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great tones

doghorn

New Member
Messages
11
whilst on the subject of great players i've just watched clarence clemons jungleland , how does he get them fantastic tones , is thier a technique that can be learnt
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
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3,914
Clarence ”Big Man” Clemons is my saxhero! There is not so many that can blow sax like him. Clarence Clemons moved into my life around 1973 and he has been in my living room nearly every day since then.

To develop a tone like Big Man you can try: Longtones, overtones and breathing exercises!! He is often using major, pentatonic and bluesscales. We are all , more or less doing this, so what’s the secret?

A good physique and to control the airstream.
He uses lots of air when he is playing. And then there is his energy. ”He is on it” all the time. No rest. He is blowing with lots of volume and a single tone can sound like a whole saxsection. When he is playing the palm key tones he is sometimes really on the edge. Lots of volume. And he bend the tones both up and down. Clarence Clemons is a big guy. And he also have lots of guts. I think the big body of CC helps to control his diaphragm. To play sax à la Clemons is very much a physiqal thing.

100 % Rock helps up!
Beat 2 and 4 is very important if you want to play in the style of Clarence Clemons. He is playing in a straight rock beat most of the time . So if you’re going practise some CC playing you should have a drumbeat running through a PA because when you are getting somewhere you will be a loud saxplayer. And that is one of the main purposes of Rock ’n’ Roll Saxophone!
To listen to a lot of Clarence Clemons recordings also help to get into his music.

Rocksax techniques
When I listen to Clarence Clemons I think I can hear a heavy vibrato that some players says is a growl. I don’t think he is growling. He is also using note bending and ”fall offs”. I can hear some alternative fingerings on the palm key tones as well. He is playing in the range of the sax, but he is also able to honk altissimos. Listen to Bruce Springsteen & E Street Band live recording of the song ”Quarter To Three” (Gary Bond) from the Hammerschmidt Odeon live recording -75.

Clarence Clemons equipment
It’s inevitable to not talk about CC saxes and set-up. On the ”Born to Run” LP-sleeve he is with a King Super 20. The rumour says he was playing a Dukoff D chamber as well. On the live performances I’ve seen he was for a long time playing Selmer Mk VI tenors with Berg Larsen ss (130/0). His reeds was LaVoz. Later he changed sax to Keilwerths with Rovner Deep-V mouthpieces. I don’t know if he changed reeds as well. In the 80’s his bari and soprano was Yamaha. I guess it’s Keilwerths nowadays. I´ve heard that has been playing a Canonball tenor as well.

CC equipment in the early 80’s:
http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm201/thomsax/?action=view&current=ccequip.jpg

CC with King Super 20 tenor
http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm201/thomsax/?action=view&current=CCkingsuper20.jpg


I have other favourites too, that I think has the ”CC thing”. I think I can trace the same energy in: Earl Bostic, J.T Brown (Elmore James), Eddie Shaw (Howlin’ Wolf), Sil Austin, Sax Gordon, Oliver Sain, Noble Watts, A.C. Reed, Red Prysock, Holis Gilmore, Grady Gaines (Little Richard), Mike Antunes (John Cafferty Band, something like New Englands answer to Bruce Springsteen) and Andrew Clark (Rock ’n’ Roll Saxophone, Saxophone Journal, Mike Antunes was his mentor, subbing for Antunes in John Cafferty Band).

Talking about Andrew Clark. In the latest issue of Saxophone Journal Andrew did a masterclass called ”Advandaced Concepts In Rock Saxophone” and he is covering the Big Man as well. I have plans for Andrew Clark coming back to Sweden for some gigs and teaching ”Advandaced Concepts In Rock Saxophone”, ”Five Common Styles In Rock” and ”Blues Sax in A & E”.

So play and practise in the style of Clarence Clemons. It’s never to late.

Thomas
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,690
It's said that CCs practice regime consisted of circular breathing single notes for 15 minutes to develop his tone and overall power... sounds like it worked!
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,914
It's said that CCs practice regime consisted of circular breathing single notes for 15 minutes to develop his tone and overall power... sounds like it worked!

Yes, and he that excersice three or four times a week! Helps to unleash the animal inside you, according to Clemons.

Thomas
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,690
. So if you’re going practise some CC playing you should have a drumbeat running through a PA because when you are getting somewhere you will be a loud saxplayer.
Very true- nothing is more annoying when going for a really powerful rock tone than having to hold back for fear of drowning out your own monitoring....
 

doghorn

New Member
Messages
11
thanks guys
i think the bottom line is im never going to sound like cc but that would'nt be individual would it !
one of the other fascinating ones is wesley magoogan on will you , it sounds like he is squeezing
the notes out under tremendous pressure how does he get that sound , the last time i made any sound
like that my mouthpiece was loose .
 
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