Home Forums Problems With Your Sax? Alto sax twisting

This topic contains 8 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Jeff Jeff 5 months ago.

Viewing 9 posts - 1 through 9 (of 9 total)
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  • #22473
    Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    Hi Johnny

    I have a little problem with the alto sax twisting when playing.

    I am practicing not press the keys so hard, but then my grip is more loose
    and the sax is prone to twist.

    Do you have any tips for me to address this problem?

    Jeffrey

    #22583
    Abe Sloan
    Abe Sloan
    Participant

    check yourself out in a mirror and maybe you can discover what is going on.

    #22584
    Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    That’s a good idea. I’m a beginner and have not developed the knack of firmly holding the instrument and lightly pressing the keys. My sound has improved and I can play all the notes in the normal range in tune and fairly smoothly. I suppose it will just take more time spent practicing. It reminded me of juggling balls in the beginning with fingering, embouchure and reading the music simultaneously was all just a little too much to handle at first. I decided to concentrate on one issue at a time and that helped. I spend a good ten minutes practicing just with the mouthpiece and reed, seeing how far I can raise and lower the note. That really helps my tone improve.

    #22607
    Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    Hi Abe

    I practiced today and whilst I was playing I thought about your comment and realized that you are referring to posture.

    I sit when I play normally, and bearing posture in mind I noted that each time I was having difficulty – I was leaning to one side or the other. This pressed the u-bend of the sax against my leg which causes extra sideways pressure on my lip and hands. This is what is making the sax turn from side to side.

    Now by avoiding this my sound has improved because there is less pressure on my lips, and the sax is more stable.

    I could almost hear my olde English school teachers shouting, “Sit up straight lad!!!”

    Cheers

    #22608
    Abe Sloan
    Abe Sloan
    Participant

    My teacher has me move forward to the edge of my chair and hold the sax in front of me between my legs to help relax my right hand and wrist. I am getting used to that position which seemed a bit awkward at first but forces me to sit up straight or else have pain in my neck.

    #22613
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    i’ve always played standing up, until the 1st tine i played in an orchestra & in a jazz band, everyone was sitting down, so i just adopted all their positions.
    Every single sax player had the sax on the RHS, and the stands with sheet music in front if their face! Worked for me, i found the sax between the legs too restricting on the arms and hands and seemed freer with the sax on the RHS.

    #46721
    Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    It’s taken me quite a while to resolve this issue! I’ve been concentrating on holding the sax steady, pressing the keys smoothly and not pressing too hard. Today I realised exactly why this is still happening. When I press notes like middle C#, I’m actually lifting the base of my left thumb, off the black octave support button, releasing the pressure on the upper part of the sax. This causes two problems for me 1) the sax is prone to twist and 2) the upper part of the sax moves backwards slightly, increasing the pressure on the reed and lips which affects my comfort and tone. By paying attention to this whilst playing; my lips are more comfortable, the sax is steady, and there is better control of my tone. I’m sure it going to take me a while to get into the habit of maintaining constant thumb pressure, but the benefits are very noticeable.

    #46761
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    @jeff – i play standing up, and i’ve noticed, if i let the sax hang freely it tends to want to swing to one side and i end up twisting the sax in the opposite direction so that it is facing in front, so to compensate, i rotate the mouthpiece by about 20 to 30 degrees and let the sax hang more freely, That way it takes a lot of pressure off my hands when holding it, and gives my fingers more freedom to fly.

    #46786
    Jeff
    Jeff
    Participant

    I agree. Leaning forward slightly so that the sax is free is the way to go. It’s during the fast pieces where the fingers have to move quickly, that this becomes an issue because then we don’t have time to keep correcting the sax’s position.

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