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How to play low A and low Ab on your sax!!!

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Well, it sounds crazy but today I've managed just that....but there's a price to pay - you got to take the reed off your mouthpiece; then (and only then) you can play low Bb, low A and low Ab on your sax (I've only tested it on my Alto but tomorrow I'll try on my Soprano and Tenor).
The tricks is to try to cover the entire mouthpiece opening while leaving a small gap for your lower lip to vibrate (basically it's a bit like playing a trumpet) - like with brass instruments there a lot of headroom for your lips to modulate and with a bit of skills you can lower the rate to get as low as Low Ab. The sound is close to the real thing but less richer.
I've played the normal range without reed up to low D (by using normal fingering)...to play higher maybe it's worth trying less mouthpiece in the mouth (but I haven't managed to go above low D).

Ok, it's just a gimmick but think how your tutor or your fellow students would react when they hear you playing that low!

Have fun....just be careful with your lips (no responsibility accounted for any damage caused).
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
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3,661
Um, this I would like to see/hear any chance of a video of you performing this amazing feet? :w00t:
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Um, this I would like to see/hear any chance of a video of you performing this amazing feet? :w00t:
Well, at least some should have a go and try themselves first; then I'd bother to get a recording done...(trumpet players should find it easy).
I expect some skepticism...but I like to spice things up a bit - (bets accepted).
 

Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
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3,821
There is a thread like this on SOTW. Only over there they put there foot in the sax..

Chris...
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Does the make and position of the ligature make any difference to the tone?

Does one need one's tongue hand hammered or cryonic treated first?
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
There is a thread like this on SOTW. Only over there they put there foot in the sax..

Chris...
playing bottom A by closing the bell with your knee isn't really a novelty...many know about this trick and I've seen some players using to play low A this way in some gigs - but they can't get any lower than low A.

In fact, what I've found yesterday isn't one novelty but 2 into 1 - maybe the most relevant trick is how to play without any reed (let alone be able to play low Ab and maybe even lower?). I've tried for no more than 10 minutes as I ended my normal practice session and my bottom lip was buzzing and a bit painful - so, maybe it's not commendable...but I had a similar experience when I started playing my trumpet - so maybe it's just a question of getting use to it.
Right now, I can play 7 notes a semitone apart without reed from bottom Low Ab (low Ab to low D) - see if I can find a simple tune to play that low with this small range (about a 7th interval in all).
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Does the make and position of the ligature make any difference to the tone?

Does one need one's tongue hand hammered or cryonic treated first?
No need of any ligature nor reed - think about the savings...
Wanna bet? >:)
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
8,009
I believe that you have just reinvented the Ophicleide. :thumb:

Seriously, if the part goes to low A and one has a bari that goes only to low Bb, it is possible to tape a rolled up stiff paper tube in the bell to make low Bb sound a half step lower.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
LoL...like I've just reinvented the trumpet then? I've invented nothing - but for the first time I've played a sax like a trumpet (which is a personal breakthrough which I find interesting and open new possibilities).

I've tried the tenor today - it was very straightforward and in this case it is possible to go a bit higher (up to low G).
What we need to bear in mind is that the more we move away from the ideal resonance the more the sound becomes dull - the low Bb for example sounds much fuller than low A and low Ab (I've just touched low G for a moment) - simply said the length of the sax dictates how low we can go (via resonance) and unless we pull the mouthpiece big time, a full low resonant A isn't available.
The sound can be modulated (more than with a reed perhaps?) and I think there are interesting experiments to be found in this specific area...

There's no wonderful music to be created this way (not yet); but maybe there is some practical use for learning to play without a reed - for example, finding the most resonating spot (and therefore finding the perfect tuning) is easier because by using the lips as a source of sound (instead of the reed) one can be more picky and precise (you just feel the sound resonating on your lips - there is no mistake) - furthermore dulling the sound is easier...basically you can play just the fundamental (or close to it). Using the lips as a sound source offers more control and variation...
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Have tried a padded out Flügelhorn mouthpiece on a tenor.

Was it music that went round and round and came out here?

Try it and see.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Have tried a padded out Flügelhorn mouthpiece on a tenor.

Was it music that went round and round and came out here?

Try it and see.

Your inspirational insights are always welcomed (especially at dawn)...Flugelhorn? Nah, my secret passion is the trumpet - see? In a pindaric flight I've just combined the practicality of the sax with the "intimacy" of the trumpet - get the range sorted (get higher and higher) and then some meaningful vibes might even come out here.
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
Try playing an alto mouthpiece on a length of hosepipe, now that does hit the low notes!!!
at last an original idea....(I'm tempted of trying this one hush hush while nobody's watching)...have you had a go yourself or it is just an attempt of make fool of us? (I don't think the hosepipe resonates that well).

Flügelhorns' mouthpiece, bits of paper stuck on the bell, trumpet mouthpiece, hosepipes....ok, maybe interesting but a bit too engaging - a more streamlined casual approach is what does the trick here...:mrcool

I'm going to try the soprano soon...I expect some problems there (the higher range seems more troublesome) as there are some limitation with the vibrating modes of just the bottom lip pressed against the sax mouthpiece - with normal brass mouthpieces we use both lips - is this a possible cause why is so difficult to hit the mid-high range?
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Hand on Heart I have done this many times at school with the kids when we explore instruments. It is a really deep and loud noise, and the length of hose doesn't seem to make a difference to the pitch either. We have also tried piercing the pipe to play like a recorder but that doesn't alter anything.

give it a try, it will make your eyeballs rattle!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
Didn't Roy Castle play a hose pipe as part of his act. Mouthpiece one end and a big funnel on the other end. Swinging the funnel end round his head for the doppler/lesley effect. I seem to remember a watering can and a teapot in there too.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Didn't Roy Castle play a hose pipe as part of his act. Mouthpiece one end and a big funnel on the other end. Swinging the funnel end round his head for the doppler/lesley effect. I seem to remember a watering can and a teapot in there too.
I've seen it done by members of the Munich Philharmonic...
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
441
Roy Castle was a trumpet player, so using a trumpet mouthpiece lots of things work. We used to play a piece with 2 trumpet players playing hosepipes, a tubular steel chair, metal teapot and a toilet! (it had a hosepipe pushed through it to make it work) The kids at schools concerts loved it.
Dave
 

zannad

Member
Messages
410
I've tried the trick on the soprano today....the low A is very difficult and sounds very weak - but the low/mid range is playable (more than on the tenor and alto).
 
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