All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Saxophones Alto V Tenor

GaryB

New Member
Messages
2
Hi Everyone, I haven't been on the forum for a long time but feel I need to ask for some support on this topic.
I am 54 yrs old and have owned an alto sax for about two years left to me by a dear friend and great sax player.

I read music to a point having played trumpet at school etc & I have played guitar and keyboards in bands for a good few years.
I have two problems
1. I want to play sax in a newly formed band for fun but I can only play by ear as I find it really hard to get my head around the dots !!
2. Having got on really well with the Alto by ear (fumbling I think is more like it!) the band are very bluesy and think it may be worth converting to a Tenor. How difficult would that be and has all my learning and patience by my good lady wife been a waste of time? ANY HELP would be Grrrreat .
Many Thanks G. ;}
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
Personally, I wouldn't anticipate any great difficulty in moving from alto to tenor. But, they are different - in my view - in terms of what you play. For me, the alto has a "tension" (best word I can think of) to it, whereas the tenor is "relaxed".

But both are great for the blues - remember Ray Charles was an alto player!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Welcome back..

If anything tenor is easier, and I find playing both improves my embouchure/sound on both. Tenor blows softer, with more air and less resistance, but a lot depends on mouthpiece.

Biggest difference, which may affect you as an ear player is that the alto's in Eb, but the tenor's in Bb. So you may take a while to get used to that. If that proves difficult, try a baritone. It's in Eb like the alto, but an octave deeper.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
If anything tenor is easier, and I find playing both improves my embouchure/sound on both. Tenor blows softer, with more air and less resistance, but a lot depends on mouthpiece.
That's a fairly scientific sort of statement. And following on from it, I found the alto easier to play, but I much prefer the tenor. Kev mentions the mouthpiece. I don't know how typical I am, but finding the most suitable mouthpiece and reed combination took a bit of effort. In any case, a person of your ability would have little difficulty making the switch.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
The general view seems to be that it is easier to get a better sound on tenor than on alto, though alto is commonly presented as THE beginning instrument, probably because it is lighter to hold, which may matter if you are starting as a younger teenager. The tenor does require more air and moving from alto will mean a larger mouthpiece, if in Ebonite at least, so a period of adaptation is to be expected.
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Hi Gary,
I used to play Alto and changed to Tenor because the music i played sounded so much better on Tenor. If your an ear player you will soon pick it up again. Once you know the keys the band plays in you can use Blues scales and minor pentatonic's. You will soon get into it again. As regards mouthpieces, they are bigger but you will soon adapt i know i did. Best of luck.
Rob.
 

GaryB

New Member
Messages
2
Many thanks to everyone for your advice and comments, really appreciated. I think it is going to be a case of 'Giving it a go'. Really interesting stuff on mouth pieces which I need to consider for sure.


Thanks again and I will keep you posted on my progress.

Gary
 
Saxholder Pro
Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom