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Loosing the ability to Tongue!

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,668
Locality
Rugby UK
I've been playing away and gaining bad habits for some time. I know I'm a lazy player, that shows in my sound clips and in my lack of disciplined practice regime. I hadn't really noticed a problem until I posted a sound clip, not sure which on, I could be bothered to look for and I've had a drink and probably couldn't find it anyway. Well someone mentioned, quite correctly that my tonguing was coming across as a du du du. I've had a listen to myself and they are absolutly right. My problem is that I don't think I've evre done it properly and now that I'm trying it's getting worse. If I touch my tongeue on the reed, build up the pressure in my mouth and then remove my tongue from the reed it sounds rubbish. I know it's not the be all and end all, but it's getting me down. It's probably more like therers a few things getting me down and maybe this is just one of them but I think I need to sort it out. Any sugestions? When people have sid in the past that they've lost direction or their mojo's gone, I don't think I really understood what they meant. Well now I do. It's not a nice place to be.


Mojo, Mojo, wherefore art thou?
 

Chris98

Senior Member
Messages
1,094
Dear Mr. Taz,

Finally, and welcome, here is your velvet smoking jacket and slippers, sit down here, what will you drink... please join us at the lost mojo club, it's a friendly place, think of it as a hotel, you can check-out any time you like...

This will not do... and in that small window of opportunity before someone with really helpful advice comes along, might I suggest something I'm trying, as I too, as well as misplaced mojo and a host of other issues, have an articulation problem!

Try changing your tonguing from, du, to tu, as if saying 't' as in two, I have found it helps keep the tongue light and quick, if I concentrate too hard, my tongue becomes all tense and then hammer blows the reed slipping past 'Du' to 'Fu'. So I just, when I remember, try and keep it light and 'tu' the reed.

Best wishes,

Chris
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,732
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I can't believe an experienced and accomplished player like you is having basic problems with technique.

I think I read on here that the tongue is used for stopping the reed not starting it. Stop messing about and just play the thing. I don't even bother tonguing the reed to start it any more.

You can get a nice effect by using the back of the throat like saying Kah. I pinched a technique from a brass player and adapted it. On a fast passage I say uh ka ta through the reed. triple tonguing I think he called it.

to replace lost mojo try

1. New song book in a completely different genre. I got a Hal leonard motown playalong. Much fun.

2. New bit of kit usually works too. Currently waiting for a £2.65 clip on mic.

3. Go busking in the rain. Nothing quite like it. ( No electrics mind.)

and stop drinking. It's a depressant.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Locality
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
I can't play for toffees if I've had a drink or two. Buggers up the embouchure something rotten, not to mention thought processes and reaction times...

Apart from that I don't think about what my mouth is up to most of the time - unless I think "so and so says this..." and then I might try something new (with the possible exception of incest and Morris dancing, as yer man said)

I get this lost mojo stuff from time to time. I guess most people do. My way of getting out of it is to listen to or read something inspiring. Or just blow like ****e... just zoom around, free form, leaping from one scale/chord/mode/whatever to the next...
 
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jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,719
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
A lot of players touch too much of the reed with too much of the tongue.

- Touch only the tip of the reed with the portion of the top of the tongue just behind the tip.
- Practice without the sax as if spitting a small piece of lint off the tip of the tongue.
- Do that into the sax touching the tip of the reed lightly with the tongue while blowing a steady stream of air.
- Practice at different dynamic levels. Resist the common tendency to tongue harder as you go louder.

For regular tonguing think Tah Tah Tah Tah Tah
For legato (jazz tonguing) think Du Du Du Du Du
For stacatto tonguing think Tee Tee Tee Tee Tee [if in the UK: Tea Tea Tea Tea Tea] :)

That's all there is to it. Watch out for jaw or chin movement which means too much of the tongue is moving too far inside the mouth.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,124
Locality
Cheshire UK
Taz

You've had good technical advice above. As my tutor once told me "the great thing about the sax is when you play all your emotions show and the worse thing about the sax is when you play all your emotions show"

Sort the other things out and your sax mojo will return;}

and one night with drink for a problem is fine but put the bottle away today and blow your sax :)


Hope you sort things soon.


Jx
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,411
Locality
Sweden
I use to think that my tongue is the drumstick and the reed is the snaredrum. Since you're are into rocksax practise to nail the tone on beat 2 & 4. Start on a low tempo. After some time you can add the rh side keys and try to do some licks with rh rattle. To get it even more interesting you can also add som growl. And of course it's always with full volume! Rock & Roll Saxophone, you know. Pete Thomas is using this on a blues recording on his website.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,349
Locality
leicester
just take a rest from the sax for a bit and do something else that's interesting - sometimes too much practice can drive you mad. If I play a lot I run out of inspiration, so I have to do something else to 'recharge my batteries' - after 49 years I'm finally realising that there's more to life than music..
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
I've been playing away and gaining bad habits for some time. I know I'm a lazy player, that shows in my sound clips and in my lack of disciplined practice regime. I hadn't really noticed a problem until I posted a sound clip, not sure which on, I could be bothered to look for and I've had a drink and probably couldn't find it anyway. Well someone mentioned, quite correctly that my tonguing was coming across as a du du du. I've had a listen to myself and they are absolutly right. My problem is that I don't think I've evre done it properly and now that I'm trying it's getting worse. If I touch my tongeue on the reed, build up the pressure in my mouth and then remove my tongue from the reed it sounds rubbish. I know it's not the be all and end all, but it's getting me down. It's probably more like therers a few things getting me down and maybe this is just one of them but I think I need to sort it out. Any sugestions? When people have sid in the past that they've lost direction or their mojo's gone, I don't think I really understood what they meant. Well now I do. It's not a nice place to be.


Mojo, Mojo, wherefore art thou?

or reed with a bit of spring. Where art Thou
 
Messages
514
Locality
kent
Don't get hung up on tongueing, the beauty of the sax is that it is similar to the human voice
You don't attack every syllable as you speak, so why attack every note or phrase?
There is a video on YouTube in which a teacher from Berkeley , teaches his students not to tongue at all!
My advise don't think, play naturally and you will instinctively tongue when you need to
Works for me
Regards Zoot
 
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Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
617
Locality
Marciac, France
Brass players tip for improving tonguing: say the words Nantucket and/ or Connecticut repeatedly, fast as poss.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,411
Locality
Sweden
If this helps; come to Sweden/Scania/Denmark 25/10-27/10 and blow some sax with Andrew Clark (Rock 'n' Roll Saxophone, Saxophone Journal). You can play and some instruction every day and join our workshop as well. In Scania or Copenhagen, I don't know right now. Andrew is going to play at Eslövs Bluesfestival so that's the main reason for his trip. But we use to through in some teaching, workshops and ensemble. No jazz, just Rocksax (R&R, R&B, Soul, Funk, Blues). Everyone is welcome!
 

Linky Lee

Member
Messages
180
Locality
Salisbury, UK
Taz,

I too lost my mojo as I was struggling with intonation on my alto and my aural skills were getting me down (or my lack of said skills rather). Things started to slow down for me musically and I ended up with a break from the sax but I really missed playing with others so I forced myself to pick it up again, go back to basics for a while and really work on things like tone, articulation and dynamics (as well as singing!).
This gave me a new lease of life, I've found a big band to play with which is purely for fun, no pressure to perform 100% all the time etc.

My recommendation is to create a practice schedule really focussing in on the aspects of tonguing/articulation that you want to improve. Make the effort to free up some time in an environment where you can practice comfortably and get working, hard and focussed!
I'm by no means a well disciplined musician, I rarely make the time to practice properly and when I do it's not focussed all the time (I did practice today though!) but forcing myself to practice hard for those first few weeks really paid off and helped me get the impetus back. Go for it and try playing something new whatever you decide to do!
 

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