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 Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: lisseyjj 
Date:   2017-08-06 21:37

I've played the clarinet for the past 8 years or so, and I'm thinking about maybe adding the tenor saxophone to my repertoire of instruments.
My school are interested in the idea of me doubling for the jazz band, as I play the tenor sax part on my clarinet anyway.
I borrowed an alto from my school for a week or so and I managed to pick it up quite quickly (all the notes, embouchure, started on alternate fingerings) within a day or so. I was blasting Careless Whisper like on the recording lol.
If my school had a tenor then I would borrow that and compare the two, but they don't.
Are there any reasons to suggest I shouldn't double up?
I know that clarinettists often struggle with a 'too strong' an embouchure for the sax, but could this be counteracted with a stronger reed? Say 3 1/2 or 4? I use 2 1/2 on clarinet with a pretty closed mouthpiece (1.05mm)
Also, I only have a budget of around £300-£350 including a mouthpiece and all accessories and would prefer to not get a second-hand instrument as many need a lot of maintainance that I can't afford. I've seen Karl Glaser German horns and am thinking that's the way to go. Unless there are any new Yamaha's, Buffet's or Selmer's in my price range?
Would I benefit from buying an upgraded mouthpiece to make the cheap and cheerful sax sound a bit better? I'm not really interested in buying a more advanced horn after a while and it's a bit more of a 'side job' to the clarinet, so build quality isn't too much of an issue so long as it does the job.


Post Edited (2017-08-06 21:40)

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 Re: Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2017-08-26 03:07

I saw a great video on YouTube by Victor Goines on doubling. It's a vandoren sponsored video, but the premise is great.

In a nutshell, find comparable mouthpiece/reed setups between clarinet and Sax so that your embouchure feels very VERY similar between the two. For example, don't use a very close tip mouthpiece with a long lay on clarinet and a large tip opening with an extremely short lay on Sax. The resulting embouchures would be WAY too different. Pick to mouthpieces that require as little embouchure change between the two.

There's a lot of similarities and air support is slightly different, but important to both.

I can't help you with instrument choices. I'd say put the money into a good mouthpiece setup. I can't help you with instruments, but I DO whole heartedly recommend doubling. It's satisfying and often HELPS your primary horn to pick up a secondary as you'll have to deal with unique "Sax" style lines that aren't often given to a clarinet. So when you DO encounter them on clarinet, you'll be that much more familiar with those lines or styles.


US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: Burt 
Date:   2017-08-29 05:03

Alicia, I agree with Alexi's comments.

A few other things:
*Most jazz arrangements put the clarinet on an alto part, not tenor.
*Don't plan on using such a hard reed on a sax. If anything (for a similar mouthpiece), you should be using a softer reed on sax.
*At least in the USA, $400 will not allow you to buy a decent sax, even used. I'm not familiar with the Karl Glaser sax. Altos cost less than tenors.
*I suggest you borrow the alto sax long term if you can. Then buy a good mouthpiece. After you graduate, if you still want a tenor, you should be able to afford paying more.


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 Re: Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: fromsfca 
Date:   2017-10-16 06:17

Sax is very easy to learn, especially as it is pitched in octaves.

I've never played a show book where the tenor wasn't expected to play clarinet. In the Jones/Lewis band, Eddie Daniels (great clarinetist) played the tenor book.

Alexis advice on reed/piece setup is good, as a starting point.

I own 15 different instruments and don't think I got any of them new...like cars, they depreciate quickly, and well cared for horns play just as well as new ones, especially modern construction, those made after 1980 (my tenor is a 1983 Yamaha Selmer mark vi copy that plays great: in tune with good keywork and plays better than the marks I've owned..but it did cost $1,500....not much for a professional grade instrument).

I'm not sure you would be happy with a cheap horn, as the intonation and build quality would be suspect and you would have a difficult time selling it.

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 Re: Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: Wes 
Date:   2017-10-16 08:56

I've bought two very inexpensive Allora tenor saxes for students and did some fixing myself on them. They both play in tune with good volume on the stock mouthpiece and I could use them for a gig, instead of my MKvi. A repair person might charge $200 apiece for the work I did, however. They were on auction. Each situation is different.

For years, I've played on a Berg Larson 120/0 tenor mouthpiece and also a fairly closed clarinet mouthpiece with no conflict. Both need high air pressure but no pinching, needing to play soft and also strong. Each case is different!
Good luck!

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 Re: Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2018-09-15 08:16

If you are really interested in playing in jazz band / Big Band settings, it will be useful to play both clarinet and flute, as they come up pretty regularly in every seat. I even see flute parts (and of course bass clarinet) on the baritone sax book. At least the music I play (generally I'm in 2-3 big bands and their books in any year) alto gets more flute and tenor gets more clarinet...alto gets more soprano sax (and covering this with clarinet is frowned upon). For the most part, I'm expected to show up with (in listed order of frequency that it's used):

Tenor seats: clarinet, flute
Alto seats: flute, clarinet, soprano sax, alto flute
Bari seat: bass clarinet, soprano clarinet, flute

Post Edited (2019-03-20 23:32)

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 Re: Doubling clarinet with tenor sax?
Author: Zieme 
Date:   2021-09-02 09:49

Hello Y'all. My band director wants me to pick another woodwind to double on (I play tenor, bari, and soprano primarily). I was thinking Flute or Clarinet, but I really don't know. Any suggestions are helpful.


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