Saxophone Effects

Special Effects on the Saxophone

flutter tongueThe saxophone is an incredibly versatile instrument. You can use the effects demonstrated in this section for expression, humour, surprise or just to extend the boundaries of the instrument. This is just the tip of the iceberg, with some experimentation you can probably make up some of your own effects.

There are a lot more saxophone effects than I have time to cover here, and new ones are being invented all the time. I have not yet had a chance to cover all the thousands of options available with multiphonics (playing more than one tone simultaneously) but we have a few of those in this section.

In addition to my own introductory exercises to the crazy world of saxophone effects in this section, I have included some extracts from Sax Acrobatix by Henri Weber from 1926, which includes such gems as the Meow, the Moan, the Auto Horn and the Dog Bark:

There are many special effects on the saxophone that are all but forgotten about (see below), I remember once having a very old saxophone tutor called “Eby’s Scientific Saxophone Method”, which included some real gems.

I have just started a series of short video tutorials on Youtube. The first one is not strictly speaking an “effect”, but is a little trick that allows you to play an otherwise impossible trill, from low Bb (A#) to B. There is also a tutorial on how to do the famous Adderley Trill.

Electronic Effects on the Saxophone

For years now electronic effects have not been the sole domain of the electric gutar, you can hear an example of the soprano saxophone with wah wah and fuzz box here:

Wah Wah Soprano

Wah Wah Soprano


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