support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

Beginner Flute player looking to move to sax... where to start?

Jill Fuller

New Member
Messages
4
Locality
Southampton UK
Hi, my daughter is a post-grade-8 flautist and wants to learn the saxophone. I have heard that it is similar to the flute for fingering notes. She is also post-grade-8 piano. Any suggestions of how easy it is to transfer across? Are there physical considerations about which type of sax to go for (does it take more puff for different sorts - does one normally start on one and change with experience for example?). I am tempted to go buy a second hand instrument off e-bay or the like but don't know which make is good/bad and also don't know whether she would be able to pick it up from the wonderful looking on-line tutorials on this site or if I should get her some pro-lessons early on to avoid any nasty habits..... oh dear indecision. Any pearls of wisdom gratefully received. Glad to be here. Thanks in advance. x
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
9,156
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Hi, my daughter is a post-grade-8 flautist and wants to learn the saxophone. I have heard that it is similar to the flute for fingering notes.
The fingerings are very similar, so that transfers quite easily.
She is also post-grade-8 piano. Any suggestions of how easy it is to transfer across?
Her music reading skills will be a big help because it will allow her to focus more on tone production.
Are there physical considerations about which type of sax to go for (does it take more puff for different sorts - does one normally start on one and change with experience for example?).
The majority of players start on the alto saxophone and then go from there. As a teacher, that is what I recommend.
I am tempted to go buy a second hand instrument off e-bay or the like but don't know which make is good/bad.
You can't go wrong with a used YAS23 in good condition. Please remember than any used instrument will need a play condition in a good repair shop to play its best.
and also don't know whether she would be able to pick it up from the wonderful looking on-line tutorials on this site or if I should get her some pro-lessons early on to avoid any nasty habits.....
My advice is to always start out with private lessons until tone production skills are well underway. It pays off in the long run.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,051
Locality
Cheshire UK
I wouldn't want to contradict anything JBT said, he is much more experienced than I but if she has a preference for a particular sax I would discuss carefully with her why she should start on alto (unless that is the one she wants)

There is an argument to just learn the one you love but also many think alto is a good place to start. :)

Certainly lessons would be a good idea for a while to ensure no bad habits are picked up. In fact if you find a tutor first he/she should be able to advise which sax and maybe even help choose one.

Jx
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,780
I don't know if I am missing something, but as your daughter mentioned she would like to learn the Sax, perhaps she heard the sound of a particular Sax. That would be the one.:)
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
9,156
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I know there are those who disagree on this point, but let me make my case and then I will sit down and shut up and let others share and defend their views.

The soprano is a challenging instrument for even experienced players. Intonation is problematic and the highest register is difficult to master and control. The baritone is large and awkward at first, does not develop a disciplined embouchure, and is physically tiring to practice on. From a practical standpoint, these are unnecessary obstacles for someone just starting on the saxophone.

Those who play or double on tenor know that it requires its own special voicing to control the tone and intonation. The tendency for most beginners is to play with too loose an embouchure trying to compensate for not mastering the necessary openness of the throat and oral cavity to make the instrument sing. In terms of models to listen to for a classical concept there are very few, compared to scores of classical alto saxophonists.

The alto saxophone in my experience is the most natural fit for the majority of players starting on saxophone. It has none of the drawbacks and disadvantages of the soprano, tenor, or baritone. It has a much greater wealth of literature written for it and in many brands it is the least expensive model to start on. The alto embouchure, once developed transfers equally well up to the soprano, and down to the tenor. Tenor to alto is not as easy, neither is tenor to soprano.

I am not discounting the value of choosing the saxophone that has the most appeal, but when there isn't a strong preference, my opinion is that starting on alto for the majority of players is the most logical choice and the one with the best chance of success.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,837
Locality
The Athens of The North
I would avoid e-bay and visit a local music store. Buy something that is good to go. Depending on her age anything bigger than an alto might be too much for your girl. Saxes get heavy. If we knew the area you live in someone might know of a good local store.

Jim.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,378
Locality
Just north of Munich
Firstly congrats to your daughter on her skills.

I wouldn't look at budget instruments for her, rather get a pro level instrument or really good intermediate level. The yamaha series Jbtsax mentioned (along with the 21 and 25) are students that play at pro level.

On pitch, I'm one who loves the tenor, started with that, added an alto, then sop and Bari. You'll not get consistent advice over this.

There are schools of thought. Plenty have started on tenor very successfully. And modern shops aren't difficult to play in tune -or more difficult than clarinet, which is for many kids the first and only woodwind.

Guess I should say it now - there's even more dissent over mouthpieces, tip openings. And what some recommend others will vehemently oppose. Don't spend too much as there's a good chance she will want to move on to something with different sound, playing characteristics... But do get something that plays well and fairly easy.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,780
Firstly congrats to your daughter on her skills.

I wouldn't look at budget instruments for her, rather get a pro level instrument or really good intermediate level. The yamaha series Jbtsax mentioned (along with the 21 and 25) are students that play at pro level.

On pitch, I'm one who loves the tenor, started with that, added an alto, then sop and Bari. You'll not get consistent advice over this.

There are schools of thought. Plenty have started on tenor very successfully. And modern shops aren't difficult to play in tune -or more difficult than clarinet, which is for many kids the first and only woodwind.

Guess I should say it now - there's even more dissent over mouthpieces, tip openings. And what some recommend others will vehemently oppose. Don't spend too much as there's a good chance she will want to move on to something with different sound, playing characteristics... But do get something that plays well and fairly easy.

Kev. Is that Modern Shops where you get the Modern Sops.;)
 

stefank

Member
Messages
378
Locality
Hobart, Tasmania
I made the same transition. Tenor is where I wanted to go, so that is where I first went. What you want to do is probably more important than what you should do. There's nothing like motivation.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Messages
10,071
Locality
KIC 8462852
As your daughter is a highly experienced musician she might be able to teach herself from books and tutorials and the money she saves can be spent on equipment. So she could try to learn first and then get a teacher if necessary.
To decide which saxophone go and try them even if it means just holding them and listening to the staff playing them.
Probably best to avoid ebay and the like unless the seller is local and will let you see the instrument before you bid, (it does happen).
 

Jill Fuller

New Member
Messages
4
Locality
Southampton UK
The fingerings are very similar, so that transfers quite easily.

Her music reading skills will be a big help because it will allow her to focus more on tone production.

The majority of players start on the alto saxophone and then go from there. As a teacher, that is what I recommend.

You can't go wrong with a used YAS23 in good condition. Please remember than any used instrument will need a play condition in a good repair shop to play its best.
My advice is to always start out with private lessons until tone production skills are well underway. It pays off in the long run.

Thank you so much for your advice - I think I will find a tutor first and go from there.
 

Jill Fuller

New Member
Messages
4
Locality
Southampton UK
I know there are those who disagree on this point, but let me make my case and then I will sit down and shut up and let others share and defend their views.

The soprano is a challenging instrument for even experienced players. Intonation is problematic and the highest register is difficult to master and control. The baritone is large and awkward at first, does not develop a disciplined embouchure, and is physically tiring to practice on. From a practical standpoint, these are unnecessary obstacles for someone just starting on the saxophone.

Those who play or double on tenor know that it requires its own special voicing to control the tone and intonation. The tendency for most beginners is to play with too loose an embouchure trying to compensate for not mastering the necessary openness of the throat and oral cavity to make the instrument sing. In terms of models to listen to for a classical concept there are very few, compared to scores of classical alto saxophonists.

The alto saxophone in my experience is the most natural fit for the majority of players starting on saxophone. It has none of the drawbacks and disadvantages of the soprano, tenor, or baritone. It has a much greater wealth of literature written for it and in many brands it is the least expensive model to start on. The alto embouchure, once developed transfers equally well up to the soprano, and down to the tenor. Tenor to alto is not as easy, neither is tenor to soprano.

I am not discounting the value of choosing the saxophone that has the most appeal, but when there isn't a strong preference, my opinion is that starting on alto for the majority of players is the most logical choice and the one with the best chance of success.

She doesn't have a preference so it seems logical to start on the alto and then see from there as you suggest.
 

Jill Fuller

New Member
Messages
4
Locality
Southampton UK
I would avoid e-bay and visit a local music store. Buy something that is good to go. Depending on her age anything bigger than an alto might be too much for your girl. Saxes get heavy. If we knew the area you live in someone might know of a good local store.

Jim.

We are in Southampton, UK. Do you think the wonderful Pete Thomas would give her lessons?!?
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,170
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Start with Taming the Saxophone...................may be cheaper....>:)
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,837
Locality
The Athens of The North
John Packer Limited at Taunton enjoy a good reputation. Their ex-demo instruments are well regarded too.

Jim.
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
16,218
Locality
St. Mary's
We are in Southampton, UK.

It's not far then to pop over to Cowplains and pick up a Bauhaus walstein direct from Woodwind and brass Ltd, their horns are very reasonable and highly recommended, I bought a baritone and soprano from them. Great horns, excellent service. You need an appointment to visit Or you can just get them mail order.
 

David Dorning

Senior Member
Messages
797
Locality
Chichester, UK
She doesn't have a preference so it seems logical to start on the alto and then see from there as you suggest.

If she is grade 8 flute and piano, then presumably she is a very competent musician so if she is serious about taking on sax she would want to find out most of this stuff herself? I think I would at least like her to have a view on which sax she wanted to play!
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,780
Suggestion. Before you go to the shop. Have the young lady type in to you tube all the saxes and see if she fancies one more than an other.:)
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,378
Locality
Just north of Munich
Suggestion. Before you go to the shop. Have the young lady type in to you tube all the saxes and see if she fancies one more than an other.:)
That'll give you time to save up...
 
Top Bottom