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Finnish multi-instrumentalist taking up the sax


Senior Member
Hello all,

I'm a rank novice making the move from just wanting to play the sax to actually finally getting myself one.

My first foray into playing an instrument was roughly two years of private piano lessons between ages 9-11. (Quitting them is one of the things I most regret in my life.) I started writing music on the computer after that, not really playing any instrument, happy with just writing notes with my computer's keyboard.

Then at 14 or 15 years of age I heard the King Crimson album In the Court of the Crimson King for the first time, picked up a guitar (my dad played in a blues rock band back then, so we had a few) in the dog days of the summer break from school... and spent a good 6-12 hours a day learning how to play it, getting a few pointers here and there from my father and friends who also played the guitar. Since then, music has been a pretty integral part of my life for the past 12 years or so.

I spent many years just playing the guitar and the bass, until a year or so ago, after seeing The Tiger Lillies on their Freakshow tour, I decided I'd get myself an accordion. After looking and asking around I actually ended up getting a few of them! Now, I've never been one to be satisfied just playing an instrument, I always take them apart to see what makes 'em tick, and apparently everyone's grandparents have an accordion or two in the attic, so I happily took the instruments to a new home and patched them up. (Ok, so a few are still a bit in progress, but anyway...) The important thing was that I noticed that taking up a second instrument is so incredibly much easier than your first one, so I got more into trying out new things.

I don't remember how I came across the Xaphoon (a bamboo recorder-like tube that uses a tenor sax reed), but after listening to a few sound clips, I absolutely had to get one, so I did. The first 3-4 hours with it were... demanding, and my facial muscles hurt for many days, but I sort of got a hang of the embouchure and blowing technique. During my summer vacation I tried to play the xaphoon as much as possible, getting better bit by bit. I also played the piano a lot, since my in-laws had one, and we stayed there for a week, and to my great surprise my fingers started remembering stuff from over 15 years ago very quickly - muscle memory is a strange thing.

Now, for some reason, everyone has always told me that the saxophone is an incredibly difficult instrument to learn, and that's what's always stuck in my head, so whenever I felt like I wanted to play the sax, I shrugged away the thought on the premise that I'd never have the time to learn it. But now that I'd gotten a handle on the xaphoon, at least to some extent, I figured that screw it, I'm getting myself a sax.

So my G4M tenor arrived a bit over a week ago, and here I am. My initial impression was that if I had known how (relatively speaking) easy it is to play, I would have gotten one years ago. With the xaphoon, it took at least two hours before I could even get a sound out of it, a week before I could play in tune, but with my tenor, getting a decent sound is easy and staying in tune (well, more or less in tune, if not exactly in tune! :)) is pretty effortless compared to the xaphoon.

So now I'm trying to put as many hours into practicing the sax as possible, although it's a bit of a challenge with a day job and a family. If anyone has tips on how to distract a wife and three kids, they'll be much appreciated! :)

Cheers, and sorry about the lengthy post,


Senior Member
Hi Jori big welcome to the cafe. Tip on how to distract family, form a quintet. If the children are too young get them to use their rattles as percussion. Have fun you will enjoy it here. Regds N.

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Hopefully we can make you feel as welcome here as I felt in your lovely country. The Xaphoon is a dog. Poorly designed with the mouthpiece way too thick, which is what made your face muscles ache. Sounds like you are well on your way, and yes, the sax is probably the second easiest instrument to play after a recorder or tin whistle (don't tell, everybody thinks it looks difficult so must be). With your determination and musical bent it should be easy and rewarding for you.


old git

Tremendous Bore
Welcome to the caff©, JR.

Most Finns are either over here in the Olympics, driving motorbikes, rally and F1 cars incredibly fast and just being cool. Are you in charge of music?

Saxholder Pro

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