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Hello all.

I'm still learning but I'm an avid watcher of Ebay which has led to me expanding on my saxophones.

Tenor - Venus
Alto - Jupiter 7 series
Soprano - Paolo Mark

The Tenor is exceptionally easy to play and the Alto is a little more difficult - but the Soprano is in a world of it's own in terms of difficulty.

Notes bend easily, it can easily switch into the upper octave when I don't intend it to, I can produce a wonderful squeak when otherwise unintended.

Basically, is this normal of a Soprano? Or is it just me being a little too "hard" on the mouthpiece.

All saxes have been checked over, all 3 are on Yamaha 4C's and Rico Royals strength 2 reeds.
 

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from my experience, the soprano is a wild animal you need to learn to control; it will quickly reveal any embouchere weakness you may have. try spending some time with it and see if you can subdue it to your wishes.
 

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Dunno about the Paolo Mark, but as I put in another thread, strangely I have a Venus sop. It's a little more difficult to control than my tenor (not a Venus, but similar Chinese brand, could be made in the same foctory). Not wildly difficult though, took an hour or so to get used to it and sound out most of the horn. Palm keys are still a bit iffy, but I'm using quite a soft reed, probably be ok with a harder one.

Dynamics are more difficult atm, i.e. playing quietly doesn't quite work so well :)

All in all, it's not as difficult as I thought it might be given the warnings everyone gives. about it (yeah, I'm still crap, but I can play pretty much the entire range of the horn from Bb to F# reasonably in tune....just a bit loud atm
 

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Hi there, I was trawling the web to find answers to a question I have and this thread comes closest. I started playing sax one and half years ago, using an alto (random decision). I've always struggled from an embouchure perspective. Then my mate let me try his tenor and I found it so easy and controllable. He reckons that because of my height (5'11) and my deeper-than-average voice, I'm more suited to tenor than alto. Is this the case? Or is the tenor easier to play anyway? I'm trying to decide whether to switch to tenor or not so I need to know other people's experience in this area.
 

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I had a similar question a bout altissimo on tenor vs alto and the general response I had was your vocal chords have nothing to do with it. The size shouldn't give you any trouble. I started on tenor when I was 10. Tenor seems to project better for me and you can't beat the richness of the low register. My suggestion is to play an alto an tenor side by side and see which you prefer. That is of course if you can't do both.
 

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Seems to me like the way it works is that the higher in pitch the horn is, the more challenging it is to keep it in tune. I know that I struggled a lot more with intonation on my alto than with tenor. And as Rondalo says, the soprano is indeed a wild animal.

That said, I think that the alto served as a great training ground in terms of controlling my pitch and overall tone quality, since tenor seems to be a lot more forgiving in that sense.
 

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The easiest one to play is the one you spend the most time playing.
 

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Soprano is much easier than oboe.

Tenor is the one that for me is the most difficult to get the sound I want.
 

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Hey JL, the reason I raised this question is because I've spent 18 months playing alto, but I found the tenor to be easier after playing for 18 seconds! So I have to disagree with you on your point. I'm trying to establish whether any of the following points is correct:
1) does your stature pre-dispose you to a particular register (ie, should large people play tenor, small people play soprano?)
2) are the lower register horns genuinely easier to control (some people here seem to think so).
Maybe there's no direct answer to this but it's worth discussing to establish other people's experiences.
 

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Hey JL, the reason I raised this question is because I've spent 18 months playing alto, but I found the tenor to be easier after playing for 18 seconds! So I have to disagree with you on your point. I'm trying to establish whether any of the following points is correct:
1) does your stature pre-dispose you to a particular register (ie, should large people play tenor, small people play soprano?)
2) are the lower register horns genuinely easier to control (some people here seem to think so).
Maybe there's no direct answer to this but it's worth discussing to establish other people's experiences.
I guess I should have qualified that by saying 'easiest' to play well. None of them are easy to play well, but when you work with one for a period of months and years, it gets familiar and easier. This even applies to different brands of horn, even of the same type (tenor, alto, etc).

But I know what you mean. For me tenor speaks much easier than alto or soprano. And I far prefer it. I preferred it the minute I picked it up (after having played alto for a couple of years). So I guess I could say tenor is the easiest for me. But is that because I prefer it and play it more? I suspect so, but I could be wrong.

1) No, I doubt very much that your personal size has anything to do with the ease of playing any particular sized sax. I can't prove that, but I've seen small women play the hell out of a bari, so maybe that's some proof.

2) It does make sense that it's easier to control the intonation on the lower-pitched horns, because it takes more to bend a low note out of tune than a higher note. I think that has something to do with the wavelength of the pitch. But other things might be more difficult to control on the larger horns, such as fingering or the low register on tenor, etc.
 

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With quality, well-setup saxes, I find they are all fairly equal to play.

For me:

The soprano takes the longest to tame, play on pitch, and to find your voice on. But afterward, is a true joy and effortless to play.
The tenor produces the beefiest sound and has the best tone without as much effort.
The alto plays the easiest down low and up very hight. It's seem to acoustically, be the best "size" of sax. At least it seems like that way to me.
The bari plays well but even the well-setup ones I've played have a few quirks to overcome. But once worked out, they play just as well as others but with a bit more wind required.

But again, this is just me. I believe everyone's mileage may vary when it comes to this.
 

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I'm a fairly large guy, and I find the soprano by far the easiest to play. I learned on an alto, and struggled some to consistently hit the low notes. After a year, I started dabbling in soprano and tenor, and really struggled to hit the low notes on tenor. When I first tried the soprano, I had to bite real hard on the mouthpiece to get a tone, but that eased up after a couple of weeks practice, and I play it free and easy compared to the others. I use a Yamaha 6C mouthpiece with Rico Royal #2 reeds on my sop.
 

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There you have it!

Now guess which one has the better tenor tone. [rolleyes]
Like I said, everyone's mileage is probably going to vary on this one. :bluewink:
 

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this is all very interesting. It appears that your stature is irrelevant to the type of horn that you play, and that the majority of contributors are more comfortable with the tenor. I think that I should stick with the alto. Going for the tenor just because it's easier might prevent me from developing the embouchure skills that I still sorely lack. Thanks to everyone for the useful contributions to this - particularly JL. But let's continue the discussion because I'm sure there are many more opinions on this topic out there.
 

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The horn with fewest leaks is easiest to play - especially when fitted with a good mouthpiece and reed.
 

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I think that I should stick with the alto. Going for the tenor just because it's easier might prevent me from developing the embouchure skills that I still sorely lack. Thanks to everyone for the useful contributions to this - particularly JL..
You're welcome sirRoyston, but...Oh no, I hope I didn't help you come to that conclusion! Don't take me, or anyone else here too seriously.

For sure I would never say that playing the tenor would prevent you from developing embouchure skills (quite the contrary)! I'd say play the one you like the most, both from a listening and playing standpoint.

And yeah, Dr G makes a really, really valid point. A horn in good playing condition with no leaks will play MUCH easier than one with leaks or other mechanical issues.
 

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If I were you I would hang onto the alto as well. You never know when you might need it. Plus I find after playing alto for a while my tenor altissimo improves.
 

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Hi, I have a paolo Mark alto and it plays really well. I have tried their sopranos and it does seem a little more difficult to control but if you experiment with different reeds it may make a difference
 
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