It’s natural for anyone that’s been playing sax for a year or two to want to hit those really high notes… they’re so exciting and can be one of the most expressive things to play on a sax.
But unfortunately, extending your range on the saxophone above it’s normal two and a half octave range is more than just learning the fingerings for the notes above high F and F#. The reason is because these notes that fall out of the horn’s normal range are derived from the natural harmonic overtones of the sax.
Before 1930 no one even thought about venturing beyond the saxophone’s two and a half octave range. Then came classical saxophonist Sigurd Rascher who introduced his theory of a four octave range. This was not accepted by most and was actually ridiculed at the time….imagine that!
His new theory explained that it was possible to play an additional 16 notes, all derived from the natural overtones of the instrument.
Learning the Saxophone Altissimo Means More Than Just Playing Really High Notes
When any saxophone student goes through the process of mastering these high notes, the benefits are something else… not only will you extend your range but you will greatly improve your overall tone. This is because the process involves using your embouchure, throat and air supply to a different level than playing in the normal range.
I’ve seen and heard a lot of saxophonists talk about playing through lots of different fingerings in a sometimes hit and miss effort at hitting these high notes. Many years ago when I was a young student I picked up a book covering this subject called “Top Tones For Saxophone”. It’s the book mentioned above, written by Sigard Rascher.
The book goes through many exercises which take up about 98% of the book. Then on the last few pages there is a fingering chart. It’s the same finger positions for alto and tenor and there’s not multiple choice. Rascher said that he experimented with the same fingerings on something like over 20 saxophones and they all worked out well for him.
I can say that I’ve had the same experience. I’ve played the same altissimo fingerings on every saxophone I’ve ever tried and didn’t have any problems hitting the notes. Occasionally you can move or add an extra note such as a side key which sometimes helps to sharpen the note a bit.
Will The Mouthpiece and Reed Help?
Quite possible. A small tip opening on your mouthpiece will not help. You’re going to need a lot of air so the biggest tip opening you can handle is best. A soft reed will make things more difficult too. You’ll find that going up a strength or two will make it easier to hit the altissimo notes. Unfortunately this will make it harder to control your low notes.
Maybe use a harder reed while practicing the altissimo range and then go back to your normal setup. This will still help you in the long run because you might have made a little short cut for yourself by using the harder reeds for this.
Are You Ready For The Saxophone Altissimo Range?
If you’re at the point of wanting to get playing these top tones the most important thing you need to be sure of is that you can play those very low notes perfectly. Loud and soft with full control. Also the top end all the way up to high F. Much experimentation is needed with our embouchure, oral cavity and air control, so if you still struggle on any of these regular ranges you won’t be ready for the altissimo.
Full Course Now Available to Guide you Step-By-Step to Conquer
Your Saxophone Altissimo Range
Have you searched high and low for that secret saxophone altissimo fingering chart in hopes of being able to get up and playing those crazy high notes?
The more fingering charts you find and try out, the more frustrated and confused you’ll get!
What most people don’t realize is that the actual finger positions are only one part of what you need to know. So what’s the other stuff you must learn in order to conquer the altissimo range on your tenor or alto saxophone?
It’s all laid out in this brand new step-by-step video lesson course…
We All Want More!
It’s only natural that as saxophone players, as soon as we’re able to play the full 2 1/2 octave range of the sax, we want more. We all wanna go higher! The natural range, as was intended by Adolph Sax is from the low B flat to the high F:
Are You Still Stuck on This Two and A Half Octave Range?
The Saxophone Altissimo Course works for all the saxophones
The problem many people will face is in thinking that just by finding an altissimo sax fingering chart or PDF they’re good to go. The truth is, knowing the fingering positions for the altissimo register is only one part of being able to play the altissimo notes with any kind of control.
Due to a lack of unavailable, comprehensive, and accessible material both online and off, I’ve put together step-by-step lesson videos which make up this complete course. This is for the serious student that wants to take control of their instrument and finally be able to play just underneath the range that only dogs can hear.
You’ve probably hit one or two of these notes already. They were most likely closer to squeaks and not the intended outcome of what you were trying to do.
Everyone needs a comprehensive step-by-step approach to develop the mind and body control required to conquer this high range known as the saxophone altissimo register.
What Exactly Does the Saxophone Altissimo Course Consist Of?
15 Lessons laid out over 4 parts:
First you will build on some basic, but very important techniques that are often either over-looked or not carried out and performed as they should be by most students. When this happens, the ability to play controlled high notes pretty much flies out the window.
Learn important techniques that it takes to go beyond the saxophone’s normal range. This is the natural series of overtones. The better you do in part one, the easier these will be. The easier these are, the easier you’ll be hitting the altissimo notes.
This is where you learn the actual fingering positions from high F# and altissimo G and up to an octave and one half beyond that. This will give you a possible 4 octave range!
This is where you’ll gain control and flexibility playing all the new high notes you have learned. This is accomplished by doing the exercises laid out here.
By Committing to This Course You Will:
- Devote the next few months working to develop and control your saxophone.
- At the end of this time not only will you have accomplished this but you’ll have gained a bigger, fuller, more in tune tone.
Because while developing the techniques needed here forces you to strengthen your air support and embouchure. These are the two most important things needed to develop a good saxophone sound.
The price of this course wouldn’t get you more than a few private lessons anywhere, which would barely scratch the surface of this topic anyway.
So make a commitment for the next few months into your saxophone playing journey.
Here is a video post by Michael, one of our members:
Michael has been a member here since he started playing saxophone last year.
”I'm on the 3rd overtone lesson in Johnny's Saxophone Altissimo course and getting close to starting to learn about the Altissimo fingerings he teaches and something good happened. You can imagine my excitement and I'm trying to contain it. Easier said than done! I have a custom-built Guardala MBII. Thank you so much Johnny for your Altissimo course. So wonderful to have it available vs the "slim pickings" that you get online. The gains to be made in your lessons do wonders to a person's playing.Michael BishopArkansas