Music Gear News
A beginner's guide to the saxophone
What is a saxophone?
The saxophone is a single reed musical instrument that is considered to be a member of the woodwind family, despite often being made from brass. Invented by Adolphe Sax in the 19th century, the instrument has a conical bore like fellow woodwind instrument the oboe, but has a mouthpiece much more closely related to that of the clarinet. The instrument is played by blowing into the mouthpiece, with different sounds produced by pressing the keys that run along the body of the instrument. Due to its size, players often fix shoulder straps to saxophones so that it is more comfortable to play, particularly while standing up.
Saxophones are most commonly linked with jazz, but they are used in a variety of different music genres, from pop music to ska to military bands, even orchestras. There are four main types of the instrument, the baritone (Eb), the tenor (Bb), the alto (Eb) and the soprano (Bb), with the alto being the most popular. It is considered to be an excellent place to start for people looking to the learn the saxophone as it is a good size for beginners and does not require as much 'blow' as some of its sister instruments. As with the clarinet, once a player has mastered one type of saxophone, it is generally quite easy for them to learn another.
Which saxophone should I buy?
A light gold Alto Saxophone for beginners can be purchased for £189.99. Featuring a lacquered brass body and keywork, the instrument has a light and free-blowing response, making it very playable. The smooth action of its keys generates a bright sound and it offers an even tone from the bottom to the top of its register.
For players looking to continue their move up the grades, the Rosedale Intermediate Alto Sax is available for £299. The instrument has a gold-lacquered finish and rolled tone holes, similar to those that would normally be found on high-end saxophones. It has a balanced action and good response, offering an impressive, focused and complex sound from its lowest notes to its highest.
At the top end of the saxophone scale for advanced saxophonists is the Yamaha YAS875EX Custom EX Alto Saxophone for £2,749. With a gold lacquer finish and mother of pearl keys the instrument has been honed for optimum playing. The keys have been shaped for comfort and speed, while weight has been removed to boost response and projection and minimise resistance.
Those looking to learn the saxophone can get everything they need to begin playing straight away in the Alto Saxophone Complete Package for £229.95. The pack contains not only a saxophone with a hard carry case, cleaning brush and instrument strap, but also comes with ten spare Rico reeds, a music stand and a saxophone tuition DVD.
Other things to consider
Other items often purchased by players include the Odyssey Saxophone Care Kit for £19.99 and the Alto Saxophone Stand for £9.99. The former contains many of the items needed to get the instrument working in top condition, including a polish cloth, two weighted pull-thru swabs, a nylon mouthpiece brush, a multi-purpose duster brush, a cork grease stick and a guide to saxophone care.
Those looking to improve their sound can also experiment with different strength reeds and alternative mouthpieces, such as the Yamaha 4C Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece, which is considered to be good for both beginners and professionals.Posted on 20 Mar 2009 16:44 to category : Tips and advice
Related Music News
Update available to improve performance and fix bugs.
Shure recently discussed how guitarists can achieve great results when recording at home or in a small project studio. We took a look and picked out our favourite points.
Recreate the Brazilian carnival atmosphere at your World Cup party with our Samba instruments.
Many parents want to encourage their child to take up an instrument early on in life. Music can be a fun and rewarding activity for children but knowing where to start can be tricky. Here are our top picks for ideal starter instruments for children under 7.
You've spent ages perfecting your sound and now it's time to let others hear it too. Read our 8 Tips for Putting on a Great Live Show.
When you're shopping for a loudspeaker, often the specifications can seem a bit confusing! Use this guide to help you demystify common terms and find the right speaker for your needs.
Recent Music News
A piano that offers no compromises with either its sound or functionality, the MP7SE is ideal for the professional performer in need of a versatile voice.
BOSS are celebrating their 40th anniversary in style this year with the Pedal Perks Club, in which users are entitled to various free gifts and prizes.
Pioneer has released their latest sampler, the Pioneer DJ DJ DJS-1000 Standalone Sampler. With intuitive features, its the ideal companion to the live DJ.
Presonus introduce the next addition to their line-up, the Faderport 16. With various intuitive features, the Faderport 16 is ideal for the live sound engineer.
A digital piano that's ideally suited to the intermediate player, the Roland RP-102 Digital Piano hosts a number of intuitive features for the developing pianist.
The Darkglass Microtubes B3K V2 Bass Overdrive pedal is the quintessential tool for those bassists looking to develop and diversify their bass sound.