Supporting   special needs music

Growling technique

John Laughter

Member
Messages
450
Locality
Macon,GA
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 Billboard 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 only the mouthpiece. Once you get the sound on the m/p, attach it 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.

Another approach is to forget the sax mouthpiece and form your mouth to hum/sing as if you are going to sing the word "you" but leave off the "y" so that you get the ooooooo them make the hum sound at the same time.

After you get the "ooooo" sound then add air (exhale) and hum. The "oooo" volume will diminish with the addition of the exhaled air which is fine. Your throat area under your chin will rise, or tighten slightly which is normal. The combination of the hum and exhale will produce a rough sound which is normal.

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 can become 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 live performance with guitar, piano and bass amps 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. Some players use the "gargle" growl but I don't kno what that means. And some use the "rolling r's" method. Just depends on what works best for you.

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

To listen to examples cut and paste the following titles on YouTube;

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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj1yV0K4q1g


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpIEnB3UROo


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHrAZhQEO90


UNCHAIN MY HEART—JOE COCKER—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtFUX4Y2U84


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKWgYKa2Fh0


ROCKIN’ AT MIDNIGHT—HONEYDRIPPERS—KEITH EVANS—TENOR

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcuUDjYJpLY


UP THERE IN ORBITEARL BOSTIC—ALTO

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNcw2rt1J4


FREEWAY OF LOVE—ARETHA FRANKLIN—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtd3Wzn_YK

Other links for the growl;

The saxophone growl - a lot easier than you think if you follow this guide

Saxophone Frequently Asked Questions

Rock & Roll Sax - Book/CD Pack+

And there are many more websites. And those who are contributing to this post will have more suggestions. It is an excellent sound effect which has been used for many years. Apparently no one really knows when, where or why it begin but it does lend itself to a bit of a nasty slezzy sound which works very well on some styles of music. Hope some of this helps!
:sax:
 

John Setchell

Member
Messages
309
Locality
Norfolk UK
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 Billboard 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 only the mouthpiece. Once you get the sound on the m/p, attach it 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.

Another approach is to forget the sax mouthpiece and form your mouth to hum/sing as if you are going to sing the word "you" but leave off the "y" so that you get the ooooooo them make the hum sound at the same time.

After you get the "ooooo" sound then add air (exhale) and hum. The "oooo" volume will diminish with the addition of the exhaled air which is fine. Your throat area under your chin will rise, or tighten slightly which is normal. The combination of the hum and exhale will produce a rough sound which is normal.

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 can become 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 live performance with guitar, piano and bass amps 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. Some players use the "gargle" growl but I don't kno what that means. And some use the "rolling r's" method. Just depends on what works best for you.

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

To listen to examples cut and paste the following titles on YouTube;

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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj1yV0K4q1g


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpIEnB3UROo


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHrAZhQEO90


UNCHAIN MY HEART—JOE COCKER—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtFUX4Y2U84


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKWgYKa2Fh0


ROCKIN’ AT MIDNIGHT—HONEYDRIPPERS—KEITH EVANS—TENOR

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcuUDjYJpLY


UP THERE IN ORBITEARL BOSTIC—ALTO

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNcw2rt1J4


FREEWAY OF LOVE—ARETHA FRANKLIN—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtd3Wzn_YK

Other links for the growl;

The saxophone growl - a lot easier than you think if you follow this guide

Saxophone Frequently Asked Questions

Rock & Roll Sax - Book/CD Pack+

And there are many more websites. And those who are contributing to this post will have more suggestions. It is an excellent sound effect which has been used for many years. Apparently no one really knows when, where or why it begin but it does lend itself to a bit of a nasty slezzy sound which works very well on some styles of music. Hope some of this helps!
:sax:
Great stuff Mr Laughter. Thx.
Wow! Never seen that Cocker/Clemons clip before. Cocker was (is) one of my lifetime hero’s, and Unchain is one of the few numbers I’m fairly happy about my performance with when jamming.
 

eb424

Senior Member
Messages
2,434
Locality
london
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 Billboard 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 only the mouthpiece. Once you get the sound on the m/p, attach it 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.

Another approach is to forget the sax mouthpiece and form your mouth to hum/sing as if you are going to sing the word "you" but leave off the "y" so that you get the ooooooo them make the hum sound at the same time.

After you get the "ooooo" sound then add air (exhale) and hum. The "oooo" volume will diminish with the addition of the exhaled air which is fine. Your throat area under your chin will rise, or tighten slightly which is normal. The combination of the hum and exhale will produce a rough sound which is normal.

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 can become 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 live performance with guitar, piano and bass amps 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. Some players use the "gargle" growl but I don't kno what that means. And some use the "rolling r's" method. Just depends on what works best for you.

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

To listen to examples cut and paste the following titles on YouTube;

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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj1yV0K4q1g


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpIEnB3UROo


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHrAZhQEO90


UNCHAIN MY HEART—JOE COCKER—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtFUX4Y2U84


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

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKWgYKa2Fh0


ROCKIN’ AT MIDNIGHT—HONEYDRIPPERS—KEITH EVANS—TENOR

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcuUDjYJpLY


UP THERE IN ORBITEARL BOSTIC—ALTO

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmNcw2rt1J4


FREEWAY OF LOVE—ARETHA FRANKLIN—CLARENCE CLEMONS—TENOR

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dtd3Wzn_YK

Other links for the growl;

The saxophone growl - a lot easier than you think if you follow this guide

Saxophone Frequently Asked Questions

Rock & Roll Sax - Book/CD Pack+

And there are many more websites. And those who are contributing to this post will have more suggestions. It is an excellent sound effect which has been used for many years. Apparently no one really knows when, where or why it begin but it does lend itself to a bit of a nasty slezzy sound which works very well on some styles of music. Hope some of this helps!
:sax:
Wow thanks @John Laughter bit of practice to get on with.....:clapping:
 

John Laughter

Member
Messages
450
Locality
Macon,GA
Great stuff Mr Laughter. Thx.
Wow! Never seen that Cocker/Clemons clip before. Cocker was (is) one of my lifetime hero’s, and Unchain is one of the few numbers I’m fairly happy about my performance with when jamming.
You are welcome John. Glad to help. Again, keep in mind that there is more than one way to produce any effect.
 

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