Tips for developing your sound (Saxophone)


This is a small collection of saxophone tips, tricks and small exercises that all revolve around the development of sound. In my article about the Long tones, I have written about the most important sound exercises and how to make them “right”. Here are some ideas, for further sound exercises.

Baritone play

Everyone who has played some baritone sax knows that you have to use much more air then alto or soprano. By this, I do not mean to let the air flow more quickly, but simply to consume more air.
Play with the baritone, do the Long tone exercises, graze yourselves to this deep sound. Now you put the Bari aside and play alto or tenor with the same relaxed approach and the same air guidance. You will be amazed at what comes out of your instrument.

The clogged Sax

Toss a few thick socks in your tube before you play (the cup must be stuffed properly)and do the exercises. Your tone will sound flat, soft, and dull. Your ear will hear this unusual sound, and subconscious will try to balance it. When you take the socks out, you will sound louder, wider, and more bright than normal.

Mouth position

Experiment with having the mouthpiece in your mouth. It is often heard to take as much mouthpiece as possible into the mouth at an angle of 90 ° between leaf and jaw, this is so not really correct unless you want a unflexible sound. If you like the sound to be very thin, quiet and narrow, it might work for you. It makes much more sense to have a nice and flexible sound and a natural feeling in the mouth (attention, not every mouthpiece fits in every mouth).
Try different things. The further out you take out your mouthpiece, the more leaf swinging, the sound gets louder, deeper and the more elegant.
What angle? The more straight (maximum 90 °) the more directly flows the air (very assertive sound).
When the air is more directed towards the ceiling, more indirectly it hits the sheet (the sound becomes softer).

Play lower

With this exercise, you should be careful, since It is not suitable for those who are still struggling with a steady intonation. An open throat is essential for a good sound and you may have noticed that the more open the deeper your sound is. This is also the reason why professional players are often much farther with their mouthpiece than beginners.

Place the mouthpiece is as far as possible and put one of your play-along exercise CDs. Playing with the CD will force you to play “in tune” and placing your mouthpiece far away will force you to open the throat more.

Mouth exercises

I am convinced that the effect of the mouth exercises can not be transferred to the sax. What is the point of being able to intonate only with the mouth, when the position with the Sax is a completely different one?

Practical players should be able to keep a straight tone cleanly and cover an octave with no problems.

Bite plate

The influence of the bite plate on the sound is largely underestimated. One can not only hear the sound of the audience playing the saxophone, but also the sound of the body, the sound of the sax, mouth, teeth… Therefore metal mouthpieces sound lighter because the material conducts the sound waves faster than rubber.

The thicker and softer bite plate is, the more outside noises you hear while performing.
The thinner and harder the bite plate is, the brighter you hear yourself(which can be beneficial in noisy environments).

Removing a screw

With some saxophones, the removal of the screw for fixing the Lyra has a nice effect. With me, the sound became more radiant and slightly brighter.

S-bow pull out

Try to push your S-bow 2 millimeters out again to compares your sound. With some saxophone models, this can have a small positive effect. High notes can sound fuller and less harsh.