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sax's role in a rock band

usn694

New Member
Messages
21
hey everyone. im currently starting a band. were going to do alot of covers, including hotel california, a nice chunk of carlos santana's tunes, and som eric clapton to name a few. im curious to how the sax can fit in these songs with two guitars and a singer. any info will be helpful.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,664
Personaly I'd take the roll of a lead guitar. Hotel California has a great guitar solo that sounds totaly brilliant on the sax, also loads of Santana also lends itself to the sax really well. What ever you do, just remember to tell the guitars that it's your turn!!!! (You know what them guitar types are like!>:):))))
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
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5,966
Fills, a bit of padding out the harmony, solos. If you're lucky, you can adapt keyboard or guitar parts. Don't play anything obtrusive over the singer or any guitar solos. I tend to play more than quite a lot of sax players in rock bands because I get bored easily and can't be arsed to shake a tambourine. However, I try not to tread on anybody's toes and I haven't had any complaints yet. There are a few songs that I really can't think of anything to play in, so I usually go to the bar.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,049
As above. Also you can vamp with the bass or if you are playing Tenor or Baritone Take over the part.

Try Unison parts with other intruments. Listen to early King Crimson stuff for examples of awesome Unison stuff.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,845
Some tips for the Rocksax players.

1.Beat 2 & 4. Try to hit the snaredrum. Play like you’re playing the trumpet. Think as your tounge is the drumstick and your reed is the snaredrum. Give your tone dynamics by adding a growl, more loudness, blow harder, up or down an octave .... . When you release a note you should do it on the downbeat of the tone.
2.Rocksaxeffects. Growl ….. gives your sound more dynamics.
3.Over tone fingerings. Sounds as there are more than one sax on the stage.
4.Play bari and tenor on tenor at the same time. This cool but hard. The sax must be in very good shape (no leaks!) and you need a lot of practising.
5.Quater steps. Half steps is common in rocksmusic so play quarter steps as well. You can play quarter steps by note beding. Like a guitarplayer. And add the growl to the quater steps!!
6.Stay out of the vocalist! The human voice and the (tenor)sax share the the same space.

For me rocksax should be played loud and with energy!! There are lots songs to listen to if you want some ideas. To play sax in an rockband often means that you have to play in the keys of concert A or E (B or F# sop/tenor, F# or C# alto/bari). You get used to it!!! The advices above are Andrew Clarks (columinst in Saxophone Journal, ”Rock ’n’ Roll Saxophone”). The comments are mine, so plese don’t take them to serious. Andrew Clark use to come over for Rocksax Workshops. I think he is working on a new Rocksax Masterclass for the magazine.

Thomas
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,966
3.Over tone fingerings. Sounds as there are more than one sax on the stage.
4.Play bari and tenor on tenor at the same time. This cool but hard. The sax must be in very good shape (no leaks!) and you need a lot of practising.

Sorry, but I'm struggling to understand exactly what you mean by these two points. Playing bari and tenor at the same time is perfectly possible (Dana Colley does it and I do it at home occasionally - but not yet at a gig), but I don't think that's what you meant. The rest were all good advice.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,419
hey everyone. im currently starting a band. were going to do alot of covers, including hotel california, a nice chunk of carlos santana's tunes, and som eric clapton to name a few. im curious to how the sax can fit in these songs with two guitars and a singer. any info will be helpful.

Hi usn694. Catchy name, just rolls off the tongue, eh? I think a few people here are missing the point - you want to know what a sax-player does in a song that has no sax originally, yes? I was in a similar line-up for many years and 50% of our set would be numbers where I had to work out where and how to fit in, there being no original sax part to work to. Although I never had to deal with Hotel California, thankfully;}.

Definitely avoid playing in verses as you will clash with the vocalist. Choruses are OK but don't follow the melody - either harmonise, like a backing singer, or if you are dead clever, work out a counter-melody - but keep it soft.

If the song has gaps in the vocals, e.g. stuff like Sweet Home Chicago, where 2 bars are sung and 2 bars are instrumental, of course you have plenty of space to put in a flourish or 2. If it's non-stop vocals, keep schtum.

If you have an effects pedal or fancy mixer desk, whack it onto echo or reverb, play long notes and pretend you are a string section - I used to do that in Primal Screams Country Girl to good effect.

Main thing is, always be aware that anything you play should add to the song, as opposed to just making more noise. If in doubt, don't. Less is more and all that.

If you are struggling to fit into the main body of a song, demand a solo - just 16 bars of upfront sax can be more memorable and effective than a whole song of background noodling.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,845
Sorry, but I'm struggling to understand exactly what you mean by these two points. Playing bari and tenor at the same time is perfectly possible (Dana Colley does it and I do it at home occasionally - but not yet at a gig), but I don't think that's what you meant. The rest were all good advice.

Overtone is when use a different embouchure position to get higher notes out in the overtone series. You finger a low C#, C, B or Bb. This is nothing I can or practise. You need almost a classical sax education. To play barilines are when you are playing in the low register and in the high register as well. A good embouchure, sax and a suitable setup helps up. I uploaded a recording with Andrew Clark explaning these two ways to play. To play bari and tenor at same time are hard. Dana Colley and some others sometimes plays like this on stage. A player named Joe Stann played that way on a concert with Gary US Bonds back in -81! I was so impressed.

http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm201/thomsax/?action=view&current=otbarilines.mp4

Thomas
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,845
Talking about Eagles, Did you know that they have an hornsection? A player in LA told me so when we talke about Rovner mpc. I think Eagles barriplayer is on a Rovner. I have never heard Eagles with horns.

Thomas
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,659
Talking about Eagles, Did you know that they have an hornsection? A player in LA told me so when we talke about Rovner mpc. I think Eagles barriplayer is on a Rovner. I have never heard Eagles with horns.

Thomas

The Bari guy's Greg Smith. He came into ur shop when the eagles played in london- nice guy & great big, bluesy sound....
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Yep, there was a DVD of the Eagles on Utube, where there were 2 saxes and a trumpet, playing "Hotel California". The trumpet played a Mexican style intro, where he held some notes for quite a long time and encouraged the crowd (with a beckoning hand) to applaud him. It' been removed now (no not his hand!).
To get back on topic (I know this annoys some people), I agree with Nick 100%, don't tread on anyones toes. Play harmony or reinforce the rhythm guitar. It's not what you put in so much, as what you leave out!!!
I'll head for the bar next time Nick!
P.S. A typical sax fill in is what I did on "Hotel California" that I sent you.
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,845
Thank you Jules. I couldn’t recall his name!!

Try to listen and play like a guitarplayer. I've got lots ideas by listen to guitarists. And less is more!

Here are some sound clips with the tenorsax in guitarsongs. All bluessongs. These songs don’t have sax originally. Not from what I know. The guy who is blowing is a saxplayer and a guitarist. These songs, among others, I’m playing myself in our bluesband/bluesproject.

The first part is Dimple (John Lee Hooker) with the beginning and the solo 0 – 1:18.
Next part is the start of ”Messing With The Kid” (Junior Wells) 1:19-1:29.
Beginning of the solo ”Messing With The Kid” 1:30-1:51.
The last selection is ”Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers) 1:52- .

http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm201/thomsax/?action=view&current=tenorsaxochgitarr.mp4

I think all songs are in E concert (F# for tenor).

I like Robben Ford. He got some very good saxparts in his songs. But he also have players like ”Woody” Woodford, Joe Sublett, Edgar Winther … playing on his recording.

If you want some more inforamtion send a PM. We're going to have a Rocksax workshop in Copenhagen 21/11.

Thomas
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Woops, I haven't sent it yet (just goes to show how dozey I'm getting), I'll try and get it done today. Unfortunately it's recorded on a mob. phone, but I think you'll get the idea.

P.S. Thomas, I like Robben as well. His Guitar playing is often refered to as "Saxlike", and what about Roscoe Beck, as a certain comedian? often says "you're my favorite".
 
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johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Hi again Ellis,
Some tracks should have reached you by now.
One thing to add to the above, is to have a reliable person out front to act as sound (A&R?) man.
Too many bands don't bother with this, so volumes become to loud (the volume and balance needs adjusting throughout the performance and all band members must act on his advice, on pain of death!!!).
If you can't hear the words the vocalist is singing clearly, you are waisting your time.

John.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
Hi again Ellis,
Some tracks should have reached you by now.
One thing to add to the above, is to have a reliable person out front to act as sound (A&R?) man.
Too many bands don't bother with this, so volumes become to loud (the volume and balance needs adjusting throughout the performance and all band members must act on his advice, on pain of death!!!).
If you can't hear the words the vocalist is singing clearly, you are waisting your time.

John.

Who cares about the Diva rock star i am king singer,just wail away, yeeeee haaaaaaaaa.
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Here are some sound clips with the tenorsax in guitarsongs. All bluessongs. These songs don’t have sax originally. Not from what I know. The guy who is blowing is a saxplayer and a guitarist. These songs, among others, I’m playing myself in our bluesband/bluesproject.

The first part is Dimple (John Lee Hooker) with the beginning and the solo 0 – 1:18.
Next part is the start of ”Messing With The Kid” (Junior Wells) 1:19-1:29.
Beginning of the solo ”Messing With The Kid” 1:30-1:51.
The last selection is ”Ain’t No Sunshine” (Bill Withers) 1:52- .

http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/mm201/thomsax/?action=view&current=tenorsaxochgitarr.mp4

Thomas


Hi Thomas,

I've been listenning to Dimple by John Lee Hooker, as I'd really like to hear the rest of that solo, but I'm not finding the same recording. How can I find it? Could you tell me the album, or some other detail that will help me to find it?

Martin
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,845
Hi Thomas,

I've been listenning to Dimple by John Lee Hooker, as I'd really like to hear the rest of that solo, but I'm not finding the same recording. How can I find it? Could you tell me the album, or some other detail that will help me to find it?

Martin

The band namne is Oreo Blue and I think they are from Arkansas, USA. The saxplayers name is Brian Crowne. He is playing guitar as well. I bought the CD at CD Baby. PM me if you want more information. I just cut and pasted some samples with the sax in guitarbased music.

Thomas
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
The band namne is Oreo Blue and I think they are from Arkansas, USA. The saxplayers name is Brian Crowne. He is playing guitar as well. I bought the CD at CD Baby. PM me if you want more information. I just cut and pasted some samples with the sax in guitarbased music.

Thomas

Thanks Thomas,

I'll look them up as soon as I get chance.

PM sent.

Cheers,
Martin
 
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