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Ding Dong! A late blooming newbie from Worcester here!

angie54321

Member
Messages
35
Hello to all

I will be looking to this forum for lots of help and advice - I have wanted to play saxophone since I started to listen to the Crusaders when I was about 16.

Many years later (32 to be exact)....I decided that if I don't start now, I never will!

So I bought my first alto sax (on the internet, shock, horror!) and am now managing to get a few notes out.

I will have lots of questions I'm sure over the next few days, weeks and months - so you have been warned!!
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Hi,
Welcome aboard - from another one of many late starters!
Enjoy - there's lots of advice, encouragement and fun along the way to be had here.

Cheers,

Amanda

ps. You'll be asked to tell everyone which sax you've got, and what music you like!
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,556
Welcome, from another late starter - I was also well into my 40s!...we are relatively young here to be honest!
Any questions, feel free to ask, someone here somewhere will definitely have an answer, or you'll provoke some interesting and abstract discussions :))):)))
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Good to meet you ...

Hey Hey Angie ...

Welcome to the cafe ...

So, come on ... Tell us ...

Who's your favourite player ... ;}
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Welcome to the caff©, Angie.

Should the male element of the forum be careful of the radio, Angie? Better explain, already used the "May the sauce be with you" gag, so referring to a long ago pop song.

ENJOY!
 

angie54321

Member
Messages
35
Thanks for the warm welcome! It's nice to know that many people start sax at a 'more mature' age, I don't feel so old now!

Favourite players? I'm listening to lots of different ones at the moment - (isn't spotify wonderful?!) - as I mentioned in my first post my first experience was listening the Wilton Felder from the Crusaders, I didn't really make an effort to listen to others between then and now, so they are all new to me, gained from a few internet searches - David Sanborn, Candy Dulfer, Stan Getz, Grover Washington Jnr, Spyro Gyra, Nathan Davis, Charlie Parker, Weather Report, Wayne Shorter, Eric Clapton (okay, the last one is a joke, just to test if you are still reading or if you've fallen asleep) etc.

Any recommendations MORE THAN welcome!!

I know there is a lot of youtube as well, but our internet connection is extremely poor (I was going to say crap, but I didn't know whether I would be allowed to on the forum) so every video has to be buffered for ages first. BUT we are getting fibre optic broadband next week, so I am sure I will discover lots more sax players, and reap the benefits of being able to watch them play as well as listen.

My sax? It's an alto, bought from http://www.fortissimoinstruments.co...hones/atlanta-eb-alto-saxophone-by-fortissimo

YES, I KNOW you shouldn't buy the cheapest you can find, or buy off the internet, but I really didn't know how much I would play it, so I took a chance. I did do a lot of research, and it gets decent reviews over the internet. I'm happy with it at the moment, and if I carry on playing over the next year or so, I will treat myself to a better one.

As well as learning sax, I've also started learning acoustic guitar (although I could play basic chords when I was about 15, so at the moment it's a bit of a refresher course) and keyboards (just to wind my husband up, who IS supposed to be learning keyboards, but can't be bothered most evenings - I thought if I did it, it might give him the kick up the backside he needs!).

And, I'm having to learn to read music too.

And I've just taken up yoga (should help with my breathing?)

So life is....interesting, and busy, at the moment!
 

angie54321

Member
Messages
35
Welcome to the caff©, Angie.

Should the male element of the forum be careful of the radio, Angie? Better explain, already used the "May the sauce be with you" gag, so referring to a long ago pop song.

ENJOY!
Well, it took a couple of moments to work out what you were on about.....I forgot that Worcester is the land of the sauce to most people :)

I have heard Angie played on sax....it sounds really nice. Perhaps one day I'll be able to play it to myself!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Angie, and welcome to the Cafe from the Skabertawe Horn Section! My first sax inspiration was Junior Walker from my Motown days, then the one in Roxy Music, and the Average White Band player - all good stuff. Learning Sax is great fun, and I have bought ALL my instruments online (I play Trumpet and Trombone also) - all are great, no problem.

Main ten things to note as a Sax Newbie:

1. Get a decent mouthpiece - Rico Graftonite, Yamaha Plastic & Runyon 22 are all excellent for under £30. Moutpieces that come with saxes are often lower quality and can be hard work.
2. Get reeds at the right strength - aim softer than harder (such as a 2 strength, and try a couple of different ones, such as Rico Jazz Selects, Vandoren Java, Rico Royal etc).
3. Get a ligature that fits well - Rovner Star, Selmer, Rico etc.
4. Soak reeds before playing - saliva is not reed friendly so soak in some water/mouthwash/vodka, and briefly massage from butt to tip with your thumb/index finger. The Alexander Superial website has a very useful way of preparing reeds, which will help them last much longer. Also try a have a few reeds on the go, so you can play a different one each day (people often have 3 or 4 on the go, and rotate them).
5. Get a decent tutor book -a common good choice for Adult beginners is "The Jazz Method for Alto Saxophone" by John O'Neill. Lots of others seem more aimed at teenagers, to be honest.
6. Get a decent neck strap - or shoulder strap, for comfortable playing (I use the Rico padded strap myself)
7. Get used to playing Long Notes - holding the same note for 5/10 seconds, and concentrating on getting a good tone.
8. Get used to playing a small range of notes well, and gradually build up your range - don't rush it. Start around lower G, expand up and down to C and then get used to notes using the octave key.
9. For a trumpet you play with a smile on your face; for a sax you play with a frown (so that you are able to prevent air leaking from your embouchure!).
10. Play for no more than 10 minutes at a time and have a short break - give your embouchure time to recover.

Hope this helps
Kind regards
Tom
 
Last edited by a moderator:

les3716

Member
Messages
181
Hi Angie, Welcome to the cafe - you have come to the right place if you are looking for info about the Alto. I have learned so much from here in the last couple of months.

The best thing is you never stop learning - Enjoy!!!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Oh, and sax player recommendations "MORE THAN Welcome...."

Have a listen to some of Jan Garbarek's playing - albeit on Soprano and Tenor. He is an excellent example of North European Jazz. Lots on Youtube and Spotify. Top Dude!

Kind regards
Tom
 

angie54321

Member
Messages
35
Hi Angie, and welcome to the Cafe from the Skabertawe Horn Section! My first sax inspiration was Junior Walker from my Motown days, then the one in Roxy Music, and the Average White Band player - all good stuff. Learning Sax is great fun, and I have bought ALL my instruments online (I play Trumpet and Trombone also) - all are great, no problem.

Main ten things to note as a Sax Newbie:

1. Get a decent mouthpiece - Rico Graftonite, Yamaha Plastic & Runyon 22 are all excellent for under £30. Moutpieces that come with saxes are often lower quality and can be hard work.
2. Get reeds at the right strength - aim softer than harder (such as a 2 strength, and try a couple of different ones, such as Rico Jazz Selects, Vandoren Java, Rico Royal etc).
3. Get a ligature that fits well - Rovner Star, Selmer, Rico etc.
4. Soak reeds before playing - saliva is not reed friendly so soak in some water/mouthwash/vodka, and briefly massage from butt to tip with your thumb/index finger. The Alexander Superial website has a very useful way of preparing reeds, which will help them last much longer. Also try a have a few reeds on the go, so you can play a different one each day (people often have 3 or 4 on the go, and rotate them).
5. Get a decent tutor book -a common good choice for Adult beginners is "The Jazz Method for Alto Saxophone" by John O'Neill. Lots of others seem more aimed at teenagers, to be honest.
6. Get a decent neck strap - or shoulder strap, for comfortable playing (I use the Rico padded strap myself)
7. Get used to playing Long Notes - holding the same note for 5/10 seconds, and concentrating on getting a good tone.
8. Get used to playing a small range of notes well, and gradually build up your range - don't rush it. Start around lower G, expand up and down to C and then get used to notes using the octave key.
9. For a trumpet you play with a smile on your face; for a sax you play with a frown (so that you are able to prevent air leaking from your embouchure!).
10. Play for no more than 10 minutes at a time and have a short break - give your embouchure time to recover.

Hope this helps
Kind regards
Tom
Tom, thanks for your reply. Glad to hear that you can get decent musical instruments on the internet -there are a lot of scare stories out there!
To go through your points one by one:

1. Okay, so I'll get one of those in the next month or so. As a complete newbie, it is difficult to work out whether my mouthpiece is hard work or whether I am just not very good yet!
2. I bought reeds (1.5) from Internet Reeds. I have to say the quality looks excellent, but as I have nothing to compare them to, I wouldn't know any different. Next time I am in a music shop I will buy some Rico ones, and see if I can tell a difference.
Was I right to buy a light reed to start? Will I get a better sound from a 2 or a 2.5?
3. See my answer to No. 1!
4. How long should you soak a reed for before playing? And should you dry it off before use? And I like the idea of using vodka to soak it in! I'll check out the Alexander website, thanks.
5. I have 2 books - the one you mention, and Peter Wastall's Learn As You Play Saxophone. Both seem good in their own way. Once I have a decent internet connection (next Monday! Yeeeeeeha!) I will be able to watch online instructional videos as well. If you can recommend any sites I would be grateful. I've found www.youcanplaysax.com, and lots of stuff on youtube so far. I also have 'The Art of Saxophone playing' from the library, but it seems a bit fuddy-duddy to a young person like me ;)
6. The first thing I invested in (after the saxophone, obviously) was a decent neck strap.
7. Long notes is something I definitely need to practice. I'm pretty certain my neighbours will enjoy those moments just as much as I will. ;)
8. The books I am using have introduced the notes B A G C, so I am just working on those at the moment. I've waited a long time to play sax, so I am willing to spend a good chunk of time getting the basics right, before actually playing something recognisable. Very frustrating for the people around me, I know!
9. Finally got that 'wonderfully attractive' frown look!
10. I leave my sax out on the stand (covered up) so I can grab it several times a day for a quick play. So I'm doing fine there - in fact I'm beginning to feel a little like Mike Oldfield - I spend a few minutes on the sax, a few minutes on the guitar and then a few minutes on the keyboard. I just need to buy some 'Tubular Bells' now :)
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Angie!

On the reed front it is fine to start on 1 1/2 strength - it might be an idea to get a 2 strength to compare with it. There is no requirement to get ever harder reeds - it all depends on how big the tip opening is on your mouthpiece (between the tip of the mouthpiece and tip of reed). I play a 2.5 strength reed on Alto - find 3 too hard to play with a typical tip opening of 6 (0.076"+).

On the Alexander website it simply suggest soaking reeds in warm water for approx 10 minutes, then massaging, then playing at no more than average volume for a few times, massaging afterwards so that the fibres on the reed areflat and going in the same direction. After that I generally soak for a minute or so while getting my sax ready to play.
The best mouthpiece offer I could find would be a Rico Royal B3 via www.rapidreeds.com with a Rico Ligature/Cap all for £30, post free
to boot. They also sell reeds in 3's, so worth a try. Also Reeds Direct are one of the best online shops - with next day delivery post free - better choice than most shops.

Hope this helps!
Tom
 

angie54321

Member
Messages
35
Hi Angie!

On the reed front it is fine to start on 1 1/2 strength - it might be an idea to get a 2 strength to compare with it. There is no requirement to get ever harder reeds - it all depends on how big the tip opening is on your mouthpiece (between the tip of the mouthpiece and tip of reed). I play a 2.5 strength reed on Alto - find 3 too hard to play with a typical tip opening of 6 (0.076"+).

On the Alexander website it simply suggest soaking reeds in warm water for approx 10 minutes, then massaging, then playing at no more than average volume for a few times, massaging afterwards so that the fibres on the reed areflat and going in the same direction. After that I generally soak for a minute or so while getting my sax ready to play.
The best mouthpiece offer I could find would be a Rico Royal B3 via www.rapidreeds.com with a Rico Ligature/Cap all for £30, post free
to boot. They also sell reeds in 3's, so worth a try. Also Reeds Direct are one of the best online shops - with next day delivery post free - better choice than most shops.

Hope this helps!
Tom
Thanks for that. What's difference about ligatures? I can understand the mouthpieces will be made slightly differently, or with a different material, but what is so special about a ligature?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Ligatures ? They keep the reed on the mouthpiece, and some are better made than others, as a good fit is important to get the best sound out of your set up. I have had a couple of no name ligatures which were not that well made and did not help the sound produced. All I would ever argue - be it reed, mouthpiece or ligature - is that having a choice/comparison is really helpful in finding your best sound but do not worry about it............!

If you already have one then it might be a good fit, who knows, but the mouthpiece is more important.
Kind regards
Tom
 

angie54321

Member
Messages
35
Ligatures ? They keep the reed on the mouthpiece, and some are better made than others, as a good fit is important to get the best sound out of your set up. I have had a couple of no name ligatures which were not that well made and did not help the sound produced. All I would ever argue - be it reed, mouthpiece or ligature - is that having a choice/comparison is really helpful in finding your best sound but do not worry about it............!

If you already have one then it might be a good fit, who knows, but the mouthpiece is more important.
Kind regards
Tom
So it's best to get the same make of mouthpiece and ligature then, for a good fit? I think I get it.

Okey-dokey, thanks for your advice. I'll buy both next month.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
With regard to Rico Ligatures, they are good ligatures, and quite cheap also. Some no name ligatures are not well made, and are not necessarily a good fit. The Rico ligature does fit the Rico mouthpiece well (I have both) but the ligature fits many others just as well, and a number of ligatures also fit the Rico Mouthpiece well. Soits about quality and consistency rather than same brand.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Angie, welcome.
Ding dong? Pete must have put new batteries in.
Glad you are enjoying learning and taking all the advice here. Starting to get the frown may show you are on the way, but you'll see that many top players develop a V shaped set of veins on their forehead. Now that's something to aim for.:w00t:
YC
 
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