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SYOS

Saxophones Now got a Tenor - but want to keep playing my alto

bucksmusic

New Member
Messages
23
Hi

I started playing Sax again in February and bought a Trevor James alto, which I upgraded to Yanagisawa alto in July.

A few days ago I bought a Yamaha YTS-475 tenor 2nd hand, together with an Otto Link tone edge 5* mouthpiece and am trying out D'Addario Royal 2.5 reeds at the moment. Just had a first serious blow on it and love the sound it makes.

When I bought my alto in February I hadn't played Sax seriously for about 15 years, and even when I was playing then I never got beyond what I'd call the advanced beginner stage. I don't want to give up on the alto as it's a lovely instrument.

Any thoughts on playing and practising both instruments? Bare in mind I'm a young (59) retired person so I do have quite a bit of spare time during the day. I'll talk to my teacher about it tomorrow, but would be interested to hear other peoples views.

Thanks

Simon
 

spike

Old Indian
Messages
2,297
Play them both simultaneously - it does go down very well with audiences.
Also get your hands on as many instruments as you've got room for.
Once you've got the woodwind instruments covered - Pianos are very good, they're very useful and they make nice noises.
Also drums - they don't take up too much space, congas and bongos for instance and African drums can be had at quite reasonable prices, lot's of fun to be had.

I recently took up the chromatic harmonica so I'm blowing and sucking and sliding at the moment.

Welcome to the Café de Sax, hope you enjoy your stay.
 

bucksmusic

New Member
Messages
23
A soprano is something I'd like to get in the future. Actually I'm primarily a Pianist. But I hadn't thought of both Saxes at once. I could be the next Roland Kirk :) Well in my mind...
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,214
As with others here, many of us play more than one sax voice. It does take practicing each as the mouthpiece and embouchure for each is different. However if you feel that you're still mostly in a learning mode and trying to get some basics covered: e.g. playing well rhythmically, tone, fingering, etc. then switching instruments won't make this process easier or faster. It may be best to get those things well covered which can then be transferred to the other sax voices.
 

Jimmymack

Member
Messages
274
I used to play both and switched between them reasonably easily, although I wasn’t particularly skilled in either, then I stopped playing alto and when I picked one up many years later I was surprised how strange I found the change in pitch, you play a D on alto and what comes out is a fifth away from what you’re used to. you have to learn to adjust your ear and doing that can only be beneficial. I would expect you will want to play both and probably come to favour one voice over the other but it’s all good so don’t fret about it and enjoy the journey. I know people who play all the usual sized saxes as well as various clarinets and they manage very well.
 

Rusax

New Member
Messages
11
Hi

I started playing Sax again in February and bought a Trevor James alto, which I upgraded to Yanagisawa alto in July.

A few days ago I bought a Yamaha YTS-475 tenor 2nd hand, together with an Otto Link tone edge 5* mouthpiece and am trying out D'Addario Royal 2.5 reeds at the moment. Just had a first serious blow on it and love the sound it makes.

When I bought my alto in February I hadn't played Sax seriously for about 15 years, and even when I was playing then I never got beyond what I'd call the advanced beginner stage. I don't want to give up on the alto as it's a lovely instrument.

Any thoughts on playing and practising both instruments? Bare in mind I'm a young (59) retired person so I do have quite a bit of spare time during the day. I'll talk to my teacher about it tomorrow, but would be interested to hear other peoples views.

Thanks
Hi , I started playing tenor at approximately the same time as you and tried an alto for a couple of months before that. Practiced both simultaneously for maybe a week and then dropped the alto completely for several reasons. I found that the embouchure is different enough that readjustment takes significant time , so I needed another 30 minutes warm up. I was not progressing with tone on tenor because of constant key readjustment and lack of focus sound, while I think the alto was getting worse ( if it could get any worse that is) . The experience was really different , so I thought I would probably not get anywhere if I continue both at this stage , maybe later , hence no alto at all at the moment. But, of course, there is now a piano and a bass, which helps a lot with understanding theory and a lot of fun too. I am just trying not practicing one right after the other .
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,081
Playing alto for 8 years I've had a few tenors pass through but never gave them much time. Recently bought a new Jericho tenor and I'm more inclined to keep this one as there's not much invested in it, i.e. not tempted by value to sell it. But I do feel my meagre talent is diluted 50% when picking up one or other. Just have to play twice as often I guess!
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
401
I have no experience on alto, have been playing tenor for over 10 years. Currently learning the tenor in the local music academy. I have about 6 years ahead of me in this curriculum. I still have a lot to learn on tenor an on music in general.
8 months ago I bought myself a second-hand baritone, found it hard to get a halfway decent tone on it. During the lockdown I played both almost every time that I practiced (more time spent on tenor). During the summer I played the baritone almost exclusively, but I didn't play that much then.
Now I focus on tenor since the music academy has started again.
I will keep the baritone as a "second" instrument, I'll play on it when I feel like it, and when my tenor is off to get serviced, and during the holiday's perhaps. And when I have finished my curriculum on tenor I plan to start a new curriculum on baritone. That is considered as a different instrument so I can start a second curriculum that way.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,335
You have some good horns enjoy both, as others have said you will find your voice and preference in one over the other that doesn't mean your can't play other saxes, many players play multiple horns.
Whichever you choose is down to your voice and preference, there is no one type of saxophone better than the other.
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
C 'Mon Bri : we know bari and tenor are the real saxes and those others are just : well....others I guess... ;)
Hope your doing well mate...
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,335
C 'Mon Bri : we know bari and tenor are the real saxes and those others are just : well....others I guess... ;)
Hope your doing well mate...
I'm ok Ade thanks
You know I love the sound of the tenor, but my voice and back is more suited to alto, and bari, well my back hurts just looking at a bari.
 
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