How To Bend Notes On A Sax

To play the greatest jazz hits with that signature hint of sexiness that will drive your listeners wild, you really need to know how to bend notes on a sax. Turn a regular performance into a smooth, sensual work of art by perfecting how to bend notes on a sax.


To bend notes on a sax, you're going to need:

  • A saxophone (An alto, tenor, baritone, or soprano will all work fine)
  • A fresh reed in your mouthpiece
  • Plenty of air in your lungs
  • Sheet music
  1. Play the first note as you normally would. Blow into your mouthpiece with a good, strong breath. Make sure you've got a lot of air stored up in your lungs, as learning now to bend notes on a sax involves repetition before you can perfect the art.
  2. Play the second note, squeezing your bottom lip as you do so. Take note that the second note should be higher than the first. So, for example, if your initial note was a C, go up to a B or A. Also make certain as to not squeeze your bottom lip too tightly. Otherwise, you'll completely close off the passageway between the reed and your mouthpiece and no sound will come out of your saxophone.
  3. Return to the first note, slackening your lip as you transition. This is where you actually bend notes on a sax. You might need to increase the amount of air you're blowing through your mouthpiece, so this is where your deep breath from the beginning pays off. The tricky part here is to not loosen your lip too much, as this could lead to a complete lack of sound coming out from your saxophone.
  4. Repeat the process, varying how much you loosen/tighten your bottom lip. Practicing through repetition is really the best way to perfect how to bend notes on a sax. You may run into some squeaks and unpleasant sounds, but keep at it! Don't get discouraged and keep experimenting how much you let your lip slacken or how tight you make it. Soon enough, you'll not only be able to bend notes on a sax, but even jump between octaves using just your lips!

Learning how to bend notes on a sax is not necessarily a difficult process, but one that requires perseverance and a good set of lungs. With enough patience, you will be able to really make your solos shine and turn every piece of music you play into a verifiable masterpiece.

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