If you could practice just one exercise for better tone on saxophone, this would be it…
If you start searching around online for what to practice to build a better tone on your saxophone, you will probably come up with a hundred different ideas. And at that point, you will probably start none of them!
So, let me make it easy for you.
Over the last 30 years as a pro player, there has really only been one main exercise for me that I have used consistently to help build a rock-solid sound on sax, and boost my altissimo chops.
And that is OVERTONES!
What are Overtones on saxophone?
Ever noticed how a trumpet has only 3 valves? Or how a good bugle player can play the whole of “reveille” without having any keys or moving parts whatsoever on their instrument?
Brass players can get a whole series of notes from their instruments using their lips. It works for all brass instruments too including trombones, tubas, euphoniums etc.
And, it also works for saxophone, although it’s a bit tricker for us.
The principle is the same though.
So, on saxophone we can get a whole series of notes – the “overtone” series on our low notes Bb, B natural and C, just by adjusting our tongue and mouth shape.
This is super important for your tone development because those small adjustments are exactly what you use to get altissimo notes out, AND to improve the quality of your sound.
Plus, overtones are a great effect you can use in your playing. Check out the Michael Brecker Delta City Blues track for a great example of this.
How to practice the Overtone Series on saxophone
Learning how to play overtones on sax can be difficult and tedious. To make it easier I have created a series of lessons inside the Sax School members area called “Introduction to Overtones”.
Also, brand new in Sax School is the first of a series of 3 Overtone Workouts!
These workouts give you a simple exercise you can use each day to strengthen your overtone playing and make it fun!
Ready to check this out?
Sax School Members: Log in and try Overtone Workout #1
Not a member yet but want to try this workout?
Get started with Sax School today and get instant access to this workout PLUS over 600 other step-by-step lessons and courses to help you improve your saxophone skills.