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Beginner Issues


New Member
England, United Kingdom
Hi, I have just started to play the Alto Saxophone however when playing i'm getting lots of breath sound before I actually hear the note. Once I do hit the note it tends to cut off even though I still have breath to carry on with the note. Any advice on how I can fix these two issues would be great. I'm using a 2.0 Rico Reed and a 4C Yamaha Mouthpiece. Thanks in advance.

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Burnley bb9 9dn
The breath sound is air splitting over the reed before it starts to vibrate. Tongue the notes to start them.


Well-Known Member
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Its hard to diagnose what is happening without a recording of the sound or a photo of your embouchure. Let me start with the embouchure and the amount of mouthpiece inside the mouth. The attached pdf file contains an article by Bruce Pearson outlining the most common teaching methods.

Next a tip on how to blow the air. Tear a sheet of paper in half and hold it up against a mirror or window with one finger. Release your finger and blow against the paper to hold it up as long as you can---repeat. This is how it should feel when you blow into a saxophone.

Next a tip on how tight the embouchure should be. Play just the mouthpiece and neck (crook) and adjust the tightness of your embouchure to produce the note Concert Ab (same as Ab on the piano). Once you can play this pitch with a full and steady tone. Practice holding the note as long as you can while watching a clock. Set a goal of holding a full and steady tone for 25 to 30 seconds.

When you can do that assemble the saxophone and play F with the octave key. It will sound the same note as the mouthpiece and neck. Practice long tones on this note on the saxophone with a full and steady tone. As Colin suggested, touch the tip of the reed with the part of your tongue just behind the tip, blow putting air pressure behind the reed, then pull the tongue from the reed as if saying "Tu" to release the air.


Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Hamilton, Waikato, North Island, New Zealand
Saxophone in good condition and everything operating correctly? Tried a softer reed like a 1.5 perhaps?

Greg S.
Saxholder Pro

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