Normal and altissimo fingering charts

I have published two new fingering charts:

Normal register fingering chart cover all notes from low Bb to high F# (Bb3-F#6),providing the standard fingering(s) and many alternate ones. Alternate fingerings can be very useful in trills,to play very fast phrases,or to add tonal variety to your playing.

Altissimo register fingering chart cover notes from high F# to very high B (F#6-B7) and includes the fingering that I have used and found to be playable with most of my instruments. Expect that some of such fingerings won’t work for you and be prepared to try different embrochure pressures and reed models/hardness.

You can quickly reach these charts from the top menu.


By any means these aren’t the only fingerings you can use for the altissimo register,and you can find a few more complete charts on the Internet,including:

The Woodwing Fingering Guide site is probably the most exhaustive charts for the regular and upper register.
Level 3 Solutions has fingerings for notes up to D8,with many fingerings that are specific for given sax models.
Insubrica Saxophone Society offers a chart in PDF with many variations for the alto sax.
WardBaxter chart goes up to C6,with many variations for each note.

Please Contact me if you use any fingering that isn’t reported in these charts.

David Sanborn clinic at Selmer Paris

If you have missed this 8-part video,find a spare hour,sit in front of your monitor,and enjoy David Sanborn speaking about his relationship with his instrument,his way of practicing,and a lot more. In my opinion,one of the more interesting sax talk you can find on the Internet. The clinic was held at Selmer Paris,on June 30th,2008.

In Part1 David talks about his fanatic quest for the perfect reed:

[youtube=www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhNcZopC4dM”]

Continue reading -> David Sanborn clinic at Selmer Paris

A recording studio in 1.33 pounds

Yesterday 4PocketsAUDIO released an upgrade for their Meteor Multi Track Recorder for iPad.

Meteor is a digital recorder + mixer that supports up to 12 tracks with CD quality. It can’t be compared to a desktop DAW like Ableton Live or Cubase,because it only supports audio tracks (no MIDI),but it has a few features that makes it interesting for many studio musicians.

You tipically use Meteor to record small clips that you later duplicate,arrange,trim,split,and remix with the internal sample editor. You can import songs from the iPad music library and export the result of your work to compressed CAV and WAF files,or to other iPad apps that support the PasteBoard protocol,for further processing. It contains a few on-board effect processors and a few more (compressor,distortion,EQ) can be added via in-app purchases. You can apply these effects globally or to specific tracks.

The feature that intrigues me most –and convinced me into buying it –is mixer automation. You can draw volume,pan,and FX level lines for each individual track (see image),which makes it easy to prepare fade-ins and fade-outs for example. As far as I know,this is the only iPad multi-track recorder with this feature.

Video import (in-app purchase) even gives you the ability to watch a video while you arrange your music clips,produce a soundtrack,add a narration,and keep everything in sync.

The main issue with all apps of this kind is that audio processing can easily bend any CPU,especially if you add many tracks and effects. This is true even for PC and MAC apps and it’s even truer on the iPad. As a (partial) solution to this problem,Meteor allows you to “freeze”a track by calculating all the associated effects one and for all,or to bounce/mixdown multiple tracks into a single one. (Beware:freezing is reversible,mixdown isn’t.)

I haven’t played much with Meteor yet,but the first impression is quite positive. There aren’t many better ways to spend $19.99.

Slow down playback for easy transcriptions

You can find many utilities for slowing down playback speed and let you easily transcribe a theme or a solo.

For example,if you own an iPhone,iPod Touch,or iPad you can download Slow Down Music Trainer:this app is free but has a few limitation. Buying the Unlimited Edition (in-app purchase) gives you the ability to change the song key and a few other minor features. For just $2.99 it is a bargain.

Most Windows software for slowing down playback charge more than 3 bucks,thus you will appreciate the following tip,based on a a relatively little known Windows Media Player feature.

To use this hidden feature you should first enable the Now Playing view (use File-View menu command or just press Ctrl+3 key). Next,right-click anywhere on WMM,select the Enhancements submenu and the Play Speed Settings command.

Yes,it’s that simple and –above all –it’s absolutely free!

Windows Media Playeer speed settings


“See”how sax giants improvise

You can understand much more about Charlie Parker and John Coltrane improvising style by “seeing”it!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV6y1f7CU-A]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kotK9FNEYU]

…and these are the links to Bird’s Au Privave and Bloomdido.

1000 *FREE* sax solo transcriptions!

Yesterday I spent some time on Scribd,searching for transcribed sax solos. I found tons of them and immediately added them to the Solo Transcriptions page.

As of this writing,on Saxopedia you can find as many as 1043 transcribed solos,from virtually any major sax player. This is the largest free transcription index you can find anywhere,but it can be surely extended.

If you transcribed a solo or found a solo that doesn’t appear in the list,please let me know.

New transcription:“Lullaby of Birdland”(Dexter Gordon)

Jaime Pinilla contributed to our Solo Transcriptions page with the solo that Dexter Gordon played on “Lullaby of Birdland”on his “Cute”album. You can find it here.

Thousands and thousands (and thousands) of jazz licks for free!

For sure www.bopland.org is quite popular among jazz players in general,yet I came across this site only recently and maybe this link is going to be useful to many other sax lovers.

BopLand.org is perhaps the largest collection of licks from jazz giants such as Charlie Parker,John Coltrane,Bill Evans,and Dizzy Gillespie. I can’t find a way to count how many licks they have,for sure they are some thousands,and the number keeps growing nearly everyday. Anyone can and does contribute with their own favorite licks.

Unlike other licks collection,in this case you can also search for the most common patterns in comping,voicings,and walking line,as well as searching for licks that use bass clef or guitar tabs. Just click on the Options button to display all the available options:


Finding an appropriate lick in this huge repository would be a problem,but BopLand has a fantastic search feature. Just click on the “How to search?”link and you’ll learn how to restrict the search to II-V and II-V-I sequences (or any other chord sequence),to licks that sound well on a give song given its title (in original or transposed key),and a lot more.

The great thing about BopLand is that you don’t need to play the lick on your instrument to hear how it sounds like,just click on a staff and more options will appear,including “Play”. The lick is stored as a MIIDI file and is played in a very simplicistic,roboticised fashion,but it’s enough to get the idea.



If you are interested in submitting your licks,visit BopLand Forum.

Never run short of music paper again

Even if you write most of your scores with a computer,there are times (lot of times) when you just need to write down a few notes during rehersals. Why should you buy music paper,when you can print your own?

Just visit SaxShed.com and select the paper format you prefer,in PDF or PostScript format. They have over 35 variations,including blank scores for piano solo,duets,ensambles,bands,choir,etc.

If you are in a hurry,use these direct links to the most common PDFs: 8-stave paper,10-stave paper,and 9-stave paper (landscape).