Alto Saxophone Fingering

Alto saxophone fingering is the same as the fingering on other types of saxophone, such as the tenor or the soprano. Charts are freely available on the internet, or you can find a chart in a book for learning to play the sax.

The alto sax, like the others, has a number of keys and levers involved when playing the different notes. With an alto sax you are not required to stretch your fingers as far as you would have to if you are fingering the notes on a larger sax, such as a tenor or baritone. For this reason, the alto is often considered a first sax to learn on, but it has a sweet soulful sound many players like just as much as the deeper tones of the tenor sax.

Go here for an alto saxophone fingering chart.

Beginner charts usually include about two and a half octaves of notes. By using natural harmonics, experienced saxophonists can play four octaves, beginning with a low B-flat. Jazz and classical players both use the higher octaves above F-sharp, that can be reached using harmonics.

In order to carry finger properly, you must hold the sax correctly. Your left thumb needs to rest on a round plastic button on the back upper portion of the horn, which is known as the thumb rest. Your fingers are to rest on the three larger pearl-tone keys on the front. There may be a small key or two, for a total of four or five keys, but you should just ignore the small ones.

The right thumb goes under a large hook, known as the thumb hook. This will be lower down than the thumb rest. Your three fingers go on three pearl-toned keys on the front. Your hands are now ready for alto saxophone fingering. For higher notes, you will use a curved metal key that you see near the thumb rest. This is called the octave key, and only needs a little pressure to work. The key makes the notes rise an octave.

With your hands in position, you are ready to study the saxophone fingering charts available for learning to play the various notes on the alto sax.

All about the Alto saxophone.

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