Vintage Or Modern?

Vintage or modern saxophones: Which one should you get? Which should you avoid?

My Inbox is regularly flooded with emails from people asking for advice on the purchase of a vintage horn that they’re either considering, or have just made. It is always a little tough to give people information about a sax that I have no first hand knowledge of.

However, what I can do, is give the person some general information about the brand and model that they’re considering—or have just bought—and can at least let them know what kind of sax it is, or what type of player it was aimed at (student/intermediate/pro). I usually conclude by giving them an idea of what similar horns in similar condition have sold for, or by providing them with the tools on how to do this for themselves.

I’m sure that sometimes my answers are not welcome news, but I can’t help that. I just tell it like it is, and link to other sources to backup what I’m saying. Continue reading

The Source Of Tone

Just what is our source of tone, and how do we change it?

Our unique, individual sound originates in our chest cavities. Our internal shape, our lung capacity, and the breathing techniques we use: these are some of the key originating factors that will determine the sound that will eventually come out of our horns.

As the air travels through our throats, and through our oral cavity, those internal structures further effect the sound.¹ As the air leaves our mouth, our tongue, and what we do with it, our teeth and the shape of our bite, our lips, and the embouchure we use, all will—to a great degree—determine the sound we have.

The mouthpiece on a saxophone is what allows the player to project his/her tone through the horn itself. The reed further shapes and refines the tone that has travelled up through the player’s body, and allows the player to make more minute adjustments to his/her sound. Continue reading