The Rinkster is in the house

The Rinkster

New Member
Messages
9
Hi everyone!

I'm John and im a sax player! :welldone

Suppose a lil about myself, I play alto and soprano.
I've been playing for about 12 years and have taught myself, never had a tutor. Joined an adult education class after 6 months playing, (during which time i had figured out the basic fingering and reading the dots from a book and learnt to play some simple tunes from the 100 flute song book). This class turned out to be an amature band with sax and clarinet. OMG i was put straight onto lead alto after playing The Entertainer from memory. Was this because i was good or was it the level of the band? lol!
Got a bit disheartened after about 5/6 years of this because i'm not brilliant at sight reading and thought sax was about improv but i had no idea how to. Put my sax away for a at least 18mnths as a result. The desire to play was strong though and i rejoined the band and stayed for about another year.
Then about 3 years ago i got my hands on a book by James Ray about improv, with a backing CD. Didnt understand it but noticed a footnote saying Am blues scale can be used over the changes! Welcome to the world of improv!
Since then i have been experimenting with blues scales and was introduced to a 12 bar blues on concert pitch Em, Am and Bm by a guitar friend of mine called The Judge. He has since sadly passed away but i will always credit him for opening my eyes and ears and hearing something special in me. Figured out that there are notes that are the same in each scale and some that are a semitone away.
Welcome to improve around chords!
The Judge took me to many open mike nights and i enjoyed jamming with him and many other musicians trying out the little i had learnt. This is where a band called Burnside first heard me and invited me to record a solo on one of their tracks. They had a great bluesy, rock sound and did all their own material. I remember the first jam session with them and played along to a few of their tracks. this was more of an intro to the guys. I was then invited to a full rehersal of a 12 song set and jammed through the entire set! I kept tugging the lead guitars sleve asking what key we were in lol! Guess my ears must be quite good because even then i could feel when to play and when not to according to the only key i was given and not knowing the entire chord progressions they were using. They must have liked what i did because a week later i joined them for a gig at a pub called The Old Wharf in Birmingham, the same place i openmiked and they had first heard me in. 5 months later and after quite a few gigs and rehearsals were i started to figure out some of their chords and turning my jammin into proper, consistant parts we played a 45min set at The Cavern Club in Liverpool! Not bad for an untrained total novice! Sadly the backing vocalist and lead guitar left and they went through a change of lineup and i wasnt invited back, although i know many would say their sound really misses me and the blues scales i played! lol.
Now after reading a lot of stuff on this site, God bless you all, ive come to see my strengths and major weaknesses and how to progress. My strengths i think are a fearlessness, (im a registered busker with Birmingham City Council and i just jam blues scales using passing notes to change key and try to create some harmonic diffrences.) a real nice tone and abillity to phrase and find rhythms and follow basic progressions.
My major, major weaknesses are a lack of scales and chords under my fingers. (Being self taught made me lazy and i only learnt what i needed to at the time) Have only recently started learning all the major scales and arpegios around a cycle of fifths and this is an amazing way to learn them. Makes sense. Had no idea about this until i checked this site out.(God bless you all again) I understand some of the theory pretty much too, stuff like flattening the 7th, B becomes Bb in C7 ect.
Just now have to do something ive never really done much to my own detriment and that is practice, practice, practice scales, arpegios and chords! Get them all under my fingers. Im a crack shot with the little i have just dont yet have a full compliment of weapons and ammunition!


So the journey continues.........
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
Hi John, welcome to the cafe from just down the road in Rugby. Nice to have you here.
 
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T

The Rinkster

New Member
Messages
9
Thanks for the welcome guys!
sorry my opening intro was a complete biography, lol i missed some stuff out too.
have been practicing major scales and arpegios for about 3 weeks by ear strarting on my altos C and have made my way down to F# on a cycle of fifths. thats all the sharp scales i believe. E, B and specially F# need tightening up lots tho, played blues scale on these too many times and am retraining my fingers lol.. Db is next and im gonna have the same problem, E, A and B concert blues progression = Db, F# and Ab which i played blues on an awful lot, old habits die hard.....
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,415
Location
Daventry
Hi John and welcome - from not too far away in sun-bleached Northamptonshire.

Your experience is similar to mine - blagging your way for 12-odd years, then suddenly realising the importance of scales, arpeggios and practice, practice, practice! (I think it improves my playing - it certainly makes me feel very smug and self-righteous!)

I would recommend Pete Thomas's "Taming the Sax" book, available from this very site - it gives some great, challenging exercises for ambitious improvers.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Once upon a time in a sax land far away.... Sorry John, welcome, i thought i was on Jackanory. Sounds like we will be asking you for advice not t'other way round.
Enjoy the Caff, everyone is really nice and helpful, although the P*** does get taken some times.. Phil >:)
 
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The Rinkster

New Member
Messages
9
Your experience is similar to mine - blagging your way for 12-odd years, then suddenly realising the importance of scales, arpeggios and practice, practice, practice! (I think it improves my playing - it certainly makes me feel very smug and self-righteous!)


.
Lmfao! Your absolutely right! totally blagged my way! Dont know how i got away with it. Maybe us sax players are shrouded in mystery........
 
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