How to bridge the octave gap on saxophone


The gap between the C-sharp (without octave key) and the D2 (with octave key) is one of those weak spots for most beginner and intermediate sax players. You’ll be able to hear a distinct difference in the sound between the upper and lower register when a beginner is playing.

Do you sound like that too? 

In the video below I’m giving you an exercise that will help you bridge the gap between that lower and upper register on the saxophone, so that your sound remains intact and the difference in sound between them is erased.

If you’ve been following my other videos and articles you’ve heard it before, but I still want to point out that it does take time to learn and implement this in your every day playing.

The benefits to your sound and the overall perception of your saxophone sound will however make it totally worth it.


Imagine a long note....

This way of thinking ties into your overall playing as well but to be more specific on the "Gap"-issue you should imagine that you are playing just one long note.

So, try it once with your saxophone and follow these steps:

  1. Play a long tone c-sharp with good air support. No vibrato, just a straight note. (very important!)
  2. "imagine" that you'll be playing that same long tone c-sharp, but change the fingering to D2 halfway through.
  3. Repeat step two and focus on the air support

How did it go? Can you hear an improvement already?

Common things to look out for

When you do the sound exercise laid out above and in the video lesson you may or may not be able to hear a difference to your sound.

If you do not hear a difference I'd encourage you to take my advice from the video and stand infront of a mirror as you slowly play between c-sharp and D2.

Look at your mouth - what do you see?

If there's still a big "gap" in the sound after doing as I've suggested above you should look closely at how your mouth is moving as you make the switch between the two notes.

Try to keep the same posture and embouchure for both notes and avoid any big movements. It does impact the sound and that's why the mirror trick is so useful.

You'll be able to tell right away what you REALLY do when you play, which in many cases you may not be aware of.  



About The Author

Greger Hillman

Greger has been playing saxophone for almost 30 years and is a certified teacher as well as a well experienced musician. With the Learn saxophone Online website he shares his knowledge with students from all over the world. Here's more information on the Sax School.