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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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I’ve never heard someone teaching “anchor” tonguing as the “way” to tongue on the saxophone before. I anchor tongued from 7th grade until first year of college where my classical sax teacher suggested the proper way to tongue. I had to totally change my tonguing but it was the best thing I ever did. You can get by with anchor tonguing but in my opinion it is not optimal at all.


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Underbite ,Normal, Overbite and different tongue lengths have different comfort positions for some players. The advice of the video might be great for some players but not others. At least there are options. Great post.
 

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I’ve never heard someone teaching “anchor” tonguing as the “way” to tongue on the saxophone before. I anchor tongued from 7th grade until first year of college where my classical sax teacher suggested the proper way to tongue. I had to totally change my tonguing but it was the best thing I ever did. You can get by with anchor tonguing but in my opinion it is not optimal at all.


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To go into more detail on this. You can do well with anchor tonguing. I won competitions in high school and was always among the top saxophone in the state so I sounded pretty good. When I got to college my professor notice that my tonguing was a bit slow, heavy and muddy on the classical repertoire. He asked some questions and found out I was anchor tonguing and that I need to switch to tonguing where the tip of the tongue comes in contact with the flat part of the reed right next to the tip (example #2 in the video above). This was a huge change for me and messed me up for months. I worked the tar out of it and finally got it. My tonguing grew to be much quicker and crisper. I also noticed that on jazz it improved my speed tremendously.

The reason the player in the above video says that #2 feels weird and unnatural is probably because that is not the way he tongues. If he were to work on it for a few months he would probably feel comfortable with it and might see some of the benefits I describe I felt. Maybe not, we are all different.
 

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One other thing. Scott says the #2 tonguing is unnatural and weird (can't remember exact words.....) but it is far from it. We use that tongue movement everyday while speaking. It is very similar in movement to saying "tee". How many times day do we say "tee". The movement he is talking about with "anchor" tonguing is far less common. You put the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom teeth and say "tah" while keeping the tip of your tongue contacting the bottom teeth. I went through the alphabet and I don't think we use this movement for any letters at all nor while speaking.

There is no right and wrong. You have to weigh the plus and minuses of both techniques and figure out what is best for you. Like him, I do remember feeling like my tone was fatter while anchor tonguing back in the day but the more I traditional tongued and worked on my tone the more I felt like I got back to my same level of fatness. It was just a rough transition of a couple months.
 

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One other thing. Scott says the #2 tonguing is unnatural and weird (can't remember exact words.....) but it is far from it. We use that tongue movement everyday while speaking. It is very similar in movement to saying "tee". How many times day do we say "tee". The movement he is talking about with "anchor" tonguing is far less common. You put the tip of your tongue against the back of your bottom teeth and say "tah" while keeping the tip of your tongue contacting the bottom teeth. I went through the alphabet and I don't think we use this movement for any letters at all nor while speaking.

There is no right and wrong. You have to weigh the plus and minuses of both techniques and figure out what is best for you. Like him, I do remember feeling like my tone was fatter while anchor tonguing back in the day but the more I traditional tongued and worked on my tone the more I felt like I got back to my same level of fatness. It was just a rough transition of a couple months.
It also feels like anchor tonguing is darker, like more in the style of Paul Desmond. This reminds me of the issue of rolling out the tip vs. tucking it in on top the lip.
 
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