is not a nice addition, its the heart and soul of the band. Okay maybe a bit dramatic but you get the idea..:lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I'm about to post an ad on myspace that reads something like this:

"Looking to form a pop instrumental group in OC, CA to grow together"

I'm a saxophonist looking to put together a group to play instrumentals. The music style falls somewhere between smooth jazz and pop, and the group will be playing both cover tunes and originals. Please bring your compositions and let's see what we can do with them. The basic group would consist of one of each: Sax (me), Bass, Guitar (acoustic & electric), Drums, Keyboards. Vocalists are also welcome (if you're an instrumentalist who sings, that'd be even better), as well as percussionists and maybe even some exotic instruments. I want the keyboardist and guitarist to be soloists also as I don't want to be the "main attraction." I want to feature the whole group and not make myself the star. I want to create a versatile band with a unique sound that is accessible to music lovers in general. All other ideas are welcome, I want a group to start from scratch and grow together. Be sure to hear some sample clips on my profile to get an idea of how I sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
martysax said:
Sax is like sex:

When it's good, everyone likes it;

When it's bad, only the player enjoys it.
I don't agree entirely. There's been times that I played so badly I visbly suffered to the audience's delight.
 

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YOu can also place ads on harmonycentral.com I have gotten some guys that way. you/they can search by zip code and mileage radius.
 

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Fighter, that would be an excellent ad to place. And go from there....
 

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This year, I placed two ads in Craigslist. One offering myself as a part time saxophonist and the other where I was looking for a Jazz pianist to start a duo. It was interesting to see the difference in the two ad's replies. When I was offering out my services, I got some interest from guys who wanted to "form a group" but really didn't have an idea what form it would be. So, it would be up to me set the direction. Oh boy! Another local blues act expected my sax to sound like Jr Walker right out of the case. I was thinking, "Do you want fries with that?"

The other ad got many replies from working player's who's first question was always "when is the gig?". When I said I wasn't sure, they all got kinda rude. After a while I gave up and forgot about it. Until, a month or two later the pianist I'm working with now called from the ad that was three months old.

So you just give it try anyway. Ya' never know ;)
 

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Al Stevens said:
Well, it will sound OK, but there is a definite technique for making a good sound on the piano. Is that what your sigh means Al?;)
 

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Bad Sax

martysax said:
Sax is like sex:

When it's good, everyone likes it;

When it's bad, only the player enjoys it.
So Marty... was it a one minute gig? :D
 

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FighterForJC said:
I don't agree entirely. There's been times that I played so badly I visbly suffered to the audience's delight.

That wouldn't happen if you were playing your sax instead!:twisted:
 

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I Don't See Anything Wrong With the Ad

I guess I don't get this.

If you were advertising for a guitar player, would you write an ad that said:

"Wanted. Someone who just got a guitar, has a huge amp, and can play real loud. Tone, ears, and techncial proficiency not required."

I think intermediate to semi-pro leaves a lot of ground. There are many people who get paid to play once in a while. Ever gotten $75 for a blues band bar gig? Does that make you a semi-pro? You decide.

In the blues/rock world the guys who give sax players a bad name are guys who:

1) Can not play in tune to save their a____.
2) Can't play a basic 12 bar blues in a called key without noodling around during the vocals and someone else's solo to figure out that notes they can play.
3) Play constantly -- over the vocals, other players fills, other players solos. Never take the horn out of their mouths.
4) Think that a "rock tone" is just jamming the mouthpiece in and blasting away at the top of their lungs.

And believe me, they are out there.

My other pet peeve -- as long as I'm ranting here -- is that frequently if two people carrying any kind of horn -- usually a sax -- show up at a blues jam, the guitar player (almost always is) running the thing, will say: "Cool, a horn section ," and throw them up together.

I learned my lesson on this one the first time it happened. The other guy starts blasting away WAY out of tune, fumbling around at a huge volume.
I tried to get him to play with me -- play a very basic whole note type background. He totally ignores me.

Finally, I just gave up and took the horn out of my mouth. There was no way my playing along with this guy was going add anything to the music.

So I just stopped playing until it was my turn to solo. Took one chorus and stopped playing again.

Guys like that are the ones who give sax players a bad name.

Now there are certainly guys who give guitar players a bad name, and drummers, and don't even get me started on harmonica players (though I count a couple as good friends).

But we are talking about sax players here. The excpectation of intermediate skill for someone who is going to play music in public for other people to listen to for pleasure does not seem excessive to me.

Forgive my slightly off topic rant.

But, like I started off to say. Intermediate to semi-pro covers a lot of ground.
Give the guy a call and find out what it means to him and decide whether you might be the guy.

Scott
 

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Al Stevens said:
Sorry Al. I knew I would be misunderstood and I guess I did overstate it. Certainly some pianists will sound a LOT better than others, even hitting one note, let alone a chord. And I happen to think the piano is in many ways more difficult to master (and I mean master, not just get by on) than the sax. So much more to pay attention to in terms of chords, right hand, left hand, bass line, etc. So sorry if I offended any pianists out there. My point still stands, though. Intonation, tone quality, etc are so critical on the sax, before you have a chance of sounding good.

And Scott, YES you hit it right on the nose. Man, I gotta tell you, I cringe when another sax player walks in to a jam, at least until I hear him or her play. Sometimes it's great, when you can play lines together, in tune, in harmony, etc. But terrible otherwise.
 

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As an 'intemermediate' player who has never been paid to play I have often wondered how to progress whilst holding a job down, a marriage together, and bringing up three daughters?

I play in a Wind Orchestra (Concert Band over the pond) and play 1st Alto, but no oportunity to improvise - although sometimes the stuff we play is challenging. I play in a small church worship group and over the years have learnt the lessons of not over playing (in the begining I was told I suffered Sax diarrhoea) and now only play fills or the occasional solo (the KISS principle being followed). In fact it is thanks to the excellent advice given on this forum that I have learned to play in a more controlled manner and within my ability rather than over-stretching.

Now in my late 40s I would like to progress but finding any sort of band or teacher that can really help me progress has been very difficult.

However, this thread has gven me some ideas and so thank you for the tips. I shall now consider ways of finding like minded musicians of a similar level prepared to progress together. For those of us who can play reasonably well but not to a 'professional' standard it is a real problem finding others to play with that are at a similar standard and have similar aspirations. Most of the time when you say that you play Sax the expectation is that you must be at a professional level and can play anything at the drop of a hat - I wish!!

Ho-hum. One day I am sure I will find something that suits. In the meantime it is back to the grind so that I can finish work in time to get to the Orchestra rehearsal tonight. :)
 

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SLoB,,

To quote another sax playing Bill " I feel your pain." :lol: Late 40's here, 4 kids, day job, other interests, and not much time to play. I did the band thing, but it got to be too much for my schedule. I had brought guys together and the intent was to play out once or twice a month, but that didn't last long and I was a victim of our success (however limited).

What I would love to find are some like minded individuals who want to get together twice a month, learn tunes, have fun, and maybe, maybe play out on occasion at parties etc. but the reality is, that is a difficult road, they all want to be "rock stars."

As for having to be a "pro" that is not what I have found, as long as you play in tune, and can play close (this is in a cover band situation) to what is on the record, or come up with your own part that sounds good, you are a welcome addition to the band. these days, having a sax in a rock band is the exception rather than the norm, and it can set a gigging band apart from the rest of the pack. the real key is chemistry with the other players. My last band had it, we all got along great, but they wanted to play out more than I did. (of course I was the only one with 4 young kids, so no one could really relate with those fatherly duties, and the desire to WANT to spend time with your family, I think some saw the band as an escape from their home life. I feel sorry for them, but I digress).

Everyonce in a while I post an online ad, when I think I have time, but get either someone who wants me to join a gigging band, or no reponse... oh and here's a little tidbit, If you want to be in high demand, keep telling people you are too busy to gig, the offers come in faster. guess they want what they can't have. ;-)
 

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Speaking of ads......and this is only my own experience, so I'll try not to over-generalize.

I've never had much success with ads for musicians. On the one hand I never looked for work with a band using the want ads. It was always meeting someone at a jam or a band who I knew giving me a call. On the other hand, our band has placed ads when we needed a drummer and the results were always unsatisfactory. Either we got a drummer who couldn't play, or a ROCK drummer who thought he could play the blues, but had no concept of swing or dynamics, or a total freak who belonged in an insane asylum, or.........well I think you get the idea.

So we finally did what we should have done in the first place. I talked to all the drummers I knew even if they were working with other bands (and they all were) to see if they were interested. Several of them were interested and we settled on one who could make our gigs. Now we just found a new guitar player who is new in the area and not yet hooked up with a band. I found him playing (and sounding good!) at several jam sessions.

So in my experience, the best way is to hook up at a jam or somewhere you can hear other players, and they can hear you, rather than answer or place ads. But I'm sure there are exceptions.
 
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