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Growl/Mean sound for Jazz

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
Hello,
A lot of Jazz musicians can do a mean growl type sound. Many people have attempted to teach me, but none have succeeded. So I was hoping you guys would be able to tell me how in a different way. I hope you guys know what I'm talking about!

Thanks!
Rawr!
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Hi Rawr,
The only methods i know for Growling are, 1. Humming while you play the note, 2. Using your throat, as if your clearing it, the second example i wouldn't use as it can make your throat sore. I use method 1. which once you get the hang of it you will never lose it. Just Hum as you play and it will come, you have just got to keep at it, it took me week's and all of a sudden it was there.
Best of luck. Rob.
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
371
Rawr, maybe some of this will help;

I have used the “hum” technique to produce the growl since 1956. Both the growl and the “flutter tongue” were very popular techniques used by sax players in Rock & Roll and R&B music which was hitting the airwaves in the late 50s. Those of us who joined the local school band and liked the new music were asking the band director what this new “gritty or raspy” sound was that we were hearing on the Top 40 hits featuring Lee Allen and Grady Gaines on tenor and Earl Bostic on alto. This effect was used before the 50s and is still very popular in many forms of music. The 1985 hit Rockin' at Midnight by The Honeydrippers features Keith Evans using a lot of this technique in his tenor solo.

There are other ways to achieve the growl effect from what I have read on the NET over the years but I have only used the method of humming while playing a note to get the growl tone.

I suggest that the best way to learn this technique is to start with the mouthpiece attached to the neck. If you use the entire horn it can be a problem at first due to the coordination involved. Play a note on the neck then start “humming” a note that is higher or lower than the pitch that is coming out of the neck. Some players hum in a falsetto range to get above the note that is produced by the neckpiece. Some players will sing/hum a lower note. For example, when I play a G above the staff on tenor I find that I usually hum the pitch that is close to D below the G. If you hum the same pitch that is coming out of the neckpiece or sax the effect will be cancelled.

At first you may feel that it is taking a lot of air to play and hum at the same time on the neckpiece. This is natural because you will probably open your throat and exhale too much air as a result of your efforts to hum and exhale at the same time. Easier said than done at first! In time you will learn to control the amount of hum and the coordination will become natural. Now put the horn together and see what happens.

Many of us use the growl in the middle and high range, especially from high A above the staff to high F#. I have found that the most effective area for the growl is starting on 2nd space A of the staff and upward. Once you go below 2nd line G it becomes somewhat garbled.

I have read articles that suggest that you hum a 3rd above the note being produced on the horn. However, while on stage during a rockin’ performance I can’t hear the note that I am humming due to the stage volume. I have never thought about the “3rd above” concept so I can’t comment on it however if it works for you that is all that matters. I hum in a range that is usually below the notes being played which works for me.

As you practice this effect ask for more advice from other local sax players and review articles on the internet. This is valuable because there is always more than one way to approach any effect.

Several examples. Cut and paste on YouTube;

LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL—SHIRLEY AND LEE—LEE ALLEN—TENOR

SLIPPIN’ AND SLIDIN’—LITTLE RICHARD—LEE ALLEN—TENOR

KEEP A KNOCKIN’—LITTLE RICHARD—GRADY GAINES—TENOR

SUPER FREAK—RICK JAMES—DANIEL LE’MELLE—TENOR

UNCHAIN MY HEART—JOE COCKER—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

THE HEAT IS ON—GLEN FREY—DAVID WOODFORD—TENOR

ROCKIN’ AT MIDNIGHT—HONEYDRIPPERS—KEITH EVANS—TENOR

HARDEN MY HEART—QUARTERFLASH—RINDY ROSS—ALTO

FREEWAY OF LOVE—ARETHA FRANKLIN—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

Other links for the growl;

http://www.petethomas.co.uk/saxophone-growl.html

http://www.bobrk.com/saxfaq/2.7.html

http://www.halleonard.com/item_deta...r=search&type=product&keywords=john+laughter+

http://www.saxophone.us/sax/saxophone_growl.html

http://www.saxophone-players.com/howtoplaythesaxophone-growling.html
 

Rawr

Member
Messages
31
Thank you all very much! This will really help, and I'll keep working at it!
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
371
Here you go Aubrianna;

The Flutter Tongue/Tone
I do not know when the flutter effect started being used on the saxophone. An explanation of the technique appears in a 1926 publication titled SAX-ACROBATIX by Henri Weber;

http://www.petethomas.co.uk/sax-acrobatix.html

I first became aware of it in 1956 when I heard "Honky Tonk" Part 2 by Bill Doggett. Clifford Scott used it in his 4th solo.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxFiSrZRo4Y

It was also featured on the 1958 recording of "Tequila" when Chuck Rio used it while repeating the main melody.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWT3y2CZXVQ

In 1965 Jr. Walker performed the effect on his high C in "Shotgun".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMs9NudasVI

Joel C. Peskin added it to his solo on a more recent 1989 Top 40 hit titled "With Every Beat of My Heart" by Taylor Dayne.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLqavsL003Q&ob=av2e

Also listen to the second phrase of Bobby Keys’ solo on "Brown Sugar" by The Rolling Stones (1971).

Perhaps it was developed and introduced by blues artists when they wanted to play a real “down and dirty” sounding solo. It really lends itself well to blues and rock music. A combination of the growl, flutter tone and note bending will put you well on your way to playing some very suggestive sounds!

This technique produces the same sound that is made by singing close to a desk fan. It causes the tone to flutter by separating the air stream.

To learn this effect, I suggest that you use only the neckpiece and mouthpiece in the beginning to get control of it, and then attach the neck to the horn.

Before you play the neckpiece, try to make the sound that is similar to a small motorboat engine by blowing lightly and at the same time raising the tip of the tongue gently against the front portion of the roof of your mouth just behind the front teeth. Although you can lightly touch the roof area do not press the tongue into the roof. Just raise it enough to make a rapid flutter between the tip and the skin of the roof. The effect is also similar to the sound of a “cat purr.” However, there is no need to make a sound or hum anything while fluttering the tongue. Once you learn to develop this sound it will transfer to the m/p.

● Courtesy of a SOTW member; “A “HEEEEEE” formation of the tongue shape puts your tongue in a high arch and will draw the tip of your tongue away from the mouthpiece. Many players consider variations on the “EEE” vowel shape to be preferable for general tone production. Vowel shapes such as “Uhh” and “Ooooh” leave the tongue in a low position that does bad things for your air stream.”

With the m/p in the mouth do the same thing as above but DO NOT TOUCH THE REED while the tongue flutters back and forth towards the roof of the mouth. The tip portion of the tongue should flutter in the roof area in front of the tip of the m/p. If your tongue touches the m/p tip opening it will stop the effect.

If you continue to have a problem getting the sound, try doing the flutter without using the m/p. Get a good strong sound then use just the m/p with the neck without the horn attached. Remember that the tongue does not go up and down. It is normally very close to the roof of the mouth and the upper side of the tongue (just behind the tip) is making the motions which indent the air stream to make the flutter sound. And you can do this with a small amount of m/p in the mouth. It may take time to find the physical action that works best for you. You may also experience a problem in loosing too much air while blowing. This is normal because some people have to exhale very fast to get the flutter effect. This causes a quick loss of air. However, in time you will develop more control and will use less air.

Everyone has a different jaw structure and tongue shape. What works for me my not work for you. Experiment with all of the basic ideas and the technique will eventually develop depending on your own physical structure.

Several examples can be heard on YouTube. Cut and paste these titles;

REBEL ROUSER—DUANE EDDY—GIL BERNAL—TENOR

THE STROLL—DIAMONDS—KING CURTIS—TENOR

TWISTIN’ THE NIGHT AWAY—SAM COOKE—JACKIE KELSO—TENOR

URGENT—FOREIGNER—JR. WALKER—TENOR


Other links for the flutter tone;

http://www.petethomas.co.uk/saxophone-fluttertongue.html

http://www.nuoboe.com/html/fluttertongue.html

http://www.jodyjazz.com/article.interesting.improviser.html

http://www.halleonard.com/item_deta...r=search&type=product&keywords=john+laughter+

http://www.musicroom.com/se/ID_No/025107/details.html

http://www.hornplace.com/SX008.html

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beginning-Rock-Sax-Scott-Page/dp/B00004CRHZ

http://www.amazon.com/Blues-Saxophone-Depth-Styles-Masters/dp/0634026208

http://www.hornplace.com/SX005.html

http://userpages.umbc.edu/~emrich/chapter4-6.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo5Pxano9mEhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo5Pxano9mE
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
John, what an excellent description of flutter tongue. I didn't know how to get that sound in Honky Tonk...I've been using a growl, but it was obviously wrong...so now I can learn to flutter and hopefully get the right sound.

Cheers,
Martin
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
371
Thanks Martin. Glad it helped. That is one of the good things about Pete's message board. We all pick up something from time to time.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
I've always found it impossible to do the flutter tongue properly, so I cheat (like I do for most thing's really,) try rolling your r's (please refrain from any attempt at humour OG) I find that it works really well, and during Brown sugar, you can do that as well as hum. The results are superb!
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
OK, so in my whole life I've never been able to roll my R's...problem!

My wife, laughing at my efforts took pity on me and coached me to roll R's. She's Portuguese, so she's a natural. At first I didn't believe I'd suceed, but after only two days I mastered it. Now I can do I really proficient RRRRRR, without the sax....thanks to my Latin lover...

So the next step is with the sax...made a start this evening...not easy...cuts on the end of my tongue. It seems pretty difficult to play a note at the same time as doing the RRRRRR thing, but I think it'll come....I'll let you know.

Cheers,
Martin
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,805
Hi Rawr,
The only methods i know for Growling are, 1. Humming while you play the note, 2. Using your throat, as if your clearing it, the second example i wouldn't use as it can make your throat sore. I use method 1. which once you get the hang of it you will never lose it. Just Hum as you play and it will come, you have just got to keep at it, it took me week's and all of a sudden it was there.
Best of luck. Rob.
Right. But you can also learn to "growl" more up in your head (like an operasinger). I think it's the same as "3rd above" as John Laughter writes. It's better for your troat. Andrew Clark, Rock & Roll Saxophone - Saxophone Journal , had to learn this method after a throat surgery. Even the ordinary growl can be hard to your troat.

Thomas
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,805
Martin, take a look at John Laughter's post - humming does it as well.
I don't think the "growl" can replace the "fluttertone". You can growl, hum, sing-along .... all the time if you want but (but you shouldn't) even when you do the fluttertone, heavy vibrato, big hollow shake ..... . The rapid "snaredrum effect" can just be done with the fluttertone. Anyone heard a "fluttertone thrill" or a "fluttertone tremolo"? Is it possible to do that? Or is the fluttertone just a single tone effect? I'm asking because I can't to any fluttertone at all.

Thomas
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Surely the 'Growl' and the ' Hum' are two diferent effects. The Growl being used briefly (I use my throat) to enhance the number for a few notes, and then Hum to give an edge to the rest of the sound.

John.
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
371
Surely the 'Growl' and the ' Hum' are two diferent effects.
Interesting point John. I have never thought about the two being different. Do you use two different methods to get two effects? Would you explain in more detail. Thanks.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Humming is what you do to get a growl, it isn't a separate effect (that I know of)
Hi Pete,
I always growl (clear my throat), which is slower than when I hum, which is more like a buzz . I use both during solos, the growl being for a couple of notes and the hum for a bit longer but only use them for parts of a solo ;}

John.
 
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johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Interesting point John. I have never thought about the two being different. Do you use two different methods to get two effects? Would you explain in more detail. Thanks.
Hi John,
What I call a growl is making a Hkkkkk sound in my throat. Humming I make more of an Ahhh sound. My interpretation might well be wrong, but that's the way I've always done it.
You can hear my version of the growl on a couple of notes in my sound clip, page 5, 'Graftonite B5 part 2. This I did for another member who wanted to hear a B5, but used the reed from my PPT 8* by mistake, hence the jammed 'A'.
Ahhh well thats what aclohol 'hic' will do to you :w00t:

John.
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Martin, take a look at John Laughter's post - humming does it as well.
Thanks Kev, but I've already got a pretty mean growl. What I hope for is also to be able to do the flutter tongue....seems like it gives something similar, but way more exagerated. I'm hoping, with a bit of practice, to be able to play either.

I play Rebel Rouser regularly, using a growl, but it doesn't quite get dirty enough...I really need to perfect the flutter....

....practice, practice, practice....

Martin
 
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