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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hey sotw i started on bari as my first woodwind, beginning on the alto, my sessions range from 1-3 hours 6-7 times a week (which i need to practice more, will do as i'm getting in touch win an instructor very soon) and my tone is driving me up a wall, as i'm having difficulty controlling the alto, and my instructors have always told me i have a lovely sound on bari, i came naturally to, but i feel "dyslexic" at alto can i get some opinions ?

the first video is playing in my room, next to a wall, similiar to playing into a stand, that ain't good, i wasn't playing off anything and i know i fracked some overtones, i was playing an excerpt in the back of my head, which i forgot the notes to, (they later come back in second video because of muscle memory

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoj77qMccpY

Second video, less controlled, in open acoustics, as i've said i feel i'm having control issues, they're driving me nuts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WKcZSkDsNg

i feel my sound is okay, but i'm a long road ahead from bringing out a voice, which is what i'm looking for, can i turn this into something special ?
i'm not pleased with my sound, but can you all know where i stand ?
PLEASE BE AS HONEST AS POSSIBLE, BRUTALLY HONEST IF YOU MUST
thanks.
 

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Your reed sounds a little thin, but I think you'd see a big improvement if you get used to taking in a little more mouthpiece.
 

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You sound like someone who hasn't been playing that long, and needs to spend time listening actively to other players and building chops. Could you clarify more about what you mean by control issues? Those might be resolved (partially at least) by taking in more mouthpiece.

I think you just need to find a bit of patience. It takes time to build comfort on the horn and to make a pleasing sound (especially to yourself).
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Your reed sounds a little thin, but I think you'd see a big improvement if you get used to taking in a little more mouthpiece.
my reed is a 2.5 legere ss, i go synthetic as reeds frustrate me, as they aren't as consistent, i have big lips and an overbite so i need more mouthpiece, but i have trouble tonguing when i do this, i've though of adopting a germanic play style as joe allard described that comes with reverse coning, but it's been difficult, i can take up half mouthpiece or more and play better, but that comes at the cost of tonguing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You sound like someone who hasn't been playing that long, and needs to spend time listening actively to other players and building chops. Could you clarify more about what you mean by control issues? Those might be resolved (partially at least) by taking in more mouthpiece.

I think you just need to find a bit of patience. It takes time to build comfort on the horn and to make a pleasing sound (especially to yourself).
Yes, i've been self instructed on all 3 instruments i've played, i competed at a district level in 2 months and beat another schools section and lettered in 5 months on bari and it came very naturally, never had ANY problems, so this became incredibly frustrating.

by control issues when i first started i had so much trouble playing straight, my sound would be flying through the room, in all sorts of directions. this was before i took the 1 year off of playing any instrument (different story in it's own regard). i find it tough to play in a straight consistent tone, which i've gotten better at, but even when i'm playing consistent, as i am here, i still feel a massive itch. have you ever tried walking a big or strong dog that WANTS to go , and you have trouble keeping up with it? i have no problem supporting my sound, but i don't feel like i'm ever playing straight.

i've been listening to all the greats but my thoughts wander, i've considered spending 1-2 hours before i sleep in the dark just focusing.

i would LOVE to take in more mouthpiece, as i have big lips and an overbite, but i have to sacrifice my tonguing i'm trying to adopt what joe allard described as germanic playing where the players would take in a lot of mouthpiece and reverse cone the tongue, but this makes me feel i have no room to tongue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
i have one video, but that's from more than a year back, and i'm only playing a 4 note bass line, having fun too, not focused on any tone.
if i might add i never tinkered with any of my bari setup, nor did i ever practice tone. just my etudes, and solo, but if it helps i'd have no problem uploading it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86RwRiXYhHA
 

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I like the way you are practicing - you gave me some ideas of things to work on. It works out your chops, doesn't it? That's exactly what you need more of. I'd say basically you have no tone and you're a very weak player. But there's something there - your intonation on those octaves was better than most. Tell you what - listen to this guy on alto and you'll see that you have many years of hard work ahead of you. Not that you should aspire to play like him - just to show you what power and control really sound like when combined with a fast technique and a tremendous musical talent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNcw2rt1J4
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like the way you are practicing - you gave me some ideas of things to work on. It works out your chops, doesn't it? That's exactly what you need more of. I'd say basically you have no tone and you're a very weak player. But there's something there - your intonation on those octaves was better than most. Tell you what - listen to this guy on alto and you'll see that you have many years of hard work ahead of you. Not that you should aspire to play like him - just to show you what power and control really sound like when combined with a fast technique and a tremendous musical talent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNcw2rt1J4
could you ellaborate on "no tone" and "weak player" i don't understand.

no tone, as in no character, bad quality ?

weak player, as in chop strength, or overall ?

as much detail as you can.

i checked out earl, can't believe i haven't heard him anywhere, and according to the comment section neither has anyone else.
i like his playstyle, i don't know how many people on here know of fela kuti but he's one if not my favorite player(s)
 

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Actually, I hear nothing wrong with your tone, given that I'm only hearing a few notes. There MAY be a phrasing issue, but I can't really judge that since you're not playing anything particularly musical in the two alto clips. However, what you are playing seems to be a decent octave building exercise. Would you be able to post another video of you playing an actual song or melody? Preferably something that goes through the horn's entire range. It will give us all a better clue as to what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Edit: There may be a weakness when you're playing the second octave G and A. The octave vents do a lot here, and every saxophone pitch handles them differently.
 
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[QUOTE
i'm not pleased with my sound, but can you all know where i stand ?
PLEASE BE AS HONEST AS POSSIBLE, BRUTALLY HONEST IF YOU MUST
thanks.[/QUOTE]
Sounds a bit foghorn like.
Try a harder reed.
 

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Try a harder reed.
I'm not sure that's the answer. A 2.5 Legere is not particularly soft, and if he can't play with a decent tone on that reed, going to a harder one wouldn't likely help, quite likely the contrary. Just my opinion. More practice, long tones, articulation exercises, and just in general more time on the horn is the answer.

Dontbecruel, how long have you been playing? It takes a lot of time to learn an instrument. You're wise to focus on tone quality; that's first and foremost in importance.
 
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I'm not sure that's the answer. A 2.5 Legere is not particularly soft, and if he can't play with a decent tone on that reed, going to a harder one wouldn't likely help, quite likely the contrary. Just my opinion. More practice, long tones, articulation exercises, and just in general more time on the horn is the answer.

Dontbecruel, how long have you been playing? It takes a lot of time to learn an instrument. You're wise to focus on tone quality; that's first and foremost in importance.
Yes true. I didn't follow all the posts. But I found playing the Legere they do get soft with continued playing, if you don't rotate. But the op seems to have a less than relaxed embouchure, and which sounds like a soft reed, which is why I suggested a harder reed. Then as you say practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'm not sure that's the answer. A 2.5 Legere is not particularly soft, and if he can't play with a decent tone on that reed, going to a harder one wouldn't likely help, quite likely the contrary. Just my opinion. More practice, long tones, articulation exercises, and just in general more time on the horn is the answer.

Dontbecruel, how long have you been playing? It takes a lot of time to learn an instrument. You're wise to focus on tone quality; that's first and foremost in importance.
i started in 9th grade playing trumpet for 3 years, self instructed only worked on range and technique, my tone was okay, but i played well elsewhere, i left due to the band director, didn't play all summer, came back my senior year when i realized that was my home. i wanted a breath of fresh air and the new director gave me a shot on bari, where i tought myself again, within 2 months i beat a section at district and within 5 i lettered on bari, my director, accompanist, the judge, and band members complimented my tone, (VERY LONG INTERLUDE) (funny story i didn't even know what half the keys did, nor altisimmo lol) i can't make an audition on bari, as they don't accept baris, last 2 months of school 4a i don't have a sax have to teach myself cause only director is swamped, don't get very far, drops in priority and falls into a metaphorical closet, 1 year without playing i have a shot to make it, BUT i have to do the same music program,

it frustrates me, because bari came so natural to me.

the story may not add up, the whole 1 year off, if you want me to ellaborate i will inbox you, i had a 1 year falling out and it's a really complicated story with said organization.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Actually, I hear nothing wrong with your tone, given that I'm only hearing a few notes. There MAY be a phrasing issue, but I can't really judge that since you're not playing anything particularly musical in the two alto clips. However, what you are playing seems to be a decent octave building exercise. Would you be able to post another video of you playing an actual song or melody? Preferably something that goes through the horn's entire range. It will give us all a better clue as to what your strengths and weaknesses are.

Edit: There may be a weakness when you're playing the second octave G and A. The octave vents do a lot here, and every saxophone pitch handles them differently.
this is the theme and variation 1 from the harmonious blacksmith aka aria con variazioni, a trumpet solo i had from a while back so bare with mehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvYv223diB0

this is playing a chromatic d to i think it's f sharp not sure, don't know altissimo and i f***** up the way down then i'm just messing around reaching as high as i can WITHOUT the octave key i've done better, but it had other inconsistent stuff in there
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFcPNqawfOI
 

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this is the theme and variation 1 from the harmonious blacksmith aka aria con variazioni, a trumpet solo i had from a while back so bare with mehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KvYv223diB0

this is playing a chromatic d to i think it's f sharp not sure, don't know altissimo and i f***** up the way down then i'm just messing around reaching as high as i can WITHOUT the octave key i've done better, but it had other inconsistent stuff in there
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFcPNqawfOI
That's what I figured. I hear less of a tone issue, and more of a phrasing/timing issue. You're using too much tongue, and it's tripping you up. This is something that lower pitches, like bari, cover up. The higher you go, the more you're exposed. This is also true with intonation. Here ya go. Pay very close attention to his points on practicing with a metronome. Your sound is already developing, and you seem to be a hard worker. Keep pushing yourself, and everything else will fall into place. As far as tone is concerned, I'd say that you're already mostly there. Focus on long tones, and learn how to maintain your pitch as you hold a note through different dynamic levels.

https://youtu.be/dTIwWFa2Rnw

Oh, and use that octave key. It's there for a reason. You can omit it for certain overtone passages, and effect, but there's no need to omit it in standard playing conditions. You'll really become a masochist if you try doing that during fast passages.
 

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, i have big lips and an overbite so i need more mouthpiece,.
Your overbite is not enormous, besides it is wrong to assume that means you need more mouthpiece.

When I listen, I hear somebody with a very good tone, but needs to work a lot on articulation. You ned to make it much lighter - less explosive. This could mean the reed is too hard. It's always worth trying softer reed if you are prepared to put in the extra work they need in terms of air support.

To help the articulation issues I would advise that you try taking in less mouthpiece as this will give your tongue more too to manoeuvre.

As I said your tone is good, but your sound could also be improved by some controlled vibrato.
 

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i started in 9th grade playing trumpet for 3 years, self instructed only worked on range and technique, my tone was okay, but i played well elsewhere, i left due to the band director, didn't play all summer, came back my senior year when i realized that was my home. i wanted a breath of fresh air and the new director gave me a shot on bari, where i tought myself again, within 2 months i beat a section at district and within 5 i lettered on bari,
It's still not clear to me how long you've been playing the sax. From this, I get 3 years on trumpet and 5 months on bari. Given that, you are just beginning on the sax. I'd say your tone isn't bad for such a short time on the sax, but as Pete says, articulation (how you attack and 'voice' the notes) needs work. As it would for any beginner. If you're in a hurry, you'll get nowhere. Take your time, listen to your teacher, and in a couple of years you should see some good results.

I only say this because it's so common for a beginner to come on here asking how they are doing when they've only just got started. The expectation is to learn everything much faster than it really takes. IOW, you certainly haven't been playing long enough to get frustrated yet.
 

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What Pete Thomas said. Try to get rid of that "Pop!" sound as you tongue a note. That can be an effect, but it shouldn't be your normal start to a note.

If you are wanting to shape your sound more, I would say try working on the overtone series (just like trumpet) off of the low Bb,B and C. Even if you cannot hit very many yet, there is value in the control you will gain trying to match pitch and timbre with the regular fingerings.

Also, since you mentioned you wanted a solid, unwavering tone (which I believe you are getting for the most part), I do want to mention one obvious issue -in one of the videos, you had a ceiling fan going. That WILL distort your tone!

Alan
 
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It's still not clear to me how long you've been playing the sax. From this, I get 3 years on trumpet and 5 months on bari. Given that, you are just beginning on the sax. I'd say your tone isn't bad for such a short time on the sax, but as Pete says, articulation (how you attack and 'voice' the notes) needs work. As it would for any beginner. If you're in a hurry, you'll get nowhere. Take your time, listen to your teacher, and in a couple of years you should see some good results.

I only say this because it's so common for a beginner to come on here asking how they are doing when they've only just got started. The expectation is to learn everything much faster than it really takes. IOW, you certainly haven't been playing long enough to get frustrated yet.
I agree, as JL pointed out you may be doing very well for the time you have been playing.
 
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