AlphasaxFAQ

 

Why the need for the Alphasax??

As one of the World?s leading woodwind designers and distributors, we have over the years been consistently receiving comments from parents and teachers about the problems facing a new and younger generation of players wanting to learn the saxophone.  On further investigation we found that the major issues preventing the smaller and younger player from starting the instrument was the weight implications of (a) the instrument (b) outfit in carry case along with key positioning for the smaller hands. 

 

I don?t really get where the Alphasax? and the standard design alto saxophone fit?

Pretty simple really, if you are too small to begin to learn on the standard alto saxophone then the Alphasax? is for you!  The Alphasax? is not designed to take the place of the normal alto instrument, but is solely designed to enable the younger player who really wants to learn, to play now rather than have to wait until they grow!  

 

O.K so what happens when I grow?

As the Alphasax? has a full two octave chromatic facility using established saxophone finger positioning; you will already have had a ?heads up? advantage by starting to play the saxophone at a much earlier age than usual sax players.  When your teacher feels that you are able to carry the full weight of the standard alto saxophone, or you require an instrument that can play below Low C or higher than D in the second octave, then you will make the natural move over to a standard design alto saxophone. 

 

How long will I need to be on the Alphasax??

Well again it depends on you and your teacher. The instrument has been designed to take you through Associated Board Grade 1 and 2 so unless you grow really quickly, you will be fine with the Alphasax? for a couple of years in which time you will be able to then transfer easily to a standard alto saxophone.   Please note that if you progress quickly then whilst the Alphasax will enable you to continue studying towards your Grade 3, the  AB grade 3 sight reading does include the possible use of a low C# which is not available on the Alphasax.  So unless you obtain permission to use the Alphasax in your Grade 3, then you will not currently be able to take the exam until you have moved on to a normal sized alto.  We will be seeking clarification from Associated Board on the use of the Alphasax in AB Grade 3 exams. 

 

Will the transition from the Alphasax? to a traditional alto later on prove difficult ? something else to learn?

The finger positions on the Alphasax? are more compact to reflect smaller hands.  As hands grow larger, the ergonomics of the standard alto saxophone will enable a smooth transition. 

 

Will my teacher be able to teach me using standard tutor books and will I be able to learn alongside somebody playing a traditional alto sax?

The Alphasax? is in the key of Eb which is the same as the traditional alto sax.  The innovative new mechanism has enabled us to maintain the finger positioning of a traditional alto saxophone, so you will be able to use the standard tutor books and happily learn alongside others.

 

Why has the D Key / palm key been left on the Alphasax??

The original instrument prototypes were designed without a D key/palm key which gave the saxophone a two octave chromatic range.  Teachers and Music Education Authorities in the UK asked us to reintroduce it as it enables the younger player to work up to AB Grade 3 standard.   Without the key they would be able to reach AB Grade 2 only. 

 

How is the Design of the Alphasax Different?

The new Alphasax? is based around the original body tube of the multi Award winning Trevor James Horn alto saxophone with redesigned mechanism and tone hole positioning.  This ensures that we meet the weight and finger positioning issues of the younger player whilst maintaining the excellent tonal characteristics contained within a Trevor James saxophone body.

 

 Key and Mechanism Detail ? the differences with a standard alto sax?

 

·          The left hand palm keys for top D#, E and F have been removed.

·          The top D key has been adjusted to fit small hands.

·          The low B & Bb keys have been removed.

·          Redesigned G# and low C# keys are now easier to reach.

·          The right hand side F# keys and side C key have been removed.

·          Redesigned low D# and C keys are now easier to reach.

·          The Alphasax? retains a fully chromatic range from low C to high D.

·          Bb bis and side Bb keys are retained

Do you suggest I use a harness instead of a neckstrap?

Both have their benefits. The answer should be based on your teacher recommendation as it is important that you have correct weight distribution when playing.   If you are using a neck strap then it is important that the length is correct and not too long or short.  If you are unsure then take advice from your saxophone teacher or your specialist saxophone retailer.

 

The tone hole at the back of the bell - I presume that this is for tuning / venting?

As the instrument plays down to low C and not to Bb the full bell is not strictly required.  In order to keep the shape and integrity of the sax, we have kept the bell intact but vented in low C through the specifically shaped tone hole.

 

How much does the instrument weigh?
At only 1.86kg in weight the revolutionary Alphasax ? saxophone is 33% lighter than the traditional alto saxophone.  

 

I presume that the case is also light?

A new lightweight (1.48kg) moulded case with backpack straps is included along with a padded neck strap, mouthpiece, cap and single screw ligature.  A Vandoren reed completes the package.