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Jazz Sax Lessons: Basic Fingerings

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Okay, so, you're not going to be able
to play unless you know the fingerings,
very important.
So that's what we're doing in this lesson.
We're going to teach
you all the fingerings.
I've come up,
along with a very good friend of mine,
David Elivis, great saxophone player,
he helped me with this fingering chart.
It's not the easiest thing to
create a fingering chart, so
I want to thank David For
helping me create this.
So, let's start on the very bottom,
the first fingering.
So, I'm going to go through
these chromatically.
So I'm going to start on
the very bottom note on the horn.
It may not be the easiest note to play,
because it's the most extreme note of
the low end, but let's just go up from the
bottom to the top it makes the most sense,
but every note will be covered
on the main part of the horn
on this lesson in this fingering chart.
So low B flat.
First of all know that until we're not
going to use this very top key in the left
hand here called the plateau key until
the very last note of the fingering chart.
So when I refer to one, or
this key, the first key on the left
hand will be this one, not that one.
And then the smaller little key
here is called the bisque key,
it's an alternative fingering for
the note B flat.
So, most of the time, never do you
actually play that note all by itself,
your finger never actually
rests on that by itself,
it's always sort of covered with this
first finger in your left hand here.
So when you play that fingering
you're going to cover that like so,
with your finger kind of resting between.
So anyway let me kind
of explain this to you.
So on the fingering chart you can
see the open circle up on top,
that is this plateau key.
It's open obviously so for
good reason and so is the bisque key.
So you can see that.
And then the three keys to the,
I guess, as you're looking at
it to the right of the main stack
are these three pound keys.
Those are for high notes.
Get to that in a little while.
And then the four keys
below those are these guys
which we're going to explain in a minute.
But they're covered all
by your left pinky.
That's right.
One pinky covers all four of those keys.
The three key positions that
are vertical are these guys here.
And, let's see,
the two below that are these guys here.
And that pretty much covers everything.
This guy is an F sharp trill key.
So we don't actually even need that for
a while.
So low B flat, the lowest note.
It sounds like this.
[SOUND] We're going to play it
without the left octave key.
So your thumb rests on the left
thumb rest right here, okay?
So it's one, two, three in the left hand,
just like your fingering chart shows you.
One, two, three.
And the right hand your C key, which is
the bottom of those two keys down here,
and the very bottom table key,
these are called table keys.
So like that, one two three,
one two three.
C key down, low B flat down.
Low B exact same fingering.
You move the B flat up to the B key,
as indicated on the chart.
On the chart the B flat is
also considered an A sharp,
those are two in harmonic spellings,
they're called.
But it's the same note,
just two different ways of writing them.
Both B flat Our low A sharp
on those first fingerings.
We're going to B natural now,
and again the same fingering,
but we're moving our left pinky up
from the B flat key, up to the B key.
For low C, simply release the B key and
the pinky does nothing,
just sort of hovers over here.
And you've got this one down as
indicated on the fingering chart here.
And the only thing that's
changed from B to C
is lifting up on your B key and
C sounds like this.
C sharp adds, same fingering,
you haven't changed anything up here.
You haven't changed anything here.
You haven't changed anything here.
Now you're going to that C-sharp note,
or D-flat,
enharmonically spelled
on your fingering chart.
And so you're pressing this key down Right
here it's our D flat or C sharp key.
Sounds like this.
So, so far your left pinky is the only
one that's done any work so far.
D is our next note and that releases
everything here in the pinky,
releases everything here on the pinky
as well on your right hand.
And it's just one, two,
three, one, two, three.
[SOUND] There we go.
D sharp or E flat.
Our next note a half step higher is our
D fingering and adding the E flat key.
The top of these two down here that
are controlled by your right pinky.
So sounds like this.
The next note is E, and you release
the bottom of the three fingers
here in your right hand,
and you also release
the pinky off the flat key.
Both of these come up so
you have one two three.
Down in the left hand and
one and two in your right hand.
[SOUND] F is just played one two three,
left hand, one in the right hand.
So all you're doing is releasing
the E fingering up to F.
[SOUND] F sharp,
that is two fingerings, one main one.
Which is just the middle finger,
or two in your right hand.
So you've got one, two, three, left hand.
And just this middle one, on your right.
[SOUND] Okay, with me so far?
Okay, the alternative fingering,
the alternate fingering for
that note is to finger F, like that,
and to press this F-sharp trill key.
It's quite obvious.
It's the only lone key down there,
you press it with your D finger.
Your third finger here by the way.
You don't use this finger.
You use the one most comfortable.
Actually, you'll be comfortable with the
pinkie too, but you don't want to do that,
because we have to get the other
keys with that finger.
So, again this alternate F or
F sharp rather or F sharp trill is
fingering like F, and
then pressing that down with third finger.
So, here we go.
Now we're moving on to G.
This relieves all responsibility
of our right hand.
However, make sure that your fingers
stay in the proper proposition,
you're hovering over the keys.
You're hovering on the keys,
you're not pressing them down but
you're still making contact.
And really important that your right
thumb stays on the thumb rest.
So, G is one, two, three in the left hand.
[SOUND] G sharp would be next or
A flat in harmonically spelled,
it has the same fingering but you're
adding this top of the four table keys.
Find that we've used all three of
the others, this is G sharp or A flat.
[SOUND] Next is A natural,
so you're relieving
your ring finger and your little finger,
and it's just one two in the right hand.
Left hand, sorry.
One two in left hand.
[SOUND] There we go.
B flat is next, or A sharp.
Those notes are played two different ways.
Three ways, but
two that you should actually use.
First of which would be just like an A,
you're gonna press down with
this part of your finger so
that if you press it down you're still
over these keys here, just like that.
Your side B flat key.
That's A,
the side B flat key as indicated.
[SOUND] The alternate fingering for
that, one that I use
just as commonly is my bisque
key fingering, right here.
So I'm pressing the B key down and
the bisque key, B flat bisque key.
But then not play with two fingers,
I play with one finger and
you put your index finger, you put
this finger down between the two so
they are both pressed down by one finger.
[SOUND] A lot of times,
that fingering is much easier actually,
to play than the side B flat.
Side B flat, I mean, it's important,
I'll explain that later, but
they're both very, very important
to get used to, suffice to say.
The other one you might see in other
fingering charts is one and one.
That's kind of an antiquated fingering
because the sound is generally not
as good.
[SOUND] I've got my horn adjusted for
a reason,
which takes that fingering out of
the equation because the drastic
difference in sound, and
it's a little pitchy too.
So, one and one you maybe,
you may see it in books or
whatever, but shy away from that.
Just use the side B flat or
bisque key, B5.
B natural now, which is next, is simply
just the first finger on your left hand.
[SOUND] Moving on to C natural,
you're just
using the second finger on your left hand.
[SOUND] The alternate fingering for
C is to finger it as B and
press down the side C,
which is this middle one of
this vertical row right here.
With this part of your right hand.
Obviously used for trilling too, but
it works as it's own,
independent fingering.
C sharp.
Easiest note on the horn.
Nothing, you press nothing.
[LAUGH] You wanna make sure your thumbs
are there in their normal position for
balance, but hey, there you go,
you can wave to your friends
while you're playing it.
[SOUND] Okay, so, moving on to D Natural.
That was C Sharp, is also D Flat
in harmonically, so C Sharp,
D Flat, all open.
Moving on to D.
Now we're about to jump
the register break.
So now we're incorporating the octave key,
the key that every trumpet
player wishes they had.
Very valuable.
You can play higher with this octave key.
You can't without it.
So, you press down the octave key and
now the same fingering that you use for
the lower D works for
this middle D as well.
In fact, all these fingerings now, are the
same, it's the beauty of the saxophone,
as they are an octave lower just
by pressing the octave key.
So again so now you're pressing,
now be really aware that you're not
gonna change the position of your
thumb when you press this key.
All you're doing is pressing the key.
You don't wanna slide forward.
You don't wanna slide back.
It's gonna create a million
problems if you do that.
So just always be playing with your
thumbprint here on the thumb rest.
And making sure that the octave
key is available for you.
But don't change where you're
pressing that thumb rest.
Okay, so now D, middle D is one, two,
three, one, two, three and the octave key.
[SOUND] D sharp or E flat,
just like it was an octave lower,
is by pressing down on the E flat or
D sharp key.
[SOUND] E is by lifting these two up and,
same thing on the left hand,
one, two, on the right hand.
[SOUND] F is with the octave key, one,
two, three, left hand and just one.
So you're lifting up the E key and
just pressing down the F key.
[SOUND] Okay, F sharp or
G flat next just like an octave
lower you have one two three and
then two in your right hand.
[SOUND] Or the F sharp trill fingering
which is again F down here and
then you're with this finger.
You're pressing down this key.
[SOUND] G is the next note.
Same thing, one, two, three, octave key.
[SOUND] A flat is the next note, or
G sharp and harmonically spelled.
It is, the same thing,
G with this top of the plateau keys,
table keys rather pressed down.
[SOUND] A, is just one and
two, with the octave key.
[SOUND] B flat, same thing as before,
but with our octave key.
So you have the choice of your,
side B flat fingering.
One, two, B flat octave key.
[SOUND] Or your bisque key fingering.
[SOUND] Okay, avoiding the one and
one fingering please.
B natural is just like
it was an octave lower,
just this key right here and
the octave key.
[SOUND] Okay.
C is the second finger.
So just hold this one
alone with the octave key.
Moving on to C sharp or D flat.
The second easiest fingered
note on the instrument because
the only key you need to press down for
this is the octave key.
[SOUND] There we go.
Okay, four more to go.
Now we're incorporating
these palm keys over here.
So I hope you can see these over here,
So the first one, as you can see on
the fingering chart, you've always got
the octave key pressed down ever since
you started pressing it down low.
So another cool thing about the saxophone
is that once you've got that down for
every note above that,
it's always gonna stay down.
So D is just the octave key down and
this first of the three
side keys in the left hand as
indicated on the fingering chart.
Be super aware that just like
the side vertical keys on your
right hand down here, you
wanna make sure that your hand position is
such that you're able to go from those,
to those fingerings to the, you know,
normal fingerings as easily as you can.
So you use the side of your hand, the side
of your finger, for this guy, this guy,
this guy, so that you have enough
of your finger extended so
you can make it to those keys.
Same thing with your left hand.
You want to make sure that you're using,
can you see that?
I'm pressing this key down
right there on that palm.
That way I can go from this fingering
to anything here [SOUND] really easily.
[SOUND] Okay?
So there we go.
D is like that with the first of
the side keys, and the octave key.
[SOUND] D sharp is the top of these
three table keys, so you're adding that,
and again, it's just a natural
part of this first finger here.
You don't bend it, and
you keep it as natural as possible.
[SOUND] Make sure while you're
playing that note, that's E flat or
D sharp by the way.
E flat or D sharp.
Make sure that the D stays pressed
down as you're adding that E flat.
Moving on to E.
So these are staying in the same
position and on your right
hand on the vertical keys you press down
the top of these three keys, right here.
So I'm using that part of my finger for
the reasons I just explained.
So this is E.
[SOUND] Okay and last but
not least we have F.
And we have two fingering for that F.
It's same as E, but
now you're gonna press down
this last third palm
key in your left hand.
[SOUND] Okay the alternate fingering for
finally our lonely plateau key up here.
You want to press down,
you want to move your first finger from
the G key from this top key here, im sorry
like I said to the B key up to here.
And then leave the C key down,
so you leave your.
Leave that finger in place.
Lift that finger up.
And that, this finger
from here to there.
[SOUND] There you go.
Okay, so that's every fingering.
As you're playing these fingerings, again,
just make sure that you're always just
staying very central on your horn.
Never too extended,
don't go too far afield from one
key to another in order to find it.
The rule of thumb is to make
sure that you're always
as close to every fingering as possible,
and find that happy medium.
So, as you're playing these, especially if
you have any questions, but if you don't,
shoot me a video of your positions
especially if you're having any issues,
and I will be more than happy to respond.
Okay, you know every note on the horn now.
You are ready to rock.
Alrighty, have fun.