BC110 - How to do Vibrato on Saxophone, guaranteed!

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Posted by Daniel Christian on 06 Nov 21:40

In this free online saxophone video lesson Dan teaches you a sure fire way to achieve and practise Vibrato on Saxophone. Some people have wide vibrato, some people can't do vibrato at all. This video addresses these issues and gives some tips on how to improve your saxophone vibrato. Saxophone vibrato comes from the loosening off of the jaw and, in my opinion, sounds best when its not too wide!

Vibrato - Getting wobbly with it

Saxophone vibrato is unique from sax player to sax player (eg Kenny G to Candy Dulfer and I highly recommend that you find a style you like by finding a great sax player you like the sound of and copy! That's what I and many other sax players have done over the years. I believe you should add vibrato into your practise routine at an early stage as t really does take years to master! Your saxophone playing will really benefit from adding vibrato but be careful not pull around the pitch TOO much. Saxophone vibrato is there to warm and enhance the sound, not electrocute it!

Creating Vibrato

We create Vibrato on Saxophone by using our Jaw.  Nothing else, just jaw!  This is really important to understand before you get started, the majority of problems with Vibrato on Saxophone are caused by the player getting their tongue, throat or if they come from other instruments, diaphragm involved.  The easiest way to experience jaw vibrato for the first time is by saying the word "Yah" whilst placing your hand underneath your jaw.   

Guaranteed Vibrato - Fingerstyle

In order to control your vibrato better when creating it for the first time we can simulate the experience in order to first experience effective vibrato before trying it.  Try the following:  Play the note G with all 3 buttons depressed with your left hand.  Next take your index finger of your right hand and manually lower your jaw by placing the finger sideways against your chin and pulling down and up slightly as shown in the video.  Make sure you are happy with the sound you create here and try altering the amount you are pulling down if you aren't!

Let your Jaw take over

Once you are happy with Saxophone "Finger Vibrato" try emulating that same jaw movement without the use of your finger.  Remember the "Yah" motion from earlier?  Use that now to lower your jaw slightly as you play the note G once more, remember to keep blowing. You won't get any Vibrato if you have no air!  The only thing that changes, is your jaw position, nothing else. 

Saxophone Vibrato Practise Tips

For now, the best course of action is to find a Vibrato you really like.  Search out a few different types of Saxophone Players on YouTube and listen to how they use Vibrato. Eventually we'll be adjusting the width and frequency of our vibrato to achieve something that is closer to "your" style.

Set your metronome to crotchet = 60 (1 click per second) and do a slight finger vibrato each click and alternate this between using your finger and using your jaw.

In the future there will be videos on various types of Vibrato uses in Classical music through to Jazz and Rock.

This is part of Dan Christian's Beginners Saxophone Course in which Dan gives free saxophone lessons, for more videos, musings and performances by Dan please Subscribe/Like and come join me at danchristian.net which is currently going through a major overhaul :-)

Happy wobbling!

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