Bending notes

How do you bend a note on the saxophone?

There are two main ways to bend notes – (1) what I call “normal” lip bending and (2) what I call extreme or oral cavity bending. I have to say “what I call” because I’m not aware of any official names. We probably all know the normal type of bending from listening to players such as Johnny Hodges. We can hear the extreme version when played on the clarinet in the opening of of Rhapsody in Blue. I believe it is similar to the technique used by blues mouth organ players to bend notes.

Normal (lip) bending

“Normal” bending notes on the saxophone usually involves starting the note at the correct pitch and bending it downwards, or starting at a lower pitch and bending it upwards. (This is the opposite of the guitar which bends a note upwards from pitch or downwards into pitch). The vibrato exercise starts off with note bending, so you can use this exercise to get started. This is a technique that takes quite a while to master. It involves slackening the jaw which increases the gap between the reed and tip of the mouthpiece. In order to maintain consistent airflow you need a strong diaphragm muscles to do this. The following examples are upward bends, note the various lengths of chromatic runs which start off the bend.

Christmas

Once you have got used to the note bending in the vibrato exercise, you can adapt it to get some much larger bends than on semitone. You will probably find it easier on higher notes of the higher pitched saxophone, for example it is possible to bend a top C on alto down two whole tones, and you can bend a top E down a fifth.

As well as, or instead of, dropping your lip to bend the note, you use your oral cavity and tongue position to enhance the note bending. It is very difficult to describe what happens inside your mouth to create the bend, but many people find the easiest way to understand the technique is to start with just the mouthpiece. While blowing a note move your tongue away from the reed back towards your throat (but do not change the shape of your throat, it should be ope and allowing the air column through as usual). You may need to curl your tongue slightly. More or less by trial and error you should be able to find the position of your tongue at which the pitch changes. Once you can do this, it is just a matter of practice – try it on different notes and each time bend slowly and evenly down and then back up at the same rate.

Notebending Tutorial Extracts from DVD:

Extreme (oral cavity) Bending

Coming very soon…

Subscribe To Our (very occasional) Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, tutorials and special offers!
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Our
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
×
×
Frequently Asked Questions
I did not receive the email with with my download link

Please check your spam folder.

NB: Purchased downloads are also available to download directly from your customer account area.

I am having a problem downloading to iPad or iPhone

This is a common issue and affects all downloads, not just our products. In order to download anything to iPad etc. you will need an app that can handle .zip .pdf and .mp3 downloads.

See this article and/or this app

It may be easier to download to your desktop and then transfer to your tablet.

Download expired, reached its limit
  • The download may actually have  expired. Download links are valid only for a certain number of days and have a limit on number of downloads - please contact us with your order number and date of purchase to reset it. (Ideally reply to your order confirmation email)
  • Download manager/accelerator  software or browser plugin is interfering with the download. If so try disabling it.
  • The files did actually  download, but very quickly and you did not realise. Please do a search of your download destination directory before contacting us.
Do you sell outside the UK?

Yes, we sell internationally. Your currency will be automatically converted at the current exchange rate.

Saxophone Instruction DVD region compatibility

This is a PAL all region DVD so will not require you to reset your DVD player/computer region.

However as it is PAL format it may not be compatible with some older U.S. TV sets which are NTSC only, please check if your TV and/or DVD player is compatible with PAL format.

If not, it should still work on any computer with DVD drive (anywhere in the world). Please note we have only tested the DVD by playing on DVD systems or playing on computers with standard DVD hardware and software. We cannot guarantee that files extracted (ripped) from the DVD will play successfully. Sharing of copied DVDs or ripped files is illegal.

How much will postage cost?

After adding an item or several items to your cart, click on the Calculate Shipping button and choose your location from the dropdown menu. This will give you the postage options available to your country.

When will I get my stuff?

Products in stock

We usually post within 3 days of receiving an order. We are unable to give exact delivery times, but generally packages to Europe can take 2 - 7 days, outside Europe 4 - 14 days. Under exceptional circumstances (weather, strikes, customs delays) it can take longer.

Out of stock (backorders) or special orders

Out of stock books and DVDs are generally restocked within a week. Out of stock or special order mouthpieces can take between 6 and 10 weeks for manufacturing.

From time to time we have a holiday, in which case items will take longer, look out for any noticesd at the top of the page re:holidays.

How do I find out the price in dollars, yen, euros, dirhams etc?

The checkout pages shows prices in GBP (£). Your bank, credit card company or Paypal take care of the actual conversion, so you can pay with your normal account in your own currency. We don't publish actual rates in different currencies as this is constantly changing so we advise you check with a live currency conversion site such as xe.com

Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
×
×