Episode 3 – All About that Bass… Saxophone

After a couple of weeks off, Matt and I discuss the Bass Saxophone.

Show Notes

From Bandestration

Eppelsheim Bass Saxophone

Selmer Bass Saxophone

Keilwerth Bass Saxophone

Wessex Bass Saxophone

3 thoughts on “Episode 3 – All About that Bass… Saxophone

  1. Alexander Kindel

    I must admit that I’ve considered writing for bass saxophone several times, but faltered each time because it only gives that extra major third on the baritone. An extension to written A would make the idea a little more attractive, but I’d say that I prefer the lowest instrument in any given family to add at least a fifth below the next-lowest. It would seem perfectly natural, then, to score for both a bass and a contrabass, if only I were prepared to take that leap, haha. I’d feel similarly about scoring for contra-alto clarinet, except that contrabass clarinets are common enough that I will happily score for both.

    I was going to comment that saxophone nomenclature bothers me because the bass and the contrabass are not an octave apart, because I had thought “contra” means “double,” but looking it up now, I can find no source for that claim. I guess “double bass” and “double bassoon” can’t be considered literal translations of “contrabass” and “contrabassoon.”

  2. Matthew Banks

    When one is writing for bass sax, I think it’s better to consider it a new tone color than merely a range extension. Though, it does play with greater strength in the “bass” register than the Baritone saxophone really can.

  3. John

    Would state that as a player vs. composer, the tonal characteristics of the bass sax is something that is missing in modern compositions. Agree that the baritone low A is equivalent to the bass low D…but the difficulty of accurately playing the “bell” keys of the baritone would limit the passages vs. the bass.

    As I play both, can allude to the vast differences between the instruments, but the bass mostly sits as the amount of music, though growing, simply does not exist in the community and semi-pro arena.

    BTW, the comment about vintage Selmers being identical to vintage conns and buescher bass saxophones is not quite correct. The Selmer has always been a “short wrap” instrument and stands many inches lower than the American instruments. With that stated, the sound is perhaps more muted as well.

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