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Thread: Switching to Soprano?

  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2008 Giganova's Avatar
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    Default Switching to Soprano?

    Hey guys!

    I'm playing tenor, but since I travel a lot I have longer and sustained periods where I don't have my tenor sax with me (too heavy & big). That's why I was thinking about picking up a soprano that I can take with me while traveling.

    Could you enlighten me about your experience with playing both instruments? Would playing soprano mess up with my tenor skills or help me? The fingering is near-identical, right? How does a soprano play compared to a tenor (I don't have access to a soprano to test play). I guess the smaller bore and tip opening must be rather strange for a tenor player, huh?

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    My main horn is bari. Playing soprano does not affect my bari chops. You shouldn't have any problems with your tenor chops as long as you play the horn regularly. Working up good chops on the sop is another matter.

  3. #3

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    I play Alto and soprano, and they are different animals... The attention, techniques, etc... you put into each horn is different, but they shouldn't mess up your tenor skill... They fingering for all saxes are identical.

    Kenny.
    Inderbinen Alto / Theo Wanne Durga #7 & Aizen 6M / Fibracell #2.5 - Bauhaus Walstein Soprano / Aizen LS 8 / Fibracell #2

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    Forum Contributor 2009 TJS's Avatar
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    I've just gone through this transition and am very happy that I did. What I did is take about a month off from tenor and really get my soprano chops together. Now that I feel pretty good about soprano I am playing both. When I got back to tenor it felt strange for a day or so but I got back in to it quickly. I have really enjoyed playing both instruments. Good luck.

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member Tom Goodrick's Avatar
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    I have also recently made the transition and am very happy. However, the sop may not do exactly what you want. I saved considerable money by getting the Antigua Winds 590LQ as compared with any of the "top nmae pro saxes." I am happy with it and have no complaints. My worst problem is a sticky c# key but that is mainly solved by moving that key when I first pick up the instrument. The case of the sop is not so much smaller than the tenor case as to make travelling much easier. It is 90% of the length and height and 70% the width. The loaded weight is about 60% that of the tenor. It won't fit in a brief case. It will be no easier to find a place to play the sop than the tenor if your destination is a motel room. Just carry an MP3 player and listen to your favorite sax players while traveling.

    The chops are a bit different. It has taken me about a month to get to the same level as the tenor which I played moderately 30 years ago and intensely the past 3 years. The vibrato is different, for me at least, and has temporarily hurt my tenor vibrato but that is coming back now that I am playing the tenor about as much as the sop. At first I concentrated almost exclusively on the sop and let my other horns slide. Whether you get the high G key is for you to decide. Any tone up there is mainly a squeak for effect. I am now using mine a little bit but mainly because I paid extra to get it.

    Forget about the "equivalent" tip opening to what you play on tenor. Start with a closed piece of .048" such as the 4C that comes with the Antigua Winds. I think the best "real" mouth piece to start with is a Selmer S80 in the C* or D size. Of all four pieces I have (4C, Morgan Protone, Bari 66 and S80), the S80 is the only one with a perfectly flat table. I am now very happy with the E (.053") and play the Bari (.066") occasionally. (I got that because it was equivalent to the 7 I use on tenor.)

    If you like playing pretty solos with some fancy riffs, you'll enjoy the sop.
    Last edited by Tom Goodrick; 10-11-2005 at 02:33 PM.
    Sop - Antigua Winds 590 LQ, Yamaha 5C, Vandoren ZZ 2.0
    Tenor - Yanagisawa 991, Rovner Deep Vee 7, Vandoren V16 2.5
    www.soundclick.com/TomGoodrick

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member Jerry K.'s Avatar
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    The case of the sop is not so much smaller than the tenor case as to make travelling much easier. It is 90% of the length and height and 70% the width. The loaded weight is about 60% that of the tenor.
    Tom, are you using the factory Antigua case? I use a Protec case and it's easily half the size of my tenor case and a lot lighter. I've traveled with this horn on a number of ocasions and it's a lot less of a burden than my tenor. I have a B&S tenor that is quite heavy in a large rectangular case and your experience may vary.

  7. #7

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    You will probably need to work hard with the embouchure and airstream for soprano. Even if you are a seasoned player, a few sessions with a good teacher will make the world of difference. But, playing one will not mess up your playing of the other.

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