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Tone Tone - Pure, or Kazoo like?



Not something that will matter much for months, or even years, but I'm curious:

Listening to Paul Desmond playing on Take 5, his tone is very pure, and almost like a clarinet. Yet much sax that I hear is a bit like a high quality kazoo , with a bit of a buzz about it - not sure how else to describe it.

Is this a difference in style, or set-up, or both, or what?

Hope this makes sense :)

Many Thanks,

All of those.

And more. Sometimes a different reed can make you play more "clarinet-like" or "kazoo-like".

The perfect setup is the one that allows you both. Unfortunately it is yet to be discovered.
Ignoring causes isn't good. It's something you need to think about. Many/most of us start off wanting to make a sound like our favourite player and we work towards it, experimenting with mouthpieces, reeds and so on. It's a good starting point, and from there you start to refine your desired sound and move on from wanting to sound likeplayer x, to wanting your own sound. It's not just tone, but also phrasing, the way you start and finish notes and as Nick said, more.....

There's an excellent book by David Liebman, Developing a Personal Saxophone Sound (or something like that). I'm not sure if it's still in print, I had a job finding a copy, but it's worth searching for.

Being flexible is also good - you may want to play fol/classical/jaz/rock/kletzmer/... or all of them. And most of the tutorial books have a mix of styles, but being able to change your sound for the type of music you're playing at the time is esential. And being able to change the sound in a piece for expressiveness is also very important (just think of the sounds you'd want for Eric Clapton's 'Tears in Heaven' for instance).
A different make of reed on the same mouthpiece can change the tone from pure to rasping.

Paul Desmond played alto with an acoustic recording set up. A lot of the modern stuff on the radio is Tenor put through a range of modern processes. Even live there may be a box of tricks between sax and listener.

When I started out I couldn't tell a baritone from a soprano. Trying to make my alto sound like the pink floyd baritone, on wish you were here (is it?) was frustrating and I couldn't understand how Sydney Bechet made his sound till I found out it was soprano.

These days I add a bit of voice to get that "dirty" sound.

The thing to remember is, you can't be someone else. Find your own sound. Most important thing is to be in tune
Thanks to all for the replies!

Not sure I was wanting to sound like anyone in particular - ill be happy to get a sound, with all the right notes, more or less in the right order :)

Having heard some quite significant differences, I merely wondered what might be going on.

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