There are many varieties of saxophones each with a slightly different design and size. But we will turn our focus to only four main types that are very common.
Considered the middle child of the saxophone family, the alto is one of the best saxophones to kick start the journey in to the world of sax music. It’s medium size with a curved shape and has a small mouthpiece which makes it the ideal sax for most beginners desiring to master the instrument. It’s set in the key of E flat and its one of the saxophone you will find the easiest to play.
Following the alto we have the soprano which plays in the key of B flat. It comes in two versions. There are those with curved shape while others are straight in shape. When it comes to playing, the soprano is perhaps the hardest to master. This an ideal sax for experienced and intermediate players but a definite stumbling block to beginners. It requires some bit of experience and correct embouchure to execute a rich sound without which it can make life difficult.
If you are a fun of rock or jazz music, then I bet you’ve laid your eyes on this one or listened to it on records more than once. The tenor is the most popular member of the saxophone family, one widely used by rock and jazz artists as well as pop artists. It’s relatively large with a large mouthpiece, pitched in the key of B flat like the soprano.
The Baritone pride itself as the largest saxophone of the four popular members of the family. It has added some coolness in most jazz and funk music thanks to its deep bass sound. It’s set to play in the key of E flat. Due to its large size, saxophonists have to wear some sort of harness to support the weight. The baritone may also include an extension right at the end of the horn which allows the player to execute the low A key hence increasing its range.
Like I mentioned earlier, there are many types of saxophones in the market from different brands. However, the following are the most reputable brands you can consider.
2. L.A. Sax
Holding Your Saxophone
The key to playing any instrument successfully is first learning how to hold it properly. Grasp the saxophone by both hands with the left hand on top and the right hand on the bottom. Your right hand thumb should take a position below the curved thumb rest just a few inches from the bottom part of the instrument.
The fleshly pad part of your right hand index, middle as well as ring fingers should occupy the mother of pearl keys while the pinky should access and move the other bottom keys.
Now curve your left hand thumb such that it rests on the round piece which is at the top of the sax. Below the mother of pearl keys there is a second key and this where you are going to place your left hand index finger while the middle finger and the ring finger should occupy the fourth and fifth key in that order.
Another key element to playing a sax is learning how to place and control your mouth and lungs, what is also known as using the correct embouchure. You will have some difficulties making any sound if you don’t use proper embouchure but the good thing is that there are several steps you can follow to achieve this, especially if you are a beginner.
Don’t be surprised in case you experience some soreness in your lips because it’s normal during the initial practice but with time it will get better. One thing you want to avoid though is stressing yourself trying to make a clear sound. Just focus on mastering the correct embouchure and with no time you will be able to create great sound.
Playing the Saxophone
When it comes to actually playing the saxophone the core basic things is first understanding the way the instrument works and putting in a good amount of exercise to develop the technique and learn how to adjust your mouth muscles. All these including controlling your breath depend on your commitment because no one will teach you how to master them.