Saxophone Fingering Chart

Saxophone Fingering Chart: The Complete Guide

This saxophone fingering chart will help you learn how to finger all the notes within the normal range of the saxophone. (there’s also what’s called the altissimo register, but that’s way beyond what a beginner or intermediate player needs to get started and progress on the sax.)

The sax fingerings applies to all saxophone models. So, it doesn’t matter if you play the soprano, alto, tenor or bari saxophone. Each fingering is illustrated along with a brief description in text. The biggest benefits with this saxophone fingering chart are the instructional videos that go along with each fingering.

I show you exactly how to finger and play the note, so that you can reference both the fingering and sound.

Saxophone key chart and fingering diagram for beginners

This chart covers all the basic and alternate key fingerings on the saxophone that you need to know on the saxophone.

All fingerings from low B-flat to high F-sharp

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Low B-flat

in order to play the lowest note on saxophone, the B-flat, you need to use all your fingers.

This fingering may be a little tricky especially if you haven’t played for that long.

It may also be a bit of a challenge for children to reach the low b-flat key and the low C key with the pinky fingers.

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Low B

Just as with B-flat, this note, the low b note on saxophone, can be a bit hard to finger if you are a beginner and especially a child.

You need to use all your fingers in order to get the note right.

Don’t be discouraged if you get squeaks or cannot hit the note. It’s part of the process and you’ll be able to get it in time for sure.

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C1

This fingering require three fingers in the left hand and four fingers in the right hand as shown on the graphics and in the video.

Tip:

If you find it hard to hit the note try “walking down” from notes higher up on the instrument. i.e E1-D1-C1

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C-sharp1 & D-flat 1

Some fingerings have two names. This note is an example of that. The C-sharp (C#1) is related to an “sharp” key while the D-flat (Db1) is related to a “flat” key.

Basically the same fingering, even as the note has two different ways to be displayed and transcribed.

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D1

Use 6 fingers to play the D1 note. 3 in your left hand and 3 in your right hand.

Quick tip:You can play the D2 note simply by adding the octave key (left thumb). However, you can view a separate video for that saxophone fingering if you’d like.

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D-sharp1 & E-flat 1

Playing the Eb1 or D#1 requires 7 fingers. This note has two names, but it’s basically the same note.

The reason you have both a “flat”-version and a “sharp”-version has to do with the key you are playing in.

A mini music theory lesson:In music theory you’ll learn that a scale or a song that come out of  a “flat” key ( i.e Bb-major) only has flats in the notation. So, in this case, as Bb-major has 2 flats you would use the Eb1 notation to fit keep the sheet music correct.

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E1

You can finger E1 by using three fingers in your left hand and two fingers in your right hand.

Quick tip:Give the E2 a go by adding the left thumb to the octave key in the back of the saxophone. There’s another video covering that fingering in more detail, but maybe you can see how these fingerings are related even if they are one octave (means 8) a part.

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F1

With 3 fingers in the left hand and just the index finger in your right hand, you’ve got the correct fingering for F1.

Quick tip:Try out the F2 note by adding the octave key, which is the key above the thumb plate for your left thumb. There’s also a separate video available for that fingering.

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F-sharp1 & G-flat 1

This note has two names even though it will sound the same. Using the F-sharp or G-flat notation in the sheet music will be based on what key you are playing in.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand everything about keys, sharps and flats. Keep going and you’ll pick up on it along the way.

Quick tip:Just add the octave key to the fingering and you’ll get the same note but one octave higher. The octave key is the key right above your left thumb on the back of the saxophone.

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G1

3 fingers in your left hand. Playing G1 on saxophone is among the first notes you’d normally be learning when you start out as a beginner saxophone player. 

Quick tip:If you’d like to give G2 a try you just need to add the octave key (your left thumb) in the back of the saxophone. Don’t worry if you cannot hit the G2, because it can actually take a little while to get a hang of how to use the saxophone embouchure right.

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G-sharp1 & A-flat 1

Fingering A-flat or G-sharp (Ab1 & G#1), which is basically the same note, takes the use of four fingers.

Use your left hand and finger B-A-G (1-2-3) and add on the left pinky on the upper side plate of the 4 options available.

Quick tip:Want to try playing Ab2? Just add on the octave key to this fingering and you will get the same note pitch, but one octave higher.

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A1

The A1 saxophone fingering is really straight forward. Just use your index finger and middle finger to push down on the 1 and 2 key in your left hand.

So, 2 fingers is all that’s needed.

Quick tip: If you want to give A2 a shot, just add the octave key (left thumb) in the back. You can always reference the separate video for that fingering too.

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A-sharp1 & B-flat 1

This note has two names, but still sounds the same. In the video you’ll see both the basic way to finger Bb1 (A#1) as well as the most common alternate fingerings.

The alternate fingerings are really useful to know as you learn to play more melodies and even solos on your saxophone. These fingerings will make it a lot easier to play certain combination of notes on your sax.

However, that being said, you should always make a habit of using the basic fingering first when you practice scales and do other saxophone exercises. That way you’ll be able to develop a solid technique on your saxophone, which will make you an overall better sax player.

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B1

1 finger in your left hand. Playing B1 on saxophone is pretty much as simple as it can get on the instrument.

Just push down the index finger on the first key that’s indicated in the illustration under the first tab.

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C2

Finger the note with your left middle finger.

The note can be fingered in 2 different ways. Always work on the main fingering first as it will be the one you’ll be using the most.

extra information:It can be tempting to use the octave key in the back, since it’s the C2(!) i.e second octave. However, C2 is fingered without the octave key.

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C-sharp2 & D-flat 2

no fingers – just blow!

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D2

Playing D2 requires 6 fingers pushing down 3 in your left hand and 3 in your right hand. You also need to add the octave key (left thumb).

This note can be a bit tricky to hit correctly and a rookie mistake is to squeeze your lips too much. The feeling should rather be the opposite. Relax your jaw and play with a good air support instead.

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D-sharp2 & E-flat 2

Similar fingering to the D note in the second octave with one small but important difference. Add the right pinky to the upper of the two plate keys on the bottom of the sax and that will give you the E-flat 2.

So, a quick road map in case you didn’t look at the D2 fingering yet:

Use 3 fingers in each hand along with the octave key. Finally add a fourth finger (your pinky) to the key described above.

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E2

3 fingers in your left hand on the front of the sax + the octave key. Make it complete by adding two fingers in the right hand.

Practice tip:Start with playing a long note of E1 (without octave key) and then add the octave key to jump up to E2.

Did you make it? It can be a bit hard at first….

Here’s a tip to make it easier. Use your tongue slightly as you make the switch between the notes. A lot easier, right?!

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F2

3 fingers in your left hand + the thumb on the back. Add the F key in your right hand and you’ve got the F2 that works on all saxophones.

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F-sharp2 & G-flat 2

Here’s two fingerings for F-sharp 2 and G-flat 2, which actually will sound the same but depending on if you play a song in a “flat”-key or a “sharp”-key you’ll be reading one or the other.

Tip:Always focus on the main fingering first and add the alternate later.

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G2

This note is pretty straight forward to finger. Just add three fingers in your left hand along with your left thumb on the back for the octave key and you’re set.

Tip:Work on octave jumps by playing G2 then jumping down to G1 by letting go of the octave key.

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G-sharp2 & A-flat 2

Use all 5 fingers in your left hand. 3 on the front + the pinky on the plate key. Thumb on the octave key.

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A2

3 fingers in your left hand is all you need for this note. two on the front side and the thumb on the back.

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A-sharp2 & B-flat 2

Bb3 and A#3, which sounds the same, can be played in three different ways. One main way and two alternate ways.

The basic way include 3 fingers in your left hand and a side key in you right hand.

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B2

You just need your index finger in your left hand. Add the octave with your left thumb and you’ve got that B2.

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C3

Finger C3 by using your left middle finger along with the left thumb. There’s also an alternate fingering that you can see in the image or on the video.

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C-sharp3 & D-flat 3

no fingers in the front. Add the octave key in the back and you’ve got the C#3 och Db3.

Tip:It’s not unusual for beginners to have some trouble with playing the higher notes in tune. One way of getting the tuning right  is to practice with a tuner. Another way would be to play C#2 and listen in to the way it sounds and then jump up to C#3 with the focus of making it sound the same in pitch.

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D3

With the octave key pushed in (left thumb) you finger the first palm key in your left hand. The first key is the one that’s the closest to your body.

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D-sharp3 & E-flat 3

Keep the octave key pushed in and add two palm keys in your left hand too. That’s it!

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E3

Now we are getting a bit more advanced and the E3 note can be played in two different ways.

The basic fingering include two palm keys and the octave key in your left hand + the top side key in your right hand

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F3

F3 can be played in two ways on saxophone. the first and most common way would be using all three palm keys along with the octave key in your left hand + the top side key in your right hand.

Can be a bit tricky in the beginning but it’s worth working on for future songs.

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F-sharp3 & G-flat 3

The highest of the notes within the normal register of the saxophone. The F#3 and Gb3 can be fingered in several ways. Please refer to the illustration and the video.

Thank you Bret!

Special thanks to Bret Pimentel for letting me use his awesome Fingering Diagram Builder at BretPimentel.com to make the graphics with the fingerings for saxophone that you see here on the page, in the videos and in the PDF.

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