The saxophone trills examples from the above video are taken from videos that I attached to the end of two recent song videos to demonstrate how to play these trills that were heavily featured on these songs.
To hear all these saxophone trills in context check out these videos:
The first one which is demonstrated on soprano sax is from the video “Soul Serenade”
If you’re working on this song great, but even if you’re not, you can take these trill examples and use them in a lot of pop, rock, and blues style music you may be playing.
It starts out with a typical whole step trill F to G which looks like this when written:
The second one on this soprano section of the above video is a different type of saxophone trill that can also be referred to as a “shake”. It’s a kind of trill with a slight twist and I use it quite a bit, as you can see it’s a very effective gimmick that works in solos or an ending note. Check out how to do this specific technique in the video. (Second one in the soprano section)
The third trill example is on the tenor sax and it starts on the high C trilling up to an Eb making it a minor 3rd trill… these minor 3rd’s are my favorite types of trills and probably the ones I use the most:
The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th examples from the tenor part of above video are also shown on the music example above.
Trills are a great way to add some color and spice to various parts of your playing. A quick semi-tone, whole-tone or even a minor 3rd tone trill can be thrown in to work almost anywhere you can hear it or have the time to do it.
How Do You Know Which Type of saxophone Trills to Play in the Music You’re Doing?
Well, normally we will play the next note up (or down) that’s part of the scale the music is in. But this is just a general rule.
In Blues and rock I will usually do a minor 3rd trill: G to Bb, F to Ab, A to C etc. These sound great and can be further played with by dropping your lip pressure to give it a slow-falling tone which is also a great little trick, especially in a solo.
So, anytime you’re playing a blues type tune and using any kind of blues scale you can always incorporate a minor 3rd trill like the ones in the video lesson above. The general rule here would be to start the trill on the root note, so if playing in the key of G, you would play the G to Bb trill. This would obviously work for a minor blues but also for a major…it just creates more tension. If you don’t want that specific kind of tension just trill the G with the B, making it a major 3rd trill.