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What type of sax do you play? Why your choice?

  • Soprano,

  • Alto

  • Tenor

  • Bari

  • Two of above

  • Three and more

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Selmer MK VI, Selmer SA80 II Silver-plate Alto, Selmer SA80 II Silver-Plated Tenor, Yani Soprano SC
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello All Woodwind Greats!

Question today is: what type of sax do you have and play predominantly? Is it an alto, tenor, bari, soprano? Or do you have multiple?

Would you expand on your choice? Let us know the reason for your choice. There is no right or wrong answer. It is your personal preference.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012
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All 4 common sizes. Life is too short.
Tenor would be my 1st choice, then bari, then alto and finally soprano.
 

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Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
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All 4 , just like the diversity of having the main 4 and also allows for fun arrangements. Although I'd like to own and play some of the other lesser used horns. I think a sopranino and a c Mel would be the most likely additions. But I kinda want one of those F mezzo horns :)
 

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I play Tenor (Phil Barone Vintage) and Soprano (Rampone Solid Copper Curved). Tenor is the main instrument but my little curvy soprano is getting more and more love these days. Also learning bass clarinet...I guess I have a thing for B flat instruments. At least I can play all of my music on any of the three instruments.
 

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Selmer Paris Mark VI Alto 119XXX
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I primarily play Alto but every now and again I play Tenor for a gig. The only thing I suggest for people that double is treat each Sax as it's own instrument. For me Alto sound is very modern bright but enough fatness to keep it from sounding harsh and Tenor I want big, fat and smoky.
 

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I was 16 years old, and I was at the Dixieland Jubilee at L.A.‘s Shrine Auditorium, when I heard Joe Darensbourg (with Teddy Buckner’s band), then George Probert (with the Firehouse Five plus Two) play soprano saxophones. George had a packed house on their feet when he played. That did it for me. That was in 1956.

I now have two of George’s sopranos (and three others), favoring his five-digit MKVI. He favored Conns. Over the years, I added alto sax and clarinet but still favor soprano over all others. DAVE
 

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Started on alto, then tenor, and recently bari. Tenor was my main for almost 2 decades, but lately it's just been taking up closet space as I've been focusing exclusively on bari. Don't get me wrong, I still love tenor, but I've been really enjoying working on the bari, trying to get a good Mulligan sound going.
 

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Amateur player in two community bands. Played alto and tenor in middle and high school, stopped during college, then started playing again in my mid-20’s. Now in my 40’s, I have been playing soprano for 16 years in the trumpet section of a community band. Why?
  • Soprano is SUPER easy to carry around (especially a curved one).
  • Trumpet/cornet music (especially 2nd part) is very consistent and not too difficult.
Honestly, I like it easy! I am still raising a family and have a dual career as a college professor and IT professional, so not a lot of time for practice. However, during the pandemic, my community band broke into sectionals, and I had to start playing alto and tenor again. Wow, the music was more challenging, but I liked it! I was growing more with the music I was learning to play.

Recently, I got a great deal on a Conn 12M stencil, and while baritone sax is the opposite of soprano in weight and size and not easy to transport, I would like to play it in my ensembles. Still, soprano is my favorite (currently own a Conn 6m alto, Vito/YAS 23 alto, Conn C Melody, Vito/Beaugnier tenor, George M. Bundy/Pan Am stencil bari sax, along with a Yana SC 991 and Conn curved soprano)
 

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as to why, it all started with Goldsmith and Marsalis:


 

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Just tenor. I have an alto and have used it when giving informal lessons to kids (when they play alto of course) but don't play it otherwise. I had a bari and liked playing it but disliked the size and weight of it. I've had several sopranos and finally came to the realization that I don't like the sound of the soprano, regardless of whether it's me playing it (badly) or a master playing it well.
 

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I play them all and I have them all out on stands in my practice room. I'll have to admit my preference for alto, but all of them have their charms. I play bari in my local community band mostly because the alto sax section has way too many players for the size of our band. When I started there were like 8 alto sax players, 2 tenors and no baritone saxes in the band. Yeah, my choice was made not unless I wanted to learn oboe or bassoon (we have zero double reeds as well.) I guess I could have drug out my clarinet, but I'm hoping those days are behind me. I actually love my Yany AWO10. It's the best alto I've ever owned bar none (includes my owning an A991, A992, a Keilwerth SX90R, a Yamaha 875 and a Mark VI. I just recently purchased a Yany T880 tenor, but I haven't been able to play it much since I've had some back/neck issues flair up. Once those are resolved I can't wait to dive into that horn. It has a darker but fatter tone than my Yamaha 62 and it needs to be played!!
 

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I started on tenor right around when I turned 30. Clarence Clemmons was my hero, probably Sonny and Dexter on the jazz front. I bought an alto along the way, a '24 TT, but it almost never comes out of the case. It's just not my voice.....
 

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Although my main axe is bari, I am equally fluent on soprano through bass. Yes, including both C-pitched oddities. ;)
 

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Cannonball Vintage Reborn Tenor Sax with Otto Link STM NY 7
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Tenor is may voice. I have an alto, and have played bari.
 

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I play for the fun of it. And it recently occurred to me that I have more fun playing bari than either tenor or alto. (I do envy soprano players when I’m carrying it around.)
 

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VI Soprano, Searchlight Alto, TH&C Tenor
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As I get older, I find that rotating between horns saves on wear and tear. The embouchure of each one tends to apply (for me) a unique stress. On Soprano it‘s under the lip, on tenor it more towards the cheeks. Plus, there is a behavioral psych phenomenon of an immediate enhanced performance when you return to a learned skill. It‘s weird, but very workable for me.
 

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I played all at some point. Currently only tenor (main instrument) and a bit soprano. Tenor because I love the sound and playing it in the bigband, soprano for fun and because it is convenient to have it always with me. I'm always waiting for the good occasion to finally get a baritone since I had to return the one from school many years ago.
 
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