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SweetDrones 05-03-2017 01:36 PM

Any pipers out there who also play sax?
Apologies if my question sounds weird and I hope it is not inappropriate for the forum. I am posting to find out if there are any pipers or drummers on BD who also play saxophone that I could ask advice from - after all some pipers (and drummers) play other instruments alongside the bagpipe.

I am a piper who recently attended a concert by saxophonist Joel Frahm - my first ever time hearing a live saxophone, and well, I was blown away (along with the rest of the audience) - the tenor saxophone hit that register between woodwinds and brass I had been looking for for a while (I have been thinking of taking up a second instrument, possibly orchestral, and neither trumpet nor clarinet were quite hitting the spot for me, though I like them both a lot). While I don't think I could manage to commit to learning it properly just yet (too busy with the phd)I am now thinking of booking an informal lesson with a local saxophone teacher so I can get a chance to try a real saxophone and just getting an electronic one to learn some fingerings and tunes on, also because practice space is an issue for me and I don't really want to think of purchasing another instrument right now. I could take up the instrument proper after the phd - including all that sax specific blowing technique. I fancied asking more about saxophones but also about those little electronic ones one can get (kind of saxophone Fagerstroms)

I thought of posting on the saxophone equivalent to BD, but there are as many opinions as saxophonists, and I think they can be very puritan about saxophones. Asking a piper who also plays saxophone might be easier.

Anyway, I am grateful for any insights.

Steven Knox 05-03-2017 02:39 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
I used to play sax (primarily alto but also tenor in a quartet), but I gave it up to focus on pipes. My knowledge may be somewhat dated. Do you have a specific question?

Jim Fogelman 05-03-2017 03:26 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
Being a music teacher, I had to learn how to play every instrument. While my primary instrument is trumpet, I know some stuff about the sax.

Like Steven asked, do you have any specific questions?

Is it possible to do both? Yes. I still play trumpet (and F horn) in a community concert band, as well as pipes in a band and as a G3 soloist.

LJ Neville 05-03-2017 04:01 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
Jim and I have the same sort of background... definitely post your specific questions here, plenty of people to help out among us. In the alternative, you might visit the local school and talk to the music teacher there.

Klondike Waldo 05-04-2017 08:14 AM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
Absolutely possible to do both,. I'm also a former music teacher, and although originally a low brass instrumentalist, as a music instructor, I had to play a little on every band instrument, including saxophone. as a band director, I made it a point to "sit in" with every section of the band- flutes, trumpets, clarinets, trombone, horns, tubas, saxophone, percusion...

More to the point, there is a local female piper/instructor who is also a sax player and band director. I'll PM you:thumb:

LJ Neville 05-04-2017 09:43 AM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
LOL you PMed me, not SweetDrones, the OP. I'm all set with saxophone info, thanks : )

Klondike Waldo 05-04-2017 01:11 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
There is a piper here in the Boston area who is a who is also a saxophonist and clarinetist, and who directs some local concert bands ( High School and College).

It really all depends on how deeply you want to get into each instrument and how much time you have to devote to it. I used to have to play all the band instruments when I was teaching- not at a professional level, of course, but enough to teach and play with elementary and middle school students.

In addition, Jonathan Swayne who makes Border pipes , Lowland pipes and various flutes& Whistles, also plays saxophone.

Klondike Waldo 05-04-2017 01:12 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?

Originally Posted by LJ Neville (Post 1314063)
LOL you PMed me, not SweetDrones, the OP. I'm all set with saxophone info, thanks : )

Yep- too quick on the trigger, my apologies.:doh:

SweetDrones 05-06-2017 01:10 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
Thanks, everyone!
I have looked online for a local teacher. There is an American saxophonist who both plays at high level and teaches locally, and I plan to ask if he would give me a taster lesson with a view to try a saxophone.
One of my questions is "how hard is it to blow a tenor saxophone compared to bagpipe?". Are they harder than bagpipe, since the reeds are bigger? (I don't play gut buster chanter reeds, and I know saxophone reeds, like bagpipe reeds, come in different strengths).
I apologize if I am completely wrong, but here goes. I am also trying to understand how musicianship is socially constructed around the instrument. A quick gaze at SOTW (the BD of saxophone) seems to indicate that it is somewhat different from bagpipe. We pipers are blessed with a wide choice of well-made, good-sounding, reliable, ornamented bagpipes at a good price, which usually come with excellent customer service and extensive guarantee. While we get to thank CNC machines, saxophones are still predominently made by hand (including engraving) on an assembly line and comprise around 600 pieces, making them more expensive; and my impression is that there are no manufacturers who offer the prices and afterservice we get with bagpipes (although Hanson, a small manufacturer - well assembler - in the UK, look like they are going that way). Instead, one takes it to the repair shop for servicing and repairs (like new pads or if something gets bent or it springs a leak), and in my area, that is very expensive (about 85euro per hour, plus materials). there is only one sax shop, and they only have pricey antique selmers in their used section and no used student ones. So all in all, am I right in thinking that the saxophone world does not have exceedingly good, affordable, comfortable to play, ornemented work-horse saxes for students and hobby players?
I could about mouthpieces - is it just my impression, or are they pricey?
I wanted to ask if anyone had any experience playing those electronic ones - not a real saxophone, I know, but I want to investigate as I lack practice space and since I play in a band, have to devote the bulk of my music time to bagpipe.

Steven Knox 05-06-2017 03:55 PM

Re: any pipers out there who also play sax?
Blowing a tenor saxophone is much easier than blowing any but the very weakest bagpipe.

You probably won't "need" an old Selmer Mark VI for several years, if ever. And a point about the all the moving parts is that there can be a big difference in feel between the makes: I actually preferred the action of Yamaha's professional line to my VI. There are lots of student models to choose from, and probably lots of used student models on Ebay.

Your choice of mouthpiece will depend on the kind of tone you want and the kind of music you want to play.

Finally, you may experience discomfort in your upper front teeth when you start. From playing the bagpipe your teeth will be used to an upward and slightly outward pressure from behind. A saxophone mouthpiece will cause an upward and inward pressure from in front. Going back and forth between these can be uncomfortable sometimes.

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