Tutorials

Beginner moving from clarinet to sax

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
I'm an early-intermediate clarinet player and I wouldn't mind having a go on the sax at some point.

What is the transition from clarinet to sax like? I know that the register key is an octave rather than a 12th - will that prove confusing?

Is the fingering similar between clarinet and sax?

Would it be better to start with an alto sax or a tenor?

thanks
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,143
I'm an early-intermediate clarinet player and I wouldn't mind having a go on the sax at some point.

What is the transition from clarinet to sax like? I know that the register key is an octave rather than a 12th - will that prove confusing?

Is the fingering similar between clarinet and sax?

Would it be better to start with an alto sax or a tenor?

thanks

It is easier than moving from sax to clarinet. Fingering is similar but not the same.

The main difference is the embochure. keep in mind they are different instruments.

Start with the instrument you like the most, but I wouldn't recommend the antisocial bass saxophone
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
It is easier than moving from sax to clarinet. Fingering is similar but not the same.

The main difference is the embochure. keep in mind they are different instruments.

Start with the instrument you like the most, but I wouldn't recommend the antisocial bass saxophone

Ok, thanks- is that because of the looser embochure and no finger holes?

Now a really obvious question. Is alto the more popular sax?

I also heard that alto is generally the "classical" preferred instrument, as classical is more my background rather than jazz it would make more sense to go for alto. Is that right?
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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Ok, thanks- is that because of the looser embochure and no finger holes?

Now a really obvious question. Is alto the more popular sax?

I also heard that alto is generally the "classical" preferred instrument, as classical is more my background rather than jazz it would make more sense to go for alto. Is that right?

Not really... Lot of (soloist) classical works for alto, many for soprano, a few for tenor.
Go for the sound you prefer.


I go and wear my helmet, with canned worms I recommend fresh ground pepper.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Having played the Soprano, Alto and Tenor Saxophones for a while and recently taking up the Clarinet I would say that moving to the Sax for you will be easier than it was for me moving to the Clarinet!

You need a tighter embouchure on the Soprano than you would on an Alto and an even looser one for the Tenor. The Soprano is a higher pitched sax than the Alto. The Tenor is even lower again. I’m assuming you’re playing a Bb Clarinet in which case you think in Bb so a Soprano or Tenor might suit you better as the Alto is an Eb instrument.

That said the Alto’s and Tenor’s seem the most popular to start on. I would say that an Alto has been played in more genres than the Tenor. For some reason the modern pop haven’t really taken to the Tenor.

Both the Alto and Tenor have been played in many genres from Classical to Jazz through to Rock N’ Roll, the Blues, you name it and I bet they’ve done it!

What style of playing and music are you interested in? If it’s Jazz go and check out different Jazz artists and see who you like Charlie Parker (aka Bird) was an Altoist whereas John Coltrane played the Tenor and Soprano, Sonny Rollins only played the Tenor.

The Alto and Tenor sound so different it’s unmistakable!

Best of luck!
 

jbtsax

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8,051
I'm an early-intermediate clarinet player and I wouldn't mind having a go on the sax at some point.

What is the transition from clarinet to sax like? I know that the register key is an octave rather than a 12th - will that prove confusing?

Not at all. Pressing the thumb key to produce the same note an octave higher is very intuitive. The essential differences in embouchure and tone production are as follows:

clarinet - mouthpiece tilts down 45 degrees so the air stream is directed at the reed
saxophone - mouthpiece goes straight into the mouth so the airstream is directed through the tip opening

clarinet - lower lip stretched tight across lower teeth
saxophone - lower lip more relaxed to form a cushion

clarinet - chin flat
saxophone - chin rounded slightly (not bunched)

clarinet - plays near the top of its mouthpiece pitch
saxophone - plays closer to the center of the pitch

clarinet - more playing resistance
saxophone - less playing resistance, more free blowing

Is the fingering similar between clarinet and sax?

The fingering is very nearly the same as the notes above the break on the clarinet. The palm keys and L.H. little finger "table" keys will take the most getting used to.

Would it be better to start with an alto sax or a tenor?

It is more common to start on the alto saxophone---especially if your interest is in classical music rather than rock or jazz.
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
thanks for all the advice. I'm not heavily into jazz and know little about improvising; but that may come with time. I read and (occasionally) write music. That's my background.

Just one more question. I've seen a Hanson alto Sax, but it doesn't have a mouthpiece and ligature. Are these interchangeable/ replaceable with other models? I have a Hanson clarinet and it's really a really sound quality instrument, so I trust the make.

cheers
adrian
 
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Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Just one more question. I've seen a Hanson alto Sax, but it doesn't have a mouthpiece and ligature. Are these interchangeable/ replaceable with other models? I have a Hanson clarinet and it's really a really sound quality instrument, so I trust the make.

cheers
adrian

There are a multitude of mouthpieces and ligs available for saxes, sold through most sax outlets and online, and designed to fit the size of sax ie. alto, tenor etc - it's a whole new can of worms if you want recommendations as to what would be best for the sax you have in mind/sound you would like to produce........

Look forward to hearing how you get on.

Cheers,

Amanda
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Apart from other differences, there's no standard size for the bore of the mouthpiece. So you may end up getting your cork adjusted to suit the mouthpiece.... But theoretically all alto mouthpieces work on all altos, all tenor mouthpieces work on all tenors and so on. Ligs - basically two sizes for each size of sax, depending on whether you have a metal (smaller/narrower) or plastic/rubber mouthpiece. Some mouthpieces come with a lig. Don't forget the cap, either.

Hansons seem to have a good reputation. Better to play a few and get a feel for the differences before settling on a make unseen. Lots of other recommendations bound to arrive soon. Same for mouthpieces/ligs...
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
Apart from other differences, there's no standard size for the bore of the mouthpiece. So you may end up getting your cork adjusted to suit the mouthpiece.... But theoretically all alto mouthpieces work on all altos, all tenor mouthpieces work on all tenors and so on. Ligs - basically two sizes for each size of sax, depending on whether you have a metal (smaller/narrower) or plastic/rubber mouthpiece. Some mouthpieces come with a lig. Don't forget the cap, either.

Hansons seem to have a good reputation. Better to play a few and get a feel for the differences before settling on a make unseen. Lots of other recommendations bound to arrive soon. Same for mouthpieces/ligs...

Thanks

I will keep re-visting this forum before I make any purchases to see what people recommend.

I have a habit of buying second hand from musicians - because you get better quality for your money and often some helpful advice comes with it; as was the case with my clarinet.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
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2,773
Hanson have an SA5 in their clearance page on their website for about £400 if you're interested. 5 years warranty and five years service. Worth a look.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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I should have added that some of the members have Hansons. And they don't come here complaining about them...
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
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5,545
Ask Alastair what mouthpiece he recommends for use with one of his instruments. At least that's one more opinion.
 

akame

New Member
Messages
15
I had the same issue a couple of months ago.

I have been playing the Bb clarinet for a couple of years, but felt I was not getting on as well as I might. I struggled to cover some of the holes and had reached a plateau.

My tutor suggested trying the alto sax. He had an ex demo one available, and I had a couple of lessons. I got on surprisingly well. Yes, fingering is different (even now, when playing the middle G I remove all fingers and end up playing a C#) and the octave key only comes in from D upwards, instead of B. However, it is much easier to blow. My tutor said my clarinet playing would help the upper notes, but not the lower notes, and I think he is right. I struggle consistently to get lower D - it tends to go up an octave. I think I try too hard, and with a too tight an embouchure. I ended up buying the ex demo alto!

I must admit I haven't even played the clarinet for the past 2 months - I have been busy playing and transposing some clarinet duets so that I can play with my mum, who still plays the clarinet. There are not too many duets available for clarinet/sax.

Can you have a try out of an alto? I love the sound of the tenor also, but being very petite, I doubted whether I would have handled the tenor. The soprano was too much like the clarinet, and can be difficult to play in tune I understand.

Good luck! If I can help further, please shout :D Let us know how you get on.

Miranda
 

adrianallan

Member
Messages
50
thanks for all the great advice so far - much valued.

Just two more quick questions -
1.Does anybody know what a hanson eclipse is? - has it been "eclipsed" by a newer alto model?
2. I play a few instruments but I've really missed being able to do vibrato on clarinet (which is apparently seldom done). Do people do vibrato on sax; I'm hoping that they do?
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,031
Miranda, there are sax duet books for two equal saxophones or Eb and Bb. Check out James Rae's "Easy Saxophone Duets" your mum could play the separate tenor part. Just a thought. Also, I know little women who play all the saxes from soprano to bass. Don't hesitate to try the tenor.

Jim.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,031
Adrian, you will be able to play vibrato to your hearts content on the sax. Parts without vibrato are often marked "no vib" by the arranger. Enjoy the saxophone journey.

Jim.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
I think the eclipse is the starter instrument, but they also do Gulf as well which is a basic model.
The SA5 is classed as intermediate.
Vibrato can be used on saxes it just depends if it floats yer boat.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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Yes to vibrato - and many other special effects. Perte has a section devoted to special effects on taming the saxophone, should be a link at the top of this page.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
I think the eclipse is the starter instrument, but they also do Gulf as well which is a basic model.
The SA5 is classed as intermediate.
Vibrato can be used on saxes it just depends if it floats yer boat.

Some of the sound clips would be greatly improved by the use of vibrato. Make the notes SING!!!!!

John :);}
 

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