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Thread: No real preference for any one horn?

  1. #1
    Distinguished SOTW Member Razzy's Avatar
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    Default No real preference for any one horn?

    I currently play the four common saxes, SATB, in slightly differing amounts but pretty much equally. I practice mostly on alto and tenor. I've discovered I have no real preference for any one voice but rather just have varying levels of familiarity with the instruments. For example, only playing soprano for about 4 months, it's the one I'm least familiar with. And having played alto for 4 years, and practicing it almost exclusively, I am most familiar with it. However if I practiced all of the horns equally I doubt I would have any one preference... just as long as my setup achieves a desirable tone, I am fine. However if I have like a bad reed or something, I might be prompted to switch reeds or horns in my practicing.

    On a side note, I also don't seem to have any preference for classical or jazz. Lately I've been playing both nearly equally and am starting to develop a fondness for classical that I never had before through listening to a lot of it. I still listen to a lot of jazz.

    I think I'm become the all-around saxman. This is good Anyone else have a similar experience or do you think you have a preference for certain horn(s) and style(s)?

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    Yes, I'm with you. I am drawn to just about anything and everything musically with no real preference. I'll get involved and do anything and usually relish the experience as long as musicality is at a high enough level. If musicality is lacking I do it for the pay. If both are lacking I pass.

    As life goes on this feeling does come & go... maybe burnout. Interesting post - I wonder if we are in a minority or not.

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    Well, let's see, I like 'em all in this order:
    1. Tenor
    2. Tenor
    3. Tenor

    But seriously, I do pick up my alto from time to time and enjoy playing it. I just can't get enough of that rich, resonate tenor sound, though.

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    My main horns are clarinet, soprano, alto, and c-melody. I tend to play c-melody and clarinet the most. But, I like each of my horns equally well. I find that I play somewhat differently on each one. Interestingly, I tend to take more chances and get the most outrageous on clarinet. Can't say why. For me, the c-melody represents new territory. There's not as many people playing it as alto and soprano. Thus, it's easier to make it my own. Never the less, I don't mean to slight the alto and soprano. They are GREAT horns (both of mine are vintage Buescher) and I love playing them. I think of these four horns as being like a family.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by JL
    Well, let's see, I like 'em all in this order:
    1. Tenor
    2. Tenor
    3. Tenor
    eh heh. that's great. I'm a tenorgal too, also on bari, and I find I like the lower ones better (thus tenor, bari, and well, bass but I've never tried it :P) I find, like Harrell mentioned in another post, that I am not really big on the alto sax. I mean, I listen to Cannonball and Hodges and all the great altoists, but give me a round fat tenor sound any day.

    I think if you're a saxophonist, you've got to be open-minded about it anyway.
    Tenor: the best sax you'll ever have.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by JL
    Well, let's see, I like 'em all in this order:
    1. Tenor
    2. Tenor
    3. Tenor

    But seriously, I do pick up my alto from time to time and enjoy playing it. I just can't get enough of that rich, resonate tenor sound, though.
    Wait a minute... shouldn't you add Tenor to your list?

  7. #7

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    Each instrument has its fun part. In my experience...
    Bari- the loudness and the lowness
    Alto- the sound of the upper octive, especially with the melody
    Bb Clarinet- the ease control of the dynamics
    Bass clarinet- The unique sound of the low end

  8. #8
    Mouthpiece Refacer Extraordinaire and Forum Contributor 2010 EZ's Avatar
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    I receive different pleasures from the different voices.

    1. Alto - Most familiar for me. My best outlet for (legit) expressive, lyrical, or technical playing. Easy on my ears and chops. Yamaha 23; Scroll LT or JJ A55.

    2. Soprano - Quickly bored with the written note but greatly enjoy searching for harmony and "effect" opportunities. Harder on the ears, so I don't like to play soprano for long durations generally. Awesome when playing in duet with a trumpet. Yani curved; Custom "D-ish" Buescher blank or S35.

    3. C-Melody - Due to my trained alto chops and lacking tenor embouchre, I prefer C-Mel to tenor and my suppressed jazz voice starts to come out in this range. I like the combination of a high-baffle edgy mouthpiece (JJ A55) with the resistant bore. It allows me to "rock-out" in church without blowing the veneer off the the lectern with my 10M. Conn straight neck.

    3 1/2. Tenor - I would enjoy it more if I could just learn to relax and accept more mouthpiece. If I ever learn to improvise well, my fondness for tenor will greatly increase. I can see the potential - I just can't produce it yet. JJ T55 or Gregory 4A18. '66 10M

    4. Bari - I have little opportunity to play it, but when I do, I recede into a relaxed, groovy Badalamenti-esque mental landscape. I'd sell it if it didn't make me feel do darned good when I get it out of the case. I should warm up on bari before playing tenor. That might help. Yani Low A; Geo Bundy 3 HR or Ajustatone 6.

    My multi-saxing is primarily at church where I'm 75% soprano and 25% between alto, C-Mel and tenor. I'm considering moving entirely to C-Mel in this lower range. If only to make it an easier trip to and from my car! Makes transposing less of an issue as well.

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    This is an interesting thread - I find that I go through phrases. I'll be working on a classical etude book and then hear something really insteresting - perhaps on a soundtrack or at a store in the mall - then I find myself working on tunes and working licks through all keys. I'll sometimes pick a player and spend a couple of months trying to get their sound or style. Then I think about some difficult solo piece Ibert or Creston. All along I play in a very successfull commercial type band.

    I gig on tenor - love practicing on soprano - and always look forward to the rare big band gig playing lead alto. (I've got a bad back - so bari is not in the cards) I really favor the soprano - but I always love hearing BURNING players on whatever instrument - not just saxophones.

    Sure - I'm a jack of all trades - master of none - but I started in the 6th grade and I'm now 36. I still can't wait for everyone in the house to go to sleep so I CAN PRACTICE.

    Thanks for the topic. Enjoy A. Greene

  10. #10
    Distinguished SOTW Member goodsax's Avatar
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    I play mostly alto and some soprano in concert band, and tenor in a community dance (swing) band. Occasionally, I'm asked to substitute for a baritone player in both concert and dance band settings because I have a vintage (1925) Conn baritone and manage to do a credible job sitting in for someone on short notice.

    I also play in a church orchestra, mostly alto, but also baritone when the conductor wants to "fill out" the lower voices in the group.

    My favorite is my Medusa alto, but my Conn 10M tenor is helping to increase my love for that sax. I also enjoy playing my Kohlert sop when I get the chance, but I could get along just fine without playing the bari. I don't know if it's the old Conn that might need some TLC, or just me, but I don't get a lot of pleasure, to say the least, from playing it.
    SOP: Antigua Winds SS4290RC; ALTO:Couesnon Monopole Conservatorie; TENOR: Yamaha YTS-61;
    BARI: Vito-Yanagisawa Low A; CLARINET: Noblet Paris; FLUTE: Amadeus by Haynes

  11. #11

    Default Tenor vs Alto

    When I decided to take up sax back in the 70's (I was a clarinet player), my teacher asked asked me to choose between tenor or alto sax. He gave me a cassette tape (one side alto sax, the other side tenor) and asked me which side of the tape I found myself listening to more, which in my case was the tenor sax. I continue to play only the tenor sax, 35 years later, because I love the sound of that particular sax. If you have to gig using all the saxes then the question is moot. Otherwise, llok at your CD/record collection and determine which sax or saxes you find yourself listening to the most and that might help you to decide the type sax that you favor over the others. Hope that helps.

  12. #12

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    am i ever a basket case when it comes to doubling.

    i have attempted with little success piano, upright bass, bass guitar, marimba, and of course recorder and guitar all before high school. i loved music but i thought i had no talent musically. upon entering high school and due to scheduele conflicts i found myself in band against my better judgement, i joined the class three weeks into the term and found my preference for oboe rewarded with the "iron chello" aka baritone horn.
    after a term and a half i was close to failing when the teacher looked at me and said i was completely talentless. i took it personally and i and took revenge on him by excelling... what a rat!!! after that summer i took a king clevland with typical High school slide and started doubling the trombone, i played in every band and orchestra i could, almost went to university for trombone until one day i really heard coltrane with in a week i sold by bicycle and bought a mark 6 soprano that went every where with me. within three years i had ATB mark sixes and so it was for years. for me my [i]favorite horn is the one i am playing at any given moment". it gets worse but i wont get into that suffice to say the family displaced the mark sixes, and made due with a tenor yamaha 62 that ended up staying in the case for the last dozen years ... during the last three years i have started back at it. Now its flute ATBB i like interesting original meaningfull sincere musics of all kinds played on any instruments, this goes for lostenig as well as playing. i much prefer live music and i maintain no recorded music inventory, i try and get my horns into the case but i find that an obsticle to playing them. the reed thing is some times too much so my flute spends almost all of its life propped precariosly near me just in case i need to work something out now. sometimes i wish i played only one horn so that all the effort energy and rescources were focussed. but like i said it gets worse so i'll leave it for now.
    btw mr sax's sax horns are as sweet a thing as our little obsession i play a fair bit of tuba every week as there is no a name "decor" e flat that i patched with aluminum duct tape living with me now. the old beast rips! best 75 bucks i ever spent. roland kirk and howard johnson ... lead on!

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