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Beginner sweet sound vs "darker" jazzy sound

drien

New Member
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22
I am beginning with alto sax and would like to know if I can acheive both sounds. I'd like to use sweet sound for smooth jazz and the darker one for "normal" jazz. Just wondering if you have to pick which way you go and you end up with your one unique sound (sweet or dark) or you change the mouthpiece, ligature and reed and you can acheive both types of sound if you are good enough;)
Thanks a lot!
 

BigMartin

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If you're good enough you can make any sound you like with one setup. Check out this guy:

 
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drien

New Member
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22
Ahh I see now.:) Fair play. The sweeet alto sound just sound too distinct that I thought that you can't create it with the same setup as the jazzy "fat" sound. I'll keep experimenting. Thanks for great video.
 

Pete Thomas

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I agree, do it all with one setup - it is highly achievable. All a mouthpiece does basically is change the tone a bit, and there is a lot more to style than just the sound. It's very much about dynamics and vibrato among other things.

If you rely on a mouthpiece to swap between tones for different styles, you will stop yourself from developing the far more useful ability to do it for yourself using your embouchure and breath.

I have an article on this, look for Tone control.
 

drien

New Member
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22
You know I already can see how my tone is changing even though I am only 3 weeks into playing. I just didn't know if my tone is going in the right direction. A lot of people talks about tone that this and that is not a good tone I guess the more I practice and try things the more I'll be able to distinguish the difference between sounding better/wors for myself. For me it is important to know what is possible straight from the beginning to know where I am going.
 

drien

New Member
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22
Hi Pete. I had to know If all that is achievable only with your "mouth" so I guess that answers my question:) I'll have a look at your article. Cheers
 

jbtsax

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Rather than thinking of a tone that is good or bad, try thinking in terms of a "characteristic" tone. In other words does it sound the way a saxophone should sound. The tone is full bodied and rich without being pinched or flabby sounding. It is well controlled at different dynamic levels and during crescendos and diminuendos. It is even with a constant pitch on long tones.

A lot of what we think of as "tone quality" when we listen to different jazz players is really their style of playing which involves inflections, embellishments like vibrato and articulation. Any held long tone with the entrance and ending of the note removed will sound surprisingly the same among very different jazz players.

Try to avoid falling into the common trap of trying to "buy" a particular sound by changing equipment. Instead work on establishing the concept in your mind of how you want to sound when you play. Then practice moving toward that sound by adapting your embouchure, airstream, and the shape inside your mouth.

However, I believe it is important to develop a well controlled "characteristic" sound first before branching out into different jazz styles. Put another way, learn to play the saxophone well first and then work to add different styles to your repertoire. And yes this means learning to play with a classical sound to begin your journey.
 

aaronrod

Member
Messages
42
As you're just starting out, I'd focus on being able to play every note on the instrument cleanly and in tune. Until you can do this, trying to develop a specific tone won't bring you much joy - it's a bit like worrying what colour to paint your house when the foundation hasn't been built. (Further to that analogy, there are a lot of players out there who have beautiful tone or 'colour', but whose houses are tilted - ie the very pretty tone is out of tune, lacks dynamics, poor breath control, etc. :) )

The greater your mastery of the basics, the more time you'll be able to put into creating your personal 'sound' and the more enjoyable that sound will be.
 

Colin the Bear

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Good advice above.

Playing solo, tone seems important. When you play with others pitch is king. It won't sound dark or bright if it's out of tune. It'll just sound bad.

It's easy to mistake the diffent sounds on recorded music as something the player is doing rather than the product of microphone, studio and engineer.

The distance from the mic can have a dramatic affect. The type of mic more so.


I agree that chopping and changing mouthpieces isn't the way to go for a beginner or even a more accomplished player. The most important thing with a mouthpiece when learning, is that it is comfortable to play and an easy blow. Something you can rely on and forget about, leaving you free to concentrate on what you're playing. There's enough to think about without added complication. It's all about the music for me.
 

drien

New Member
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22
Nice one. Shame I haven't listened to any classical saxophone and jumped straight into hunting my jazz tone:w00t: Should I go back to the roots and chase the classical sound first then? I am thinking right that classical sound will be more mellow without "sharp edges" or almost any overtones in the tone?
 

drien

New Member
Messages
22
All the advise taken on board. I guess I'll have to get some recording going in the beginners section to see where we are:) It is nice to see, that you guys are more than happy to help and get the best out of every player who is even just trying. It is nice and reassuring that there will always be somebody with honest advise. Cheers for that. I believe one day I will meet some of you on the stage:)
 

kevgermany

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I think the thing is to get your own idea of how you want to sound. Listening to others is a good way of understanding what's possible. But as paart of your learning, listen to yourself and work out where you want your tone to go. Then do the long tones and try and form/move your sound in the direction your aiming for.
 

Nick Wyver

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Whilst it is perfectly true that you can make any mouthpiece produce a wide range of sounds, you can make life a lot easier for yourself by not trying to play Mozart on a wide Dukoff or rock and roll on an S80 C*.
 

drien

New Member
Messages
22
It is funny, I am discovering new sounds every day. No I am on really relaxed bottom lip and I can even feel the vibration of the reed on my lip. Sound is completely different, don't know if it is more saxophone or less though:) That is what I love. The discovery part. Will follow my new sound for couple of days and see where it leads me.
 

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