SYOS

Beginner Time to learn

sonicapogee

Member
Messages
38
Hello

I am thinking of buying a sax to play it ,because it really attracts me .
So I would really appreciate it if you could help me with your answers.

Questions

1.How much time is requested to learn playing sax ,meaning a very basic level ,like beeing able to play "simple" [not difficult or so I think] pieces like Dave Brubeck's Take 5 ?
Is it possible for someone to pick it and be able to play in say 2 months time? [please note :play means a very basic level for start].I can read music staff .I also have some music theory and Classical harmony knowledge.

2.Is it possible to practice in the night using a lower volume level ? or does it have to be loud?Thats a very important issue for me ,because I want to be able to practice whenever I feel like it.

3.I am considering a Tenor sax .Is this hard to make it produce a sound ?Would another type would be easier? [although I really like the Tenor's sound & I dont want any other type]

4.Unfortunately ,I can't afford a quality sax so its going to be a cheap one.Seller claim thts its recommended by saxontheweb site.Will a cheap sax gonna make my life harder?

5.Is it hard to maintain the instrument in a good condition?

6.Why there are different mouth reed sizes? [i m so clueless im not sure even what those are called] ?I know this doesnt has to do with sax tuning?

Well,thanks for taking the time reading this
Geoge
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Hi, welcome. Would be great if you'll introduce yourself in the doorbell section.

1 - very variable, depends on how much you practice and how quickly you learn - Take 5 in 2 months is probably too optimistic unless you already play another instrument to that level or higher.

2 - Part of learning is learning to control the volume. This usually takes quite a few months. Mutes don't really work, but there are one or two bags you can put around the instrument which help keep things quieter.

3 - Tenor is a good choice.

4 - Some good cheap saxes around, also some rubbish. What sax are you thinking about? Mouthpieces have a big effect on how easily/well the sax plays, as well as sound. More depends on how well the sax is set up..

5 - In general, maintenance is minimal, but eventually pads and corks wear out. Spending a few pounds on Stephen Howard's Haynes Saxophone Manual willl tell you most of what you need to know. Including checking the setup.

6 - Partly to suit different players and experience. Partly for sound. Better to start smaller and as you gain experience, move to larger openings if you want to. Some people only play small tips, others move on to larger ones quickly.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Not really much I can add to Kev's great advice! Totally agree with Kev's recommendation of getting Stephen Howard's Haynes Saxophone Manual. This will also help you decide on what sax you want, keeping it in top shape, etc ...

You don't say a budget for your Tenor but take a look at the Bauhaus Walstein range which start at £500+ good s/h ones can be picked up for a little less. They are very decent Saxes for the money and you can't really go wrong with them.

I will add that a sax isn't a quiet instrument so if you live in a flat or the like it'll be difficult to practice.
 

sonicapogee

Member
Messages
38

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I've never played one, but the venuses have a reputation for being OK for the price. Search the forum for Venus. Check the shipping before bidding, if you're outside the UK and also check their warranty, in case anything needs fixing. Even the best saxes won't play well if they're badly set up and getting a non-player is rather frustrating. .

You may need a better mouthpiece - usual recommendations are Yamaha 4c, Rico Royal Graftonite B3 (possibly B5) & Runyon 22. None too expensive, and links on here to suppliers (again, just search the site).
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi there!

It might be worth sending Koumou a personal message - he is a Cafe sax member who lives in Greece. It is perfectly possible to get a sax for less than £500, but there will be some additional costinvolved in buying a mouthpiece, reeds, ligature, cleaning cloth, cork grease, neck strap, music etc. so it will be hard to keep the total below £500 or so. A tenor is fine to start on as each sax requires a slighltly different style of playing, and motivation is very important if you are prepared to put the time into practising. Cheaper horns which are commnly made in Taiwan & China, such as Venus, Apollo and others are at a very good standard. Many folks on SOTW are likely to hold outdated views on the subject without the experience of playing some of them, so be cautious as to what you believe, and do check anything out with members of the Forum.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
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8,949
As to the speed of learning.
After 2 months you think you can play Take Five.
After another 2 months you realize you can't.
After 2 years other people know you can.
 

sonicapogee

Member
Messages
38
Looks like its going to be a long and kinda hard [practise-wise] process...Quite honestly ,I now have doubts...
Oh,Alto is going to be less louder ?I really don't know what to do ,because if I cannot play MUSIC soon [even the simplest form of it] ,I going to put the instrument alone...
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
If anything I personally think tenor is quietest of the main three - Soprano/Alto/Tenor but it should be perfectly possible to play it more quietly with practice and Lebayle do make a mute that does reduce the volume to a degree. Must it be a sax? Trumpet & Trombone are both much easier to mute and can cost considerably cheaper (100GBP +) for a decent instrument. A practice mute will cost about £20 and the instrument is near impossible to be heard in an adjoining room, let alone an adjoining flat.

Kind regards
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
All instruments take time and hard work to master them. You need to build the physical links between your brain, fingers, belly, lungs, mouth.... And if you start any instruemnt, you need to view it as a long term lesson, not instant success. An old saying is that the saxophone is an easy instument to play..... badly.

But - the good news is that it's fun. Progress is clear and rewards you. And mastering the instrument brings a lot of pleasure. From simple things like getting bottom Bb for the first time, to mastering tricky rhythms ilke Take 5.....

However, you should be playing tunes pretty much from the start building up in complexity as you progress. Take five is tricky for it's timing/rhythm/key and has a deceptive simplicity that requires a reasonable degree of skill to master. There's a big difference between blowing the notes in the right order and getting them to sound good... Like music....

Hopefully you've got a teacher lined up, discuss the way you'll learn.

And no, an alto isn't any quieter than a tenor. Its higher pitch probably means that the sounds you make at first will be more intrusive than a tenor...
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
The answer to all your questions are "As long as the piece of mythical string."

THE tuition manual for the melodeon, stated it would take five years to reach the end of the manual, yet I was playing with a Morris side in under four months and able to knock out Take the A Train but they wouldn't let me play it for dancing. :( The Musician, the capital M indicates Chief muso, of that side could not tell you what clef was being used however like a lot of Morris Musicians, she had suffered the usual dancer's knee troubles and as the tunes were in her blood, she successfully took up the melodeon.

So what does that prove? It depends on the player, whether you wish to be able to sight read, just use dots as a guide or don't want to bother with scores, whether you wish to do exams or not. In other words, really with what do you feel comfortable with?

There are superb improvising players who can't read, equally there are many superb players who are superb readers, whether you are willing to take the decision regarding your ability or need the approval of experts. So you could be playing Take Five within two months and if you and others like it, great. My advice is take a chance, you could be the next Paul Desmond. Good luck whichever road you take, remember you are doing this for your enjoyment and don't be afraid to tell others who insist you do things their way, to exit left.

BTW:-There is a story that as Brubeck was making the LP in various timings, the Take Five theme was just a noodle from Desmond that seemed appropriate, so they wrote it down.
 

sonicapogee

Member
Messages
38
All instruments take time and hard work to master them. You need to build the physical links between your brain, fingers, belly, lungs, mouth.... And if you start any instruemnt, you need to view it as a long term lesson, not instant success. An old saying is that the saxophone is an easy instument to play..... badly.

But - the good news is that it's fun. Progress is clear and rewards you. And mastering the instrument brings a lot of pleasure. From simple things like getting bottom Bb for the first time, to mastering tricky rhythms ilke Take 5.....

However, you should be playing tunes pretty much from the start building up in complexity as you progress. Take five is tricky for it's timing/rhythm/key and has a deceptive simplicity that requires a reasonable degree of skill to master. There's a big difference between blowing the notes in the right order and getting them to sound good... Like music....

Hopefully you've got a teacher lined up, discuss the way you'll learn.

And no, an alto isn't any quieter than a tenor. Its higher pitch probably means that the sounds you make at first will be more intrusive than a tenor...

My intention is to learn alone,witohut a teacher,with all the other resources I can get.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
My intention is to learn alone,witohut a teacher,with all the other resources I can get.

You'll need a good self tuition book. Hopefully you've got some musical friends/family to help & support you. If not there'll be plenty here!

btw, Take five is an alto piece and goes quite high - you'll really struggle to get it right on tenor without playing it a lot lower.
 

sonicapogee

Member
Messages
38
I am still considering my options :now I am also thinking about the Alto .I do not want to rush my decision.An Alto would be fitting better in a band Without any other woodwinds or piano /synths ? In other words ,would an Alto be better compared to Tenor[in terms of orchestration] in say a band with only Sax ,drums & bass?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
It is hard to say yes or no to your question as to whether a tenor or Alto would be better with, say, drums and bass. One of my favourite groups was Back Door, which had Alto, Bass Guitar & Drums, but there are several bands which have keys, bass, drums and one or other sax - be it soprano, alto or tenor. Neither sax are that far apart in terms of range, more about texture, and both can cut through depending on mouthpiece, player etc.

You probably do need to make a difficult personal choice as to which instrument you go for - the thing is that none of your suggestions are that bad or unrealistic - Jan Garbarek is self taught, after all (Soprano and Tenor) - but as long as you have some positive motivation. There are quite a lot of tuition videos available also on youtube etc.

Kind regards
Tom
 

sonicapogee

Member
Messages
38
It is hard to say yes or no to your question as to whether a tenor or Alto would be better with, say, drums and bass. One of my favourite groups was Back Door, which had Alto, Bass Guitar & Drums, but there are several bands which have keys, bass, drums and one or other sax - be it soprano, alto or tenor. Neither sax are that far apart in terms of range, more about texture, and both can cut through depending on mouthpiece, player etc.

You probably do need to make a difficult personal choice as to which instrument you go for - the thing is that none of your suggestions are that bad or unrealistic - Jan Garbarek is self taught, after all (Soprano and Tenor) - but as long as you have some positive motivation. There are quite a lot of tuition videos available also on youtube etc.

Kind regards
Tom

I am already watching these videos :) .I think Ill find my way of getting started.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
For your first instument, think about whether the alto or tenor sound appeals more. No good picking the alto if you prefe teh ound of the bari, for instance.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
26,095
For your first instument, think about whether the alto or tenor sound appeals more. No good picking the alto if you prefe teh ound of the bari, for instance.

Has our Kev had a nice lunch with a glass of wine or two?? :shocked:

Jx
 
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