Do you have a fascination for a saxophone? Want to build your tunes with your sax?
Then, pay special attention to tuning a saxophone.
Tuning is very much necessary when playing saxophone, whether in an ensemble or solo.
However, to help you to have a good sense of tuning, we think this primer will be beneficial.
10 Easy Steps For Tuning A Saxophone
Each instrument has certain notes to keep tuning. So, it’s important for all players to learn how to adjust and tune their instrument.
This skill is more essential with saxophones. There are ten easy steps for you to get to tune saxophone –
First, set the tuner to concert note "A"
If you don’t mind carrying an extra equipment, buy a digital tuner.
Instead of lugging the extra piece, you can download a tuning app to your mobile.
When you are ready with your tuner, select concert note “A” to start tuning.
However, you can tune the instrument for note A to a frequency of 440 hertz (Hz) if your tuner doesn’t have specific notes.
Purchase or download a specific tuner for saxophones, if it’s possible for you. A standard tuner can read your notes wrong.
For example, your sax may read the note A of an alto as a C note on your tuner. So, you should better buy a saxophone tuner.
# Tuning app or Tuner?
For purchasing a physical tuner we recommend you the "Korg TM50BK Tuner" which you can use without any trouble.
And if you want to use tuning app, then see the video below. You'll know what is best for you.
Play the note "A"
There’s a needle on your tuner. Watch it and aim to keep it exactly in the middle while you sustain the note.
The needle indicates your note whether it’s too sharp or too flat.
If your note is wrong, the needle falls either left or right. If such happens, adjust the mouthpiece and try again.
Pull out your mouthpiece along the neck cork when the note is very sharp. Again, if it’s too flat, push the mouthpiece farther in.
Play the note F#
After playing the concert note A, now test your F# note or F sharp note. The A and F# are the easiest to tune on a saxophone.
As a beginner, start practicing with these smooth notes before moving on to the coaxing ones.
Follow the same methods to adjust your mouthpiece correctly.
Tune the other notes
Now once your A and F# notes are in tune, test for other notes. They are a bit coaxing to tune.
To play the notes flatter or sharper alter your embouchure. To make a sharper note loosen your mouth’s grip.
Again, to produce flatter notes add extra pressures.
Now begin with the lowest notes in the scale. Alter your embouchure less while coaxing out the right notes.
Also, keep your ear out for the wrong notes, which may induce problem with your saxophone.
Repeat scales with your eyes closed if your sax is fine. Such arrangements will work for you in the long run.
Select the correct mouthpiece
Make sure to choose the mouthpiece compatible with your sax. Since mouthpieces vary in designs, find the suitable one.
So, check the chamber size, baffle, tip width and others which may affect the sound generation.
If you are a beginner, choose a kind of reed to play with. Consider starting with a soft reed.
Thus you will have an easy way to manipulate the sharp and flat sound than a hard reed. Stick to the one you chose as switching may result in drastic sound changes.
Check out the temperature
Make sure the saxophone is an even temperature. The top should feel warm over time.
If your saxophone lies in a cold place, it will create flat sound.
So, if your saxophone is in a cold area, move it to a warm place.
Also, you can heat it using your body temperature and blow the hot air through it.
Find out your sax's age
If you have trouble with your sax playing the right tones, find out your sax’s age. Try to use the low pitch modern saxes.
The high pitch saxes refuse to play the right notes often.
Finally, adapt to your saxophone
Saxophones are more temperamental to tune perfectly. So, strive less for perfection.
Aim for more proficiency with your sax. To build clear and sweet sounds, adapting to your saxophone is very important.
You can also see this video what Johnny Ferreira told about tuning a saxophone...
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I learn to tune a saxophone without any music experience?
Ans: Surely, yes.
Q. How much time it requires to learn saxophone playing?
Ans: You will learn to play your sax within a few months like a professional. It’s all about your dedication period to practice.
Q. Should I read music?
Ans: To learn to play saxophone you don’t need to read about music. You will learn music by ear.
While practicing, tuning is often overlooked. But tuning is not about only your saxophone’s notes.
It's about how every note of your instrument compares with others.
Good tuning makes the sound beautiful and clear. So, learn the skills to perfectly tune your sax.
Read the article and follow the steps discussed. We bet, you will be a pro in tuning saxophone within a month. Wish you luck.