Simon W’s Sax…

Ask Katy

Hi Katy. This question is for Simon W.

Hi Simon. I really enjoyed your sax playing on the UK tour but I'd like you to settle a debate my friend and I have had about the sax you play in Tiger Tiger. She thinks it's an alto but I say it's an unusual curved soprano sax. What is the advantage of a curved soprano over the normal straight soprano as I want to take up the sax again after a very long gap and am considering whether to return to an alto or try a soprano. As I've played clarinet in the meantime, might I find a soprano easier? My greatest fear was always snagging a well worn-in reed just before or during a performance. Has this ever happened to you and do you take a spare reed on stage just in case? Finally, as Rio has a iconic sax solo, has anyone in the band ever expressed any interest in learning to play sax and have you tried to teach them? Thank you. Gillian

"Hi Gillian! Thanks for your question. Glad to see you're paying attention!;-)

The sax I use for Tiger Tiger and Union Of The Snake is a curved soprano. Altos are double the size if these. Apart from the shape there is no real difference between the straight and curved sopranos (although some classical saxophonists argue that they are slightly different in sound.) The only reason I use the curved version for Duran Duran is that as I move around a lot on stage and have a wireless microphone, it's much easier to clip on as the bell is curved. Straight sopranos normally need 2 mics - one around the middle and one at the very end, so they usually have to be stand mics. I would suggest starting off with an alto rather than a soprano as they are much better to learn on. It's what I started on when I was at school.

Reeds are the biggest pain of being a saxophonist. Finding one that works well isn't always easy. Fortunately I have an endorsement with RICO so I tend to use a new reed for every show to make sure it's going to work properly. I always have spares within running distance of the stage though, but they rarely break during a show.

It's funny you should ask about band members wanting to learn the sax. Just before Christmas JT was asking my advice and said he had been contemplating getting one!

I hope that answers all your questions. Let me know if you have any more.

Cheers, Simon x"