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Saxophones What size saxophone do you recommend starting on?

Sabytet99

New Member
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10
I am starting saxophone lessons soon and I really want to play soprano but lots of people have warned me against this. Do you agree and why? Also if you don't, is starting on baritone any better? I have been playing bassoon for 6 years if this helps any.:)
 

allansto

Senior Member
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471
If you really have your heart set on playing the soprano sax and for what ever reason you love this instrument,
and you are prepared to give it a try then dont let ANYBODY suggest you learn something else first.
Thats the biggest load of crap Ive ever heard.
You learn what you love .
Take it from me as a former clarinetist who only ever wanted to play the sax and now does.
Allansto
 

Jeanette

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25,903
If you really have your heart set on playing the soprano sax and for what ever reason you love this instrument,
and you are prepared to give it a try then dont let ANYBODY suggest you learn something else first.
Thats the biggest load of crap Ive ever heard.
You learn what you love .
Allansto
I agree entirely with Allansto. :)

I started learning soprano just over a year ago with no musical background. If I can do it then I am sure you will have no problem;}

Jx
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
After bassoon, sop sax should be a breeze. But remember you'll no longer have the pleasure of blowing the neck out over fellow musos who've offended you.
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
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3,904
I think the advice against starting on the soprano would mainly apply (if at all) to someone who hasn't played an instrument before. The hard thing about playing the sop is controlling the tuning. The notes on a soprano are more easily "bendable" than on the larger saxes so you need to be able to har the notes mentally before you play them to keep the thing in tune. 6 years on the bassoon must have done your ear some good. Plus, if you start on the instrument you really want to play, you'll be more motivated and practise more.
 

TheCureFan

Member
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207
Plus, if you start on the instrument you really want to play, you'll be more motivated and practise more.
I second this. Nothing worse than trying/learning to play something your hearts not into. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

Sabytet99

New Member
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10
Thanks guys, definitely starting on soprano now. How difficult would it be to switch between sop and bari if I learned some baritone later on?
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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12,125
Thanks guys, definitely starting on soprano now. How difficult would it be to switch between sop and bari if I learned some baritone later on?
Easier than playing bassoon.

About the soprano... as long as nobody tells you that soprano has tuning issues, you will play in tune. Nowadays sopranos are as easy (hard) as any other saxophone. In the past (20th century) it was different.
 

Jeanette

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Thanks guys, definitely starting on soprano now. How difficult would it be to switch between sop and bari if I learned some baritone later on?
Don't think it will be particularly difficult just might feel odd. I tried a tenor which I found really cumbersome after the sop and an alto which felt too constrained. Odd I know but the advice I was given was to put the sop away for three weeks or so whilst I got used to another sax.

I didn't bother in the end because I still have a lot to learn on sop and didn't want to slow my progress on it but may have another go in the future.:)


Jx
 
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gnu

Member
Messages
39
Thanks guys, definitely starting on soprano now. How difficult would it be to switch between sop and bari if I learned some baritone later on?
Not as cumbersome as starting on as bass ... I agree with all above, if you love the instrument, then you'll want to play it. I've only been playing a couple of months and I look forward to every moment practicing (and do I need practice). To me, switching to bari is a dawdle :thumb:
gnu
 

jbtsax

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My perspective as a music teacher is a bit different than some of the advice being given in this thread. I view the alto sax as the ideal "entry level" saxophone for someone who hasn't played a member of the saxophone family before. The size is ideal, there is a great amount of solo literature available, there are no special intonation or tone production problems involved when learning on a good quality instrument, and it is a good jumping off point to later go on to the smaller soprano, or larger tenor or bari. My experience has been it is easier to go from smaller to larger mouthpieces rather than the other way around.

In a similar vein, my advice to someone wanting to play clarinet would be to start on a Bb soprano, develop a foundation and then go to the larger or smaller sizes if desired. If someone wants to play piccolo or alto flute, it is better to start on the C flute first. If someone wants to learn the English Horn, it is recommended that they start on the oboe.

All that said, I too support the idea that an individual should pick the instrument they are most attracted to if they have a strong enough feeling about it. I was merely answering the question posed by this thread's title.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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On switching between the instruments: The size issue is minor, you soon get used to it. When I play alto and no tenor, going back to tenor, even after a week, the tenor feels huge for a day or two. Embouchure's different, so you have to re-adjust. What's more confusing is the different pitch. There seems to be a link in my head to note, fingering. And switching between Eb and Bb really messes me around. I've just got a soprano, and although the embouchure is really different, it doesn't put me off when I play it after tenor, whereas alto does.

I don't want to turn this into a discussion of which instrument to start on, but I'll just add that I saw a 9ish year old girl in a concert a few months ago who started on soprano. Playing for 8 months. Lovely tone. Super intonation. Was one of the thoughts behind getting another soprano - if she can do it, so can I...
 

MandyH

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On switching between the instruments: The size issue is minor, you soon get used to it. When I play alto and no tenor, going back to tenor, even after a week, the tenor feels huge for a day or two. Embouchure's different, so you have to re-adjust. What's more confusing is the different pitch. There seems to be a link in my head to note, fingering. And switching between Eb and Bb really messes me around. I've just got a soprano, and although the embouchure is really different, it doesn't put me off when I play it after tenor, whereas alto does.
Interesting, Kevin, as I feel I have the same problem with my Tenor.
I started an alto and after 2 years added the Bari to my collection. I have no problem switching between the two, after a few seconds, the embouchure is happy and I am fine; but whenever I play my tenor, it just doesn't sound right to me. I can play it fine, and others say it sounds good, and if I record it and listen back it sounds good, but I think, like you, my head is expecting a different pitch from what is produced because I am tuned to the Eflat instruments.
I'm sure with time I'll adjust.

But as far as the OP is concerned, I'd agree with play the instrument that you want to play, that way you'll put in the effort to make it work.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,219
I am starting saxophone lessons soon and I really want to play soprano but lots of people have warned me against this. Do you agree and why? Also if you don't, is starting on baritone any better? I have been playing bassoon for 6 years if this helps any.:)
For me one of the main concerns with soprano is that the quality of the mouthpiece (precision etc.) will have an effect on the sound. I would therefore recommend getting one which is custom made/hand made, or from a brand that is known for consistency. Ed Pillinger and Morgan Fry in the UK are two such people - I use Joe Giardullo (Soprano Planet in the US) who produces the highest quality pieces to order. The larger the sax, the more forgiving the sound, seems to be the rationale - hence Tenor is easier than Alto.

I started on Soprano too, and love it.
Kind regards
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Interesting, Kevin, as I feel I have the same problem with my Tenor.
I started an alto and after 2 years added the Bari to my collection. I have no problem switching between the two, after a few seconds, the embouchure is happy and I am fine; but whenever I play my tenor, it just doesn't sound right to me. I can play it fine, and others say it sounds good, and if I record it and listen back it sounds good, but I think, like you, my head is expecting a different pitch from what is produced because I am tuned to the Eflat instruments.
I'm sure with time I'll adjust.
You sound just like my mother :w00t: - it's Kev. ;}

For me the best way around it is to play both equally. So either alternate and have a tenor/alto day, or play both every time you practice. I find tenor so much easier to blow than alto that I often play alto first, then switch to tenor for a rest. But if I stop playing one for more than a week it all goes pear shaped again. I once made the mistake of playing teh alto for a week, then taking the tenor to my lesson. I couldn't get a thing right...
 
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