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Learning Songs on Saxophone – Take 5

by Neal

I’ve heard of Take 5. It’s in the book i’m learning from, and sounds great. It is really hard to reach the tempo that Desmond play it in, but i guess it take time right? Patience, time, and devotion.
Hey Stavros,
Yep, start slow with it.  The 5/4 time signature takes a little while to get used to also.  You can think of it as a combination of 3/4 & 2/4 (for this song anyway).

I actually just got an alto a couple of weeks ago, so I guess I can play Take Five in the original key now.



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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John Elliott November 25, 2009 at 10:45 am

I just found this website and it looks pretty interesting. I am 60 years old, started playing clarinet at 6 and sax at 12. Switched to bass and guitar at about 16, then came back to sax at 45. I haven’t played for about 10 years and am getting back into it.

I never learned how to play rough. I am doing some rock stuff and the concert/smooth jazz sound that I have just doesn’t cut it. How do I get that drive, that edge, that dirty, nasty gut sound that makes rock and blues so good? I would appreciate any ideas. I play both alto and tenor (and a bit of bari at times).


Neal November 25, 2009 at 11:33 am

Hey John,
Thanks for stopping by.

You’re on the right track, the first step is recognizing a different sound that you want.

Just listening and trying to change your tone will start you towards any change you want.

Also, learning to ‘growl’ might help you get a dirtier sound. They don’t growl in concert/smooth jazz that I know of!



natalie April 30, 2011 at 10:23 am

hey, i have been playing the alto sax for four years now and still cant reach the low notes like b-flat and c-flat. any suggestions?
ps. would love to learn how to play Take Five .


Neal May 1, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Hey Natalie,
Try putting more air into the saxophone. Can anyone else play those on your saxophone? If not, it could be a problem with the saxophone itself, likely having some leaks in it. So try more air first, and if that doesn’t work, have another saxophone player try it on your horn (with their mouthpiece).


Megan October 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I have been playing the tenor sax for about 4 years now, I am in my high school band, marching band, and jazz band. Due to growing jazz interest(our schools band program is relativity new) my band director started a small jazz combo I am lucky enough to be in. We started playing Take 5-do you have any tips??


Neal October 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm

For Take Five, it’s in 5/4 which may be a bit unfamiliar. You can think of it as a combination of 3/4 and 2/4. And just starting slowly with anything is a good idea.


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