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Beginner Sax Should I upgrade my saxophone?

eyeofthetiger

New Member
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5
I started having sax lessons a few months ago. I have no aspirations to become a great player, just thought it would be a cool hobby and I do enjoy it.

However, the noise my saxophone makes sounds horrible if I record it and play it back, not something I would like to listen to out of choice.

Here's a link to the master piece: http://www.filedropper.com/midnight-air

The saxophone I bought was £250. My tutor said if she were asked she would recommend something like the Yamaha YAS275 which goes for about £750. If I went out bought this could I expect to get a nicer sound to a considerable degree?
 
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Chris

Well Known
Subscriber
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3,821
It's not to bad for a couple of months, What is making it sound worse is the record levels are to high causing distortion.. Still if you want a new sax by all means buy one.. Be warned though it might not improve the sound..

Chris..
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,921
Firstly, it's hard to be sure of anything as the recording quality is rather poor, with a lot of distortion.. Don't know what your using, but try either turning the gain down or playing further from the mic (the latter might also help with the blowing noises).

As far as I can tell, the basic sound you're making seems fine. But it sounds like your playing one note at a time, without much thought for how the notes connect together. Try playing some really simple tunes (3 blind mice if you like) and make the sound like musical phrases rather than just notes. I don't mean to be harsh; I think you're doing better than you probably think, but you may be worrying about the wrong issues.

In my opinion, a new sax is not what you need right now. But that's good news, right? You need to spend time rather than money.
 
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QWales

Senior Member
Messages
731
I would ask someone who has been playing for a few years to play something to you using your Sax. Then if that sounds horrible, ask them to play something using your Sax and their mouthpiece. If that still sound bad you should get a new Sax. If you need to get a new Sax I would recommend going to your local music shop or somewhere like Sax.co.uk and asking them to try out a few different Saxophones in your price range. Most shops seem to be more than happy to do that. I certainly wouldn't buy something without trying it, even though the Yamaha's are usually pretty good. Good Luck.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,664
Well, she's not wrong, but first of all how long have you been playing? You can't expect to sound fantastic as soon as you can get a note out of it. That will take time.
I would advise getting a decent mouthpiece first. Nothing too expensive and I feel sure that someone will pop up soon and suggest one. A lot of people start with the Yamaha mouthpieces, I think they are good for beginners and intermediate as well. Look at the 4C. (I think I've got the number right)
What sax have you got? It may well be a lesser quality brand, but that still doesn't mean it'll sound bad. Yamaha's are fine saxes and yes a nice one will probably make you sound a little better, but why buy a Ferrari when it's easier to learn to drive a Ford?
When you record a sax, you'll need to get your settings right otherwise anyone will sound bad. What I can hear there is a sax recorded with the volume set way too high. I don't know what program you use to record, but drop the mic input volume down to about 2.5 to 3.5 and give it another try. Once you've sorted out the recording quality, your sax should sound a little nicer too.

Welcome to the cafe by the way;}
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,917
However, the noise my saxophone makes sounds horrible if I record it and play it back, not something I would like to listen to out of choice.
You know when i started a few years back now my teacher said it would be a good idea to record something then to play it back, just to see how it sounded.... i did this and i must admit it really knocked me back!! talk about cringeworthy! it sounded awfull, but the point is now a few years down the line i can compare what i am doing now with the band to those first attempts and the difference is quite apparent, so a very good reference exercise if nothing else...

As to getting a better sound from a better sax at this very early stage, assuming the first one is working OK i would say definitely no, but you will sound, well like you! you need time to develop your embouchure to get a full sound, something that only a few months in wont have happened yet, sorry.
 

saxyman

Member
Messages
267
I am 2 years down the line with learning and only now am I seeming to get a decent sound. Strangely I seems easier to get a better sound with my Yamaha than my Selmer, but I know as I progress the Selmer will come into its own.
As said before its the practice thats the answer.
 

eyeofthetiger

New Member
Messages
5
Thanks for all the replies, very helpful.

To answer a couple of questions:

The saxophone I have is Rosetti 5 Alto.
The sound was recorded with my mobile phone. I agree it does sound like it's distorted but I don't think there's any sort of fine tuning options, I'll try putting it the other side of the room if that doesn't work I'll buy a proper microphone.
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,664
Can you record onto your pc? I think that's how most of us on here do it, although it is through a half decent microphone.
I don't know Rosetti saxes, again hopefully someone else will know heaps! (They're a clever bunch on here you know)
 

eyeofthetiger

New Member
Messages
5
I tried recording again from the other side of the room and playing softer. It's still distorted but it sounds a bit better than the last one, it's here if anyone wants to listen. I'd appreciate any thoughts, comments, tips, etc.

Free File Hosting - Online Storage; Upload Mp3, Videos, Music. Backup Files

I'll definetly try and get my hands on a mic when I get one, what's a good one to get? Is this one any good?
 
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eyeofthetiger

New Member
Messages
5
I went out and bought a clip-on microphone from Mapline, it's the one that clips onto a tie but it just about clips onto a saxophone; I'll give Amanda's link a go at some point. I've recorded using that and it sounds many times better the original recording, I was really surprised at how nice it sounds.

http://www.filedropper.com/midnight-air4

Since I recorded using my computer I combined the sax with the backing music and adjusted the amplification. There are some occasional wrong notes, etc. in the piece but I'm working on them. :)
 
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TomMapfumo

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5,219
The saxophone I bought was £250. My tutor said if she were asked she would recommend something like the Yamaha YAS275 which goes for about £750. If I went out bought this could I expect to get a nicer sound to a considerable degree?

Hi There!

Lots of tutors recommend Yamaha student saxes. They often don't know much about what is available. A Bauhaus Walstein sax will be your best bet and will cost about £500. The Yamaha YAS 275 is only a student sax, and expensive for what it is. Ivesting in a good mouthpiece would be a good idea, and don't listen if your tutor recommends a Selmer S80 C* or an Otto Link Tone Edge - their info is a lttle out of date, to be fair. There are lots of good mouthpieces out there and a lot will depend on what sort of sound you want to produce - bright or dark, edgy or mellow, strident or melodic etc. What music do you want to be producing at the end of the day.

I wouldn't particularly rush the sax purchase as your last mp3 soundfile seemed quite pleasant sounding. Just get a really good mouthpiece, if you don't already have one. Most people who have tried a Runyon 22 mouthpiece (Charlie Parker used to play one - made by his first tutor, Santy Runyon) at £30 or so rate it above a Yamaha 4C at a slightly higher £35 or so.

But when you decide to get a new sax a Bauhaus Walstein would make more difference than the Yamaha YAS 275 IMHO. If you need further help feel free to ask
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
As jonf once said "...For what it's worth, I find Selmer S80 C* to be like playing through a sock. " in a thread about alto mouthpiece recommendations started by BeBopSop in October 2011.

The gist of what I was suggesting was that many tutors are out of touch when it comes to equipment and always recommend Selmer or Yamaha as if they have some sort of premier status, which ignores much of the equipment also being produced and without any particular justification - I would call it a sort of "Brandism" and it can disregard many other manufacturers products for no good reason.

Kind regards
Tom
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,199
Why not ??? i used a Selmer S80C* for a good while on my alto, nothing wrong with one of those....

They are definitely classical mouthpieces. They are reliable but no flexibility. The mouthpiece is going to decide the sound, not the player.

Some classical players sound great, but I would not recommend an s80 to a student. Yamaha are more flexible.
 

Fraser Jarvis

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1,917
OK, Not going to start arguing about this mouthpiece vs that mouthpiece etc, etc, just stating what worked for me, although i do see were Tom's coming from, to a degree...

Aldevis, would you recommend a Lawton 10 b to a beginner starting out on tenor? i guess not, but on the other hand it worked for me...i have never been able to get on with Meyers or links, alto or tenor, but again thats just me...

And is flexibility or the lack of it such a vital ingredient at this early stage in the OP's development?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
Hi there FJ!

I am just very wary of the concept of a "beginners mouthpiece" as this does not, in my view, take into account an individual beginners needs, and seems true of many instruments not just sax. Would that each beginner could have the experience of trying 4 or 5 mouthpieces to start or could have a session where they go to a decent shop and try mpc's of different sizes to find what suits them best. Your experience is quite common, and emphasises the importance of flexibility from the beginning of playing.

When I started on trumpet the recommended beginner mouthpiece was the Vincent Bach 7C - for everyone! Reading numerous threads the message seemed to be that you should stick with the same mouthpiece for two years or so before contemplating a change. I found the 7C a bit of a challenge (say it is the equivalent of the Yamaha 4C) and found it hard to get both lower and higher notes. I happened to buy a Bach 1 1/2C mouthpiece for £12 on Ebay out of curiosity (my teacher played one) and suddently found that the missing notes came quite easily. (this mouthpiece would be the alto sax equivalent of a 7* - around 0.085 - 0.090") and became the mpc size that I began on - I now play a larger mpc - about 0.095" in alto sax terms).

So the criticism is about standardisation. I prefer accurate choice and appropriate help in making a very significant choice, and not just assuming that one size fits all, and that small is right for everyone.
 
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