Should I take up the saxophone?
December 28, 2003 4:50 PM   Subscribe

So in the past, I've played the piano, violin and bass guitar. But my true passion, and musical talent, has always been singing. Alas, my particular voice isn't very popular. So I want to translate my vocal talents into my newest venture, the saxaphone. Any advice on where I should purchase one, and if this is even a good idea?
posted by BlueTrain to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total)
If you're buying a secondhand instrument, make sure it's in decent condition. Any member of the brass section that's dull or tarnished could be on a slippery slope to disrepair, and may cost a small fortune to refinish. (There are a number of places which can screw this up horribly, certain horn players can attest!)

Another concern lies within the tuning pads. Older models used leather, which can dry out and cause air to leak through the sax's valves and either distort the sound, or obliterate whole notes entirely. In such cases, felt is sometimes employed as a low-cost substitute, though the results can be mixed at best.

Any horn worth its metalwork is only as good as the case it's carried in; if the inner lining's matted and funky, you'd be better off ditching it in favor for something new, as the oxidizing fabric will damage the instrument finish. The easiest bit of maintenance/upkeep lies within the reed; once it splits, you'll know you'll need another. Replacements for such are the cheapest bit of upkeep you'll be spending on your investment. To keep the reed dry after playing, cigarette rolling papers actually do a terrific job.

Had I remembered even half of these things during my college days, I might've remained fifty bucks richer.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:38 PM on December 28, 2003

Oh, yes - in addition to practicing, clean,clean,clean your horn!

For every bit of polish you apply, you'll have to rub it off with three times the effort. Allowing the slightest bit of gunk to harden near the valves is a sure kiss of death.
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:42 PM on December 28, 2003

is your singing really that bad ?
look at dylan,sean ryder,mark e smith.
terrible singers but great vocalists.
Dont be too hard on your voice.
posted by sgt.serenity at 9:01 PM on December 28, 2003

Yeah Blue Stone. Why not sing? Are you tone deaf?

I can't think of any singing voices I've found annoying except for those with bad pitch control. If you're not actually tone deaf - which seems unlikely if you can play several instruments - your tone will improve with practice, I would think. Sing in the car, if you often drive alone. Sing in the basement, the closet. But just sing, sing sing!

People don't sing enough in public,. It's sad, really.
posted by troutfishing at 7:07 AM on December 29, 2003

I'll third the "keep singing" vote. I've taken a lot of flak over the course of a lot of years for the quality my singing, but i've never let it stop me. Last year i actually managed two semesters in our campus choir and faired quite decently; it forced me to sing a lot more than i was accustomed to, which was excellent.

I don't know anything about saxophones, but whether or not you buy one i agree with with troutfishing -- keep singing and you will improve.
posted by krisis at 6:52 PM on December 29, 2003

Response by poster: I agree with the "keep singing" contingent here, and I appreciate the support. Truthfully, my voice is classically trained and has been tested in many, many concerts. I've never received great feedback as a frontman for a band, however, and I was hoping that utilizing my voice into a sax might help. Plus, as you can already tell by my username, I'm a huge fan of Coltrane.

Perhaps you're all right, however, and I simply need to regain my confidence for singing.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:28 PM on December 29, 2003

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