Soprano playing & changes from Alto!

visionari1

Senior Member
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1,606
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Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Just bought a second hand Soprano, cheap of the internet ($425NZ). It's a Blessings Soprano made in Elhart Indiana.

It came with a Rico Royal B5 mouthpiece and has curved and straight crooks. I said I'd never buy a Sax unseen or unplayed, however I bought it thinking at least I can resell if not to my liking.


It came with a Rico Royal reed #3 which sounded very stuffy and couldn't get any of the low notes and the high notes sounded very shrill & thin.
I changed to a Hahn Soprano reed #2 and straight away the tone was fuller, brighter and low notes were all their. I have not used cane reeds for 10 years prefering the Hahn's, should I try cane reeds again and if so .....What!


So I feel this has been a good buy, I notice trying out the straight and curved crooks, the straight sounds fuller and more raunchy, although the playing position not as easy as the curved. What are others preferences in this regard.

Should I consider getting another mouthpiece, the sound I'm after with Soprano is full and mellow.

Mouthpeice suggestions please, bear in mind that I live in the beautifull rural countryside of NZ (my next job is collecting horse poo for the garden) and unable to trial test various mouthpieces like you can in the UK or America's

I've been playing only alto exclusively (the same one, my vintage 1935 Naked Lady Conn). I've read about Soprano's pitch problems, how do I actually check this?, Does the embroshure need to change much from playing alto? and once again, if so ...how!

I notice with my Neotec Sax strap, with the straight neck on, the strap touched my left thumb, which don't seem right, at the moment I prefer the sound of the straight neck and the feel of the curved neck.


This is only day one into Soprano playing.... nearly more fun than I can handle!

Any advice gratefully received

Cheers & Ciao...... I'm off on another jobbie
Jimu:mrcool
 

Bobby G

Senior Member
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4,989
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Wonderful Welwyn Garden City, Herts
Hi Jimu, I can only give you the benefit of my experience on curved alto, which supposedly sound (in general) a little 'sweeter' than straight sops, although whether this is true or not I don't really know. I gave up my straighty in preference to the curved sop mainly for the comfort of playing (and the fact that with a non-removeable straigh crook I kept snagging the sling on the octave mech) but also for the way the curved one's bell points up at you allowing you to hear what you sound like, and also to hear what you are playing when you are surrounded by 800 saxophonists on London Bridge!

I find that I can get a nice fat, mellow sound but with enough edge to cut through, or even wail a bit if pushed using a HR Selmer S80 piece. I'm working my way through a tin of 40 Buffet Crampon no 3 reeds (bought in a shop sale at a stupidly cheap price) but I also like Rico Plasticovers which seem to be a little louder and have a slightly preferable tone so I am likely to go with those once the Buffets are all worn out - this won't be long as I seem to have really got into the sop in the last couple of months, playing it almost exclusively.

I suppose in general you have to be a bit more careful at first with your embouchure when it comes to intonation, but it doesn't take long at all to get used to it to the point where you don't have to think about it to play in tune. Also, quite large pitch bends and a ridiculously wide vibrato are quite easy to get if that's what you want.

I am having a lot of fun exploring the soprano at the moment...
 
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visionari1

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
Hi Jimu,I am having a lot of fun exploring the soprano at the moment...


So am I Bob, thanks for the advice.
On my Blessing Sop, I notice that sometimes I can't get the low notes because I'm resting my first finger (right hand) on the Bb key slightly opening it. Other than this, everytime I pick it up I find more freedom, however the sound quickly becomes stuffy and dull eventually loosing note all together on the lower keys.

Not sure if this is an embroshure problem or the sax warming up. Maybe a new mouthpiece would help?

Anyway it's all fun and good experience.

Hot in the UK is it?

Gee that must be a fairly rare event!
Cheers
Jimu:mrcool
 

Bobby G

Senior Member
Messages
4,989
Location
Wonderful Welwyn Garden City, Herts
Could be a problem with your embouchure I guess Jimu, or maybe you have a small leak somewhere if you're having trouble with the bottom notes. On the other hand it could just be a matter of getting used to the thing, I know when I started on alto I used to find those bottom notes quite hard to hit with any consistency til I got my air support right.

Perhaps a new mpc might help, but I understand you're not anywhere near to a supplier. I get on fine with a Selmer HR mpc, which has a slightly wider tip than the Yamaha 4c, but only a little. There's nothing wrong with the 4c either.

And yes, it is hot (well hot for the UK) at the moment, getting up to around 30 degrees and quite humid too.
 
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