How Do I Get The Best Tone On My Saxophone?
Saxophone players often struggle to achieve one of the most elusive goals: a truly outstanding sound. Although there isn’t a true shortcut, there are numerous quicker alternatives to simply bashing out long notes.
Long notes are crucial, but in this article we’ll also look at alternative, more fascinating methods to get there and how to effectively practice them. To begin with, you must confirm that you are indeed hearing your actual sound.
Recording can offer you a very decent notion of what the listener would hear if you have access to some passably excellent equipment and, ideally, some room or hall simulation.
What can hinder you getting good tone on your saxophone
The sound of various rooms and how those rooms affect the tone of your saxophone can vary greatly. You may compare a recorded sound with a live one on a pretty even playing field if a large PA system is in the hands of an expert.
Yes, there can be a noticeable difference between what you hear when you listen to recordings at home and what is heard in that room if the PA is poor or the room is small and you have no sound reinforcement at all.
However, once the sound entering your ears via air waves is combined with vibrations through the mouthpiece material, teeth, gums, dental work, etc.
I believe that the way other people perceive the sound of your playing may very well be closer to your recorded sound than it is to the sound you are hearing in your head.
We have compiled some steps for you to follow of you want to get the best tone on you Saxophone.
Steps on how to get a good tone on your saxophone:
1. Make use of a size 1 or 1.5 reed
A lower reed is preferable for beginners. When you’re just starting out, it can be a little more difficult to create high-quality tones with the stronger ones. Move up a half size once you are comfortable with your current reed.
You should try it if you believe you can perform with a stronger reed. Just be prepared to size down if required if you can’t get a tone you like.
2. Breathe Control
You’ll be able to manage your airflow by taking deep breaths. Instead than focusing on your chest when you breathe in, try to fill your stomach.
You are breathing with your chest, not your belly, if your shoulders are rising or your chest is widening. An excessive amount of chest breathing can produce a warbling tone.
3. Think about breathing out hot air
Compared to blowing out cool air, it is a little more regulated. Consider how you would thaw out your fingers if they became a little chilly. To maintain your tone consistent and unwavering while playing your saxophone, try to mimic that open throat action.
You don’t let out as much air when you tighten or seal your throat. As you play, this may result in a tone that wavers.
4. Keep a good posture as you play
You can better manage your tone with good posture. Before you begin playing, take a few moments to stand in front of a mirror and relax your neck, shoulders, and hands. Make sure your back is straight and your head is in line with your spine as you bring the sax to your lips.
Your ability to perform with your instrument more quickly can also be improved by maintaining excellent posture and letting go of tension.
5. Practice Playing your mouth piece separately
Grab your mouthpiece and remove it from the instrument. Give a concert Try using your mouthpiece alone to match a note on a piano or a metronome. It’s a quick and simple technique to assess your tone before you begin to perform.
This activity can be used to examine how your mouth fits on the mouthpiece. Too much biting will prevent you from breathing well, which will affect the tone of your voice.
6. Practice overtone notes
The overtone sequence is a fantastic warm-up exercise. Start with a low Bb flat and work your way through the saxophone overtone series.
Pay great attention to your mouth placement and airflow as you play each note slowly and deliberately. Go back a note if your tone starts to waver in any manner, and focus on creating a really good sound before proceeding.
The first episode of the series opens on a low Bb, moving up to a middle Bb, an F, and eventually a high Bb.
6. Play long tones
Select a note to begin with after taking a deep breath. Maintaining a constant air flow and the same tone, play the note for as long as you can. If you notice your breath stuttering, concentrate on breathing outward steadily. Try not to rock the note up and down.
The tone should ideally remain constant during the whole exhalation. Although there is no set duration, it is preferable to allow at least 10 seconds.
7. Use a toning app while you play
As you practice, be sure you’re on course. Put on some headphones and download a toning app like Tonal Energy or Tone. As you play, position your phone so you can see it, then keep an eye on the screen to see how you’re doing. Focus on playing loud, steady notes if your tone is erratic.
Using earphones or headphones while practicing the saxophone is a smart idea. Playing the sax at maximum blast repeatedly throughout the day might harm your ears over time.
8. Listen to good saxophone players
As you play, think about their sound. It will not only encourage you to continue your practice but also demonstrate what a good saxophone tone and sound genuinely looks like. You can start with Charlie Parker and David Sanborn, but you should go with whatever interests you.
9. Practice every day
The adage “practice makes perfect” is really accurate! You can only become better by doing toning exercises, even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare.
Think about incorporating a few at the beginning of each practice session for a fantastic warmup that will steadily advance your abilities.