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Almost 40 and starting over again...

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
Hi everybody,

Well, I turn 40 just before Xmas and have, for the time being at least, got the bug again after an absence of twenty-odd years. I started learning the sax by myself in my late teens and probably got to what would be described as "intermediate" level. My problem has always been that I'm not very good at concentrating on a single thing and taking it to a high level. There's always a distraction...

I was always pretty musical at school and between the ages of nine and thirteen, under the tutelage of a rather scary witch-like music teacher, reached quite an advanced level with the recorder. I played the bass recorder in the school ensemble and, once I moved on to my next school, graduated to the oboe at the witch's suggestion, with an eye to eventually moving on to the bassoon. Unfortunately, I couldn't stand my new teacher, didn't enjoy playing in a very boring (and poor) orchestra and, frankly, neither the oboe nor the bassoon were particularly sexy.

My parents bought me a Yamaha YAS-62 alto in the late 80s. I remember going with my Dad to Howarths in London (I found the receipt recently) and trying lots of the shiny horns on show. The one I really wanted was a Yanagisawa that was way too expensive, but I didn't do too badly in the end. With hindsight, I think my folks were nuts to spend so much on my first sax; I doubt that they could really have afforded it either, but I guess they love me. :)

I remember the salesman asking me why I wanted to play the sax and answering that I'd heard Tommy Smith on the radio and really liked the sound. He then asked why I was looking at altos and not tenors. Good question! The truth was two-fold: going "alto" was a backlash against those former bass instruments to an instrument with lead pitch, but also I figured that "we" could afford a better alto than a tenor. The latter was definitely true; however, I still wonder whether or not I should have gone for a tenor instead...

My interest waned in my twenties as I had other priorities on my time ;} . I also have an odd ear problem which occasionally made practicing uncomfortable (it's best described as the volume in that ear cutting in and out at high SPL - detaching ear drum?). That problem is still with me; hopefully I can manage it this time around.


Fast forward...


So I decided that I wanted a new cool :cool: mouthpiece and picked up a metal Yanagisawa #9 :eek: on eBay from some "old player now retiring". Yanagisawa again - I couldn't resist even though I had some doubts that I might be pushing it with a #9 facing! A quick Google of the seller's name revealed exactly who he was: see http://www.antonweinberg.com/WorkingHistory.htm - I almost stopped reading after seeing Hendrix and The Beatles on his list of "worked with". Not much to live up to then!

Anyway, I attached a new (yellow box) Alexander Superial 2½ reed to the new mouthpiece and, erm, nothing. Perhaps I was a bit ambitious on the facing and reed strength! Reassuringly, the 2½ worked fine with my original Yamaha 4C, and an old 1½ Rico got a decent sound from the Yani, so I got some Superials in 1½ and they play well. The Yani mouthpiece really does sing.

Other interests? Far too many - I need to rationalize! Very much a geek, I work for McAfee, hence my moniker. I love the outdoors and am quite into "Ray Mears" style bushcraft. I'm an admin/moderator of the Meridian Audio users forum, though my interest in this has definitely peaked. I'm lucky enough to own some really good hifi equipment, on which I'm discovering classic jazz - some I like, some I don't...

Finally, I think I've a good ear for pitch, which is one reason why I wasn't afraid of trying a large facing. I tend to do lots of free-form improv in my head and I quite often take unusual and interesting turns which surprise me! My challenge is to learn the instrument to a level where I can translate what's in my head to sound. Jazz theory will be important, if only to give my improv a bit of structure. Not sure how much I'll be around this forum, but it's great to know that it exists.

And thank you Pete for this great internet resource!

VK (Joel)
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Hi Joel and welcome to the cafe. OG'll not be happy, too many "youngsters" running around the place! :))) He'll want to know if you wear hoodies and hang around outside the shops drinking cheap cider with "ya posse"
Just ignore him and enjoy your old found friend, the sax!
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Welcome Joel,
I remember 40, thinking it was about the half way point. Now I hope it wasn't or I'm three quarters through.
It's great to come back to playing music. Enjoy it!
There are a few others on here from around MK. That nice Mr Half Diminished for one.

Taz - OG only associates with a higher class group of people - hoodies who drink Czech beer :w00t:
YC
 

kostas

New Member
Messages
27
Hi Joel and welcome!!!
It's nice to hear from you and your return to sax playing!!! Your age in my opinion is the best to get down with your playing and learn more about Jazz. We have the same age and about the same goals!!!:cheers:
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Hi and welcome Joel, I started again after fourty years. You'll soon pick it up again.

John.
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Welcome VK (Joel) ...

Hello Mate ...

Good to see you here ...

Have fun while reacquainting yourself with your sax ... ;}

and great take care NOT to blow out you lug holes mate ... :shocked:
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Welcome to the cafe and thnaks for the great introduction. Just installed some McAfee update yesterday. As for saxophones, I have come to the conclusion that they all can produce beautiful music (caveat: can't say I have heard a sopranino, and views seem to be divided on that).
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
It does seem that 40 is the new 50! :w00t::shocked: Time was that "Late Bloomer" used to mean something..............;} I offer a very warm welcome to the Cafe as a dedicated Alto player, and hope that you have a great time on the Forum. Motivation can be an issue for lots of folks on the Cafe, for a variety of reasons. How do you find the Superial reeds? I play DC's occasionally, and love the tone they produce.

Anyway, Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
Welcome Joel,

I enjoyed reading your introduction post. Your renewed enthusiasm is contagious. I've only recently started self-learning the Alto sax myself. I'm 61, so how's that for a late start? I started playing violin at 55. Moreover, like you, I'm distracted easily. Like right now I'm writing an instrumental for guitar and bass, and I'm also putting in the drums. Drums are yet another instrument that I'm only just starting to learn. I started on the bongos and congas about two years ago. I couldn't keep a beat to save my soul when I first bought them, but I stuck with it and it paid off. I starting drumming so well I decided to buy a full drum set. Of course, with that comes a need to learn limb independence, etc. When I first sat down at the drum set I though this was going to be impossible, but I kept plugging away and now I'm actually playing some pretty nice grooves.

I know this is off-topic from the sax, but that's what I mean about becoming distracted. I haven't touched the sax in about a week or two now. But I do enjoy playing it. Last time I played it I was coming along pretty good. I'll have to get it back out here again and make a little more progress. Fortunately I've been finding that previous practice remains in tact even when I take breaks from playing an instrument.

Hope you enjoy getting back into the sax and don't get too distracted with other things like I always do.

By the way, 40 sounds like 20 to me! I think you're lucky to have gotten back into it while you're still young.
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
Thank you everyone for your welcome!

Just installed some McAfee update yesterday.
Uh oh! (Actually, it's pretty good. It might not be the least intrusive of the anti-virus scanners, but that's because it's doing more.).

How do you find the Superial reeds? I play DC's occasionally, and love the tone they produce.
It's too early to tell Tom - I saw Pete's recommendation for Superials, found a cheap supplier - www.reeds-direct.co.uk (who turned out to have excellent customer service as well) - and went with them. I've changed mouthpiece as well, of course, but the Superial 1½ with the Yani metal #9 produces a very clear tone. Actually, once my embouchure is strengthened a bit, I fancy trying a Legere strength 2 reed simply so I can pick up the sax whenever I want and just play. I guess that might not lead to disciplined practice sessions, but every little helps! £20 for a reed though...

By the way, 40 sounds like 20 to me! I think you're lucky to have gotten back into it while you're still young.
I hope so!
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Hi VK

Another 60 plus novice saying hello 3 yrs in and loving every minute, just received my latest toy in the post this morning a little cheap nino and had a quick blow(luckily it came complete with a reed) and the immediate problem is the fingering seems close together for my fat sausage fingers but it's all fun,enjoy your new journey...john

ps shan't mention my problems with PANDA (OOPS I JUST DID)
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Welcome to the cafe and thnaks for the great introduction. Just installed some McAfee update yesterday. As for saxophones, I have come to the conclusion that they all can produce beautiful music (caveat: can't say I have heard a sopranino, and views seem to be divided on that).
Try going to YOUR SOUNCLIPS there is a nice bit of nino playing
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
HI VK, big welcome from me. I think you'll find a lot of us are either late starters or coming back to the sax fold are many years absence. I started 2 1/2 years ago and i'm 49 now so not quite in OG territory. I too love my hi-fi that i am re-kindling interest in after a long hiatus, god it's so expensive. Cleaned all my old vinyl and listening with renewed vigour to tracks i had long forgotten.
Lets us know how you get on, look forward to more posts from you.
Phil
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,552
Hi VK,
welcome to the cafe. I started playing alto almost 2 years ago (wow, has it really been that long, how time flies). I used to murder violin at school, and play trombone somewhat better. But the alto was new for me, and I love it.
I had just turned 43 at the time, so another mid-life starter.
enjoy your playing and enjoy the cafe.
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,581
Kia Ora from NZ, VK.
Yup as others have said great intro. you'll fit in around here no problems..... 40 is such a tender age, still so much to learn so little time, so just enjoy the ride.

Cheers and Ciao
Jimu
 
Saxholder Pro
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