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Second time love affair.


New Member
Hello Peeps

Another newbie here..

Bought my first sax 22 years ago, cos ‘I wanted to play so badly, I could taste it’. Tried really hard but couldn't play for didley. Gave up, dispirited after 6 or so ….poor technique ~ embouchure, breathing, musical skills….and absolutely no natural musical skills (other than mixing records). Figured it was much less soul destroying to listen to the pro’s make music. And neighbourhood friendly too! My musical journey includes most things soft from Marion Meadows, George Howard, Najee, David Sanborn, Spike Robinson, Grover Washington etc through to the real ol’timers like Coleman Hawkins and Ike Quebec. Then my kids started music lessons last term…Cello and Flute. It’s given me a real buzz to have another go.

I have a Yamaha YAS 32 Alto sax which is my second instrument. Bought it back around 95, and still have an box of Vandoren 3’s and Frederick Hemke 3 reeds. The sax appears to have survived numerous house moves reasonably well, even though the G# doesn’t quite feel right.

Trying to get up and running again; the first major difference I notice is the extent of resources on-line to help you get into the groove of things…….even though I suspect that having a tutor is still the best way forward. Hopefully, Santa’ll be good to me. Anyway hoping to get to know the community better and hope that I’ll find some answers and inspiration within. Meanwhile, season greetings to everyone.




Hi Stan and welcome to the forum. IMO, strength 3 reeds will be much too strong for a beginner - perhaps this is why you had problems last time? Assuming you have the Yamaha 4C mouthpiece that comes with a YAS 32, maybe you should try strength 1½ or 2 reeds?

P.S. "Stan" - surely you need to be playing tenor? ;}

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Welcome Stan,

I hope your second go at it works out better. I started on a clarinet simply because I couldn't afford a sax. I found the clarinet to be difficult to play and never really took off with it. But recently I broke down and bought a sax. It's going to be a lot more fun than the clarinet I can tell. But it clearly takes some patience to get started with it. So I'm a newbie too.


New Member
Thanks for the advice VK. I dug the sax out a couple of weeks ago. Couldn’t play the 3 reeds at all so went out and got a 1.5 and 2.5 Rico Royal to get started. Played the 1.5 until it got way too shrill at the top and too honky at the bottom. Started on the 2.5 at the beginning of this week. A much more mellow sound. But obviously more difficult to control at the bottom, especially when starting B and C’s when not slurring down. But I think it’ll get better. If I remember correctly, it was this kind of progression that got me to playing 3’s (and 3.5’s all those years ago). Or just bad technique!

The mouthpiece is a Yamaha 5c. Should I be looking at something else?

Why do I play Alto. The story goes like this.

First ever Sax purchase. Late spring 1988. Had been working for almost a year after university, had enough money for a deposit and a credit record to finance the balance. Biggars Music Store, Sauchiehall Street. Glasgow.
“Good afternoon. I’d like to buy a saxophone”.
“No problem sir. Do you a particular sax in mind”

Duh! :confused: And at this point, I realised exactly just how little I knew, other than just wanting to make a beautiful sound. So I hedged my bets and opted for the one that looked around medium size and was sold an entry level Conn Alto. Think it was a 20M. Still have the mouthpiece. And the rest is history. (Actually had not long discovered George Howard and Najee. They played a lot of Soprano Sax; fantastic sound but the whole thing just looked too poncey to be really cool).:mrcool

Tenor – Something to aspire to!


welcome stan when you get a question you think is to daft to ask you know where to come guys are very hrlpful and no micky taking reat site to learn from


Hi Stan, big welcome from me. Don't stress too much at the beginning as you need to build those chops first so that you have more control over those notes. It will come. Check out Pete's pages and any other sites you find with advice on sax playing. Listen a lot and do do do get a good teacher, so important.
All the best, let us know how you get on.


Well-Known Member
Hi Stan!

Welcome to the Cafe from the Skabertawe Horn Section down by yer in Wales - tidy place to live, mind!
Alto is a good instrument in its own right, not just the most common starter sax. Of course there are plenty of mouthpieces out there, just take your time to develop your sound - you may decide you want a slightly different sound and can then start exploring alternatives. I would at the same time argue that unless you have an alternative mouthpiece you may not be aware of other sounds etc. so no problem having two to focus on - similarly with reeds.

Hope that you find the necessary motivation and encouragement here to sustain your playing this time round. Do you have any favourite players/style of music etc. that you want to focus on?

Kind regards


Well-Known Member
Welcome to the cafe, Stan

*Sunray waves* from Norfolk ...

Have fun here mate ... The people here are real helpful ...

Well I think so anyway ... But ... I am just a n00b ... lmao ;}


Try Hard Die Hard
Hi Stan

Welcome to the sax addict forum or the cafe as we know it.I'm sure you'll have more luck this time with your efforts to master this wonderful instrument there's lots of help here and good fun too.As for the tenor WHY the alto has so much to offer and the tenor is just a fill in sax really if truth were known.I've got to run now "that should get them going".....john

Two Voices

Senior Member
Hi Stan,

Welcome to the café! I’m fairly new here myself and have only been playing since October. Despite having an Alto and a Tenor I much prefer the Alto at the moment! That might change when the Soprano (straight) arrives today (fingers crossed – weather dependant).

I have been trying various reeds and strengths and finally settled on Rico Royals 3 for the Alto and 2.5 for the Tenor. However, that might have changed but next week :) . I have been also trying to sand reeds to see if that helps me high the low and high note better – still work in progress at the moment but it does affect things.

Good luck with your journey!



Senior Member
Hello Stan the man,
Welcome to the cafe.
Second time around, you are not a pure beginner.
Sounds like you have a musical bent/ love, which is always a good place to start. Stick with simple stuff for a while, you need time to get your embrosure, fingers, and ears going.
I recommend at least a few lessons by an experienced teacher to check out your set up and old habits, have not been making blowing the sax difficult.... Other than that, just enjoy.



New Member
Hi Stan!!
Welcome to the sax world...again!!!:w00t:
Hope you 'll find your way in sax playing this time!!
For beginning don't rush things. Fix your embochure by playing long tones (steady note for long time), this will help you with the control of your airflow so you don't get the squeaks down low and with the stability of the sound:)
By all means do change your mouthpiece!!! After you get a good enough embochure please look a better mp up. There is only one way to do this...try it!! But you have to try each mouthpiece with several reeds...:confused: this will take time and patience...
After the long tones practice scales (most important), and don't be ashamed to improvise!!! They say in Jazz music: If it sounds is good!!!;}
But most of all!!!!!!!!!!! ENJOY PLAYING!!!!

Welcome once more!!!
Kostas from Greece
Saxholder Pro
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