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Saxophones Tempted by a Tenor

Jeanette

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Paul's advert for his tenor has set me off on a flight of fancy. I have been learning on a sop for a year now and whilst my progress is painfully slow I am still loving it. I would value people's opinions on whether or not alternating with a tenor is likely to help or hinder my sop playing.

Also, if I do decide to buy one whilst Paul's is a good offer and I know on here these horns are well thought off, I did read in one post that they are quite heavy. I am only 5 ft 4 and whilst I wouldn't describe myself as dainty I did find it took some time to get used to the weight of the sop on my thumb. I know with the tenor the neck strap should take the weight but would value opinion on this aspect too.:)

Thank you

Jx
 

BigMartin

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In my (limited) experience:

Playing sop helps me with the high notes on the tenor, and playing tenor helps with the low notes on the sop. And playing more than one sax (actually 5, I'm afraid I'm completeley hooked!) helps improve my ear. But they do take time from each other, so If you've got a gig or a playday coming up you may find it best to specialise in the appropriate instrument for a few days beforehand.

As for the weight, I find it much more comfortable to support the weight of a tenor round my neck then to hold up a straight sop with my thumb (so much heavier than a clarinet). I'm 6'5-ish, so YMMV, but I would think you'd be fine as long as you don't have any postural problems and can keep your spine nice and straight.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Can only echo BigMartin's comments. Although for me it's alto/tenor. I'd add that sop/tenor is a good match for your ears as they're both in the same key (unless you're playing a C sop). I always find it takes a while to get used to the different notes coming out of the same fingering when I switch between alto and tenor. You should also find the tenor a lot easier to play, once you get used to it. But at 5'4" you're going to find the tenor banging your knees. But as we have a bari player on the forum who's about your height, it should be OK.

If you do go tenor, get a decent strap or harness.
 

zebrafoot

Member
Messages
63
Paul's advert for his tenor has set me off on a flight of fancy. I have been learning on a sop for a year now and whilst my progress is painfully slow I am still loving it. I would value people's opinions on whether or not alternating with a tenor is likely to help or hinder my sop playing.

Also, if I do decide to buy one whilst Paul's is a good offer and I know on here these horns are well thought off, I did read in one post that they are quite heavy. I am only 5 ft 4 and whilst I wouldn't describe myself as dainty I did find it took some time to get used to the weight of the sop on my thumb. I know with the tenor the neck strap should take the weight but would value opinion on this aspect too.:)

Thank you

Jx

I can't really answer your actual question because I don't play soprano, but I would like to say tenor is great! Compared to Alto, which is the only other sax I've really had a go on, it takes a lot less "tightness" of embouchure to get high notes, so I can find I can play for a couple of hours without my lip tiring too much. It is quite heavy, but with a decent strap, you can alleviate much of the problem straight off - and this does make a big difference. I got a Neotech strap pretty much as soon as I bought my BW because the supplied strap seemed a) unsafe and b) very uncomfortable.


The thing I do have an issue with is the amount of air I need to put through the thing to keep the reed going.... it's quite a challenge if the piece doesn't have any natural breathing spaces.

Also, although I like the sound of the soprano, it's doesn't have what I personally consider a typically "sax" sound. I love the sound of the tenor.
 
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Jack

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123
If its too heavy with a neck strap, try a shoulder harness. Beware, however your mates may call it a brasier!
 

h4yn0nnym0u5e

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Also, have a look at the "saxholder". I saw this in action at the last A.C.E.Foundation day, where Wood Wind and Reed were touting it around for people to try out. Basically it's shaped like a wishbone with hooks that go over your shoulders, but being largely rigid it doesn't tend to pull inwards and strangle you. It fails on the bari, but only because the weight pulls the tummy pad in quite hard and affects your breathing - I'd imagine it's fine with tenor and alto.

I don't own one myself, but thought I'd mention it as I think it's fairly recent and thus maybe not so well known.

Then - go out and buy a tenor! (Paul's :) or mine >:)) You'll not regret it...

Cheers

Jonathan
 

Pauline

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Well I'm a 5ft 3in, 8st 2lbs weakling and can manage a tenor alright. I use a BA sling which works fine. It's very comfortable, takes the weight and is cheap! I don't know how to post a link on my itouch but Google will bring up the info. Hope that's helpful!
 

ArtyLady

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Hi Jeanette, although I play alto as well I do spend most of my time on my Tenor out of choice :thumb:

I have a dodgy neck and used to use a neotech harness which had a kind of "lift and separate" effect! >:) and also I found restricted my breathing.

Early last year I got one of these http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/Freeneck_Harnesses.html - I haven't looked back....the sax feels much lighter than did on the harness. I have doctored it a little bit by adding a home-made leather pad to stop the metal triangle at the bottom digging in and spread the weight. hope that helps :)
 
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Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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695
I also recommend a harness. They are not all the same, but the good ones spread the weight of the instrument across the shoulders. There is no strain on the neck. Harnesses are ideal if you play in the seated position and do not double (I believe that this is the case here). If you are playing standing, a good strap will be less restrictive. It will also make doubling easier.

Good harnesses and good straps are not cheap. I think I paid about $130 for mine when I still had a baritone. I then found that it came very handy for the tenor also. Never needs adjusting.
 

MandyH

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Can only echo BigMartin's comments. Although for me it's alto/tenor. I'd add that sop/tenor is a good match for your ears as they're both in the same key (unless you're playing a C sop). I always find it takes a while to get used to the different notes coming out of the same fingering when I switch between alto and tenor. You should also find the tenor a lot easier to play, once you get used to it. But at 5'4" you're going to find the tenor banging your knees. But as we have a bari player on the forum who's about your height, it should be OK.

If you do go tenor, get a decent strap or harness.

I play bari (and alto) and am 5ft6
I have no problem with it's length, or hand positioning. I play it on a ladies BG harness (there is a difference between the male and female versions, and so far it's the only harness I have found that works for me) rather than a neck-strap, which might be worth considering for the tenor too.
I presume a tenor would need to be held more around to the right hand side than in front (like a sop or alto) anyway. The bari certainly has to be.
And I'd second the importance of standing up straight and maintaining good posture - it's a lot of weight to have hanging in the wrong place.
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
I have a dodgy neck and used to use a neotech harness which had a kind of "lift and separate" effect! >:)........

I have this image of you with one at the front and one at the back, and with perfect balance. Maybe that's not what you meant?!;}

Agree with what Big M said. I do think it is best that you have a clear idea of what you'd like to get from playing another sax. Soprano and Tenor is a classic combination. If you go for that just be aware of the difference in mouthpiece size if you go down the HR route, as it does take a while to get used to it, unless you go down the metal mouthpiece route, which are a similar size to HR soprano mpcs.

My soprano sax hero, Jan Garbarek, also makes a good job of the tenor. If you do go down the tenor route, of course,
you will have to miss out on certain experiences: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHy7DGLTt8g http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KT4YE3xJp68&feature=related I was called to the Alto!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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ArtyLady

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1,030
I have this image of you with one at the front and one at the back, and with perfect balance. Maybe that's not what you meant?!;}

Hmmmm.....not quite sure what you mean :confused:...you're obviously not old enough to remember the playtex bra advertisments :)));}
 

Jeanette

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Thanks all, think I will ponder this a little longer and research tenors. So much choice:)

Jx
 

Pyrografix

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1,026
Are you going to the Stax Of Sax Manchester event? You're welcome to have a play on my tenor there!

Cheers,

Amanda
 

Jeanette

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Are you going to the Stax Of Sax Manchester event? You're welcome to have a play on my tenor there!

Cheers,

Amanda

Thanks Amanda that's very good of you but we have a weeks holiday booked then so not sure if we will be here or not so I haven't committed to it.

Jx
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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The only thing that surprises me about this thread is how long the sax has been sitting waiting to be sold. Someone's going to get a fantastic sax at a very good price.
 

tclausen

New Member
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1
I started playing the Tenor, but quickly moved to a Curved-Soprano-Baritone alternation. To me, Soprano helped my Tenor play a lot, but I do not see any particular benefit from playing the tenor wrt. my soprano play. Somebody said that playing the tenor helped with the lower notes on the sop. I've not seen any of that. The soprano is a lot more "difficult" than the Tenor, so I'd say that playing the soprano helps my tenor play, but not the other way around.

I like playing the Tenor, but I love the Bari and the sop, so the Tenor is getting somewhat ignored, though.
 
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