Saxophones Alto or not?

Jeanette

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Well my tennis elbow is improving but not helped playing sop so am wondering whether to buy an alto as I hope a strap will take the weight. Though I guess as advised previously I could play sop sat down and resting it on my knee.

I had a hankering for a tenor a while ago but when I tried one didn't take to it and was advised that if I bought it I should put the sop away and concentrate on tenor which at the time I wasn't willing to do.

I did also try an alto but wasn't really looking for one so didn't spend much time with it. I recall thinking it felt a bit squashed (for want of a better description) but that's probably because I play a straight sop.

At the moment putting the sop away and playing alto is better than playing nothing but bearing in mind I have not yet mastered the sop will playing alto confuse me more. Tenor seemed a good idea as it too was Bb.

Perhaps I would get a better tone from alto as sop still leaves a lot to be desired to my ears anyway.


I have an eye on Milandro's alto here would that be a good choice for a beginner (even after 3 yrs I still consider myself a beginner) especially as I don't want to do what I did with sop and buy a cheaper horn to upgrade later. I will never use it professionally only as an amateur with a local orchestra but want a reasonable horn :)

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Jeanette
 
I would definitely give the alto a try Jeanette. Try as many as you can though as there will be one that fits you like a glove.
I bought my alto eighteen months ago after playing tenor for twelve years and have really taken to it. Moving from Bb to Eb and back hasn't made my head explode or anything. What I have noticed is that my posture is better having played alto. Perhaps this will help with your tennis elbow problem.
I also have a similar elbow problem, but this is due to 40 years of aggressive glassblowing and luckily playing the sax doesn't aggravate it.
Milandro's alto looks very nice (if you like brown that is).

And if I were to buy a sop, the model you have would be on top of my list.
 
Milandro's is certainly tempting, I might have bought it myself but I had just bought an alto the week before he advertised it.
But especially with your tennis elbow and not having played alto it would probably be better just to follow the usual boring advice to try as many as possible and find one that fits.
That's advice from a beginner who's been playing longer than you.
 
+1 Targa
Alto's are nice, but I'm a tenor person first.

I've just started playing Soprano with a Cannonball Global Series, I was wondering how your instrument gave you problems with Tennis Elbow.

Whatever you choose, definitely "Try Before You Buy."
 
Lots of people regularly switch, even between numbers. And some during numbers, ask Taz.

The pitch difference may confuse, but breath support and embouchure are more important differences. I find the pitch change helps my brain dial in to how I have to play each sax.

Beware of generalisation. Some people can switch easily, others don't. There's a tendency for teachers to give a blanket no to avoid the problems some people have.

Worth a try I'd say. Especially if you pick a mouthpiece that plays more like a sop than a tenor.
 
On instrument choice, there's more than one in the yard sale. But I'd try to borrow/play an alto for a while first, see if alto plus strap does help your elbow. It's a lot of money if it makes things worse. Maybe one of the members close to you had something you can try for a while.
 
+1 Targa
Alto's are nice, but I'm a tenor person first.

I've just started playing Soprano with a Cannonball Global Series, I was wondering how your instrument gave you problems with Tennis Elbow.

Whatever you choose, definitely "Try Before You Buy."


I really don't think the sop caused the tennis elbow problem but it certainly doesn't help now I have it. Cause is up for debate at the moment. My acupuncturist has a theory re general tension and stress being the cause. Physio thinks it has built over time and sax along with computer use will have caused it.

@kevgermany @Targa @Andrew Sanders You are all of course right I should try as many as possible, the advice I would give too but finding the time is the problem, perhaps I should have a trip to Europe to try Milandro's, now there is a thought :)

I will of course discuss with my tutor and ponder a while before I jump in.

Jx
 
I took up Alto and Sop pretty much at the same time (coming up for a year ago) after a life time of tenor to expand my horizons , I`d have thought that Sop would be more useful as it`s the same key as Tenor but it`s the Alto which gets the most play of the two , it`s the Sound more than anything (I only gig Tenor and the others are for my own amusement) .. The Altos battle on and have settled down to a very humble pairing - the Pruple Rat YAS21 and Sakkusu Elkhart Deluxe (SA80 wannabe) , both punch well above their weights, I actually prefer the Rat soundwise to the brand new YAS62-III I had 9 months ago and the Saki is of TJ SR standard ! so a seriously good horn isn`t gonna break the bank Jeanette (mine are worth about £500 the PAIR) .. Alto will never replace tenor for me but I love it as a play anywhere, flexible horn you can play really quiet :D

It`s got to the stage now that I play the Sop so rarely that I`m considering putting the superb Elkhart Series 300 up on the yardsale..
 
Go for it Jeanette, I think you might just love it. :)
 
Go for it Jeanette, I think you might just love it. :)


The only problem is I will then be on a mouthpiece hunt, need a stand, try some reeds etc..........more shopping :)

Jx
 
Let me throw in a curved ball -
Just over a year ago I gave up on guitar [ 10 years in from late life start ] because of shoulder and hands rsi's and started on saxophone. Ended up with alto for size. And I found also that a little Meister fitted like a glove but had no soul for me .Ended up with DavidUk's Vito alto and Conn eagle mouthpiece which gives me hours of fun and is just a litle less my size than the Meister but bearable with saxholder .
Long story shortened: I've been playing my Recording King 000 acoustic guitar for a few months again now.
and can feel no RSI's anymore. The different finger and hand positions on sax have sorted out my brain habits it seems. Also sax teachers talk about sound imaging in a way that has seriously helped my sax playing. And I'm much more adventurous on the guitar and just dive into a piece in a new way.
And my sax playing is expanding too - a win-win game.

So I'm suggesting try a totally different instrument AS WELL. If you can afford Milandro's alto, you could afford a Jericho J6 alto and a reasonable second hand guitar that someone here might have lying about .

But above all go to a big sax shop and try them all out for comfort.

P.S. I would lend you the Buffet Crampon 100 from DavidUK, that plays fluidly, with action like cat ready to pounce [ i.e. really fluid and easy ] that did not grab me with it's voice.

P.S.S aches and pains are a pain in the *rs*. I do anything I can think of to avoid them.
 
" Also sax teachers talk about sound imaging in a way that has seriously helped my sax playing. And I'm much more adventurous on the guitar and just dive into a piece in a new way.
And my sax playing is expanding too - a win-win game"



I mean that the sax tone imagination has really sorted out my guitar playing.
 
I love all my saxophones. Bari tenor alto and sop. They all have something different to offer. Eb to Bb switch will feel a little odd at first but in the long term will make you a more aware of which one you're playing and a more sensitive player. Nobody seems to have mentioned switching to a curved sop. I went for the curved sop to avoid awakening a thumb problem that seems to have been dormant for years. The arm position is a little close but the sling takes the strain.
 
I love all my saxophones. Bari tenor alto and sop. They all have something different to offer. Eb to Bb switch will feel a little odd at first but in the long term will make you a more aware of which one you're playing and a more sensitive player. Nobody seems to have mentioned switching to a curved sop. I went for the curved sop to avoid awakening a thumb problem that seems to have been dormant for years. The arm position is a little close but the sling takes the strain.


Must admit I didn't give any thought to a curved sop, think I would be expected to sell my straight sop if I did that and I can't bear to part with it but it would be a solution:(

Thanks Col

Jx
 
Last edited:
Let me throw in a curved ball -
Just over a year ago I gave up on guitar [ 10 years in from late life start ] because of shoulder and hands rsi's and started on saxophone. Ended up with alto for size. And I found also that a little Meister fitted like a glove but had no soul for me .Ended up with DavidUk's Vito alto and Conn eagle mouthpiece which gives me hours of fun and is just a litle less my size than the Meister but bearable with saxholder .
Long story shortened: I've been playing my Recording King 000 acoustic guitar for a few months again now.
and can feel no RSI's anymore. The different finger and hand positions on sax have sorted out my brain habits it seems. Also sax teachers talk about sound imaging in a way that has seriously helped my sax playing. And I'm much more adventurous on the guitar and just dive into a piece in a new way.
And my sax playing is expanding too - a win-win game.

So I'm suggesting try a totally different instrument AS WELL. If you can afford Milandro's alto, you could afford a Jericho J6 alto and a reasonable second hand guitar that someone here might have lying about .

But above all go to a big sax shop and try them all out for comfort.

P.S. I would lend you the Buffet Crampon 100 from DavidUK, that plays fluidly, with action like cat ready to pounce [ i.e. really fluid and easy ] that did not grab me with it's voice.

P.S.S aches and pains are a pain in the *rs*. I do anything I can think of to avoid them.


Thanks Jane we do have a guitar ain the house but it's my sons and when I was thinking of taking up an instrument I tried it and couldn't get comfortable on it but perhaps I should try again :)

The problem with going to a big sax shop I would feel guilty trying lots of lovely saxophones that I probably wouldn't buy new and then end up looking for a secondhand one of the one I like, I know people do this but I'm not sure I could.

Jx
 
If you`re after a curvy Jeanette, I may let my excellent Elkhart 300 go, it`s a lovely horn with a fast well balanced action, beautifully made but not overweight like the Chinese curvies .. I think of it as a Paupers Yani-901, it`s better made than the Elkhart deluxe
 
Must admit I didn't give any thought to a curved sop, think I would be expected to sell my straight sop if I did that ad I can't bear to part with it but it would be a solution:(

Thanks Col

Jx

An instrument you can't play is just an ornament. Nice but useless.
 
Jeanette, you haven't mentioned whether the "tennis elbow" is in the right arm or left. If it is the right arm that has the problem, then switching to a saxophone that uses a neck strap to support the weight rather than the right thumb, wrist, and forearm might be the solution.

I had that problem in my left arm, not from playing sax but from years of painting, drywall taping, and carpentry. Eventually I had to have it operated on. The recovery was quite slow, but it solved the problem.
I asked the surgeon just before the operation if afterward I could play the violin, and he scowled at me, "Do you know how many times I have had to listen to that stupid joke?" Oops. . . . Maybe that had something to do with my long, painful recovery from the operation.
 
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