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Born To Run Sax Solo Tutorial

By May 26, 2019October 31st, 2019sax lessons, saxophone music, saxophone solos

The Clarence Clemens Born To Run saxophone solo is a great example of what we can do with this great, simple pentatonic scale, both major and minor but in this case it’s the major.

Below you have the sax solo transcribed for both alto and tenor. Also, you have the major scale of the key it’s in and beside that the pentatonic scale used for the solo.

Important point;
Unless you’re a saxophone player that’s used to playing in a band with a guitar player, you might not be 100% comfortable playing in either of these keys. These are F# for the tenor and C# for the alto. Not the first choice for most sax players! To develop greater fluidity playing in these keys I suggest doing good long warm up exercises involving these major scales. It will make things go easier when working on the solo.




  • Rick Woolf says:

    Hey Johnny, I love that song. I’m 75 and trying to pick up my alto sax after not playing since junior high school. My challenge is to learn two songs for my daughter’s wedding in October… a love song and one that shows some technique. Born to Run seems perfect, but with seven sharps, I’m wondering if I’m over my head. 60+ years of inactivity is a long time. I’d welcome your thoughts and also any suggestions about how to best use my Premium Membership to practice and get back up to speed and then some. I LOVE your program.

  • sxpoet says:

    Interesting to see how you played the pairs of 1/8th notes with the two 1/16th notes.
    There’s so many different variations of playing these same types of phrases, i’m being taught to play them in my own style when soloing, unless i want to exactly copy the style of the recorded artist.

    • john says:

      ya right, playing in our own style is normally what to go for and that’s what I’d encourage as well.
      with this particular solo, being so iconic and well-recognized I believe most people want to copy it exactly.
      regardless, you could always learn it exactly and THEN start to add your own things to it….that’s usually the best way cause there’s a lot of value in that learning process.

  • john says:

    @Rick, sounds like a good challenge.
    I would start with the “Start Here” section moving quickly until the exercises and music reading sections.
    do the simple exercises in C and then jump right into C#. It;s only a matter of gettin used to it….all in the head cause our fingers don’t know the difference!

  • Thanks so much. This is the solo that got me taking adult lessons many years ago. It’s always been somewhat of a mystery to me until you explained it so well. Now to figure out that altissimo F# at the end. Thanks again, and I love listening to you play.

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