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Beginner Tuning in on Embouchure...

LoveSickLouie

New Member
Messages
12
As a new player I've been paying close attention to getting in tune and trying (desperately) to stay there...following various wisdoms I've been tuning off of the mouthpieces relationship with the neck, and whilst that gets me most of the way there's not la lot of longevity to the green light on the tuner and I was wondering if I should be doing the fine tuning with my embouchure...and following on from that does anyone have advice for getting in tune and staying there!!
 

TimC

Member
Messages
50
Are you referring to keeping in tune playing the same note, or are you talking about a range of notes? Because as far as I know there will always be a couple of notes that are slightly sharp or flat compared to the note that you've tuned in with the mouthpiece position. My tip is if you're just starting out with a sax to not worry so much about being perfectly in tune, just try and find an embouchure that feels comfortable first and slowly build up your stamina first.
 

LoveSickLouie

New Member
Messages
12
Yeah, it's over a spectrum of notes, locking in on one note and then wandering out of tune...seems less of a problem as I go up in pitch. Low notes are a daily test of how my embouchure is developing...I know I should be dedicating more time to 'em...
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Don't become a slave of the green light!
There is an interesting article about tuning on Mr. Thomas's website.
You should train your ear first, and a keyboard (or computer generated sound) is much more useful.

Only when you tune octaves properly, you should start with the tuner.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Put the tuner in a box, and forget where it is for a few years. They're great for tuning stringed instruments , but you are watching the tuner when your mind should be on learning to play the sax. They cause you to worry about something that your ears and emboucher will correct as you develop. Just put the m'piece on the neck, tune it, mark the position on the cork, and then forget about the tuner.

I just can't believe that people waste good money on these things >:)

John :):);}
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I just can't believe that people waste good money on these things >:)
I am currently developing a new kind of "supportive tuner": it always shows a green light (to cut costs there are no red leds) and from time to time it says "yeah, man!"
 

LoveSickLouie

New Member
Messages
12
Great replies, thanks team...these are all notions that I've had but have but am often dragged back by the thought having to have a perfect pitch foundation on which to build my own little piece of SaxoParadise. I came from a stringed instrument (sold my guitar to buy my sax) and I guess I feel like I'm on ice a bit with the idea of wandering pitch...the whole experience has been very exciting so far, I can't believe I waited so long...
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,091
The tuner is a handy tool for checking where you're at. You can use it to check that your high and low or loud and soft playing aren't wandering.

Before playing use the tuner to get somewhere near, top and bottom, so you know the mouthpiece is in the right place. If you're pushing too hard for the top or pulling too hard for the bottom it will affect your tone and some notes may not sound at all. So use the tuner to get it in tune ish and comfortable. Then put it away.

I recently purchased a digital tuner and was surprised how far off I was in different places through out the range.

If you listen to the great players, the pitch bends and slides. That's what makes the sax a sax for me. It ain't a piano.

Pitch is important when playing close harmonies, but often, you'll end up off precise pitch to get that fat harmony.

Tune your ear by much listening to players you want to sound like.

Better to be musical and lyrical than clincal and scientific. IMHO
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,091
I play jazz and ballads so I've never used one with the saxophone. I have a drum machine/beatbox thingy that I like to use and backing tracks have recently made an appearance in my regime.

I suppose they have a use for strict tempo practice but I'm not a strict tempo practice sort of player. I can hear the rest of the band when I'm playing solo

I used to dance in my youth. I think dance lessons would help more players than a metronome when starting out.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Some people have a natural sense of rhythm, others don't (Just watch peoples feet when they are playing. Some are all over the place). The metronome provides the timing, just as a drummer keeps you on track.

John :):);}
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,920
Re tuning, if you are playing in an orchestra you need to be in tune with everyone else not the tuner. As we are reminded at my orchestra training:shocked:
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
where does a metronome fit into your average workout?...
......mainly in a 'new piece' which has no backing track and sections which I find more difficult! Its very easy to find your tempo slipping as brain and fingers struggle with navigation, so I use a metronome to slow the whole piece to a playable pace throughout, then gradually build up to the suggested speed. My tutor has also recently suggested practising all scales with a metronome for the same reason!
 

LoveSickLouie

New Member
Messages
12
Have tried the scales by metronome and it felt like I was getting tangled up and I have slowly been leaving it out altogether, guess I was wondering where I should be trying to work it back in...what I have been doing and loving it's learning as many old, from nowhere/everywhere tunes like Bye Bye Blackbird, even Yanky Doodle and Jingle Bells, anything to generate melody...
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Have tried the scales by metronome and it felt like I was getting tangled up
All the more reason to keep using it, but s-l-o-w-l-y at first. By getting used to playing the right note at the right moment, no matter how slowly you have to do it at first, you really develop your inner metronome. Then you know exactly where the beat will fall before the drummer hits it.

and I have slowly been leaving it out altogether, guess I was wondering where I should be trying to work it back in...what I have been doing and loving it's learning as many old, from nowhere/everywhere tunes like Bye Bye Blackbird, even Yanky Doodle and Jingle Bells, anything to generate melody...
 

saxmaster

Member
Messages
41
I don't tune the neck I usually just tune the middle note on my sax
A B for Bb pitched instruments and F# for Eb pitched instruments
An A for C melody :)
After that just play and don't worry about it too much until you become more advanced
 
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