Home Forums Reeds How do I get a brighter tone in the upper register?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Anonymous 11 months ago.

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    One issue I have with playing soprano is that there is a huge difference between the tone quality of the lower register and the upper register. The lower register has an edgy and brilliant tone, while the upper register is pure and almost flute-like. I’m not alone in this, as many soprano players I’ve heard on YouTube also have this issue. The lower saxes also have this issue, but the register break is nowhere as prominent as on the soprano. Are there any ways to give the upper register more “edge” so that the break is smoother?

    I didn’t find the right solution from the internet.


    explainer video



    I don’t know the answer to that one, but what i do know, there is two sides to that question.

    The 1st one is the recording set up, it’s very difficult to record a sax in the lower and upper register and get the balance right, as the sound in the upper register comes out higher up the sax more so than in the bell for the lower register, to get round it people often use two to three microphones etc. So it could be the recorded play back sound that could be exaggerating the issue, also affected by the surroundings in the room, or the type of mic.

    The 2nd is the players ability which is the sort of negative comment that you as a player don’t want to hear. It can be an issue with all saxophones in general – middle D on a saxophone is well known to be the hardest key on the sax to sound tonaly in line with middle C, after 4 years, even now i have treat middle d differently with my embouchure.

    I play alto, and everything above middle C sounds way to sharp, thats fault is due to my lack control, i cant blame the sax for that. I’ve tried practicing long tones, that hasn’t helped. I tried just practing playing notes in tune on their own and doesnt help. Now i’m practing intervals in tune and that so far seems more promising. Intervals are everything from a 2nd up to a 13th going up and down the sax from low Bb up to altissimo E.


    brother cavefish

    i am not a soprano player , but i would gather you need some mouthpiece experiments, its a bright instrument, so i would go with dark wide bore mps, then if needed you can brighten it up with reeds or mouth—an instrument that bight can be taken to places you don’t want to go—you need to tame it



    One of things i didn’t realise about pitches (years ago).

    Low C, middle C and high c, and this is more noticeable in wind instruments.

    If you start with lower pitches, they contain a lot more spread of different pitches, compared with higher pitches which contain less pitches mixed in. So the lower pitches may sound denser as they are built up with a lot of other pitches (mainly overtones) and the higher pitches will sound thinner (as they have less overtone pitches present).

    Dark mouthpieces are more focused on the main pitch, so for beginners these type of mouthpieces make it a lot lot easier for a beginner to play any pitch in tune up and down the sax. Which is also great for classical music as the pitches are very clearly in tune pitch wise compared to jazz music.

    Bright mouthpieces on the other hand are less focused on the main pitch.
    So when you play the lower notes, for a beginner with poor embouchure control, trying to play the main pitch in tune is going to be all over the place. All the other pitches mixed in with the main pitch will randomly be fighting for dominance along with the main pitch. So for a beginner they should be able to hit overtones a lot easier, but because of lack of control, they will struggle to hit specific overtones consistantly. These mouthpieces are great for jazz, as it allows you to play part of the main pitch along with a faint overtone pitch alongside it, so it alters the flavour of the main pitch. The best way to desrcibe it is to compare pitches with colours, take a main colour and start adding another colour a bit at a time, and that main colour takes on a different shade of the main colour, lower sound pitches work in exactly the same way, bleed a bit of another pitch in with the main pitch alters the flavour of the main pitch (a lot easier done with a brighter mouthpiece).

    You have to have very good hearing to be able to hear some of the other overtone pitches present in lower notes, some Pro’s when testing new mouthpieces out that they aren’t used to playing, will tell you straight away when they play some pitches, they can hear the presence of another overtone pitch, which means to them, more embouchure work to eliminate them.

    complex beast this sax setup, and thats not even going into what a different reed brand will do that pitch and will do it differently on a different style of mouthpiece.

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