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How to Improve Your Sound on Saxophone Instantly

by Neal

I was doing something wrong….

It wasn’t hard to fix it.

Wasn’t my reed, mouthpiece, ligature, saxophone, embouchure, finger position, air support……

It was how I was standing.

My feet were set apart wider than my shoulders, they weren’t parallel and my body was shifted a bit to the side.   My right foot was a bit behind and my head was slightly leaning to the left.  Not sure if that’s how I played consistently, but I was playing that way today and when it was suggested that I move slightly and change how I stood, the results were instant.

The way I stood before and was leaning, wasn’t let the air supply get through as efficiently it seems.

The correction was to stand with my feet parallel and at shoulder length and also having my shoulders squared off in the direction I’m playing.

The saxophone should be slightly to the side and your strap/harness should allow it to just come up and let you play with little effort.

Try looking at yourself in the mirror!

If there is an issue with how you’re standing and you fix it, you ought to sound better immediately.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Doron Orenstein January 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

Wow, never thought of it this way, will start paying attention to this from now on. Thanks!


Neal January 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Thanks Doron, it made a big difference for me, could help some other sax players I would think.


Tim Smith January 7, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Thanks Neal for this post. I am brand new to sax playing. Just over one week, but today I pushed out my right hand from my body and the tone was instantly better. I could feel the airway open up. Playing the sax is really cool !


Neal January 10, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Hey Tim, you’re welcome. That’s awesome!


Steven Charles February 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Standing with good posture also will lessen the chances of having back & neck & shoulder issues down the line. I had a chiropractor, years ago, spend a session showing me how best to stand, and many over the years have spent time treating my “sax neck”, which can occur, especially if playing tenor all night long! I don’t do that anymore, since I’m always switching around, & like playing a lot of flute, or my wind synth, too, which don’t hang from my neck.

Ergonomics is very important to be mindful of, for anyone playing a lot of music, on any instrument… I sometimes find myself noticing my horn is a little too low, and have to pull up my strap a little, as you won’t get as much air if you’re bending your head down, to play…


Neal February 2, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Very true. I started using a harness for tenor before I started developing problems since I saw so many older players who were having issues.


Henry K. May 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

I recommend the ‘Zappatini Synthesis’ it’s probably the best you may get. It removes all weight away from the neck to the shoulders and hips due to a metal stick which balances it.
Besides your neck doesn’t get strangled like with a ne neckstrap and the air can flow free.
I use a DIY Zappatini with my Tenor and can play for hours.


Neal May 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Interesting. Thanks Henry. Seems like it might be slightly more challenging to transport.

The limiting factor for me in my practice is usually my embouchure more than getting physically tired because of holding up the saxophone. But I’m also not using a typical neckstrap.


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