All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Bad tone days

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,596
@Pete Effamy ; Thanks man that's a very comprehensive answer. The last couple of sentences we could all learn a lot from. It is all about that 5% and putting that right totally. Any practice session should be devoted to your weakest points in my opinion. Sure ; take time out to have a blast and enjoy but you have to be your own critic and address those issues that are lacking : they are not gonna fix themselves.

As to mpcs. I kind of prefer hr but tend to go for offset Bergs which mostly come in assorted metals. I used to be on a mpc " quest " searching for that perfect sound...we've all been there I guess. Had some great ones. Lamberson DD : Gale " companion " ( that was great ! ) Pillinger slant link : various Dukoffs etc etc.
Ìt always seems to come back to Bergs. The classic R&R / R& B sound ; again in my opinion and up for debate ? They work for me.
I can't afford two grand for a Freddie Gregory or à Guardala so I am very up for opinions as to mpcs that fit my sound concept...no hurry. I'm playing a Quantum right now ; it's just fine ( though I've managed to lose the spoiler ).
Thanks again Pete
Best
M

Hey,

Yes, always practice what you can't do, otherwise it's not a practice session it's a playing session. I think that many people have forgotten about Bergs. They were a prominent piece in the 80's and I think I had one for a bit - but ahead of the time when I was capable of utilising it. Marienthal played one on tenor when he came over to the UK with Lee Ritenour in the 90's. It's just a tool - like the rest of your gear - and it sounds like you've already figured out what suits you and the way you want to play.
Whilst I had hundreds of clarinet lessons over the years I never had any on sax, and I think that someone might well have pointed me towards the gear setup I now use. That would have been great, to have had this setup 30 years ago.
Not all pieces will match every horn for you. For quite a few years I had a Yanagisawa A800 Elimona alto. Very nice player, but to get a pop sound I was using a Dukoff D10! It didn't feel at all big. When I changed my horn to a Mk6, I couldn't control the Dukoff at all. A800 smaller bore instrument? Something different..
All brands/types of reed don't always suit each mouthpiece either. Playing the clarinet is much easier in this respect as the range of sound is far smaller. If you ignore early clarinet jazz styles and go from the Swing era then they are considerably less again. Goodman to Daniels isn't much distance, though at times Eddie uses a lot of air and less focus in the sound - but this is pretty easy to back off to.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,596
I also think that for many of us your mind can plot against you at times and it's something you need to learn to recognise. Those days when we think that we sound awful - if you've been playing long enough to be confident of embouchure and airstream then to go from a good sound to an awful sound depending on the day is obviously not true, it's just our perception. And this could be simply the mood we woke up with that day. If you have those days where you hate your sound, then recognise that and work on some other part of your technique and save the tone stuff until you're in a better frame of mind.
 

randulo

Living the dream
Subscriber
Messages
5,329
This is a deep topic. Music is very much like wine. Other than professionals in wine, people with long studies and practice, appreciation of wine is very context-sensitive. In the same way, music, specifically, your own playing day to day not only varies, but your reception of it varies. I'm a beginner on sax but I have been playing guitar for over half a century. There are things I can play, have been playing for decades, yet I can pick up the instrument and sound like crap, at least to myself. On the saxophone, I have good days and bad days. On the bad days I question the entire existence of a saxophone in my life. On the good ones, I imagine expressing myself in a flowing creativity, with an unmistakeable sound in front of... 15 people in a café, two of whom look up briefly when a flat five sneaks into some well-know melody. Seriously, we all have these days, but as Pete says, working on what you can't do is a major help, because you can easily measure your progress. I'm currently practicing a 12-key simple riff. In three or four of the keys, I could do it immediately. Only 9 more to go! But day after day, I see the harder ones getting easier.
 

Admitone

Member
Messages
177
Any practice session should be devoted to your weakest points in my opinion.
And not just to make the weak points better. I find I tend anticipate sections I'm not confident about, and that throws me off parts I can play easily. That's true with troublesome notes/tones as well.

Practice what makes you most nervous.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,596
And not just to make the weak points better. I find I tend anticipate sections I'm not confident about, and that throws me off parts I can play easily. That's true with troublesome notes/tones as well.

Practice what makes you most nervous.
Weird - I don’t disagree but I didn’t say that, @Malachi did..
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
A good thread...thankyou. I suppose it all depends on where you want to go on this " sax journey " ; how much time you can devote and combining the two , what you are happy with ( if that makes sense ? ).
If you are aiming to be a pro or working player you are going to need a 100% command of your horns. Otherwise some are happy with a limited knowledge , slowly building confidence and ability .
@Pete Effamy puts what I was trying to say a lot better in by not addressing your weaker points : " it's not a practice session it's a playing session ". Again ; it's what you are content with dependant long term on where you want to go with all this. I wouldn't expect a hobby player with limited time to get over stressed with theory and execution of said. Meeting " in the middle "I suggest , that being , able to play in all keys. ( Sure some are going to be weaker but that takes us right back to working on those points. )
So long as you are happy that's the important thing. Playing should be enjoyable though it's often not. Recognising your off days is just a part of it. Enjoy the journey !
Have a good day folks
M
,
 
Last edited:

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,596
A good thread...thankyou. I suppose it all depends on where you want to go on this " sax journey " ; how much time you can devote and combining the two , what you are happy with ( if that makes sense ? ).
If you are aiming to be a pro or working player you are going to need a 100% command of your horns. Otherwise some are happy with a limited knowledge , slowly building confidence and ability .
@Pete Effamy puts what I was trying to say a lot better in by not addressing your weaker points : " it's not a practice session it's a playing session ". Again ; it's what you are content with dependant long term on where you want to go with all this. I wouldn't expect a hobby player with limited time to get over stressed with theory and execution of said. Meeting " in the middle "I suggest , that being , able to play in all keys. ( Sure some are going to be weaker but that takes us right back to working on those points. )
So long as you are happy that's the important thing. Playing should be enjoyable though it's often not. Recognising your off days is just a part of it. Enjoy the journey !
Have a good day folks
M
,
You’re not wrong about trying to prepare for every eventuality and practice things in all keys - though the reality is that the same keys crop up most of the time!
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
Subscriber
Messages
4,316
I really admire you guys for such a structured and dedicated practice. I've been struggling to find the motivation to just practice lately. After a few weeks away from my horns, it's not easy to get back and focus, just to hear how bad I sound.

Perhaps I should take a break and go play golf but since I didn't touch a golf club in years, I'm gonna be frustrated there too! :confused2:
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
@saxyjt ; motivation can always be a problem man. Sometimes less is more ; rather than try to come crashing back in with looooong practice sessions , break it up in twenty minute chunks. It helps with getting your chops back in but try to really focus for each chunk on a specific discipline..that's important !
 

TBay

Member
Account Closed
Messages
80
I really admire you guys for such a structured and dedicated practice. I've been struggling to find the motivation to just practice lately. After a few weeks away from my horns, it's not easy to get back and focus, just to hear how bad I sound.

Perhaps I should take a break and go play golf but since I didn't touch a golf club in years, I'm gonna be frustrated there too! :confused2:
Play what you enjoy and get lost in it. Whenever I find a section of bass line I just can’t get, I leave it a couple of days and just play the songs I love most. When I come back to the bit I am struggling with my frame of mind is so much better and I can (usually) get it. I do have a very regimented practice regime though with Bass and saxophone on alternating days unless it’s a run up to a gig when it’s bass every day as well as the saxophone.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
26,293
I've been struggling to find the motivation to just practice lately. After a few weeks away from my horns, it's not easy to get back and focus, just to hear how bad I sound.
I've been like that for a while not knowing where to start so I've committed to trying to record one of the monthly tunes. I've enjoyed it too. Just playing anything will hopefully start to improve tone and timing :)

Jx
 

Admitone

Member
Messages
177
You’re not wrong about trying to prepare for every eventuality and practice things in all keys - though the reality is that the same keys crop up most of the time!
No doubt they do crop up most of the time, but practicing the same tune in all keys helped me a great deal. I remember seeing 7 sharps and wanting to run the other way. Now, I don't even fear 7 flats!
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,596
No doubt they do crop up most of the time, but practicing the same tune in all keys helped me a great deal. I remember seeing 7 sharps and wanting to run the other way. Now, I don't even fear 7 flats!
I agree from a reading point - any orchestral or wind band playing will trip you up if you haven't prepared for the eventuality of any key. It isn't just about having facility in those keys on the instrument either, it's what you allude to about being comfortable reading it. I was referring to playing standards with a band, most will stick with only a few keys (until a singer comes along!). So the "practise your licks/patterns in 12 keys" is great if you can make yourself do it along with everything else, but in reality it isn't the best preparation necessarily.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,596
I've been like that for a while not knowing where to start so I've committed to trying to record one of the monthly tunes. I've enjoyed it too. Just playing anything will hopefully start to improve tone and timing :)

Jx
I think this is a good thing, Jeanette. If we get caught in an off-period then we need to enjoy playing again before we gravitate back to practice, and actually, is it important?
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
26,293
I think this is a good thing, Jeanette. If we get caught in an off-period then we need to enjoy playing again before we gravitate back to practice, and actually, is it important?
It's certainly important to enjoy it :)

The importance of practice depends I suppose, for me as amateur who will probably only ever play at home or with small groups with limited opportunity or necessity to perform I only need to practice enough to achieve my own desires which should make it less of a chore.

Though it isn't a chore it's more a knowing what to practice to have it being meaningful and also to recognise if you are achieving the outcome. If like me you don't have the confidence or knowledge to know. Which is where a good tutor should be invaluable :)

Jx
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
Subscriber
Messages
2,275
Bad tone days are important in that they are a reminder that you must have had at least one better tone day to compare with the bad one...or something like that.

Life is particularly messy at the moment and my Sax playing is taking a hit. I'm sitting next to it now, and the urge to pick it up isn't there are the moment. As and when I do, I just play, even if it's playing a scale or arpeggios for 5 minutes, or a tune that comes into my head. I think if I were to tell myself I had to Practise Practise Practise, I might never pick it up again!!

I personally don't differentiate between playing and practising. Or, I don't plan any practising, long tones, scales, arpeggios etc etc, but they come about whilst I'm playing. The formal approach scares the life out of me ;).

I'll probably start playing more if and when the kids go back to School/College, in September. More space to play!!
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
Perfect examples here as to pro players / enthusiastic ammatuers and their respective practice regimes . On a personal level I have to practice every day and sure there are days I find the motivation difficult . The odd thing is that those days often result in the best sessions ; why I have never been able to work out.
So long as we are enjoying the ride all playing is good playing I guess.
 
Top Bottom