Sax Amplifiers??

Pimsoul writes “I play in a band, on alto sax. The think is, because the drums are loud the bass and guitar is loud, so i have to play loud too. But I can’t always keep up with loudness, so we thought about amplifieing my sax. Because it isn’t good for a normal guitar amplifier to use it for saxophone i’m looking for an alternative. I thinking about an amplifier for sax, but do they even exist? So yes, are these things expensive (when you compare it with the quality)? If they don’t exist, what are the other alternatives?
I would appreciate replies very much, thank you!
Kind regards, Pim
(excuse me for my bad English)”

There is not a “sax amplifier” per say. What you can use is pretty much any type of amp you want. Or a self powered speaker. Keyboard amps work great, something like Rolands KC350. Really depends on how much money you want to spend. And you would need a microphone as well, something like a Sennheiser 421.

But you might consider asking the other guys to play down at 11 rather than 13. If you can’t hear yourself play in a band, you have to wonder what the long term effects on your hearing (not to mention sanity). Is it worth losing your hearing to play really, really, really loud?

Boycott Sony Music

If you haven’t heard, Sony is installing DRM on its CDs. This DRM has also been exploited.
In fact, there is even a lawsuit over it.

Now, it seems even Mac OS X gets some sort of DRM with a Sony CD.

It’s time to boycott Sony Music.

Update: 11/13 20:27 GMT by E :There is an interesting discussion about Sony’s End User License Agreement on Slashdot.org. Amazing how this company is protecting it’s profits.

Xmas Guide 2005

Yes, it is only November. But there is no time like the present to start thinking of presents for people (woohoo, good play on words there E).

To start things off, iLounge has a very good, free, Holiday buyers’ guide available. Of course the guide is for people who own an iPod. And if they don’t own an iPod, that would be the #1 thing to get people. An iPod nano is only $199. Amongst the things they recommend are AKG’s new K 701 headphones. I own a pair of AKG 271 headphones, and they rock. The 701s are around $399.

Other things to consider getting a musician are:

This is just a start…..I’m sure there are other potential presents out there.

Jazz Saxophone Etudes By Greg Fishman

Greg Fishman has released a great new book titled Jazz Saxophone Etudes. What sets this book apart from others is the addition of two CDs, one for Alto and one for Tenor. You use the same etude for both instruments. So, you don’t have to deal with bad transposition jobs that you find in say, Bob Minzter’s books. Plus, the CDs feature extended rhythmn section only parts that allow you to stretch out and play on the tunes.

The tunes are based on standard changes. There are two blues etudes, two rhythmn changes etudes, and etude based on the changes to “A” Train, etc. All the etudes are named after streets in Chicago, which figures as Greg Fishman is from Chicago.

The one thing I would want more of in the book is voice leading. It would have been great to include the voice leadings to the solos, along with some analysis of what was used. It was mentioned briefly in the front of the book, then….nada. It would really make this book stand out if it had detailed, one page sheet on the voice leadings used in the solos. Anyhow, I’ve done a bunch of them for my students so they can see how he constructed the solos.

Rating for this book. 10/10. For $20, this book rocks. You get excellent solos, great sounding CDs, and a lot of information. Go get it!

Metal Mouthpieces and Spoilers

pika writes “What do people think about the metal mouthpieces with spoilers? How much louder do they make you sound(tener sax) because i was thinking about getting one for marching band. Email me if you know anything.”

First off, we don’t “email me if you know anything”. That also goes for people who “please email your XXXX arrangement”. You won’t believe how many times a week I get that. It is so Middle School.

Back to your question. A baffle indeed makes your mouthpiece louder. I think that is what you mean by “spoiler”. It would make a metal mouthpiece louder obviously. However, it does change the quality of the tone you get out of the mouthpiece. I tried Power Tone Baffles briefly on alto, and did not care for them. I got more volume, but the tone just didn’t sound good.

There is another thing you could try. If you put some paper underneath the reed (where the reed and mouthpiece contact), that will give you a little more buzz and power.

EM Reviews Field Recorders

Electronic Musician reviewed a bunch of field recorders, including the the Marantz 671, Marantz 660 and the Edirol R1 among others.

Basically, they panned the Marantz 671 (successor to the 670, which I love) for having firmware issues causing the mic preamps to be noisy. The Edirol R1 came out on top of the two Marantz units. Though I would really call the article a “introduction” to field recording. They do not list exactly what they tried to record, and with what. We all know that the microphone is key to getting a good recording.

I would totally recommend the Marantz 670. I used it this weekend and got some great recordings putting it about 6 feet infront and 7 feet above the band. Of course using my Rode NT4 mic (awesome piece that it is).

I imagine the issues with the 671 have been fixed. I would take the EM article with some grains of salt. The reviewer used these units to record a snare drum (why??), the “ambience in a suburban neighborhood” (um, ok), and dialog. Ok, great tests there. NOT.

Oh, and EM was reporting, like it was news, that Sony introduced a new format called MiHD. Um, guys, these things have been out for OVER A YEAR. Get with the program!

In The Xmas Mood

I did this last year. Resurrected it, and cleaned it up a little. It’s a bunch of Christmas Songs put around In The Mood. Score and Parts for Big Band (5 Saxes, 5 bones, 4 trumpets). Enjoy!

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RIAA Being Counter-sued Under The RICO Act

An Oregon mom is fighting back. She is suing the RIAA for being in violation of the Oregon RICO Act in addition to ‘fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, the tort of “outrage”, and deceptive business practices.’ She is also demanding a trial by jury.

The Rico ACT. Basically, I think the RIAA is guilty of Extortion (as they sue, but demand a settlement. None of the suits have gone to trial). It could possibly be guilty of price-fixing. My problem with these RIAA lawsuits is that they are vague. They really prove nothing. They have not done a criminal investigation with any law enforcement agency (to my knowledge). All they have been doing is gathering IP addresses, making assumptions, and then suing.

Palm Keys on Tenor Sax

ladyzutano writes “Okay. I use a Selmer Tenor series III, and every time I play one of those chic little passages where versatility in the palm keys is required, I can reach the keys only by bending my wrist at an awkard angle. It’s almost a perfect 90 degrees! I tried moving the horn away from my body for a less cumbersome reach, yet by doing so I move the mouthpiece too far away. Any suggestions?”

Palm key risers. You can get Runyon Palm Key Risers or Oleg ones. I think the Oleg ones are also available individually. I used the Runyon ones for a long time, but switched to the Oleg ones because the Runyon ones tend to move after they have been on there a while.

Another solution would be to go to your local sax shop and see if they could build up the palm keys for you. That would be the best solution, and custom fitted to your palm.

Oodles Of Saxophones

I just received the latest Woodwind/Brasswind catalog. Have you seen the number of companies that make saxophones. Here is the list (in no particular order):

  • BandNow
  • Barrington (advertised heavily in the catalog)
  • Yamaha
  • Amati
  • C.F. Conn
  • Keilwerth
  • Blessing
  • Allora
  • Selmer
  • LA Sax
  • Jupiter
  • Chicago Jazz Series (LA Sax?)
  • Woodwind Brand
  • Yanagisawa
  • Unison (not in the catalog though)
  • Buescher (not in the catalog)
  • Selmer USA (not in the catalog)

Whew. And then there are different models from these guys. Selmer has at least 9 different alto saxophone models. Wow. Is there really a market for all these brands? Are any of them to be avoided? Did I forget any?

Politically Correct Musicals

With all the bad stuff going on in the world, here is a little humor.

You may know that Rosie O’Donnell suggested that they change the
lyrics “I can shoot a partridge with a single cartridge” in the
revival of “Annie Get Your Gun”, to make them less violent. This
inspired writer Susan Brady Konig to suggest even more politically
correct changes in her article “A Rosie View Of Broadway Classics”:

WEST SIDE STORY: The Sharks and the Jets rumble. They’re
subsequently arrested by Officer Krupke and sentenced to a low-
security juvenile rehabilitation facility, where they are all
diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder and put on Ritalin and Prozac.

MY FAIR LADY: Professor Higgins attempts to transform street
urchin Eliza Doolittle into a society maiden. With the help of an
ACLU lawyer, Doolittle sues Higgins for violating her constitutional
right to live on the street. Perplexed, Higgins sings the gender-
neutral ‘Why Can’t A Person Be More Like A Person?”

GYPSY: Mama Rose pushes her daughter Gypsy Rose Lee into
vaudeville. Gypsy grows up and becomes a burlesque stripper. Show
ends abruptly, shortly into the second act, as all the strip clubs
have been shut down by the mayor. Gypsy takes a job as a clerk in the
Disney store on 42nd Street.

PORGY AND BESS: Songs include “Bess, You Is My Significant Other
Now” and “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (with all biblical references
deleted).

HARVEY: Everywhere he goes, Elwood C. Dobbs sees a giant,
invisible rabbit. He undergoes therapy, is diagnosed with attention-
deficit disorder and is put on Ritalin and Prozac.

THE KING AND I: The king of Siam is unhappy with the plummeting
reading scores of his many children since the arrival of Anna,
teacher from the West. He tries to fire her. Unfortunately, she is
protected by a strong union and there’s nothing he can do about it.
She whistles a happy tune.

PETER PAN: Never-never land is forced to admit Lost Girls as
well as Lost Boys. Tiger Lily sues the government to recover tribal
lands and opens a casino. Mr. and Mrs. Darling are visited by Family
Services after leaving their children in the care of a dog.

WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?: George and Martha join a 12-
step recovery program and quit drinking. They calmly discuss their
relationship ‘issues.” Some colleagues stop by for a pleasant visit.
(Ok so not a Musical, yet….)

THE SOUND OF MUSIC: All references to Catholicism deleted.
Sister Maria is now a member of an order of the Sisters of the Non-
Denominational Multicultural Non-Judgmental ‘Church” of What’s
Happening Now.

OLIVER! The conniving but lovable Fagin is arrested on several
counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He agrees to a
plea bargain and, with the help of a court-appointed therapist, is
diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder and put on Ritalin and Prozac.

And, of course: ANNIE GET YOUR GUN gets properly registered,
after submitting to the required background checks and mandatory five-
day waiting period.

Oleg Strap

About two months ago, I purchased a Oleg Strap to replace my Ray Hyman strap.

The Oleg strap is VERY COMFY. Very. It’s leather, and padded, and feels great. Blows away those Neotech straps. However, the cord adjustment drives me nuts. The one thing I loved about the Hyman strap was the easy ability to adjust to the right level right away. I can’t seem to do it as easily with the Oleg. Ok, it’s nitpicking, but, that’s my only complaint.

If your looking for a great, durable strap, get the Oleg strap.

Another Brecker Article

The A.P. has another article about Michael Brecker up.

"Brecker, who gave his last public performance in March, had written and arranged the music for a new small ensemble album before he was sidelined, but that project has been put on hold. He will be returning to Sloan-Kettering next week for a second round of chemotherapy and is taking an anti-inflammatory steroid to relieve his muscle pains."

After reading Lance Armstrong’s book about his fight with cancer, Chemo sounds terrible.

Update: 08/25 19:26 GMT by E :Here is another article. Man, it sounds bad. Hang in there Michael!

RIP Jey Clark

From Steve Goodson:

"Jey Clark, owner of Saxology in Berkeley, Ca, passed away last night after suffering a massive stroke on Sunday. I have no other details at this time, but the information was confirmed this afternoon in a conversation with his friend. Jey was a long time friend, a frequent visitor to my home, played his ass off, and made me laugh. I'll miss him."

Once upon a time I tried out some mouthpieces from him (when he ran Four Winds). I believe I have a vintage Berg Larsen alto mouthpiece I bought from his shop over ten years ago. Good guy to deal with as I remember.

Articulation At Fast Tempos

harry63 writes “In slow and medium swing tempos I understand that “off-beat” articulation is used most often (I know there are times of course, that you don’t use this articulation, but I am generalizing on purpose). With fast tempos this articulation can really make your playing sound heavy and tend to drag. I am curious to know what sort of articulation patterns you all use at break-neck tempos?”