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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi everyone. so ive been playing clarinet for about 7 years but its been on and off, but ive gained a real interest for music these days and id like to try out the sax. im looking to play more jazz pieces than classical, and ive been having trouble deciding between alto or tenor. ive watched a few clips but i cant really distinguish the difference in sounds very clearly. any pointers?
 

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I think it's just personal preference. There are times when it is very difficult to tell them apart just by ear if you're listening to them playing in the middle range where they overlap, the sound can be quite individual. If you intend to play with an established organization you might want to inquire as to their specific needs, otherwise the alto is a bit lighter to carry around and the mouthpiece is a bit closer in size to the clarinet. The instruments have certain similarities but the most important thing is to respect their differences.
You're lucky in one respect — I believe it's easier to go from clarinet to sax than the other way around. Have fun.
 

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I second shotgun's statement that it is easier to go from clarinet to sax than the other way around.

I am mainly an alto player. If you want to play in a pop/rock band, the tenor is probably more versatile. If you are playing jazz, both the alto and tenor are equally useful (in my opinion).

If you are new to jazz, you could get a copy of the Miles Davis album "Kind of Blue" which features some incredible alto sax playing by Cannonball Adderley and tenor sax playing by Coltrane. "Kind of Blue" is a great album any way you look at it, and also is pretty listenable even if you don't know much about jazz.
 

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I made the transition many years ago from Clarinet to Alto sax. Not sure what made me decide, but I can tell you that Tenor is my main instrument now and has been for 20 years.
I agree that you should listen to both Tenor and Alto players and decide which one you want to sound like. Kind of Blue is a great place to start. Just remember that once you make the transition lets say to Alto, you can easily pick up a Tenor, Sop, Bari later on

Good luck!
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Alto is a good option because good, cheap instruments are more readily available s/h. There are also more beginner resources (books etc) targeted specifically at alto. On the technical side, you should find the transition ok but most would say that that sax embouchure is slightly different from clarinet. I agree that clarinet to sax is a nice transition. You'll probably find you have a lot of fun and make progress quickly if you practise.
 
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