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Another Newbie!

Messages
41
Location
Shetland Islands
Hi peeps

Thought I'd better introduce myself.

I'm a 46 year old smoker, self-employed Virtual PA (glorified Secretary working from home typing all day via sound files), and I moved to the Shetland Islands from London in June 2009.

Well, everyone is so damn musical up here so I thought I'd better learn to play an instrument. I could just about manage Rise of the Rising Sun on a guitar yonks ago but a few years ago I got psoriatic arthritis so can no longer play stringed instruments. The psoriasis is "pustular" and affects my hands and feet where I get tiny blisters that burst and then the skin grows back really thin which is why I can no longer play the guitar. The arthritis is in my hip and knee.

Well, most peeps up here play folk stuff such as the fiddle, drums or the like. Oooh, we got a jazz club up here - not that I think I'm into jazz, preferring more Uriah Heep/Led Zeppelin (yep, I'm an old headbanger).

Live in small 1 bed flat so that rules out the piano. Ah, the joys of getting NME/Sounds as a teenager and playing by ear the charts on my dad's electronic organ.

Right, so how could I annoy the neighbours and compete with my neighbour (who moved up here a couple of weeks after me) who is learning the fiddle and the African drums. I know, me thinks, I could play the recorder at school so mmm, what about a sax?

So I set about scanning the web, nearly fainting at the prices and thinking, God, I'm 200 miles from Aberdeen and 200 miles from Bergen, Norway - how on earth will I get a teacher? I proceeded to watch youtube and starting walking around doing O shapes with me gob and trying to breathe through my nose.

As fate would have it, I'm assisting a pensioner who is moving back to England and I'm listing her household objects for sale on a local community website. After it took me an hour to do that, I spotted a new advert ... Boosey & Hawkes Alto Sax - £80.

So yes, I have committed the deadly sin of buying a second-hand sax which is approximately 15 years old and has barely been used at all. It is a B&H 400 Alto (I reckon it should be nicknamed Boozy & Squawk in my case) but has the plastic thingy bit broken off the back (octave cover?). Apart from that, it lurvellllllllllyyyyyyyy.

So off I drive in me old Chugger (Peugeot 306 DL1.9) to Lerwick to meet said seller. I tried blowing through the mouthpiece - zilch. She played it. I had a look; blow it, I thought, I'll have it. Proceeded to go into our only music shop to buy some new reeds and asked owner to have a look for me who thought it was in pretty good nick. Bought some 1 1/2" Rico reeds and an Abracadabra book with 2 CDs.

E-mailed jazz club and got number of a female sax player up the road (oooh, I hope she says yes to lessons) but in the meantime ...

... got home after putting said Boozy Squawk in its case in dog cage in back of Chugger, drove 25 miles in fog, packed hubby off to work and seen as we have had no electricity all day (they doing repairs to substation and overhead cables) there was only one thing for it ...

... Very gingerly took Boozy Squawks out of case. Blew into mouthpiece - nothing. Ah, remember to warm up reed, whack tongue/lip in right place; remember O. Good grief, I made a sound!

Err now how does this mouthpiece thingy fit on? Err is it lined up right? Well, I don't have a clue but whacked it on (haven't changed the reed yet), breathed in and WHOOOSH!

I swear my two Shar Pei dogs didn't know what had hit them. Tried again - ooooh another noise. Proceeded for next 10 minutes and managed to sustain a 'sound' for 5-6 seconds, occasionally with gob spitting everywhere (I have washable paint on the walls).

So there you have it; another mad woman deciding to give it a go. I didn't think I'd be able to blow into it as years ago I had a neighbour (I think her name was Annie) who played saxophone as a backing musician for (I think) Joe Jackson. Anyway, I think I may have tried to blow into her sax but I really can't remember. Perhaps it was a tenor LOL.

I'm dead chuffed so now will have to persevere, sort out some lessons and hope that the puffins and other birds don't leave Shetland for good when they hear my squawks.

Hoping for lots of tips and friendship through my mad learning curve. Mmm, I'm going to attempt to change the reed tomorrow.
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
Hi and welcome, great story, you'll be just fine 'round here. My wife's a VA.

Fire away with the questions, we'll have you going in no time. And keep up with those African drums - plenty of excellent African jazz to listen to

Phil
 
OP
U
Messages
41
Location
Shetland Islands
Hi and welcome, great story, you'll be just fine 'round here. My wife's a VA.

Fire away with the questions, we'll have you going in no time. And keep up with those African drums - plenty of excellent African jazz to listen to

Phil
Nooooo neighbour has the African drums and the fiddle, not me LOL.

At least neighbours are out all day - I live in bottom floor flat in semi-detached house so have 3 neighbours and other houses are set away from our "block" - thank goodness!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
Blimey.....I think that's got to be one of the longest first posts I've ever seen. :w00t: Welcome to the land of the bent brass blowy thing I hope you enjoy your new found love! :D
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Greetings from Skabertawe & hope you enjoy your squawky efforts - I started out on Abracadabra a few years ago (but there are some others that might also be more up your street - John O'Neill "Jazz Method for Alto Saxophone" is one of the best, and seems more geared to Adults IMHO).

My wife once visited Shetland, and mainly commented on the lack of trees (compared to Orkney at least). Hope it all goes well for you up there!

Loved the long post BTW!:w00t:
Tom:cool:
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Could you repeat that please:))) Wow i'm exhausted reading all that. Anyway welcome to the Caff!!
Great bunch here, i'm sure you'll get all the info you need. Ask away if you need help. Phil:welldone
 

Mikec

Member
Messages
201
Location
Buckinghamshire, UK
Welcome. Squawky noises are de rigeur for a while at first, but persevere. Make sure you fully explore the main site that this forum is attached to. Pete has some really valuable stuff here.
 
OP
U
Messages
41
Location
Shetland Islands
Thanks for all your wishes and I'll try to keep my posts shorter in future (though I can't promise if I get excited at achieving something!). Thanks for the advice and yep, I've already started to have a quick decker around the site as the workload permits.
 

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
Hi
welcome to the forum from the sunny south
Gotta name? Good job you got internet, you can order all your music, reeds etc online, probably a necessity up there?
Your squeaks and squawks will soon turn into peeps and parps, and that's progress:welldone
 
OP
U
Messages
41
Location
Shetland Islands
Hola (aaah reminds me of Cuba ...)

Yep, got a name - Suzy.

End of week rather busy with work and to top it all, I've come down with flu minus the snots. I have no idea whether it is swine flu but can definitely vouch that it is an absolute pig. Therefore, Boozy Squawks has stayed in its case and I haven't even changed the reed yet as I planned to do.

Mmm, better give the mouthpiece a bit of a wash too - you reckon I caught swine flu off it?
 

Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
Messages
698
Location
Vermont, USA
Welcome Suzy ~

So sorry to hear the bug bit you too (or the swine). The men in my family got it first, then the girls ~ and you're absolutely right, it's a big pig.

I'd highly recommend a rinse of the mouthpiece. ;} I hear vodka works wonders for killing bacteria on reeds as well as mp's.

Hope you are feeling better soon....enjoyed your long post as well.
 
OP
U
Messages
41
Location
Shetland Islands
Welcome Suzy ~

So sorry to hear the bug bit you too (or the swine). The men in my family got it first, then the girls ~ and you're absolutely right, it's a big pig.

I'd highly recommend a rinse of the mouthpiece. ;} I hear vodka works wonders for killing bacteria on reeds as well as mp's.

Hope you are feeling better soon....enjoyed your long post as well.
Cheers for your kind words Lori. The bug wasn't really too bad and only lasted from Friday until Monday. Do you reckon brandy would do the same job as I don't drink vodka?;}

I appreciate all the tips peeps have given me re the reeds.
 
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