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Hi all I don't even own a sax

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This is an introduction (not an ad or question about saxophone)

wooster

New Member
Messages
11
Location
UK
Hi

I'm looking to take up the sax and thought I should get some advice before I bought one and learn a bit about what I should do to learn. I'm hoping to find out all I need to know on here and meet like-minded people. I live in the UK. I play guitar, a little piano and 5 string banjo. I've always loved a variety of types of music.

Anyway, I'm due to retire this year and hope to have some time on my hands. Also, I feel my neighbours have had it too easy with me so far so ....
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Café Supporter
Messages
7,016
Location
Bristol, UK
Welcome to the Café.

I bought my first saxophone as a 65th birthday present to myself, and I can heartily recommend it. It can be addictive - I now have 6 saxophones.

  • As @Jeanette said, you need to decide which size sax you want to start with. Alto and tenor are the most common, but soprano and baritone are possible. Listen to some players and decide which sounds nicer to you.
  • Then you need to decide whether to start by purchasing a sax or by hiring one for a few months to see if it is really for you.
  • If you are buying, then a good secondhand sax will be better value for money, but some people prefer the assurance of a shiny new one.
  • And you need to decide what budget you have. In general alto saxes are the cheapest. Baritones are expensive.
  • And I would strongly recommend finding a teacher to get you started properly.
 

Dave Dunn

Member
Messages
110
Location
South Australia
Welcome! I too have played other instruments for years and have recently taken up learning the saxophone.
Before deciding I needed an actual saxophone, I bought a few different Little/Pocket "saxophones", I still really enjoy playing them, as much as, if not more (at times) than playing the real saxophones. I think you'd find one enjoyable too while waiting to buy yourself a sax. They use a genuine alto saxophone mouthpiece and reed, and have the same basic fingering, so you need a beginner saxophone course to play them, meaning that you can learn some basics while waiting for a real sax. For example, when I first got one, I could barely make a honk, and covering different holes made no difference, I had to learn the skills needed to play a saxophone before I could play the Little Sax. They are in Bb, so when I actually got real saxophones, both my wife and I could stumble our way through "When the Saints" immediately despite never having so much as held a saxophone before, because we had already developed some sort of embouchure and had learned the fingering.
Just a thought for something to start you off while you are searching for a saxophone to buy, for around $40 USD, it's a great little instrument to have. :)
IMG_20210218_234600.jpg

Edit-
"Perhaps a little one to go with your little piano?!"
This comment wasn't there when I started to type! But yes, Little Sax indeed! :D
 

wooster

New Member
Messages
11
Location
UK
Thank you to everyone for the warm and helpful welcome. Nordbo, I'm a PG Wodehouse fan that's where the name came from.

I have no idea what size I want to try but I have a couple of hand issues which will might impact on the whole thing but I should probably post that as new thread. In the meantime thank you all for your suggestions and look forward to meeting you all in future discussions :)
 

randulo

Living the dream
Café Supporter
Messages
6,081
Location
France
Hi Wooster, a lot depends on the budget you'd be willing to spend, but I (and others) often recommend a hired saxophone first to see how it feels in the hands and how much breath you have for it. Welcome to the V-Café and the the wonderful world of saxophone!
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,553
Location
Near Lutterworth, Leics.
Tenor and bigger you may find heavy. Soprano and smaller tricky. Do as I did and go for an alto.

The "go to" starter alto sax is a Yamaha. Find a good YAS-23; 25; 275 for £400-500 and you won't lose a penny when you upgrade. Lots for sale 2nd hand but be careful of any used sax. Most, yes... MOST sellers don't have a clue about what they're selling or its condition - inherited; was their child's (DANGER!!); bought on a whim; found in the loft; etc.
Ideally buy used face to face and take a player with you to check it over. Otherwise buy a new YAS-280.

NB. Other brands are available - read some reviews here: Alto Saxophone Reviews

@Stephen Howard is the author and is on here often.

For sax hire, this company has been recommended before but I have no personal experience: ukSaxHire

There are some good online tutors, including my own: Lessons

I've recommended Dave to some students who have bought horns from me and they seem to like his approach, as I did when having face to face lessons. He's "littleplum" here but isn't seen much on the forum. Maybe phone him for an informal chat and advice on your hand issues?

Hope that helps?
 

wooster

New Member
Messages
11
Location
UK
Ooops I got engrossed in another thread I started and forgot about this one. Thanks for your help. I really like the sound of the tenor and I can hold a Gibson Les Paul round my neck without a problem so the weight should be all right, but I'm worried my fingers might be stretched a bit too far. I'm probably going to rent an alto to start with and see how it goes after the 3 months period is over.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Café Supporter
Messages
6,208
Location
Whitchurch, North Shropshire UK
Ooops I got engrossed in another thread I started and forgot about this one. Thanks for your help. I really like the sound of the tenor and I can hold a Gibson Les Paul round my neck without a problem so the weight should be all right, but I'm worried my fingers might be stretched a bit too far. I'm probably going to rent an alto to start with and see how it goes after the 3 months period is over.
If you can get to try instruments (tricky at the moment) it will help a lot. With some saxes, there isn't that big a difference between alto and tenor in finger spacing, but it does vary a lot depending on make.
 

Dave Dunn

Member
Messages
110
Location
South Australia
Ooops I got engrossed in another thread I started and forgot about this one. Thanks for your help. I really like the sound of the tenor and I can hold a Gibson Les Paul round my neck without a problem so the weight should be all right, but I'm worried my fingers might be stretched a bit too far. I'm probably going to rent an alto to start with and see how it goes after the 3 months period is over.
You'll find that having a tenor on a neck strap is very different from slinging a guitar if you have neck problems. I have no trouble with guitars, bass included, but a few minutes of playing tenor caused me intense neck pain, and two months later, I'm still suffering, and my neck is still cracking and popping when I move my head. I highly recommend getting a harness or similar if neck pain might be a problem, it really spoiled the experience of getting a saxophone for me, I haven't touched the tenor again since the day it arrived.
 

squeak

Member
Messages
225
Hi

I'm looking to take up the sax and thought I should get some advice before I bought one and learn a bit about what I should do to learn. I'm hoping to find out all I need to know on here and meet like-minded people. I live in the UK. I play guitar, a little piano and 5 string banjo. I've always loved a variety of types of music.

Anyway, I'm due to retire this year and hope to have some time on my hands. Also, I feel my neighbours have had it too easy with me so far so ....
Welcome!

Skip them silly small horns and head straight to the baritone. Good for your posture and nothing like the mellow, deep sound plus you actually make fewer notes sound decent to please them neighbors.
 

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