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Saxophones New sax questions: Update - I am a sax owner!

zebrafoot

Member
Messages
63
I just took ownership of a new (to me) sax today. By chance I checked the online stock list of my local shop and they had just listed an ex-demo Bauhaus Walstein tenor (yellow brass) at a very nice price. I went round and had a look and I had to buy it. It (she?) is like new - I think it left the factory or distributor on 2nd of August this year, according to the card in the case, so the person who had it before me can only have played it for a month or two at most. Cosmetically it looks amazing, apart from one small blemish on one of the long rods (sorry, don't know the technical term for this) so I don't think they really played it at all. I'm absolutely delighted with it, not least because I saved myself £100 off list, for an as-new instrument.

The man in the shop kitted me out with a brand new Yamaha mouthpiece (5c) and some suitable reeds and I've given the horn a good blow and it's great. My missus reckons it sounds much better than my friend's Yamaha yts-32, although in fairness that's probably a lot to do with the reed/mouthpiece combination he has and the suitability or not of this for an absolute beginner. I found with the BW I could hit lowish notes (D, C) straight off (at least at first, before I got tired), and could run up to A/B on the octave key no problem (again, until I got tired, when I found I just couldn't maintain the "tightness" of embouchure required for higher notes).

In short, I'm totally over the moon with the new horn and I wanted to say thanks to everyone who contributed to my earlier thread and gave so much useful and encouraging advice.

Finally, I have a small embouchure question - bottom lip; over or in front of the teeth?

Cheers,

Pete
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,661
Congratulation on the new addition to your family (it's like a kid, it'll scream if you don't treat it right and then, just when you've given it loads of attention, it'll dribble all over you!)
As for your embouchure question, either is ok if it works for you. Personally I find that I change from one to another depending on what I'm doing and how long I've been doing it. I'm a very inconsistent player though! I suppose most of the time I have a small amount of lip just covering my teeth. This varies from the top of my lip to the soft inner skin of the lip (thats probably why it feels to me like my lip is out)
Well I hope I've cleared that up and not confused the issue at all! :confused: :)))
Have fun :mrcool
 

Big-Al

Member
Messages
32
I hope you have as much fun with your new BW as I am having with mine.:sax::sax:

In terms of embouchure there is a really good sticky on the 'playing' section of the forum which gives lots of tips on this. After reading I changed from over the teeth to just in front which took a little getting used to and a little softer reed at first but improved my sound no end. It probably will also help you get those Realy low notes.

Cheers Al,
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Enjoy!

On the embouchure- Get Larry Teal's art of the saxophone (pink cover) from Amazon. Really good and objective section on it. I also found that lips out gave me a much better sound. And it'll force you to develop the muscles which give you the support you need to get the lips away from the teeth and avoid the deadly sin - biting...
 

zebrafoot

Member
Messages
63
Another bit of a technique question - I found I can "lip up" the octave, without pressing the octave key. Is this normal/desirable/the result of bad technique/something to do with the sax being set up wrong?

I'm used to getting different notes with the same fingering from my cornet days, but wasn't aware it was so easy on sax. Is this how one plays altissimo?
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
Another bit of a technique question - I found I can "lip up" the octave, without pressing the octave key. Is this normal/desirable/the result of bad technique/something to do with the sax being set up wrong?
Normal.

If you want to play it like a cornet finger bottom Bb and see how many notes of the harmonic series you can get.
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
Normal.

If you want to play it like a cornet finger bottom Bb and see how many notes of the harmonic series you can get.
In fact, it's quite good practice to play without using the octave key from time to time. You should be able to lip up almost everything - the notes may not come out as "clean" - but the exercise helps with intonation and tone production in general - and ultimately altissimo. Besides, it's quite a nice tonal effect - fingering a low c (etc) and lipping up the octave - Sonny Rollins uses that effect particularly well.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
You can use it to help with tone production this way:

Finger a bottom Bb, say, and blow a Bb an octave up or the F above that (The F may be easier to get at first). Listen to the nice rich sound you make as the note resonates along the whole instrument. Then try to match that sound using the normal fingering. You don't need to worry too much about what you're actually doing to make that sound, it's mainly about listening and having an idea in your head of what you want the sound to be.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
works the other way as well - you can play the lower octave withe the octave key pressed
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Congrats on your new instrument! The BW's are superb instruments and well thought of.

Take your time with developing your embouchure, and practice long notes, especially below the octave break, otherwise you might unnecessarily tighten it when you play higher notes, which will make them thinner sounding than they need be - better to get good breath control by practising the lower notes more often, and hold them for as long as you can - bit like playing the cornet, where low note practice helps with the higher register.

Kind regards
Tom
 

zebrafoot

Member
Messages
63
Thanks Tom, I will do that. On a totally different note, how should I hold the instrument to put it together? I'm terrified that I may bend a key, and of course they're everywhere on the body, so it's very difficult to get a firm hold without touching them. The same goes for picking the sax up - I'm worry that I may damage the rods or keys.

Pete
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
zabrafoot - I usually hold the saxophone by the bell when assembling or carrying it around.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Lots of folks (like myself) keep the sax on a stand - I use a K&M stand which I keep somewhere safe. Lots of folks attach the mouthpiece to the neck first and then put the neck onto the sax. Otherwise it should be OK to put the mouthpiece directly onto the asembled sax provided you areholding the top of the neck in one hand and the motuthpiece with hand firmly around the ligature. Use cork grease to aid this process. When I attach the neck to the sax I usually sit the sax upright on a soft surface - such as sofa, or on a table with something soft underneath - newspaper etc. and proably hold it by the bell, or somewhere without too many buttons.

If you are picking the sax up from a stand I generally attach the strap first and hold it by both the bell and the bottom of the sax. If in a case I am likely to hold it by the bottom or bell and the top of the sax until it is sitting up and then proceed as previously. Other methods probably exist, but I have yet to damage any sax in this way.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
I usually grab it round the middle, but it depends on where I'm picking it up from. Also use the bell or the curly bit on the baritone. Not managed to harm one in 40 years of doing this.
 
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