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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I recorded some music with my Zoom H4n.
While over all it sounds quite ok (me, not the Zoom :mrgreen:) I have a question about the starting of the tone....
Do you think there is too much air and "subtone" at the beginning of the tone?
Should I work on getting it more exact and "clean" and "dry"?
I am not sure if I change something to my normal playing according to the style, or if it is bad habit.
Please don't be cruel, I played it with a playback, and I didn't change anything, it's pure me..

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6518653/IFG.mp3

Thanks for your input,
Mugger
 

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Mugger, before I listened to the clip, from your description I was expecting the usual beginner's sloppy articulation where every note starts out with a 'blatty' sound. Then I listened to your clip. You sound very good to me! I don't hear anything wrong with your attack on the notes. You phrasing is good and tone quality is excellent. So I would just say keep it up!

If you really want some constructive criticism, since I know this tune ("I Feel Good"), I would say that while the phrases you play are very good, the timing might be slightly off between phrases. That's totally understandable given no rhythm section, but still something to work on. There's always something to work on. But you're doing a lot right; you sound good.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You are very friendly.
It is just that I feel that my tone is too fat (spread) and there is a lot of low frequencies in it (not sure if this is useful....)
Maybe it should be lighter and more centered.
But: Thanks :)
 

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You are very friendly.
It is just that I feel that my tone is too fat (spread) and there is a lot of low frequencies in it (not sure if this is useful....)
Maybe it should be lighter and more centered.
But: Thanks :)
I'm not always so 'friendly,' lol. When people ask what I think, I usually tell them. So, not trying to be nice, just honest.

Of course it's all pretty subjective, but man, most sax players spend a lot of time trying to get a FAT tone. Who wants a thin, anemic tone? So what can I say? I like your tone. But you do have to please yourself most of all. I think your tone is centered just fine. If you want a lighter attack, work on tonguing very lightly (legato). But your attack on most notes sounds pretty good as I said. And you obviously are paying attention to that or it wouldn't sound good. A lot players have what is perceived as a poor tone because they have a sloppy attack on each and every note. You don't seem to have that problem. At least not to my ear. I say, keep that fat sound!
 

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You are very friendly.
It is just that I feel that my tone is too fat (spread) and there is a lot of low frequencies in it (not sure if this is useful....)
Maybe it should be lighter and more centered.
But: Thanks :)
I understand the sound you're looking for.

Use the tongue when starting the attack and you'll get a more focused sound. It doesn't have to be lighter but it will be brighter.

Regardless it'll still be a full sound. The sound can be fat, brighter and focused at the same time.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I understand the sound you're looking for.

Use the tongue when starting the attack and you'll get a more focused sound. It doesn't have to be lighter but it will be brighter.

Regardless it'll still be a full sound. The sound can be fat, brighter and focused at the same time.
Allright,
but how?
Faster air or tongue, lighter or heavier tongue, with more "t"?
I must admit that I am an alto player most of the time, and I also don't think I have the "problem" on clarinet. (Will have to do some recordings)
Could it also be a question of mouthpiece and reed size?
I have a rather small mouth and my setup is: Ref 54 tenor (the one with the birds engraved), Ted Klum 107 ebonite, Vandoren 2,5 (the classic ones).
Thanks,
Mugger
 

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Use the tongue to start the attack. Yes the "t". Maybe "th". I just got in from playing and it's too late at night for me to check it out on my horn. Maybe someone will chime in. I'll definitely check it out later and get back to you.

In the meantime maybe someone who knows exactly will come forward.

Don't know anything about that mouthpiece but I don't think that's it. You should be able to get the sound on any mouthpiece.

The reed is certainly stiff enough. Maybe try a 2 in that reed and work your way back up to a 2 1/2 if you desire.

The reed is the easiest thing to start with.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hi,
I think I will consider playing around with changing the shape of the tongue.
I feel it is a slight "U", whereas it should be more straight or even a reverse "U".
Hope you understand :)
Greetings,
Mugger
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Do you think there is too much air and "subtone" at the beginning of the tone?
Should I work on getting it more exact and "clean" and "dry"?
I would suggest trying to tongue nearer the ti of the reed. I aim for tip of tongue on tip of reed, but without curling the tongue. Work on soft tonguing. It's something that I still do after all these years whenever I practise, even if I don't have time to do anything else.

As far as the actual tone after the articulation, it sounds good to me, so the only question would not be to other people "do you think...?", but decide on the sound you want. For me, in that kind of style, I would probably want a brighter sound, but without necessarily losing the nice fatness you have in the tone.
 

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I have this issue too - it sounds like no tongue at all. Starting the airstream without tongue can give you that unfocused almost tubby first note. Try resting your tongue at the tip of the reed before you play the first note of the phrase. Thus might help remind your brain to tongue that note.
 

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I have this issue too - it sounds like no tongue at all.
I wouldn't say that exactly. No tongue at all tends to sound like "f" (can be cool on ballads). What it sounds to me like her is "th" rather than "t", which in my experience is a clear indicator of too much top tongue area under the reed, as opposed to tip of tongue against tip of reed. Which is what I find I need in this kind of style.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I wouldn't say that exactly. No tongue at all tends to sound like "f" (can be cool on ballads). What it sounds to me like her is "th" rather than "t", which in my experience is a clear indicator of too much top tongue area under the reed, as opposed to tip of tongue against tip of reed. Which is what I find I need in this kind of style.
Yes,
makes me think of the things mentioned on your site.
I can play pretty well with tip to tip, but doing so I have to put the MPC out slightly...
The thing per se is not audible when you hear my sample with band, but there is surely an effect to the tone's brightness.
Greetings
 

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I can play pretty well with tip to tip, but doing so I have to put the MPC out slightly...
No harm in that, presumably you mean not so much mouthpiece in your mouth. For many people that nearly always improves articulation and more often than not allows for more flexibility of tone.
 

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Mugger, I agree with Pete regarding tongueing right at the tip of the reed. As I already said, I liked your articulation in the sound clip, but now I think I understand what you're saying. You want a crisper attack, and that is a good idea for playing in a funky style. I don't think it will help to try curling your tongue in some special way or any of that (unless you have to). Try starting the note with more of a pop by building up some air and releasing the tongue quickly (as rloyot suggested above). But be sure not to muddy up the attack or make it too harsh. A harsh, growly tone can be very effective, but not a harsh attack on the notes!

p.s. I went back and listened again and you probably could use a bit more 'guts' in your tone (maybe put more air into the horn) for the style you are playing. You play the tenor a lot like an alto. Maybe think more in terms of the tenor and don't forget to utilize that lower register.
 

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Try starting the note with more of a pop by building up some air and releasing the tongue quickly (as rloyot suggested above). But be sure not to muddy up the attack or make it too harsh. A harsh, growly tone can be very effective, but not a harsh attack on the notes!
Thinking about releasing the tongue is the secret to good articulation. Too many people think that tonguing as applying your tongue to the reed.. In fact a note is started not by adding your tongue but removing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Mugger, I agree with Pete regarding tongueing right at the tip of the reed. As I already said, I liked your articulation in the sound clip, but now I think I understand what you're saying. You want a crisper attack, and that is a good idea for playing in a funky style. I don't think it will help to try curling your tongue in some special way or any of that (unless you have to). Try starting the note with more of a pop by building up some air and releasing the tongue quickly (as rloyot suggested above). But be sure not to muddy up the attack or make it too harsh. A harsh, growly tone can be very effective, but not a harsh attack on the notes!

p.s. I went back and listened again and you probably could use a bit more 'guts' in your tone (maybe put more air into the horn) for the style you are playing. You play the tenor a lot like an alto. Maybe think more in terms of the tenor and don't forget to utilize that lower register.
Hi,
I didn't have the time to practice today, I had to teach, only the last lesson was on tenor.
I found out that I really don't have the problem on alto.
It feels a lot easier to play the way I want to (I have to play in different styles...)
Maybe I should focus mentally on the fact that despite you have to play in a relaxed manner, the embouchure on alto feels (or is) tighter.
If I want to play on tenor the way I play on alto (concerning articulation) I have to open my mouth and "drop" my jaw much more to give my tongue the space to move freely, as the MPC is much bigger and is inserted much more. (I play T.Klum ebonite MPCs on both alto and tenor sax..)
Greetings
 

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Hi,
I didn't have the time to practice today, I had to teach, only the last lesson was on tenor.
I found out that I really don't have the problem on alto.
It feels a lot easier to play the way I want to (I have to play in different styles...)
Maybe I should focus mentally on the fact that despite you have to play in a relaxed manner, the embouchure on alto feels (or is) tighter.
If I want to play on tenor the way I play on alto (concerning articulation) I have to open my mouth and "drop" my jaw much more to give my tongue the space to move freely, as the MPC is much bigger and is inserted much more. (I play T.Klum ebonite MPCs on both alto and tenor sax..)
Greetings
I said earlier to listen to Stanley Turrentine. He had a great attack on tenor.

Many times if we want something badly the mind will have the body adjust to make the sound.

Now this doesn't always work, but many times it does.

You're saying the right things about keeping the mouth open and dropping the jaw.

I'm in the loose embouchure school.

And just as importantly learn to open the throat when necessary.

I'm going to practice later and I'll get back to you.

I can't relate some things without doing them first.

But if I remember correctly Pete is on to something when he says the tongue starts the attack and moves out of the away of the tone.
 

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Ok I'm practicing now. I tried to analyse what I'm doing.

The attack with the tongue is a "TH" with the tip or maybe a "T" in the higher range. However when attacking the mid and lower range I'm using more of the tongue.

After listening to the sample again I believe you're using the tongue and not aware of it. And I agree with an earlier poster that you have a good sound.

Just try a 2 reed and see if that helps. It's the easiest part of the equation to change.

I tried playing without the tongue and almost ruined whatever embouchure I'm building up with a new reed.

Didn't help the reed any either.

Now when I played that "D" that you have in the sample I'm using the tongue at the beginning of the attack and at the end also.

Didn't know I was doing that . Never thought about it.

I hope this works for you.

It works for me.

You've got to listen to Stanley Turrentine. He was the master of what you're talking about.
 
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