Start with alto or tenor saxophone?

by Philippa
(Spain)

Hi,

I'm looking at learning the sax and the one I really want to learn is the tenor sax, but various people have told me it's better to start with the alto as it's easier. Is this so? It seems it'll be ages before I play the music I want to play!

Thanks!

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Mar 26, 2009
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Just do it
by: Anonymous

If you want to play tenor, start on the tenor. You can get a note out of a tenor more easily, you just have to have more puff to sustain it.

Apr 08, 2009
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your pick but...
by: Anonymous

Hey there!

Well, of course its the player's choice when it comes to what instrument they want to start on. But I think, traditionally, in the education system, most saxophonists start on alto. That's what I did until I made jazz band in seventh grade and my director told me I was playing tenor. That's when I started on tenor and now I'm a Music Ed. major at college and my concentration is on tenor sax. So, I'd say start with alto if you have that option and then switch it up to tenor. I mean, I still play both and I'm studying some hard core classical pieces on both, so you don't even really have to choose one or the other. Have fun!

Apr 08, 2009
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alt or tenor?
by: Anonymous

Thanks to both for your advice. It's great to get different people's opinions. I think this is a fantastic website!

Apr 21, 2009
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Tenor or alto?
by: Anonymous

Alto or tenor is equally good, but because the tenor is bigger the keys are a little further apart. Make sure your fingers are comfortable on the tenor, even if you can't play I'm sure that your local music shop or someone you know with a sax will let you hold one to find out. Tenor saxes are also quite heavy, even with a neck strap. As for music, most music comes in tenor or alto version, so it really doesn't matter, the important thing is just to start playing.

May 25, 2009
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Play what you want to play!
by: Alex

Let's just put it this way, I was a clarinet player, switched to Bass Clarinet, hated it and then switched back to Clarinet. The next year, my band director asked me to switch to Tenor Saxophone for jazz band purposes. I felt that learning how to play an alto Saxophone was unnecessary! If you like Tenor Sax go for it! However, greater size does mean greater weight. The Tenor Sax is considerably heavier than the Alto sax but considerably lighter than its baritone Sax counterpart.

May 25, 2009
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Thank you!
by: Philippa

Thanks everybody for your advice! I bought myself a tenor sax and have had three lessons and I love it - I get such a high when it comes out right!!

May 25, 2009
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start with alt or tenor saxophone?
by: Philippa

Thanks everybody for your advice! I've bought myself a tenor sax and have had three lessons - it's great! I get such a high when it comes out right!!

Jul 28, 2009
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Hi Philipa
by: Anonymous

Just to let you know.
All saxophones have the same fingering, so it really just depends on how much weight you wish to play with, I constantly swap between the two and i would say that the alto is nearly half the weight but the tenor just has a much smoother tone.

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