support Tutorials CDs PPT mouthpieces

Switching between Alto and Bari tips

Mangosaxy

New Member
Messages
7
Locality
Usa
Hello!

I've been playing alto sax for almost 6 years now and I've recently switched to play baritone sax in my highschool band (marching, concert, and jazz) about 5 months ago. Ive practiced my alto a few times since then, but not extensively since my sax was being borrowed by someone else during this time.

When I recently picked up my sax, I found myself having intense pitch control issues - especially on my octave d (in the staff). It's always wildly sharp no matter how I adjust my embouchure. It had been a tendency of mine before switching, but now it's worse. Any tips/advice? (Especially as I will be playing bari sax mainly, and want to retain my alto chops for next year when I switch back) Thanks!
 
I play tenor for band and alto for lessons, literature, and quartet. I find bigger saxes a lot easier, especially when it comes to finding a good reed. But then again, the tenor I use is a YTS 62, whereas the alto is a YTS 23 in tragic disrepair.
What I do is play tenor at school and leave the alto home to practice, and bring it in for quartet stuff.
I usually end up playing both tenor and alto every day.
 
Knowing the make and model of alto sax will help. Here is what I suggest.
  • Set the embouchure, air, and oral cavity to play A concert on the mouthpiece alone with a big full sound
  • Using that same embouchure, check the pitch of the mouthpiece + neck. It should be Ab concert
  • Tune the saxophone to its low F# by moving the mouthpiece in or out, then repeat step 2
  • Check the pitch of F#2 both with and without using the octave key
  • These octaves should both be in tune using the same embouchure pressure
  • Next finger low B natural and "overblow" to the second overtone which is F#2 that should match as well
You have now "tuned" the input pitch and the length of the saxophone. Set a tuner to Bb concert. Play your low G with a big full sound and match that pitch. Then slur up to the 4th line D and hold it. Listen for "beats" in the sound (wah wah wah wah). Gradually open the teeth as you hold the note. The beats will go slower as you come closer in tune, and stop when you are there. Hold that note as long as you can.
Repeat this several times till you learn the "taste" of the note D when it is in tune. Keep doing it until opening the teeth on D becomes automatic every time you finger that note.

Warning: Never tell an experienced saxophone teacher you just can "lip" D down far enough to be in tune. I did that when I was a beginning freshman music major in my University Concert Band rehearsal. The director who was a professional clarinetist and saxophonist lectured me that D can be played in tune on a saxophone in front of the group for what seemed like forever. I can still remember the "chewing out" I got 52 years ago. :) I did however learn how to play D in tune.
 
The above has helped me greatly. Getting the mouthpiece in the right position is crucial. I also overblow Bb, B and C an 8ve and a 12th to get the harmonics in tune. Contrary to what I thought was logical my mouthpiece is a little further on to bring D down to near enough correct pitch. Playing baritone is such a pleasure. So much easier to play in tune, if it's warm.
 
A tip for playing baritone sax - make friends with a good chiropractor...

Greg S.
 
Knowing the make and model of alto sax will help. Here is what I suggest.
  • Set the embouchure, air, and oral cavity to play A concert on the mouthpiece alone with a big full sound
  • Using that same embouchure, check the pitch of the mouthpiece + neck. It should be Ab concert
  • Tune the saxophone to its low F# by moving the mouthpiece in or out, then repeat step 2
  • Check the pitch of F#2 both with and without using the octave key
  • These octaves should both be in tune using the same embouchure pressure
  • Next finger low B natural and "overblow" to the second overtone which is F#2 that should match as well
.
Wots the tenor version?
 
Wots the tenor version?
For tenor.
  • Set the embouchure, air, and oral cavity to play G concert on the mouthpiece alone with a big full sound
  • Using that same embouchure, check the pitch of the mouthpiece + neck. It should be an E concert
  • Tune the saxophone to its low F# by moving the mouthpiece in or out, then repeat step 2
  • Check the pitch of F#2 both with and without using the octave key
  • These octaves should both be in tune using the same embouchure pressure
  • Next finger low B natural and "overblow" to the second overtone which is F#2 that should match as well
 
While in the OP's situation it sounds like it wasn't possible, my suggestion is if you are going to play multiple saxes, spend what time you need with your main horn and a few minutes each day on long tones with the others.
 
A tip for playing baritone sax - make friends with a good chiropractor...

Greg S.
If your neck is hurting you use a harness. I had real problems using a neckstrap, and after trying several harnesses I am comfortable playing bari now.
 
If your neck is hurting you use a harness. I had real problems using a neckstrap, and after trying several harnesses I am comfortable playing bari now.

I'm well aware of harnesses as I have a Neotech one myself. My comment was merely tongue in cheek, a jest or a joke, as it reminded me of an article the L.A. sax man Brandon Fields wrote as Artist in Residence in the now defunct magazine Saxophone Journal. In the article Brandon was discussing the various equipment he used as a L.A. session sax man and he remarked he (Brandon) didn't play baritone too often because he couldn't afford the chiropractor bill...I think his comment was possibly tongue in cheek as well...:rofl:

Happy baritoning...

Greg S.
 
I play 60% tenor and 40% bari. If I rest the bari I must compensate my embrouchure. I use bari reeds on tenor and bari and that helps up. And I'm also a metal guy. And of course harness on all saxes execept soprano. I don't like to have a strap hanging around my neck. I calm down when I feel the pressure of a tight harness around my chest. Nervous man, nervous;)
 

Similar threads

Back
Top Bottom