Alto Saxophone fingering for the C note

How to play C on alto saxophone

🎷 Written by: Greger Hillman, Your friendly saxophone teacher online

This beginner saxophone lesson covers how to play C on Alto Saxophone. The C note can be played in three octaves on your saxophone. It is most common to start with the middle C note as it goes well together with the other “beginner notes” (B-A-G) on your saxophone.

So, we will start with middle C first and then cover the low and high C after that. There's also an altered middle C fingering that can be used in certain situations to make it easier to jump between notes which I'll include as well. But first things first.

Play middle C note on Alto Saxophone

To play Middle C on Saxophone you have to use your left hands middle finger and press down the middle main key. That's it. 

Altered fingering: You can play middle C using the first main key in your left hand (B key) together with the middle side key in your right hand. This can be useful jumping between B and C as you only need to move the right hand side key instead of switching between the B key and C key in your left hand.

Play middle C note on Alto Saxophone fingering

Notes from the Saxophone teacher: mMake sure to keep a steady air flow and good posture as it will help you get better sax sound. This together with a good saxophone Embouchure will make you sound better on your saxophone.

Play high C on Alto Saxophone

To play High C on saxophone you have to use the middle finger and thumb on your left hand. Press down the middle main key on the front of the saxophone together with the octave key (register key) on the back of the sax. This will give you the high C note on your saxophone.

Altered fingering: Same as with middle C you can use the altered C fingering (B key + middle side key) in order to make faster jumps and drills between notes.

Play High C note on Alto Saxophone fingering

Play low C on Alto Saxophone

To play low C on saxophone you use the main three keys in your left and right hands. Adding the pinky to the low pinky key (C key) in your right hand.

Notes from the saxophone teacher: The low C note can be a bit tricky to play as a beginner but there is a way to practice this, so that you “ease in” to the low C.

By “walking down” the notes from G to F to E to D and finally landing on low C, you may find it easier to play that low C on your saxophone. It's a good way to start out and as you practice more you'll notice that  you'll develop more tone control which makes it easier to play the low notes on your sax all together.

Play low C note on Alto Saxophone fingering

Alternate C note fingering on Alto Saxophone

There's an alternate C note fingering on saxophone that can be really useful at times too. Here's how you play it:

  • With your left hand, press down the B note
  • With your right hand, press the middle side key in your right hand.

Now you can do a fast drill between B and C simply by move the side of your right palm to and from the side key to the side.

Alternate C fingering on Alto Saxophone

Want to learn all the Saxophone fingerings?

Great! Make sure to download the free Saxophone fingering chart PDF to keep as a reference when you practice your saxophone.

About the author

Hi there. I’m Greger Hillman, your friendly saxophone teacher online with a passion for playing and teaching the saxophone. It’s been over 35 years since I picked up the sax for the first time and it was love at first sight.

If you are just getting started playing saxophone I’m really excited for you and I’m looking forward to helping you become a better sax player starting rigt now. Check out the articles below.