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Saxophone frequently asked questions

Beginners

  • q-iconWhat is "Concert pitch"?

    That is the pitch which C instruments like the piano and flute are playing in. The Alto sax is an Eb instrument and the Tenor sax is an Bb instrument.

    This means that if you play an C on the flute or piano you have to play an A on alto or an D on tenor, in order to get the same sounding note.

  • q-iconWhat type of reed should I buy?

    If you are a beginner there are a couple of safe bets, which will get you going quickly. Buy Rico 2 strength reeds or the Rico Royal 2 strength reed. Pickup at least 3 reeds at once because you will need them.

  • q-iconI don't have a saxophone yet. What should I buy?

    Yamaha and Selmer are two really good brands even if they do cost a bit more to buy. The second hand market for these horns are pretty good too. If you buy a saxophone just on price you could end up with a pile of junk.

    So, get a good horn and enjoy the sax instead of having to struggle with it!

  • q-iconHow often should I practice?

    If you want to see a steady progress in your playing you need to be consistent with your practice routine.

    Schedule time slots throughout the week where you can practice the saxophone for maybe half an hour up to an hour. Beyond that, especially if you are a beginner, it should be “just for fun” as it takes a lot of effort to stay focused during the entire 30 minutes to an hour practice session.

     

  • q-iconWhat is a good warmup?

    Playing long tones, starting in the middle range of the saxophone and going down. After this slow exercise, which will help you get the air flowing and your lips prepared for the practice session, you can switch over and play the major scales both with and without using the tongue. Here’s an example for you to try out.