I've started down this path of recording some songs on my sax, and have run into many different things while doing so.  Mainly the intonation or how the sax actually sounds while recording. 

I started this because I really wanted to hear what I sounded like (which really made me open my eyes & ears if you will), but more importantly is there a trick to recording a sax properly? or is that a silly question....Have others come across the same experience about how the sax sounds while recording it, and have they found different tricks or settings to help?

Thanks, and I won't attach any recordings here, I don't want to scare anyone off this site just yet...:-)


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Well, now you've done it. :)

Trying to sound better is an ongoing process. And you have taken a big step in getting things where you want them to be.

Carry, the one best way we can improve our playing is to listen to a recording of our own sound and make some decisions about what we are hearing. Everything about playing a musical instrument is a set of habits. They took time to develop, they will take time to change. My favorite quote concerning this kind of improvement is from a flute player and educator,Trevor Wye: "it is simply a question of time, patience and intelligent work". The release of the note, the body of the sound and the note endings, are all three, places where unintentional habits can rob us of the results we intended. Sometimes we will need to work on the beginning, middle and ends of notes as separate exercises at first. Here is where most will have second thoughts, is this really worth it. The entire answer a-z is yes. Once you achieve good results everything about the playing process becomes simple. You will sound good. Simple...... By the way, there is no magic dust. (a little sprinkle and all the wrinkles disappear, :))

There are tricks to getting our best sound onto the recording, but generally all of that will improve with a little practice. Moving the microphone a little left, right or farther away from the bell, or even moving a music stand or small pieces of furniture can help a lot. I have found that playing forward into a wall, glass or any hard surface close by makes the recorded sound hard and even brittle. if there is a table or large piece or furniture in the room it will create a bass trap (even if it is behind you).  (Put a blanket over it and let it hang down to the floor on at least two sides.)

Thanks for caring about how you sound on the saxophone. It matters to all of us who play and listen.



Thank you Tim for your feedback, good advice and I will work on that moving forward.  The recordings were sounding hard and brittle like you said, mostly the endings of my notes, when I was really shooting for smooth.  So when I was trying to smooth out the note endings, which was causing me to tighten up the timing of the song and than the piece sounded rushed.  I guess all I need is time.....Thanks again my friend. 

So, there are two ways to end a note... Stop blowing or with the tongue. Practice both ways. But not in the song your trying to play, until you've tried it on some notes in different registers of the horn. Play some crescendos and decrescendos and then put it back in the tune. By the way try and be sure the embouchure doesn't tighten too much on the note endings and that the tongue is not too heavy. If you record yourself, you'll hear this if you listen closely.




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Ricky Schultz


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