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Beginner Smooth as butter, but I want that GROWL!

Hallelujahal

Member
Messages
90
Locality
Preston, Lancs
I played clarinet (classical mainly) for 35 years, until a few weeks ago when I was gifted an alto sax...since then all I've done musically is listen to loads of recordings of really good sax players and I notice something that I like. I like the edge...the growl...that some players seem to have. And I don't. I can play smooth as butter, but I want to be able to get that edginess...know what I mean?

I'm playing an old chewed up plastic mouthpiece that came with the sax, along with a Rico Royal 2.5 strength reed, and frankly I'm evening strangling some of the higher notes on that. So what do I do? Perhaps a new mp is called for with a wider tip opening? Or is there something more that I can do? Apart from blame my equipment that is?
Ideas, thoughts, comments all appreciated.
AL
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Sometimes players switching from clarinet to sax have a tendency to play too high on the pitch of the mouthpiece. There is also a tendency to close off the throat in an effort to recreate the resistance of the clarinet on the more free blowing saxophone.

My suggestion would be to push the mouthpiece on the neck a bit farther and bring the sax down to pitch by opening the teeth and playing lower on the mouthpiece pitch. You may also want to play the mouthpiece alone producing an A concert for a classical sound and then a G or F# for more of a jazz sound.
 

Hallelujahal

Member
Messages
90
Locality
Preston, Lancs
Thanks for the advice. It's certainly something to have a look at. Al

Sent from my KFOT using Tapatalk 2
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
Rico royale is french filed. Your mouthpiece may suit the american cut orange rico. I have the opposite problem when switching from sax to clarinet. My clarinet sounds dirty. Try playing tunes on the alto mouthpiece alone to flex your embouchure out of clarinet mode.
 

TomMapfumo

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5,215
Locality
Skabertawe, South Wales
It would be useful to find out what mouthpiece you have. A wider tip opening should provide more character but if you can narrow down to what sort of sound you want then people can steer you to a more suitable mouthpiece to produce the sound you desire
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
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3,669
Locality
Rugby UK
All good advice so far, but I get the feeling that you want more...... filth, shall we say? The way to get this is to humm or even roll your "R" s whilst playing. It's not hard to do, just humm a note, any will do (I think I actually humm like a drone type noise) To start with it'll open up your larynx and make you feel like you're going to choke.,Persevere, it'll be well worth it in the end.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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London
The way to get this is to humm or even roll your "R" s whilst playing.

Mods!

About the OP, a blu tac baffle in the mouthpiece could have an unexpected interesting effect.
 

Hallelujahal

Member
Messages
90
Locality
Preston, Lancs
Yes, well...I'm not really sure I know what a 'baffle' is...frankly I'm a bit baffled. However, I'm going to have a play this evening and see about humming while playing. Will report later.
:)
AL
 

jbtsax

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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I'm afraid to suggest (even in thought) that 5 minutes of this is enough to send me out looking for a tin whistle to play instead of the sax.
Hey, I spent lots of time in bars drinking beer and listening to Ace Cannon's music while girls tried to distract me by dancing and taking off their clothes. Let's show a little respect here. :)
 

photoman

Daydream Believer
Messages
235
Locality
County Limerick Ireland
Hey, I spent lots of time in bars drinking beer and listening to Ace Cannon's music while girls tried to distract me by dancing and taking off their clothes. Let's show a little respect here. :)

sorry 'bout that. But I've recently discovered Lee Allen! It says in the good book (Nick Beston's 'Improvising Blues Saxophone) "thou shalt have no other God but Lee".

OK it doesn't really - but it should; that's some growl! >:)
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
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2,161
Locality
Hamilton, Waikato, North Island, New Zealand
Check out some Gato Barbieri - now he can growl...should be plenty of stuff on "You Tube"...

Early 1970s album called "Yesterdays" should be a challenge...

Greg S.
 

shot410ga

New Member
Messages
1
I do like Ace. What was he playing (sax brand, model) to get that nasty sound. I would like to get a horn with type of sound. Maybe, a Big Lip Tenor LA Sax?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I'm not sure of Ace's set-up. That sound can be obtained on any alto saxophone by growling on every note and using a "mushy" vibrato. Once you have that concept of sound in your head you can produce it with any setup you like.
 

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