Jump to content
Gibson Brands Forums

Sax to Guitar?


bluefoxicy

Recommended Posts

So I'm listening to the Avenue Q soundtrack and I'm like, I love the sax. I bet I could play that on the guitar. Actually, I bet the guitar could take the place of a jazzy sax part really, really nice with sweet enough distortion (harmonics into sweet square waves...).

 

.... why the heck does this work? A sax looks really weird, not square at all; a guitar looks almost like a sine, not as compressed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

lol, yeah, looking at sound waves on a computer trying to figure why one instrument sounds similar to another is an obvious indication of basement-dweller-syndrome.

 

And yeah, nothing replaces a sax, but something can take its place if it's not around :(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're on the right track, but headed in the wrong direction. Stop looking at the waveforms and listen to the notes.

 

Transposing sax lines to guitar has been a source of inspiration to six-stringers for decades. I love playing Lester Young lines. He was so good at mixing blue notes into his playing. Fantastic phrasing.

 

When I want my butt kicked, I attempt some Charlie Parker. Someday I'll tackle Coltrane...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe off topic a bit. But I played sax and did "Harlem Nocturne" in my first band. At the same time I attempted to play it on guitar with the same feel as with the sax but never really got it right. never got it dead on, still I learned alot from the attempt. Although I never played it on Sax, I tried to copy "Take 5" by Brubeck, trying to grab the phrasing, the tone and the timing. What a challenge.... Never did achieve what I started out to do there either, but again it taught me alot. (I only worked in one band with another guitar player for a very short time in '68). Another thing that taught me alot, was copying the lead lines of the keyboard players I worked with and sometimes, (although not uncommon), we'd do keyboard/guitar solos, but from a keyboard perspective, not guitar. I once read, that Frank Sinatra attributed his "style" of singing to emulating the feel, phrasing and timing of the horn section in the Big Bands who he worked with like Harry James and Tommy Dorsey.

 

Agreed, these songs and artists are dated but the soul is still obvious in what they provided.

 

BUT, as TheX pointed out, "nothing can replace a well played sax". You sure can learn alot though, by trying to capture the essence of other lead instruments and differenct styles of artists.........J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You're on the right track' date=' but headed in the wrong direction. Stop looking at the waveforms and listen to the notes.

 

Transposing sax lines to guitar has been a source of inspiration to six-stringers for decades. I love playing Lester Young lines. He was so good at mixing blue notes into his playing. Fantastic phrasing.

 

When I want my butt kicked, I attempt some Charlie Parker. Someday I'll tackle Coltrane...[/quote']

 

Try playing along with Sonny Criss sometime. Not well known outside of California. Was one of those, play great until you get a good contract then dive headfirst into a spoonful or six, dry out and do it all again. Hamp Hawes was his piano player, and always willing to drop his own group and go back to Sonny. Extremely melodic, great timing, superb breath control and a sense for nuance that really kicks a$$. Finally got himself straightened out, made a comeback and died of a heartattack.

 

Pick up a copy of "This is Criss" and check out Black Coffee.

 

EDIT:

 

or try this: Sonny and the LA All Stars with Teddy Edwards on tenor

 

http://youtube.com/watch?v=96SakRrz8Z0

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At the same time I attempted to play it on guitar with the same feel as with the sax but never really got it right. never got it dead on' date=' still I learned alot from the attempt. Although I never played it on Sax, I tried to copy "Take 5" by Brubeck, trying to grab the phrasing, the tone and the timing.[/quote']

 

Someone (*cough*Herman Li*cough*)said to try to play songs but not bother trying to play the song, just play the instrument. Like, you hear a song, you pick up your guitar and play it. It doesn't sound like Slash, or Alice, or Vai, or whoever; it sounds like you, playing guitar.

 

I guess you'd learn a lot from the attempt, but did you eventually just try to play it and learn something from that too?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lots of guitar players listen to Jazz horn players, not to copy note for note, but to learn different phrasing, and patterns.

Roger McGuinn used influences from John Coltrane, for his solo in "Eight Miles High," for just one example. But, it's

obviously still McGuinn...just borrowing the influence, and not trying to do anything "note for note!" At best, you'll

only approximate a horn's sound. But, borrowing phrases, pattern's and "punctuation," is not only a good idea,

it's critical...IMHO. Listen to Miles! John McLaughlin uses horn and sitar type phrasing, as well as standard blues and jazz.

 

CB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Someone (*cough*Herman Li*cough*)said to try to play songs but not bother trying to play the song' date=' just play the instrument. Like, you hear a song, you pick up your guitar and play it. It doesn't sound like Slash, or Alice, or Vai, or whoever; it sounds like you, playing guitar.

 

I guess you'd learn a lot from the attempt, but did you eventually just try to play it and learn something from that too?[/quote']

 

That's what I was meaning when I said capture the essence, (From dictionary: the basic, real, and invariable nature of a thing or its significant individual feature or features): of the original lead line from sax or piano and trying to emulate the tone, timing and phrasing... Obviously, You can't make a guitar "sound" like someone blowing through a reed or playing keys on a soundboard. Yes, I learned alot from the attempt and that was my point.. Not only was I attempting the dexterity for timing and phrasing, I tried to mirror the timbre and not accomplishing that, my failure was my gain.... I didn't eventually just try to play "it", "it" just became part of my playing............J

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You cannot replace a sax with guitar any more than you can replace a guitar with a sax. But they can cross-pollinate each other. I learned a lot about sax playing by listening to guitars, organs, vocals, and other wind instruments.

 

Getting the tone right is probably the least important thing, after all, what is good sax tone? Stan Getz? John Coltrane? Clanence Clemmons? Dexter Gordon? Ken Peplowski? Scott Hamilton? Junior Walker? the list goes on and on.

 

What you have to do is get the tone in the ball park, and then study different sax players to see how the sax expresses itself in the hands of different sax players. Quote from Charlie Parker, "You don't play the sax, you let the sax play you." This is true of all instruments when you think about it. You can only play what the instrument is capable of doing. You can't play tympani rolls on a marimba (for an extreme example).

 

After you have an acceptable tone, you must consider some of the following ways of sax expression (this is off the top of my head, and by no means complete):

 

1) Sustain. The sax can sustain a note for about a minute with complete control over volume. It can hold it at the same volume, increase and/or decrease volume at will

 

2) Vibrato: The sax can use either pitch bend and/or volume variances to produce vibrato. The speed can be controlled and varied from very slow to very fast and is hardly ever either immediate or constant during the duration of the note -- plus the tone of the sax changes (brighter and darker) during the cycles of vibrato. -- Also, pitch vibrato varies both above and below the "in tune" frequency (amount above and below is also variable)

 

3) Glissando: Probably something that can not be reproduced by the guitar. The equivalent would be the guitar slide, which does not sound like the sax gliss.

 

4) Attack: Saxophonists can attack a note in a greater variety of ways than a guitar is capable of. Scoops (starting flat and pulling up to pitch), sneaking in soft to loud, sforzando (Attacking the note loudly, then quickly decreasing the volume and then gradually bringing the volume up again etc.

 

5) Tonal changes: Changes of the mouth cavity can change the "vowel" sound from an aah to an ooh. Also (as previously mentioned) any variation in volume or pitch bend actually changes the tone of the sax. Extreme overblowing on the sax to make it "blaat" a bit is often used in blues and rock players.

 

6) Distortion: From subtle distortion produced in the throat to a "flutter tongue" effect or both.

 

7) Breath noise: Can be variably mixed with the sax tone. Mixed with attack can make fore a "Fwaa daa" sound, fuzzy sub-tones, etc.

 

8) Phrasing: Like singers, sax players need to breathe. Listening to singers is the best way to get good sax phrasing.

 

9) Slurs: Saxes can change notes without re-attacking the note while keeping the same volume, or varying the volume as the player wishes

 

10) Ornaments" Mordents, reverse Mordents, trills, and a large number of ornaments can be applied.

 

Note: Some you will be able to recreate, some not. Stick to what you can do and stay away from what you cannot.

 

When I emulate other instruments on my wind synthesizer, I try to treat them as an impressionist comedian does when he/she takes various speech patterns and pronunciations from the person he/she is doing, and exaggerates them slightly. You know they don't sound exactly like the person they are parodying, their voice isn't the same, but by applying many of the nuances they get across the essence of that person.

 

This is what you need to do if you want emulate sax on the guitar. The degree in which you succeed will depend both on your ability to recreate sax nuances and your guitar/fx/amp's ability as well

 

Good luck,

Bob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a guitar player, listening to other musical instruments is what Yngwie Malmsteen once said in an interview when asked a question regarding finding your own sound. Ive learned to open my mind by listening to pianists, sax, violin, trumpet, among others. I used to be so closed minded that whenever talking about guitars, it was all about Vai & Satriani. Now, they're all the same in my mind...Ace Freehly, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Chuck Berry, Toni Iommi, Brian May, Les Paul, George Harrison, Eric Clapton,BB King,etc. Its no longer just all about Vai and Satriani anymore. All are equal and great guitar players in their own right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually got some pretty convincing sax sounds when I had a guitar synth rig a while back.......the trick was adding vibrato with an expression pedal to simulate breath control. It really was alot of fun.....I had JR. Walker down...probably cause his stuff was relatively easy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually got some pretty convincing sax sounds when I had a guitar synth rig a while back.......<...>

 

Depending on your skill at mimicking and your synth itself' date=' a synth is perhaps the best way to go.

 

A couple of synth-sax clips done with a WX5 wind controller and a Yamaha VL70m synth module plus a synth guitar clip done with the same equipment can be heard here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/clips.html

Notes

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I want my butt kicked' date=' I attempt some Charlie Parker. Someday I'll tackle Coltrane...[/quote']

 

There was a Parker transcription in a back-issue guitar mag I was reading last weak... talk about a butt-kicker!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Candy Dufler---Saxuality ===Awesome album

I bet Notes will chime in on this one

Bob that is

 

Mark, yeh, you're right about that; Candy Dufler is awesome (for a white girl). If you listen to one of the tracks where

the black musicans are making a comment about her they're saying (paraphrase..."Say what? A white girl? But can

she blow?" She got some good sax licks.

 

Blues, as far as imitating horns (sax or whatever)...it's a great way to add pizazz to your phrasing. Bending the

notes in a certain part of the phrase gives it that slur that you often get on a horn. And when you do double-stop

bends you can simulate that "growl" sound.

 

I was in a band one time where we played the Stones "Brown Sugar". We didn't have a sax player in the band,

but I got awful darn close to following Bobby Keys phrasing on the guitar and it sounded nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...