Exercises in Alternate fingerings - The B Flat

Today I will focus on the Bb. We all know that there are 3 basic fingering for Bb in the middle of the saxophone.

After years of playing, I am willing to bet most of us find ourselves using the Bis key as our default fingering, even in passages that make it awkward to use it (B, to Bb to A is a prime example) this is a prime example of when we should use the side key.


Similarly, there are occasions when a passage will go F Bb A G, when the 1 and 1 actually works better.
An alternate fingering we don't typically think of is the octave overtone of the Low Bb fingering.
A great exercise, what ever level playing you are at to ,work on this particular issue is intonation and tone matching.
Play the note where you feel confident in your tone and intonation, then switch to an an alternate fingering, trying to match the tone and intonation. Then another.
As improvisers this last exercise can be used to add texture, and interest to a solo. This is actually a technique used by Eddie harris, Mike Brecker, and several others.
In a future posting I will go into some of my favorite effects and their sources, but take a listen to what can be done with just a Bb.
What are some exercises or passages you have found that would benefit from the use of an alternate Bb fingering?
**The fingering diagrams were generated using an awsome online tool by Bret Pimentel
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