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Greetings from the west country



New Member
Ok just about manage my blues scale, say just im having a few problems with lower notes, any tips would be gratefully received. Can anyone advise what is the best learning book (aid) for the tenor saxophone.


Well-Known Member
Hi Chris!

Best book IMHO is "Jazz Method for Tenor Saxophone" by John O'Neill - best price is Amazon at £13+, includes CD - excellent for adult learners. Many of the others are aimed at younger teenagers (I remember playing "Oh I do like to be beside the Seaside" on Soprano Sax so pleased to find a more meaningful alternative. There is also a John Dankworth book mentioned on another thread. ("Starting on Sax" or similar - maybe worth a Google)

When starting sax many tutor books gradually introduce notes so you gradually develop a secure range - do not attempt too much too soon. Lower notes need solid breath so do take in a deep breath and then gradually release it to get the note. Long notes - holding a note for 4/8/16 beats will help develop your endurance, and you should aim at a consistent unvarying tone. I would recommend sticking in the mid-range (say G to G) and gradually add a note above and below, expanding slowly. Don't rush (most people do) and be aware that lower notes need more breath - slow and consistent practice of long notes will help, and a soft enough reed (2 or 2.5).

Hope this helps - but do take your time to develop a decent embouchure and build your facial muscles etc.
Kind regards


ex Landrover Nut
Welcome from me as well. Great advice from Tom. As he says, softer reeds help the lower notes (but they make the higher ones sound terrible if they're too soft). Depending on your mouthpiece, at first you may need to go even softer than Tom suggests. Apart from breath support, a relaxed embouchure is also needed - many people start off too tight.

If you start playing down the scale, and a particularl note (often C ) stops dead it's often because of lack of breath suport.

Take your time and work down gradually. One of the first things I was taught is that low notes are hard on a sax and easy on a clarinet, where you struggle with the higher ones. And start early learning to breath with your diaphragm/belly muscles where the support comes from, not ribs.
Saxholder Pro

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