Potential saxophonist??

Weasel

New Member
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15
Location
Yorkshire
I have been an oboist for about 40 years, strictly amateur, and also play co anglais.
I have recently inherited a little money and have been wondering about trying the saxophone, but know next to nothing about it and would like advice.
I would prefer to avoid an "oboe-sound" because I can do that on my oboe!
Thanks in advance...
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Whitchurch, North Shropshire UK
Hi welcome. You can move away from an oboe-like sound by choice of mouthpiece...

You've got Woodwind Exchange in Bradford where you could go and try lots of different second-hand instruments of every type. Work out if you like sop / alto / tenor / baritone...
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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Oneonta, NY
Welcome to the Cafe. You’ve already got some good advice. The saxophone is a very flexible instrument. You’ll find a time that suits you and is not oboeish.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Bristol, UK
Is there a saxophone player whose sound you particularly like?
That might help to suggest what size saxophone to go for.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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Peeblesshire
Welcome

The soprano can be oboe-ish in sound and anyway if you want to look like a saxophonist the alto/tenor/baritone will tick all boxes

Part of the trick is to think saxophone. I've heard a highly accomplished clarinet player sound like a clarinet on alto...

Thinking about it just get a tenor
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
If you have mastered the oboe, then learning the saxophone will be a "walk in the park". The embouchure is less demanding and the fingerings are simpler although very similar to the oboe. A few lessons from a good instructor can help make the transition to the different embouchure and "feel" of the saxophone. You may be tempted to try a "double lip" embouchure like the oboe, but just know that the vast majority of saxophonists use the embouchure that places the top teeth on the top of the mouthpiece. If the feel of the vibrations by the top teeth are uncomfortable at first a mouthpiece patch can help.
 

Deb

New Member
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9
Location
Middlesbrough
Agree with previous post. I've recently tried a patch for the first time on a mouthpiece I've had trouble using previously. It's a very 'tight' mouthpiece, but makes a superb, rounded sound. Totally recommend the patch for any troublesome mouthpieces, or for anyone trying the sax for the first time.
 

Dave E

Member
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128
Location
Leicester
Hi and welcome Weasel. Depending whereabouts in Yorkshire you are; you might want to try Hansons music at Marsden. They might be able to help you with saxes to try and / or teacher contacts.
 
OP
W

Weasel

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Yorkshire
Thanks everyone! I had a trial lesson with a highly recommended teacher who confirmed everything you have all said - the embouchure is the oddest thing!!! I gather you have to channel your inner Thanos with the chin, actually letting my teeth anywhere near the mouthpiece was most peculiar and needed conscious effort. Anyway, the thing I am happiest about is the thing I was most worried about - I have damaged my left wrist and can't hold much weight in that hand, although the fingers still work (waiting for an MRI...) and playing the oboe has been impossible due to the amount of weight (not much, I know) carried by the left thumb. Hey, it doesn't work like that on the saxophone!!!! No weight in the left hand!!!! 2 min in and I was playing it!!!! (Sorry, got a bit excited there, but I've music-less for months and it's been horrible.)

Now I know how to hold it and roughly where to put my fingers and how to make a noise, I am off to try an alto and a tenor. Going to start with a cheapo from Gear 4 Music, give myself 6 months and, if the hand holds up and there's nothing seriously wrong with it, I will look into an upgrade when I have a better idea of where I'm going with it all.

Thanks for all the advice, will give you an update soon...
 
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Weasel

New Member
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15
Location
Yorkshire
Hi and welcome Weasel. Depending whereabouts in Yorkshire you are; you might want to try Hansons music at Marsden. They might be able to help you with saxes to try and / or teacher contacts.
Between York and Hull so it's a bit of a trek, but thanks for the advice.
 
OP
W

Weasel

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Yorkshire
If you have mastered the oboe, then learning the saxophone will be a "walk in the park". The embouchure is less demanding and the fingerings are simpler although very similar to the oboe. A few lessons from a good instructor can help make the transition to the different embouchure and "feel" of the saxophone. You may be tempted to try a "double lip" embouchure like the oboe, but just know that the vast majority of saxophonists use the embouchure that places the top teeth on the top of the mouthpiece. If the feel of the vibrations by the top teeth are uncomfortable at first a mouthpiece patch can help.
That is exactly what my teacher said! Didn't notice any vibrations, but it's very early days and I will bear the patch in mind. Have seen them online and could not for the life of me work out what they were for!
 
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W

Weasel

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Yorkshire
Is there a saxophone player whose sound you particularly like?
That might help to suggest what size saxophone to go for.
Good thought - I have no idea though! Will have to start listening to saxophone players and making careful note.
 
OP
W

Weasel

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Yorkshire
Welcome to the Cafe. You’ve already got some good advice. The saxophone is a very flexible instrument. You’ll find a time that suits you and is not oboeish.
I tried my teacher's alto and I LOVED the (very loud) noise it made, so different from sounding like a strangled duck.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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4,570
Location
Bristol, UK
Starting with a cheap sax to find if you like it sounds a good strategy.
However, one of the reasons that cheap Cheese saxes are so cheap is that they save on quality control, so the instrument you receive could be excellent, or it could have one or more serious faults. So if you get a Gear4Music, or any other very cheap sax, then you should get it checked by a technician or a teacher right away then send it back if it a lemon or get it tweaked if it just needs minor adjustment. (Even a professional-level sax may need tweaking when it is brand new or if it is shipped through the post.) You really don't want to be fighting the sax. Alternatively, get a sax from a shop that will check it over before they sell it to you. I think Headwind in Bristol do this, and possibly sax.co.uk as well. You could ring and ask.
Zetland Baritone Saxophone

An alternative is to rent a sax for 6 months. Typically you can then subtract the some or all of rental price if you decide to buy it.
This chap seems to be good
ukSaxHire
 

Alice

Psychedelic
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5,289
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Kent
However, one of the reasons that cheap Cheese saxes are so cheap is that they save on quality control, so the instrument you receive could be excellent, or it could have one or more serious faults.
Exactly! It could be full of holes! A cheese Saxophone is best crumbled into a sauce for macaroni or just have it with a ploughman for lunch.
 
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Weasel

New Member
Messages
15
Location
Yorkshire
Good advice - have arranged to see teacher next Mon lunchtime sop she can check over whatever I end up with.
I understand what you mean, both my oboe and cor anglais came from Howarth's in London and it was a long job choosing and making sure everything was perfect before heading back North - at least then I knew what I was doing!! (Although the first time I went and had no idea, they were superb and made sure it was all good. Best customer service ever.) I have also found a superb specialist technician who keeps it all working properly, so no doubt I will be asking around for a saxophone person soon too!
 
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