SYOS

Beginner Should I be embarrassed by my Sax?

Little Oaf

Member
Messages
44
Hi everyone!

Have just finished another practice session and although I say it myself can now feel that I am getting somewhere! Even my other half has just said "think you have cracked that one" the number being the soul classic 'private number', ok thats not the embarrassing bit :)))

Thing is, I am starting to get 'saxophone envy' if there is such a thing, you see I have started with a Tenor Sax bought from an internet company, Academy Music, a tenor sax that does not have one of those descerning well known and reputable names that are frequently mentioned here on the cafe. The idea was that I didnt want to spend a lot of money on something that may turn out to be a whim.

Anyway to get to the point, at last I hear you say! Whilst I realise that the quality of these more 'descerning' saxophones is going to be better and that the quality of sound also depends on who is playing, would a beginner benefit from spending having one of these more expensive instruments?

Also, is it worth changing the standard mouthpiece on my sax at this stage or would I not benefit given the above? I know there are a lot of variables and things to be taken into consideration but a general overview would be appreciated:)

Thanks

Amanda
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,275
I can only give you the advice i got off my tutor, which was stay with the sax and mouthpiece that i started on but try other reeds whilst practicing but continue to use the reed that i am accustomed to for lessons.
After a year of playing iv'e just upgraded my sax and bought a few mouthpieces and i try these at home with different reeds until i get the sound i'm looking for, but am still using my 1st sax for lessons until i find what i'm looking for.
In time when i can produce a good sound i'll upgrade to a quality sax after trying many, then decide which one i like, i recently tried a cannonball alto WOW, loved it.
In all honesty when you go reading through these threads their are just too many good sax's to choose from and eventually can become confusing.
Just my tuppence worth as a fellow beginner :)
 

Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,708
Embarrassed - Nah!!

Hey Hey Amanda ...

I would certainly try alternative mouthpiece(s) ... [They do not need to be ultra expensive].

As you do so, you will naturally benefit by trying different makes and strength of reed to suit your new mouthpiece.

Here are a couple of very reasonable mouthpieces you could consider. [Medium sort of sizes should be fairly safe - 5, 6 or 7 maybe].

A Metalite - from Rapid Reeds @ £23.40 - Johnboy and Compound [both members here] are singing their praises ... :mrcool

Rico Royal Tenor Saxophone mouthpiece from the same company - may also be worth a try @ £14.64

Others will be along soon to give their views ...

-----------

I also think you should persuade your hubby that a really expensive Sax will encourage you and help you play sweet sounds for him ... ;}
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
Hi Amanda,
there is a fine line between 'need for better' and GAS (Gadget Acquisition Syndrome) so be careful. There is no known cure.

That said, you have proven that it is not a whim. Getting a quality sax is as such justified. Question is, do you need a new sax for better playing experience or for getting a sax with a pedigree?

Happy hunting :)
Rune
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
Hi Amanda,

If you like the sound you're producing, and you're not struggling to get any notes, then if it ain't broke, why fix it?!

However, I would take any opportunity to try other mouthpieces/saxes etc. as you may just happen to find something you prefer......just in case hubby decides to treat you!

My four pen'orth, for what its worth!

Cheers,

Amanda
 

Rico Vandoren

Member
Messages
141
I started on a student sax, and six months later upgraded to one that cost three times as much. I did it for much the same reasons as you are describing here. Whilst it was an improvement, it proved to be an expensive stop-gap instrument, and I lost a lot of money on it when I finally upgraded to the one I really wanted- a Yanigisawa 901 Alto.
My advice, providing your sax isn't actually holding you back, is to keep playing it, keep learning about saxophones, and what you like or don't like about certain ones, and save up until you are sure about what you want and why you want it.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,908
My advice, providing your sax isn't actually holding you back, is to keep playing it, keep learning about saxophones, and what you like or don't like about certain ones, and save up until you are sure about what you want and why you want it.

That sounds spot on to me. I've started on an alto tenor and sop that cost me £200, £400 and £100 pounds (couldn't really afford more). They work, and on a good day I can play them in tune, as far as my ear can tell.

I intend to keep playing them until either they fall apart or I get good enough to be pretty sure it's the sax holding me back and not my technique. Right now I'm 100% certain it's the other way round.

I suppose another reason to go for a pro sax is reliability. If you're doing a lot of gigs you want something that can be treated a bit rough and not let you down. Not an issue for me yet.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Unless there is something wrong with the one you have now (doesn't play in tune, mechanically suspect, etc.), consider sticking with it a little longer. I don't know what your budget is now, but chances are that in a year or two it will be bigger. I think it unlikely that you would make the right choice now in view of your limited experience. Something I have worked out is that the better people can play, the less important the name of the instrument becomes. They just want what suits them best.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Good advice above. If you want to start changing, define how you want to sound. Get a clear concept in your mind by listening to other players, comparing them. Do you want more or less resistance, to be brighter or darker, more or less edge, fat sound....

When sound is fixed in your mind, find out what kit they're using. Chances are, apart from a bunch of mark VIs, the saxes will be of all sorts of makes/models. So will be the mouthpieces. If you're still determined, work out which mouthpieces are going in the direction you want to be in. Get to a shop with them in stock and try them out. Try a few examples of each, because consistency isn't good. And try different reeds as well. And... remember that if you buy something it'll sound different at home, and you should really be trying it out on your sax....

At this stage, just stick to mouthpiece/reed changes, and do it for a purpose - to solve a problem, or reach a goal which you can't on your current kit.

But it's pretty pointless going out shopping for a new sax/mouthpiece if you don't know what you want. You'll end up like Rico Vandoren....
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Amanda,

I diagnose GAS in its classic form.

You are the sound and I bet it is bloody good. However, the CaSLM offers good rates on partner life assurance and can arrange rapid payout should the syndrome develop.>:)
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Hi L.O.
New mouthpiece, YES, and you won't go wrong with a Rico B5.
I think a Metalite now would be a bad choice, as they have an "edgy" sound. Get one later and come and "Rock" with us in Spain >:)

John.
 

Little Oaf

Member
Messages
44
Thanks Sunray for some useful and practical advice, not sure that hubby will fall for that last bit though but it might be worth a try at some point; his favourite song is Otis Redding's Sitting on the Dock of the Bay maybe i could use that as an incentive one day!:D
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
Hi Amanda,
I have two saxes, both of which aren't from the big names. No plans for changing them *yet* as they blow well, and I know things that I can't do well on them will be solved by practice, not a branded sax. I truly believe the player makes the most of the saxophone - assuming it's mechanically functional. My sax sounds bad with me on it, but dang, my teacher makes it *sing*. So I know it's good, just me needing more time and practice :)

Can't say much for the mouthpiece; my alto came with a vandoren al4 optimum and whilst I'd love to purchase a mouthpiece my favourite saxophonists use, I'm only 7, 8 months in and have seen a lot of improvements with my AL4. I think it has a lot of potential left in it. Maybe after I've hit the year mark I'll seriously consider new mouthpieces :)

(Will very likely get a rico metallite for my soprano, though ;-) That's my "fun" sax :))
 

Little Oaf

Member
Messages
44
Hi would just like to say a big thank you all for all the really useful advice; I think as old git says I might be getting a touch of GAS! The advice has confirmed probably what i already felt, that is, to continue with the one I have until at least i know enough about whats out there and what would be right for me, as has been said here, it can be a costly business to rush out and buy on impulse without the necessary experience; so for now I will enjoy the progress I am making and try to improve my playing before trying to improve on my saxophone!

Thanks Again

Amanda:)
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
The Rico B5 mouthpiece would still be a good idea. Only about £20, and will stand you in good stead for some years. Before GAS really strikes >:)

John.
 

Little Oaf

Member
Messages
44
The Rico B5 mouthpiece would still be a good idea. Only about £20, and will stand you in good stead for some years. Before GAS really strikes >:)

John.

Um my resolve is waning lol! but will stick with plan, however, the suggested mouthpiece may still be a contender to keep more serious GAS at bay, who knows I may yet get to 'ROCK' in Spain:w00t:
 
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