Home Alt Forums Problems With Your Sax? growling tips?

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    Patrick ReolonPatrick Reolon


    i checked Johnnys video on Growling…
    Since then I’ve tried several times, but physionomically I can’t reach to do so.
    As soon as I put the mouthpiece into my mouth my throat is not able to roar.

    It’s kind of ironically, I simulate with my thumb as mouthpiece and I have no problem.
    But as soon as I take the mouthpiece into my mouth and really trz to roar into the sax, my vocal cords get smooth and don’t allow me to growl into it…

    Any further tips? Keep hangin’on? Don’t give up? πŸ™‚


    PD: I actually use a P.Mauriat Tenor Sax with Cluade Lakey Mouthpiece and Java Green #4 Reeds


    Try humming while you play the notes. Not quite as nasty but is still effective.


    Definately don’t give up.
    I think maybe your “roar” might be too much, at least to start so the above comment may be a good one (start with a just a humming sound)
    Have you been playing a #4 reed for a long time?

    Patrick ReolonPatrick Reolon

    Thanks for the advices, it’s definitively not in my plans to give up πŸ˜‰

    I’ve played on #4 reeds for years now… softer ones are for me weird, it seems I have brute/strong embochure. I’ve played clarinette for several years and got used to the strongest reeds. perhaps not the best habit.

    I’ll take the advices and start with humming and work up…
    Johnny, your questions make me think that perhaps I used a “too brute” approach in general also my air pressure from the lungs could be too harsh for the vocal chords… hmmmmmmmmmm makes me think….

    Jazz CatJazz Cat

    a 1-hr video course on growling would seriously be a bestseller …just sayin’

    wayne wojnarowskiwayne wojnarowski

    Patrick Wayne here, in Chicago there was a potato chip commercial ” RRRRRUFLES HAVE RRRIDGES”Ruffles have Ridges, roll your R”S take that sensation and transfer it to your throat , also the sound of a motorcycle or a car power shifting , Indy 500 sound of drag cars mimicked by your throat thru your horn . Try That!!

    wayne wojnarowskiwayne wojnarowski

    Patrick you must have a strong lip or gut for a 4 on a Tenor I have a alto and I don’t know why but i want to get to a 4 , but find 3’s and 3.5 are pretty good for know , 2
    questions is it bad to play or fluctuate between the two?, and why try for a stronger reed ?

    Patrick ReolonPatrick Reolon

    Thanks for the RRRRRoooling advice… I will try all suggestions concerning the growling.
    It’s not you (tenor sax) it’s me, so I’ll keep on trying…

    Wayne, concerning your questions:
    Why try a stronger reed:
    It’s an habit I got from my clarinette teacher when I was a child yet. I don’t remember the exact explanation, but in my case my teacher recommended me to go up in strength with the time. I assume it’s a physical training issue: when you do sports, e.g. weightlifting, with the time you need to put more weight on to keep on traing, except when you’re at top you mantain the weight to train endurance… when you run you have to run longer distances to force you over the edge. though with the time you train specific distances for endurance.
    In my case when I try a softer reed, it just squeaks all the time or I close the reed directly with the pressure of my air-column… a too hard reed forces me to put too much strength on my air column to make it vibrate…

    Is it bad to fluctuate between the two:
    Depending on the distance between the thicknesses I would believe. In my case, it is hard to go to a much softer reed, because of the muscle-memory… It takes me now to much (mental /concentration) effort to blow into a horn with much softer reeds, I have to over-control all my muscles (belly, gut, lips, etc) to be able to produce some sound, but generally the reed or blocks or squeaks when it’s too soft.
    If the reed thicknesses are close, then I believe it could be a good exercise to use different thicknesses. It can even be an application issue: for some styles thinner ones than for others…

    BUT as a parentesis:
    The Vandoren Java reeds are a kind of overlabled, a Java 4 Reed corresponds folowing Vandorens own images, to a traditional 3 1/2
    Even though the grafics is misleading: The Java Green 4 is thinner than a ZZ 4. A java green 4 I put it on my mouthpiece and instantly I get a controlled sound. A ZZ 4
    I first have to soften it to be able to blow a sound of my horn, and it takes me more effort… Java Red 4 are only a tiny way harder than Java Green 4.

    I would suggest, if you want try a thicker one, try it as a reference, you’ll notice if it’s to hard or not… But if you feel comfortable where you are in the sense of control over the sound, I think it’s not necessarily needed to go up, it’s not a competition. Only when you notice that a too soft reed is blocking your hability to play smooth (e.g. when it forces you to over-control the strength applied, when it shuts the opening too often) then it’s good to change to a thicker one… If you feel comfortbale and just play without thinking to much, you’ve got the right thickness…
    A reed is just a tool to give you the best control over your instrument.


    Not sure if this helps anyone, but thought I’d throw this together, do quick upload, and maybe someone will find something useful.
    I’m not at all proficient on the growl, but learning. This demo pretty much shows that I’m in the beginning stages, and it is doesn’t have that really gutsy sound. I find that on certain notes it will really come out strong due to the pitch of the humming being at a dissonant interval to the note being played. And on some notes you can even get the sensation that they are trying to cancel each other out. Fun to learn for sure…

    wayne wojnarowskiwayne wojnarowski

    Kevin that’s what I’m talking about!! You stole it from me LOL try that on TEQUILA

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