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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, my first sax was a tenor, and i learned by myself with no teacher. Then added a sop. Then after years of not playing i sold the tenor and traded the sop for an alto. When i started to get serious about it i only had the alto. I remember how hard it was to get a nice tone on it, it needed lot of continuous and conscious work on sound.
After coursing a degree i still have periods when i am very picky with myself on alto, meaning that i can’t be sure if i sound the way i want. Or could be that i still don’t have that alto sound in my head, i don’t know.

Then this summer i went on a holiday trip where i traded an alto for a tenor. I have had the chance to practice and put some few hours on it. My main instrument until now( the alto) is on home and i still have some days until i get there.

Well, the tenor feels so nice. I need work for sure but playing it gives almost instant gratification. The bigger scale makes it harder for my fingers for runs but i feel that the fat sound fills the space so nice that i need fewer notes. The articulation and nuances are amplified, top notes begin to sound really sweet,....

I am kind of surprised myself, and a bit afraid too...i think the alto is harder but when it worked for me, it all went so good, i like the alto ‘devilness’, i don’t know how to explain it. Alto feels ‘modernish’ in a way, with its bite. But now tenor makes me think of all the greats i have been listening a lot, Rollins, Lovano, Potter... aaaaahh.

On one side maybe this tenor thing influences my alto in a good way.

Just some reflections on this special moment i am living....i feel happy, intriged, afraid, excited...all at the same time!

All comments and experiences welcome.
 

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Congrats on coming home! I got my first tenor a year ago, after playing alto my entire life. Working on the tenor has helped me to improve my alto tone and phrasing, and to appreciate the particular timbre of the alto even more than before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Congrats on coming home! I got my first tenor a year ago, after playing alto my entire life. Working on the tenor has helped me to improve my alto tone and phrasing, and to appreciate the particular timbre of the alto even more than before.
Thanks! That’s what i hope. I want to keep the alto sounding!
 

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I'm so glad you started this thread. I have started on alto back in March 2018, but I am very curious to try tenor. I love the sound of tenor, but I don't want to necessarily move away from alto.

From what you are saying you can learn to play both? I'm keen to give it a go!
 

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started on alto... had the best modern altos on my hand (sII, sIII, refs, Buffet Crampon Prestige) and i made my mouth with a great great meyer 5... Bought a Dolnet RJ Tenor and an otto link NY STM 6* and i never played alto again... Tenor is just way more "everything"... i am still strugling to get altissimo notes after high G on my tenor while on the altos i could go without any problem to High A# (can get an easy high B on the buffet).

But men, when you really blow the tenor and you feel the air going with so much "body" and power... I think i could only go to bari from here... Never to alto again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would say that is better to stay on one horn for a long time, at least some years. I have spent most of my serious training on alto before practicing soprano first( although not too much) and now tenor. Maybe others have other opinions or experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Joao, i understand what you say but i don’t want to give up the alto after all these years. I enjoy a lot when i listen to a good alto player, there’s another thing going on totally different than tenor. Anyway what you say about the tenor body is what i have felt first and i am enjoying it like nothing else!
 

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Joao, i understand what you say but i don’t want to give up the alto after all these years. I enjoy a lot when i listen to a good alto player, there’s another thing going on totally different than tenor. Anyway what you say about the tenor body is what i have felt first and i am enjoying it like nothing else!
Ye! Another thing that is really different is the low notes on tenor... I still struggle a lot to play them when i want to produce a smooth and quiet sound. Which tenor horn/mp are you trying? and what is your main alto horn/mp?
 

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Just a quick comment...keep in mind that comparing 2 different instruments which are in different playing condition will certainly make one seem to play more 'effortlessly' than the other.

If one is leaky, and one is not...that is not to be dismissed. Just saying.

It could be condition, it could be novelty....Or it could just very well be that ultimately, Atratr, the Tenor is the voice which moves you the most....

Have fun. Good luck.
 

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there's this phenomenon they teach in psych about performance. when you lay off doing something for a while and then return to it, your initial performance level can be surprisingly high. but it tends to drop off relatively quickly, and then you have to put in the practice to build it back up to satisfaction. i definitely get this experience when i go to a horn i've layed off of for a while. makes me highly mindful of the qualities of tenor vs alto vs soprano. so i tend towards a regular rotation between the 3.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have both mark vi horns after a long search. They are well setup, maybe the alto needs some adjustment. However i can’t try the alto until thursday, and on saturday i have a gig! Ouch!
On tenor i have a pillinger refaced metal link, it came three days ago and i am enjoying it a lot. Also couldn’t resist and ordered a 10mfan tenor as well as alto mouthpiece which i hope to get in a few weeks. I have to end trying so much mouthpieces!
I think i would stay with the link or the 10mfan and no look for more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Arrived home yesterday night. Today i picked the alto again and.....yesssss, full sound through the registers, really filling it with air like never before, easy blowing on a 6 tip. I feel like never before. I even put a 7 mouthpiece i had there and it worked so fine...
The tenor has been like lifting weights for my air support, something i know i needed to work on. Also has loosened my embouchure and it has translated that to the alto.

I have to say at first, even with the new easiness the alto sound was very generic, but in an hour i was really at home. What a great feel, seriously!

Now i would like to keep both horns sounding, if possible, and get a distinct sound on both. Really great experience!
 

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Congrats on the tenor. I have them all, soprano, alto, tenor, low Bb bari. I play them interchangeably. Found I have a better ear for the bari. You might gravitate toward the timbre of the range of a particular horn, and from that point spend more time with that horn. Every one is different. Regarding the bari, I started out 53 years ago on the Bb soprano clarinet. Enjoy the tenor, its certainly got its place for certain types of music and key / range written in, and I think over time given the right circumstances, some time future you may find one of those other saxes in your stable again.
 

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I will admit that I've never played professionally. I have always been an amateur, but that word's root has to do with love.

I started on alto, but have been playing bari for the past 50 years. My decision to change was governed by the fact that a friend of the family had one sitting around, an old Buffet, and gave it to me when I was just 12 years old. The high school band instructor needed a bari, so there you go. I pick up the alto and play it with appreciation of the amount of breath I have developed on the bari. The old horns don't have the "bells and whistles" of the newer ones, the Buffet doesn't even automatically switch registers, but the tone quality and intonation is great. My playing has always been an avocation, and now I have retired from the real world, I am playing more than I ever have before. I feel that playing music in a group setting helps to keep the "little gray cells" going.

My alto is a Conn from the 1920s and I also play a C-Melody Buescher of about the same era. I started out on a Conn 6M from the 1930s, and passed that along to my son who still pulls it out for thrown-together jam session at a local bar.


I enjoy reading the ebb and flow of Sax on the Web, and hope my intrusion here is acceptable. I thought the topic was one to which I could contribute.
 

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A great read, everyone! I very much enjoyed your discoveries with the different voices of the instrument I am learning to love. Though I'm not so adventurous, myself, it was fun to read about your adventures and discoveries. Thank you.
 

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I think that I think about different stuff when playing tenor vs. alto vs. soprano. (To say nothing of clarinet and flute, and frankly the less said about oboe, the better!) But I will say that picking up tenor again, which I played in high school before being exclusively an alto player for the next 10 years, markedly improved my alto sound. I had to examine my approach to air and embouchure both, and that made a big difference to all my instruments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think that I think about different stuff when playing tenor vs. alto vs. soprano. (To say nothing of clarinet and flute, and frankly the less said about oboe, the better!) But I will say that picking up tenor again, which I played in high school before being exclusively an alto player for the next 10 years, markedly improved my alto sound. I had to examine my approach to air and embouchure both, and that made a big difference to all my instruments.
That's been my experience. As i was to play the tenor i knew that i would need much more air and i experienced that i needed to loose my embouchure and really blow. Then i began to enjoy it a lot, how i sounded. Then the alto return was a joy too so...Having fun!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Updating a bit. I still play a lot more alto than tenor. However i realize that sometimes my alto sound lacks something, at least for me. Yesterday i took the tenor again, did some transcription, in this case a Mobley solo, and wow, having fun.
Today kept transcribing, and in my last minutes of the session picked the alto again, and,...there it was, the sound i love on alto. So...i am thinking that my problem is that i don´t quite support the sound with my air column. So when i play tenor immediately more support and air is needed to make it sound decent, and is easier to detect if i am doing it wrong. But something happens in the alto that i end not blowing right and keep playing without noticing(that's what i think)
This issue could be behind a lot of other troubles i have had last years, intonation for example.
So has anyone of you have similar experience?
 
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