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Beginner clear sounds

LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Hi all

I have been playing alto sax for approx 1-year, with aid of The Saxophone CD, and also a one-to-one tutor (approx 1 session per week). I felt that I was progressing well, but now feel as if I am regressing. I am not too sure how to explain this very well, but when I first begin to play a note, or when playing staccato or seperate notes I have a breathy initial sound which affects the purity of the sound. Once the note is playing then the breathy bit goes away and the note sounds clear. I have tried numerous ways of trying to cut out the breathy bit, but seem to be stuck. I am now wondering if it has always been there, and that I might have begun to learn with a bad habit.
I hope this reads clearer then mud!
Grateful for any help, tips, etc
LeeY
 

AdamBradley

Member
Messages
134
Have you changed / gotten new reeds lately? My sound is very airy when trying to get new or hard reeds to speak.

If this is something new then you can fix it, and if it'd something you've always done and are only starting to hear, it means your listening I'd improving - every cloud n all that. I'm sure more experienced folk then myself will have some ideas for you :)
 
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LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Thank you very much, I think I am having trouble with keeping the open throat whilst maintaining pressure. I think I need to visualise a new method and the mirror analogy is where I will begin
Lee
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
I think you will find that as you progress you start to become more aware of the sound that you are producing and this is good as it means you are actually caring about the sound you make and obviously want to improve it. Do you practice long notes, are you breathing correctly? I too went through, still am going through a stage where i really did not like my sound and from this bought a recorder so i could hear myself play, it may be that you are developing your own sound. It may sound worse to you than it actually is. If you are having lessons i would definitel bring it up. I am sure that many of us here on the forum would agree it is not how many technical bits and bobs you can play but the tone you produce. We all strive for that so i wish you good luck, let us know how you get on. Rgds Phil
 
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LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
When I first begin to play I try and prepare by concentrating on my diaphragm and open throat and keeping on the pressure of air, but as I progress I think my concentration goes as I read scales, music sheet, etc and then I think I am holding my breath with my throat, which then produces the breathy sound
It must be multi-tasking - a whole new way of thinking!
Thanks for your comments I have a lesson tomorrow, so perhaps I will suggest spending the hour just working on this problem
Lee
 

Linky Lee

Member
Messages
182
Location
Salisbury, UK
Sometimes when I play I get a bit of a 'rasping' sound that could be what you're describing (it's obviously quite hard to explain sounds through this medium). Anyway, it's saliva or condensation, whatever sitting on the reed inside the mouthpiece. Taking the reed off, giving it a wipe and putting it back on again usually sorts it out.

I think it's caused from playing when your embouchure is tired. But I don't really know for sure. Sometimes it happens but most of the time it's not there.

Regarding listening to yourself and the tone you make, do some recordings, even of a low quality. It really opens up your ears and it's very surprising to see how much we gloss over whilst playing!
 

RoyT

New Member
Messages
5
Hello Lee
just a quick note on sound to say about 65 per cent of the sound you produce is set up connected, in short the mouthpiece you use and reed chioce, make sure they are right for you and your sax, before you start going down the road of how you blow, you may well no this but the wider the tip and thicker the reed will give you a breathy some much as you have discribed, so to clear up the sound go in the other way, if you are already using a small tip opening mp then change to a lesser strength reed, remember a vandoren reed is much stronger than say a rico royal, for me i would sergest a 4 or at a push 5 mp with a rico royal 1 and a half reeds, as you brake the reed in it will improve. if you are using a beginner embouche it is hard to do much at all in this possition, after 12 months or so of playing you should be thinking of changing to a more advance embouche possition, this is something i would start you on if you attended my lessons, example go on you tube and put in the title joshua redman and watch carefully in close up his embouche, check out his lower lip possition, in this more advance possition you can really attact the notes, do be afraid of experimenting with your upper teeth move them up and down on the mouthpiece test for clearity, amd finally when you blow , blow warm air not cold, try to imagine your sax is just an extention of the air passage and push the air streight through it. long note practice is a must for all sax player, good luck lee.
 
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LeeY

New Member
Messages
22
Thanks Roy
I begun by using a Selmer C*, with Vandoren 2, on the recommendation of my tutor, in combination with a hired alto sax. I have since bought a sax, which came with a yamaha 4C (plastic), which I found easier to use but was much breathier. I have since gone back to the Selmer and the Vandoren 2, which I still find trickier to use. My top teeth don't seem to sit as naturally on top, and I now use a mouthpiece patch which seems to anchor my teeth better. I think I need to train myself in the whole air passage philosophy with my tongue acting as a plug rather than my throat. I will have a look at the Joshua Redman clip
once again thanks for your advice
Lee
 
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