Tutorials

Hello from Scotland

Beemer

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Scotland
I play piano but for variety and hopefully fun I decided to try alta saxophone. I bought my Yamaha YAS-280 in May 2019 and started weekly lessons six weeks ago. I'm waiting for the fun to begin as I'm finding it hard work! Perhaps its because I am 72 and physically and mentally not as shiny as my sax . Using 2 1/2 Vandoren on the Yamaha 4c mouthpiece.
 

randulo

Playing saxophone 20 months - 2.3% of my life
Subscriber
Messages
1,989
Location
France
People often start on 2 1/2 Vandoren, I did and I think my teacher thought it normal. The recommendation was from the store I rented from.

@Beemer glad to have you with us, it happens I'm also 72. Been playing for nearly 19 months.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,983
Location
The Athens of The North
Welcome to the cafe..I prefer soft reeds and I'm having a lot of fun using Marca Jazz 2 on my alto. Otherwise I'm happy with Rico Royal in strength 2. You could even start with Rico Royals in 1.5 for a bit. Playing the sax is not supposed to be an ordeal. Have fun.
 

MikeMorrell

Netherlands
Subscriber
Messages
1,274
Location
Breda
Hi Beemer,

Welcome to the cafe! As others have said, you're 'hard work' is probably due to the combination of your mpc (tip opening) and your reed brand/strength. Learning to play sax should ideally not be too much 'hard work' Ricoh reeds are generally a 1/2 strength softer (easier to play) than Vandorens. But both Ricoh and Vandorens have different reed strengths and designs. Welcome to the world of reeds!I

It takes a while to discover which reed strength/style works for you at any moment in time but it's good to be aware of the differences.
.
Vandoren have some good videos on YouTube that explain the differences between their reeds For example, the below (which I learned lot from!). Others will correct me if I'm, wrong, but if a 1/2 strength Ricoh or 1 strength Vandoren suits you better now, then enjoy playing! The time will come when you'll want a slightly stiffer reed or different mpc. Until then, just explore!

I struggled for years to make Vandoren v16 (the hardest) reeds 'playable' with my mpc until I discovered the video below. I soon found out that 'Java Red' was.much easier to play and still gave me the sound that I wanted. The video is about jazz reeds but there are equivalent videos classical reeds.


Mike
 
Last edited:
OP
Beemer

Beemer

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Scotland
Hello and welcome, 2 1/2 reed sounds a bit hard for a beginner, did your tutor recommend it?

Jx
Hi jx,
I started with 1-1/2 but my tutor had me soon move to 2 then 2-1/2. I'm going to move back as "finding it hard" has meant that in playing one octave scales I eventually, say after two scales, run out of puff and the last few notes on the way down don't sound. In fact I find that at that point the air starts escaping out the side of my mouth! Perhaps my mouth muscles are not strong enough yet?
Ian
 
OP
Beemer

Beemer

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Scotland
Hi Beemer,

Welcome to the cafe! As others have said, you're 'hard work' is probably due to the combination of your mpc (tip opening) and your reed brand/strength. Learning to play sax should ideally not be too much 'hard work' Ricoh reeds are generally a 1/2 strength softer (easier to play) than Vandorens. But both Ricoh and Vandorens have different reed strengths and designs. Welcome to the world of reeds!I

It takes a while to discover which reed strength/style works for you at any moment in time but it's good to be aware of the differences.
.
Vandoren have some good videos on YouTube that explain the differences between their reeds For example, the below (which I learned lot from!). Others will correct me if I'm, wrong, but if a 1/2 strength Ricoh or 1 strength Vandoren suits you better now, then enjoy playing! The time will come when you'll want a slightly stiffer reed or different mpc. Until then, just explore!

I struggled for years to make Vandoren v16 (the hardest) reeds 'playable' with my mpc until I discovered the video below. I soon found out that 'Java Red' was.much easier to play and still gave me the sound that I wanted. The video is about jazz reeds but there are equivalent videos classical reeds.


Mike
Hi Mike,
thanks for the video link which I had not seen before. I think my tutor moved me from the 1-1/2 because I was overblowing and sounding unwanted harmonics. At least that is what I remember. The video was very professional but it would be great to see a similar video made by a beginner discussing their reed experience. Maybe I'll consider doing that.
Ian
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
24,578
Location
Cheshire UK
Hi jx,
I started with 1-1/2 but my tutor had me soon move to 2 then 2-1/2. I'm going to move back as "finding it hard" has meant that in playing one octave scales I eventually, say after two scales, run out of puff and the last few notes on the way down don't sound. In fact I find that at that point the air starts escaping out the side of my mouth! Perhaps my mouth muscles are not strong enough yet?
Ian
If you are blowing from the side of your mouth your embouchure is tiring. A softer reed will help. I've been playing a good few years and only recently tried a 2.5

Jx
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
Subscriber
Messages
1,327
Location
Hampshire
Welcome to the Cafe and to the Saxophone! Reed and mouthpiece setups are very personal things and what might suit another player might not suit you. Worth experimenting if you find your current setup a struggle.
 
OP
Beemer

Beemer

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Scotland
Welcome

Does the Denis The Menace place you in or near Dundee?
Hi Ivan,
No but my uncle and aunt lived there and I did read the Beano kids magazine. I even have the last issued copy somewhere! I'm in South Lanarkshire. I see you have quite an arsonal of saxes!
 
OP
Beemer

Beemer

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Scotland
My lessons are continuing and my teacher is pleased with my progress. He now has me practicing overtones!
Continuing on the subject of the the Beano. Today is its 4000th issue birthday. It was born in 1937.
Ian
 
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