Help with Sax sound

Jun 20, 2018

Hi everyone! 

New to the alto sax and i have a quick question, when i go to play i have about one or two seconds of just air and then the sound comes out fine - is this caused by my breathing, embouchure or reed? I have no idea? I just want a clean sound to come out the moment I begin. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)


Hi Cassandra! That might be caused either by breathing or by your tonguing technique. Check the article on "tonguing" in this group:

I suppose that the problem described by you exists, as you don't manage to keep the pressure of air stream behind your tongue when you haven't started producing the sound on sax yet. Try the exercise 2 from the article.

To keep the steady air stream from the very beginning, however, you need a good breathing technique, check out article on "breathing" as well:
Hello, 80% possibility will be from your embouchure. You may also need to be sure your reed placement is perfectly fit. I don't think it has anything to do with your breathing..... Thanks
My advice would be air support. Really put air behind the notes (without overblowing or being too loud) and it should be better. I had the same problem when I was starting out.
It could be that you did not humify your reed and if you just started playing Sax and that the sound does not come out right now, it's going to come later with practice. If you have luck and you’re a beast in music, you’ll don’t have this problem but I had the same problem as you.
Hello, there could be multiple factors leading to this problem, the most common ones i can tell is your embrochure and breating, another possibility is your reed may be too strong, i like to use strength 3.5 and 4 reeds, but if you are just a beginner, i would reccomend you use strength 2.5 or 3 for now. as you play and practice more often, you can use stronger reeds but they will require a stronger embouchure, and more air. keep these factors in mind, and this should remedy these issues very quickly for you.
Use faster air and wet your reed more. Don't waterlog your reed but wet it enough for it to be flexible and play well.
Embouchure, reed placement, posture, and air support are key.
I had the same issue when I used a bit too strong reed. With mouthpiece with smaller opening (and more fexible sound) I can very well manage 3.5 (Vandoren Java) reed but when trying that on my new D'Addario Jazz select I really had to tune it down to 2.5 (Rico Royal) to get a nice sound right away.
Anyways, if your sound comes out fine after a while then the most obvious reasons are too dry reed and not strong enough embouchure. Lighter reed also might help thus it doesn't require such a firm embouchure. But on the other hand too light reed totally kills high range tuning and gets squeaky when playing longer (at least for me).  I also have problems with embouchure when first starting to blow. I just can't seem get into my head that I really have to have really firm grip before I blow :D I just use tonguing to give it a little ease.
Hi! I am also new to sax but maybe my advice will help you : It could be the reed which isnt well positioned ( it should be just slightly under the top of the mouthpiece ), but most probably it is about the way you "attack" your saxophone --> try saying "Te" when playing saxophone with upper teeth right on the top of the mouthpiece. How deep you put your mouth in the mouthpiece can also have an impact. Hope it helped you!
Embouchure and reed are very related. I did watched some reviews about reeds in general to find that reed that suits perfect for me , and based in that, i chose 4 reeds for the trial, and I decided to keep only one after that test. That really helped me. After you feel comfortable with your reed, you need to practice a lot in order to reach a good and solid embouchure. Thats my advice! Hope it helps.
Usually just lack of experience. It's tough to explain but it is a combination of both embouchure and breathing. A softer reed would also be more useful, I recommend a 1 1/2, but over time you'll develop instant sound. Enjoy!
try soaking the reed before playing
i've been playing alto for a year & i've just started doing this and it works for me!!
From my experience of reeded instruments, that sounds like your reed just hasn't broken in all the way. if you continue to have this after several months of playing inform us.
make the reed wetter.  that doesnt work, try pursing your lips stronger

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