The Answers You’ve Been Waiting For!

We’re trying something a little different today.

I’m going to give short answers to common questions that I am often asked. If you have a question that you would like answered, go ahead and let me know in the comment section. If we receive enough questions, I’ll write another post, answering your questions. OK, here we go!

How many saxophones are there?

A whole bunch! The most common saxophones are the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. However, there are many more saxophones, such as: sopranino, C-melody, bass, contra bass, and soprillo. Oh yeah, we can’t forget the slide saxophone…or the plastic saxophone!

Who invented the saxophone?

Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax. The saxophone was probably invented between 1838 and 1842.

Have you ever played an A. Sax saxophone?

Yes I have. It was extremely light weight, and I was hesitant to play the forte dynamic for fear of breaking it- which I knew was not possible, but it sure felt like it!

Are the fingerings different on each saxophone?

All the fingerings on each saxophone are exactly the same. So, if you can play one, you can play them all! At least in regards to fingerings.

Why does the music sound wrong if I play with the piano, reading off the same music?

The piano is considered a C instrument. The alto saxophone is an Eb instrument. If they both play an Eb, the pitch coming out of the saxophone will not be the same as the piano. In order for the alto saxophone to match the Eb pitch of the piano, the alto saxophone must play a C.

What is the most difficult saxophone to play?

Even though the fingerings are the same on all conventional saxophones, there is one instrument (out of the most common saxophones) that tends to be more difficult to play than the others: the soprano saxophone. It can present greater challenges in relation to response and intonation.

What brands are considered to make the best saxophones?

Traditionally, the most trusted saxophone brands are Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, and Keilworth. These companies are often referred to as “the big 4”. However, other instrument manufactures are becoming more competitive.

If you were to recommend a new saxophone in the $300 range, what would it be?

Saxophonists don’t like to make suggestions in this price range, but if I had to, I would suggest the Etude EAS-100.  I’ve played on a few of these saxophone, and they’ve been pleasantly surprising. However, I would only purchase from a big name retailer that backs up their products and has a return policy.

What’s your best advice for a beginner?

Practice daily, or as consistently as you can.

When should I begin vibrato or altissimo?

After you have a solid embouchure and you (as well as others) like the sound coming out of your saxophone.

How do you create vibrato on saxophone?

Move the jaw up and down in a smooth motion. You’re basically pushing on the reed and then releasing that pressure to create the vibrato.

How do you growl on the saxophone?

Hum into the saxophone as you’re playing a note. Make sure you hum a different pitch than you’re playing, or it won’t work.  It’s kind of a funny combination. Its like you’re playing the saxophone and the kazoo at the same time!

More Questions?

If you can think of any other questions you would like answered, just let me know in the comment section. If we receive enough, we’ll write another post in the same manner.

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Thanks for reading!



Comments 4

  1. Thanks for the encouragement, have a Buecher Tenor haven’t played it for many years would like to learn again, thanks for the secret tips.
    Cheers Rick,
    from Australia

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      No problem Rick. Look forward to working with you. If you haven’t signed up for the free lessons yet, you can do that on the right side of this page. If you have, go ahead and send in a recording after completing some of the lessons.

  2. Yesterday for the first time when playing D or E with the octave key, the D sounded like an A and the E also didn’t have the correct sound. I checked the keys and everything seemed to be opening and closing correctly. So something is not correct. What could the problem be? Thanks

    1. Post

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