I've been playing saxophone for 50 years, mostly alto but more recently tenor. Just recently I acquired a baritone saxophone, and I've had it tuned by a seasoned technician, so I'm pretty sure it's in great shape.

The issue is that, unlike my other horns, I have to loosen my embouchure to hit the lower notes without them jumping an octave. This seems wrong to me.

The horn did not come with a mouthpiece, so I bought a Yamaha 5C.

Is this slacking of the jaw normal for bari players when hitting the lower notes? Is it that I might have the wrong mouthpiece? Or is it me, and I just need to be playing more often to adjust?

Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

  • Be a man :-) and get a bass sax! Mar 21, 2022 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


If you have to loosen up to play the low notes then your embouchure is too tight and you need loosen up over the whole range of the instrument. Start by working on just the low notes, and then when you play higher don't tighten up. Coming from tenor it might take a while before you can relax enough.

The Yamaha 5C should work fine for most kinds of playing. You'll only need something else if you need to cover the extremes: if you're playing with an R&B band you'll probably need something much louder and brighter, and if you're playing classical music with a quartet you might need a much closer lay.

  • Yes. There's a similar issue in going from clarinet to any sax: too tight embouchure, by habit. Mar 20, 2022 at 20:27
  • does this mean that the embouche suitable for playing different kind of sax and clarinets are all different?
    – Divide1918
    Mar 21, 2022 at 10:05
  • @Divide1918 The clarinet embouchure is different than the saxophone embouchure. In general the embouchure for the larger saxophones is more relaxed than for the smaller ones.
    – PiedPiper
    Mar 21, 2022 at 12:35
  • Thank you! This sounds like a very reasonable answer, and I am tagging it as the answer. I will following this suggestion, and hope that I can developer a consistent approach to this new acquisition. Mar 21, 2022 at 17:13
  • Exactly agree. Tightest to loosest embouchure: Eb clarinet, Bb Clarinet, somewhere a tie between soprano sax and alto clarinet, Alto sax & bass clarinet, and onwards. As a clarinetist, I found it helpful to use metal sax mouthpieces just so the jaw opening (not tension) was easier to deal with. Mar 21, 2022 at 18:34

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