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Home Alt Forums Music Theory Question about rewriting other instrument sheets to play on a sax?

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      Hi Johnny,
      I had an email asking me are there any rules for copying sheet from OTHER instruments to play on the Sax. For example if you copy a guitar music sheet, which sounds good played on a guitar, when transposed to play on a sax, it sometimes doesn’t sound good played on the sax as it’s written for to be specifically played on a guitar and not a sax.

      This question has nothing to do with transposing, but has to do with what may sound okay on a piano, could sound disjointed when played on a sax.
      Does this mean, rewriting to timing of notes in each bar etc..


      jak Swift

        Sxpoet, hi man. In a word , no. I gather you have a decent grasp of transposition. If a melody line for guitar is not working out on sax, you have two choices. One, forget it and move on.
        Two, and in my opinion, take from it what you can, and use the skill sets you have to make it work.
        I posted a while back r.e ” Honky Tonk “. The first 32 bars are a guitar intro. I use it as it makes a great if not too challenging tune a little more lively. I’ve had an off on project for years. Putting Hendrix tunes onto tenorsax with effects. Its a combination of the dots, your ear, and your approach to the given melody. Hope that’s been some help and if I may ask , what tunes do you have in mind ? Best: jak

        jak Swift

          Sorry man, this was addressed to Johnny, I see.
          No worries, good luck.😕


            Thanks for the feedback Jak,
            i’ve got my own opinions on this topic, which seem identical to yours,
            so thanks, it just reinforces what i thought.

            I only buy alto sax music sheets, so i don’t have this problem, but someone that e-mailed me, converts a lot of different instrument sheets to play on his sax, so he was looking for a second opinion – from someone higher up the Sax chain.

            jak Swift

              Your more than welcome !!


                writing for sax can present certain problems depending on the piece of music of course.
                I often face problems while arranging the songs I create backing tracks for.
                but just because it’s written for guitar doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work on sax…it has everything to do with how it was arranged…
                for example, the guitar can play chords so if it was arranged to have chords in it this needs to be re-worked for the sax version.
                the song ‘Maria Elena” (which was a recent upload) I pretty much copied what the guitar played and it worked almost perfectly….only thing I had to change was a couple of the long descending scale riffs which were longer than the sax range could handle so those had to be re-worked to fit the sax. this type of thing also happens when transposing a tenor arrangement over to Eb….sometimes certain parts need to be altered to fit the range of the sax.


                  Thanks for your feedback.
                  I’ll get the person that e-mailed to check out your feedback!


                    you guys can also check out 2 other videos I transcribed from guitar to sax which turned out pretty good:
                    Santana’s Europa and Samba Pa Ti.
                    I have both these videos on my music section and there are plenty of youtube videos with Santana playing the original vertsion.

                    jak Swift

                      Thanks Johnny, Samba pa ti really works well; I recently saw an electric bass player do a solo version. When that double time changes comes…it like the Suns come out after a long winter.
                      Great thankyou !!…jak

                      jak Swift

                        Europa !! STUNNING !! Was Gato a later influence on you Johnny, or from the early days ?

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