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Beginner Sax What sax for beginner?-JP043 straight soprano might be the answer

Jane M L

Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion
Hi everybody! Episode 2 of hired Elkhart curvy 300 vs the World. I'm afraid that the World has won. But pleased too, as the Elkhart was so handy - comfortable, small , light. Easy to play sitting down and very pretty - and I know so little really that I could not imagine what an initial better sax for me might be.
But with the kind encouragement of Tom Mapfumo [ :thumb: ] on a quick phone call, I put in a bid for a JP043G [ ie straight sop John Packer warm goldy colour ] and got it for much less than I will pay longterm for hired Elkhart. And I'm posting to try and describe why it is a better sax altogether - except for size and cuddliness - it just isn't cuddly unfortunately, but it plays more easily, all the notes are clearer and somehow distinguished from one another, and need much less change of embouchure/throat to go from the lowest to the highest. Above all it's easier to play softly and its the soft tones of the bigger saxes that literally enchants me.
I'm getting the feel for what the best sax in the world could be, but I know from the guitar how far one would really like to go and that finding a model that cures the gas, must have gas, more gas addiction takes enormous patience and musicality. I went first for a soprano because I loved the music of Charlotte Barbour Condini on recorders and Sam Newsomes A Love Supreme both reminding me of the songthrushes I like to record in the garden. But last night I watched the clip on John Surman , The Wizards Song, and he actually included explicit birdsong and turns out to come from a folk song background - absolutely beautiful .
It looks like I should aim for a bass........:mrcool
;} Indeed, gotta laugh. Gripped by sax fever. Obsessed. Bedevilled.
;} Indeed, gotta laugh. Gripped by sax fever. Obsessed. Bedevilled.

Have you read '"The Devil's Horn" yet? You should...

Some of the differences between the JP aand the Elkhart could be due to the JP being better set up. Sops seem to be very sensitive to it.
Thanks for that, Kev. Is it a book? I'll check Amazon. Whats it about? Setting up?
The Elkhart 300 was set up by woodwindworkshop in Croydon. Lionel Phillips is a repairman and plays mostly sax but also clarinet and flute. Intuitively he seemed to have taken care to do me a good deal - but what do I know. The Elkhart had hardly been used, so maybe it was just a dud anyway.
I very carefully followed Sephen Howards instructions and oiled the JP which made the octave key work consistently, but didn't want to mess with the Elkhart which I don't own.
But I'll definitely take your advice and get the new one to a repairman, and hopefully get him to compare the 2. I have to travel 60-70 miles to find a techy unfortunately.
Just had a quick look in the ebook on I laughed out loud as it is just really the truth about 'sax fever. I'm reading the pages you can look into online as its not a kindle book yet. And feeling the laughter of recognition of a deep rooted tribe.
I'm glad I spent 10 intense years tuning my ear wither guitar but cursing too that I'm feeling a bit aches-and-painy these days and can't see even another 10 years left for the sax. I spent enough hours on learning guitar to have been a genius -if I had been 16, or 21 or maybe even 35. But never mind all that. Its onwards and upwards, starting off with a good read. Thanks again!
Hi Jane!

John Surman is appearing at the Brecon Jazz Festival in August this year, along with a few other decent folk - - at 4.30 on Sunday 11th August. The others include Quercus, Gilad Atzmon, Nils Petter Molvaer, Courtney Pine and more!
Well worth a visit.
Hi Tom
thanks for Brecon Jazz info - I'm just checking the others on spotify but might be able to get to Surman on the Sunday unless it conflicts with a Mental health and RECOVERY conference at the Bot Gdns.
Meantime - car has MOT and I have refined what i would like initially to explore with you and your mpc's and saxes:
1] I have been comparing elkhart curly sop and JP043 straight sop and am astonished at how little voice or heart the elkhart has. But it plays very easily and keys are much lighter to press. It is also very loud and not so easy to play softly. So to compare with really high-end mpc would be wonderful.
And also try your sops. I feel ready to be able to hear much better than when I started sax learning in late April.
2] I prefer to play on the lower notes on the JP so I would love to try a quality alto and see whether I play low notes because they are easier or because that's the range that interests me musically.
3] Size - the elkhart is dinky, and sits comfortably on a cushion on my knees as I play sitting down, no strain or discomfort anywhere. I am really fond of it. BUT IT IS HORRIBLY RAUCOUS! So I'm really looking forward to trying a top quality curly sop as if it has welly in the low notes and I can get sweet sounds on the highs the 'dinky' factor with culy sops might be my ultimate choice rather than an even bigger alto. The JP straight does make some beautiful notes that fit with trying to learn Hakon Kornstad's Sweden. [ rather, trying to learn short phrases of melody from this piece...]
So please say now when would be convenient to call on you. 3/4 hour to get to Swansea via Carmarthen and the motorway then 1/2 hour minimum to be lost looking for your street. I'll PM you my mobile number now.
C U soon I hope
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I look forward to your visit and will get the saxes all ready!

Kind regards
Hi Jane!

John Surman is appearing at the Brecon Jazz Festival in August this year, along with a few other decent folk - - at 4.30 on Sunday 11th August. The others include Quercus, Gilad Atzmon, Nils Petter Molvaer, Courtney Pine and more!
Well worth a visit.

Yes thanks indeed! Will try to get to something. Also, its Upton Jazz Festival at the end of this month for anyone that's interested.

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