Back To Bass-ics

Tuesday, 11th December 2018

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A lot of sax players run in to difficulties at the bottom end of the horn and it’s not hard to find books of exercises and etudes aimed at overcoming this problem. It’s certainly something that I’ve struggled with and that I continue to work on all the time, however I’ve always found the traditional practise methods to be a little dry and uninspiring.

Popular music is packed full of great bass riffs, especially by classic artists such as Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson as well as more modern guys like Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars. I’ve often borrowed these riffs for technical practise as they’re just infinitely more fun to play than the traditional exercises!

With that in mind, I’m all set to begin releasing a series of weekly bass riff exercises under the name “Back To Bass-ics”, and I hope they’ll give us all a fun challenge! Each riff will be transposed from the original key for Eb and Bb saxes, and many will also have extra versions that take us right down to the bottom of the instrument as well. My advice is to try and memorise each riff, using the written examples as templates of how each transposition relates to its key centre. Ultimately, more advanced players should aim to be able to play each riff in any key.

I’ve got a fair few tracks in mind, but please do send me suggestions!

I think we’d all agree that it’s easier to slur (or at least to articulate lightly) in the lower reaches of the instrument. This can be a good “cheat” to get us going if we struggle to make the notes speak properly with traditional tonguing, however it’s only a stepping stone and we should be aiming to have just as much tonal control down in the basement as we have elsewhere!

In other news, my latest sax covers video is now up at www.DaveSax.me/video. Please check it out if you haven’t already, and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe. I hope it adds a little festive cheer to your day!

Also, don’t miss my “#WorkoutWednesday” technical exercises which are released every week on Instagram and twitter (@davebraziersax). They’re developing quite a following and I’m hoping to compile the first year’s supply into a book … something else to look forwards to in 2019!

Have a great week!

#Sax #Tips #Tuesday

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