September 03, 2020
Five Things You Can Do to Upgrade the Sound of Your Sax
Musicians, regardless of their instrument of choice, are always looking for ways to improve their sound, especially once they’ve nailed down the basics and have the time to experiment. Sometimes that means working on their technique and other times it means investing in a premium mouthpiece or a new set of reeds. Whether you’re looking for a stronger overall sound or an improved tone, there are a variety of things you can do to upgrade the sound of your sax. Here are a few things worth trying.
An industry standard alto saxophone reed. Vandoren SR21 Traditional series alto reeds are characterized by a pure sound that is a result of a very thin reed tip that is balanced by a solid vertical column.
It may go without saying, but one of the best ways to improve the sound of your saxophone is to make sure you’re playing in tune. Not only can the act of tuning be difficult for new saxophonists to learn, but knowing when it’s time to tune takes some practice, too. Fortunately, your saxophone teacher will be there to help guide you along the way. If you don’t want to wait until your next lesson to learn how to tune your saxophone or are learning the saxophone on your own, there are plenty of tuning tutorials and videos available online. Just make sure to purchase a high-quality tuner first!
Focus On Embouchure
Even the smallest changes in your lower lip pressure and position can make all the difference. These changes are too small to accurately describe, but once you gain control of these muscles and make some changes you’ll be able to notice the difference. It’s good to experiment with different types of embouchure until you find the type you prefer. Again, your saxophone teacher should be able to help you. In case you want to do some research on your own, we’ve put together this handy guide on saxophone embouchure. Just remember, nailing down embouchure takes some time, so don’t expect it to happen overnight.
Practice on the Mouthpiece Alone
As much as it might annoy your family and friends, playing on a mouthpiece while it’s detached from your saxophone is a great workout. Plus, it’s great for your sound-producing capabilities in general. Ultimately, practicing on your mouthpiece alone exercises the same muscles you’ll use when playing, except even more so because you don’t have the convenience of the keys to control which note you’re shooting for. Once your mouthpiece is removed, try playing some scales or arpeggios, and you’ll find that your ability to produce a great tone have been multiplied.
Change Your Environment
Your sound will always meld to the environment in which you practice in, regardless of the instrument you play. If you’re accustomed to playing in a small room, try moving into a bigger space. Similarly, anyone who is well acquainted with their big room sound should transition to a smaller space to work out the finer details. So, depending on your needs and current practicing/playing situation, moving to a larger or a smaller sized room could give you the feedback you need to work on your sound.
Try Some New Equipment
Once you’ve tuned your saxophone and have your embouchure nailed down, it’s time to try some equipment related options. The easiest and least expensive place to start is with reeds. Reeds come in all shapes and sizes, and it’s ultimately a matter of trying different reeds until you find the one that’s right for you. Just keep in mind that a jazz or classical reed will add or reduce brightness, and that the harder a reed is the louder your sound will be. One word of advice, though, when it comes to equipment changes: give yourself a couple months between equipment changes, so you know exactly what’s changing your sound.
Purchase Reeds & Mouthpieces from Music & Arts
At Music & Arts, we’re dedicated to bringing you one of the largest offerings of professional band and orchestral instruments, products, and accessories in the world. From saxophone mouthpieces and reeds to any other type of accessory you’d need, we’re a one-stop shop for students, parents, and educators alike. If your child is a student, a great place to start is by speaking with their music teacher or band instructor. Otherwise, head into your local store or contact our customer support team if you have any questions.