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A serious need for a practice sax!


New Member
Hi all,

I don't really know where to post this, but I'd have to say there's a serious need for many to rehearse sax fingerings, and practice reed on a practice sax that is not loud at all!

I've heard people say you can use a recorder, but that is only true for a minority. The recorder is missing a lot of keys.
What comes closer is an EWI or electronic sax. They have more key finger combinations, and the fingerings are very similar to the sax.
Yet none of the electric saxes have anything to rehearse the reed on.

A Xyphoon is basically a recorder with a reed, which could work for reed rehearsal, but not fingering positions.

Some people prefer a soprano sax, because it has the correct fingerings, and has a reed that requires much more precise reed control.
That combined with a soft reed would give you less volume.
But a soprano sax is a full blown sax, rehearsing on it WILL wake your next door neighbors when you're going all out on it!

I just wanted to bring to people's attention that there is a great need for something accurate like a sax, but without the noise levels.

The problem is that you can't put a damper on the horn, because it'd still be loud!
Perhaps a soprano sax, paired with a trumpet damper could reduce volume to some extend. What are your opinions?

Ow, btw, I'm not so fond of the sax bag where you put the sax in and your hands...
It's just gross becomes all damp inside and stuff!

We really really need something else!
Like an electric wind instrument like the akai ewi, but with the correct sax buttons on the correct location, a reed, that goes into a damper, and a sensor that can deduce which is the right algorythm of sound to calculate from the sound of the reed.

Total cost:
Seeing that the akai EWI USB costs $300, that one could be made for a good $600!

- Low cost,
- Midi (?2?) controller for controlling software (preferably over a connection with higher bandwidth (at least twice the bandwidth and bit depth of a midi connection (eg: 256 volume settings instead of 128, and double the data transfer, as well as accepting new MIDI commands)
- Nearly silent for rehearsals
- Software based, so good for (amplified) Live, or studio work (noiseless)

I think there's a serious need out there for a silent sax like this!
It just needs a company who's willing to work on something like this.
The hardest part will be creating a newer (updated) standard for midi, which allows more control, and greater precision, and make it backwards compatible with standard midi.

The EWI4000s for instance has a breath control that has several thousand steps (midi only 128).
Electronic drumsets that work with piezzo pickups, use analog signals (millions of steps), convert it down to several thousands of volume steps.

Why midi still uses 128 steps goes beyond my logic; it can artificially upboosted to 256 by assigning 2 analog sensors with an intensity difference of 0.5 midi steps between eachother.
128 volume settings was ok for studio work, where audio signals are compressed and volume is always limited.

In live situations more steps are necessary to reach near to analog levels, to handle the dynamic differences between low and high volumes in live settings.

I know this is not really a forum where a lot of manufacturers or business men who will want to invest in things, are going to look; but I seriously hope to start communication already, plant the idea, that hopefully one day someone who has the resources, skills and money could make this idea a possibility.


ex Landrover Nut
Agreed. But it needs the same breath control/breath support as well.

btw, most of the sound of the sax comes out of the tone holes, low notes are a bit different.

old git

Tremendous Bore
Check this out It's expensive though.

Good idea but two possible snags.
1) The reed will not resonate with half a ton of metal glued to it (OK, admit slight exaggeration)
2) VL70M is I think, the unit used with the Yamaha WX EWI. Not available as does not meet concurrent UK electric safety regulations.

Only know about these as wanted to get one for my 4000S but would need to import privately.


Senior Member
The synthphone is interesting. I'm curious though, how does one mute a saxophone totally, yet still allow the player to use the reed? Won't the sound be generated at the very start of the crook/mouthpiece?



New Member
Perhaps these days with cheaper saxes made in china, the looks don't matter much, the sound quality of the horn won't matter much, in fact, those horns that are created with a tonehole wrong located and have some keys sound sharp or flat would be excellent bodies for an electronic sax.

I understand about the reed vibration, if someone is going to bring out an ewi style of sax with a reed, the reed will behave the same always. On a sax it behaves differently when one is playing low or high notes.
And if a body of a sax is used, and the tone holes are closed, and just electronically sensed when one is closed, the reed would be blowing the same vibrations all the time,
unless there exists some kind of electronic diaphragma that when opening or closing could affect the tone coming out of the instrument.

then there's another problem, that the sax is a horn (cone) shaped. Perhaps creating a practice sax pipe (not cone) shaped could reduce volume a lot! But then it would sound like an oboe or clarinet, and unless there are ways found to dampen the sound, even a clarinet or oboe can sound very loud!

The more I think about it, the more I seem to become aware why there does not exist something like this!
I'm sure many master minds have already come together to bend over this issue, and perhaps the EWI was the closest thing they could come up with!

But even an EWI with increased resolution, and keys in positions of sax keys would already be a great improvement!
If then they could improve their mouthpiece, from a bite sensor, to one that senses like a reed (softer, and senses not only how hard ones lips press against it, but also where they press), it'd add a lot of dimension to the instrument; like make it sound more jazzy or sharp!
Currently to add a little of growl or sharpness to the tone the only thing the Akai EWI USB's aria player software can do is blowing harder adds a bit of that.

The bite sensor of the EWI only controls vibrato (vibrating the note between cents of sharp and flat depending how hard one bites it).

I personally am convinced that the EWI is a great step inbetween beginners (especially for children) who will want to learn sax, but are not ready yet to have anything heavier than a straight soprano sax hanging from their necks; and still want to practice fingering.

BTW, the sythophone is indeed very expensive. It's sound quality is very depending on midi synths, or software. I haven't been able to locate a youtube video yet, where they are capturing the ambient noise the instrument makes!
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Suggest that you go to the website and read Tutorial, Reed preparation. Clearly shows the need to attach a metal part to a reed and via a magnetic system, allows one to bend notes.

Notes are bent on a 4000S by movement of the left thumb, not sure on the WX, perhaps That Nice Mr. Thomas can tell us.

Of course the great advantage of having a MIDI system and a EWI, whatever type, is that you can voice other instruments, excellent if you can find good single note samples such as Pete's Human Saxophone which also includes many other instruments.
Maybe the Synthophone with the amplifier turned down and one of those mouthpiece practice and silencing thingies might do.

Apologies for being serious.

Pete C

Why not just practise scales, arpeggios etc without blowing. That way you still practise the fingering on the actual instrument you will eventually play. Top US tenor man Jerry Bergonzi actually recommends virtual practise - just imagine yourself playing the scales, patterns, licks and try to hear them!



Well-Known Member
Freebies ...

Why not just practise scales, arpeggios etc without blowing. That way you still practise the fingering on the actual instrument you will eventually play. Top US tenor man Jerry Bergonzi actually recommends virtual practise - just imagine yourself playing the scales, patterns, licks and try to hear them!


And while you are at it you can always get loads of new horns, mouthpeices, stands etc or any other instruments you fancy playing "at no direct cost" [£$ Absolutely FREE $£] - Virtual GAS ... :)))

Sorry Pete - Couldn't resist it ...
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