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Beginner Stupid question for all you Tenor players

Nick Cook

Member
Messages
862
Location
Wokingham, Berks, UK
Having just bought a Tenor from Thehunt (thanks Phil), I was having a bit of trouble holding it when I play it.

With my Alto, I held it straight in front of me with the bell resting on my body around the nether regions!!! :shocked:

The Tenor is too big to hold it there, so I've moved it round to my right side a bit (I could at least see the music on the stand then). The only thing is, it never seems to be in exactly the same place, so I was constantly changing the position of the crook and mouthpiece. Is there a definitive place to position the sax, or do I just have to find the most comfortable place for me and then try to always keep it there?
 

FastFred

Member
Messages
80
I have the bell resting against the right leg about midway and the crook fairly in-line with the bell for standing playing. I hate playing sitting down but when doing so I will generally pivot the crook quite some degrees as the sax then sits outside the legs.
Some players have the sax outside the right leg when standing but it looks cheesy to me; a bit wow look at my sex-toy...let the music speak instead.
I also would have thought that with the outside the leg position one is less likely to be able to keep the crook horizontal as it will inevitably be less constrained (by the groin or lack of). You must therefore have to take more load on the right hand.
Some expert will probably advise better but it's mid-leg for me!
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,612
Location
Betelgeuse
Holding the thing

I always play standing up, and hold the sax out in front of me. When I was a callow youth with weak and feeble arms I used to let it hang to my right more, but I feel more comfortable holding it more out in front now.

This is just me, though. Whatever suits you. I would guess the best thing to do is make sure first of all the sling is correctly adjusted so it bears all the weight, place your fingers on the keys and the mouthpiece in your gob, relax and see what feels right. One thing's for sure - the more you think about it the more important it will seem. When I was first taught to play sax years ago, my teacher never told me how to hold it. He was an old school, Northern jazzer, a frequent player in rougher Teesside Working Men's Clubs. His advice was to let the sling take the weight, hold it and blow it. His advice came with added expletives, cigarette smoke and a good degree of scepticism about what is 'proper'. So more talented players than me will probably disagree, but I say just hold it, stand upright, blow it.:sax:
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Having just bought a Tenor from Thehunt (thanks Phil), I was having a bit of trouble holding it when I play it.

With my Alto, I held it straight in front of me with the bell resting on my body around the nether regions!!! :shocked:

The Tenor is too big to hold it there, so I've moved it round to my right side a bit (I could at least see the music on the stand then). The only thing is, it never seems to be in exactly the same place, so I was constantly changing the position of the crook and mouthpiece. Is there a definitive place to position the sax, or do I just have to find the most comfortable place for me and then try to always keep it there?
Out in front and slightly to the right for me. Sometimes I rest it a bit on the right thigh. You'll soon get used to it. :)
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,612
Location
Betelgeuse
Holding the thing

I always play standing up, and hold the sax out in front of me. When I was a callow youth with weak and feeble arms I used to let it hang to my right more, but I feel more comfortable holding it more out in front now.

This is just me, though. Whatever suits you. I would guess the best thing to do is make sure first of all the sling is correctly adjusted so it bears all the weight, place your fingers on the keys and the mouthpiece in your gob, relax and see what feels right. One thing's for sure - the more you think about it the more important it will seem. When I was first taught to play sax years ago, my teacher never told me how to hold it. He was an old school, Northern jazzer, a frequent player in rougher Teesside Working Men's Clubs. His advice was to let the sling take the weight, hold it and blow it. His advice came with added expletives, cigarette smoke and a good degree of scepticism about what is 'proper'. So more talented players than me will probably disagree, but I say just hold it, stand upright, blow it.:sax:
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,623
Location
Rugby UK
I always play standing up, and hold the sax out in front of me. When I was a callow youth with weak and feeble arms I used to let it hang to my right more, but I feel more comfortable holding it more out in front now.

This is just me, though. Whatever suits you. I would guess the best thing to do is make sure first of all the sling is correctly adjusted so it bears all the weight, place your fingers on the keys and the mouthpiece in your gob, relax and see what feels right. One thing's for sure - the more you think about it the more important it will seem. When I was first taught to play sax years ago, my teacher never told me how to hold it. He was an old school, Northern jazzer, a frequent player in rougher Teesside Working Men's Clubs. His advice was to let the sling take the weight, hold it and blow it. His advice came with added expletives, cigarette smoke and a good degree of scepticism about what is 'proper'. So more talented players than me will probably disagree, but I say just hold it, stand upright, blow it.:sax:
Blimey Jon....did you get caught up in a time warp.

Nick, it's whatever feels comfortable. I play with the sax to the right, to the front and sometimes sitting..when I sit its either to the right or sometimes between my legs>:) Whatever works for you.
 
OP
Nick Cook

Nick Cook

Member
Messages
862
Location
Wokingham, Berks, UK
Thanks for the replies - I'll give the right leg and holding in front options a try tonight (I don't fancy sitting either).

I spent about half an hour last night practising, and my left thumb (on the octave key) started to ache after a bit - so I think I'm still bearing some of the weight there.

More practise tonight!!!
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Hi Nick, thanks for the purchase, i can only imagine it is strange from having played an alto then going onto a tenor. I play mainly standing and have the sax just hanging loose at my side, lightly on my thigh, i did buy an adjustable strap which has helped no end so i can always get the correct height on my sax in relation to my mouth. In the band we play mainly sitting down, we are often quite cramped so have to be a bit inventive, there the bell rests on my right thigh and i swivel the crook around slightly and twist the mouthpiece so it all fits comfortably.
You say your left thumb was aching maybe you don't have the sax high enough ? I can tell you playing my Mauriat now which weighs a ton soon helps you build up some muscle. Good luck anyway. Phil :welldone
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,612
Location
Betelgeuse
Blimey Jon....did you get caught up in a time warp.

.
:)))

He was a really nice bloke actually, that teacher. Got me a few gigs in some really ropy clubs. The Sycamore Club in Middlesbrough springs to mind. What a place. It feels like a very long time ago now.

I also had a clarinet teacher who was teaching me boring classical stuff up to grade 8. He was an Irish ex army guy, and in the space of a 30 minute lesson would get through three fags and a tumbler full of whisky. All the while his wife, a saintly looking old dear, was shooting the tails off the local cats in the back garden with her air rifle.

Strange life, growing up in the North of England 25 years ago.:D
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,406
Location
Daventry
:)))

He was a really nice bloke actually, that teacher. Got me a few gigs in some really ropy clubs. The Sycamore Club in Middlesbrough springs to mind. What a place. It feels like a very long time ago now.

I also had a clarinet teacher who was teaching me boring classical stuff up to grade 8. He was an Irish ex army guy, and in the space of a 30 minute lesson would get through three fags and a tumbler full of whisky. All the while his wife, a saintly looking old dear, was shooting the tails off the local cats in the back garden with her air rifle.

Strange life, growing up in the North of England 25 years ago.:D
We could get a whole new thread going here about music teachers of our youth - I had a flute teacher for a while (called Tony Moroney, but so long ago he is very unlikely to be the forum user who goes by that same name!) who used to get bored with the lessons and take me for a blast around Birmingham in his pride and joy, a Mk.II Jaguar. Mum and Dad would be sitting down the road in their car waiting to pick me up and I would be joy-riding with this nutter who was picking up 7 quid an hour for being a boy-racer. Unfortunately the joy-riding was much more fun than flute lessons for an impressionable 14-year-old........

Anyway, on the subject of holding a tenor, I'm with Taz. I tend to let the thing hang to the right (the saxophone, madam.....) normally, then hold it straight out front when I am soloing.
 
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OP
Nick Cook

Nick Cook

Member
Messages
862
Location
Wokingham, Berks, UK
Much better last night!!! I rested the bell on my right leg and adjusted the neck strap properly and everything was nicely in place. Thanks for the tips!
Just got to get used to the slight difference in the keys now - when I take all my fingers off for the C#, they don't go back in the right place!!! (Might need some of that Sax-o-Glue!!!)
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
346
Location
Exeter
out in front

I think out front is best - balance the horn with your 2 thumbs and the neck strap and adjust the strap so that when you push forward slightly with the right thumb, the mouthpiece falls exactly into your mouth without you having to drop your head
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
841
Location
North of Liskeard, Cornwall
Having just bought a Tenor from Thehunt (thanks Phil), I was having a bit of trouble holding it when I play it.

With my Alto, I held it straight in front of me with the bell resting on my body around the nether regions!!! :shocked:

The Tenor is too big to hold it there, so I've moved it round to my right side a bit (I could at least see the music on the stand then). The only thing is, it never seems to be in exactly the same place, so I was constantly changing the position of the crook and mouthpiece. Is there a definitive place to position the sax, or do I just have to find the most comfortable place for me and then try to always keep it there?
I play with the sax on the left. I use my left hand on the upper set of keys and put my right arm along the small of my back and play the lower keys with my right hand; I blow out of the left corner of my mouth (having been brought up on a diet of irony and bagpipes). I have been blessed with a right forearm that is over a foot longer than normal which is great for novelty sax-playing but a bit of a bugger when ten-pin bowling!

Cheers

Moz
 

Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
Messages
698
Location
Vermont, USA
Nick, from a lady tenor's point of view - I prefer "side saddle" :blush: I don't think it would look appropriate "western" style. :)))

If I'm playing in a concert or jazz band - I adjust the neck and mouthpiece for more comfort playing on the right side since I'm seated. However, if I need to stand up for a solo in the middle of a piece - I re-adjust the mouthpiece tilt right before standing up so my neck doesn't get a knot in it ;}

I prefer to stand while practicing - and at one time added a little foam bumper to the right hand thumb hook for comfort.

Sounds like you're getting used to it - picking up your alto again after playing the tenor will seem like a breeze.

Now my Martin bari is a LOAD - I've been lifting weights just to be able to hold the thing up while standing!
 
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Linky Lee

Member
Messages
182
Location
Salisbury, UK
One thing I find is that if you hold the sax out in front by giving a little push with your right thumb the mouthpiece pops in without needing to move your head - bonus 1.
You also look much more confident when performing if you stand like this rather than hide yourself with the sax and your head pointing down because of the angling of the instrument.

Stand in front of a mirror and play to see what I mean, or video yourself.
 
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