In this Sax lesson you will learn how to play F sharp and G flat on Alto Saxophone. It's actually the same note that has two different names so by learning how to play F sharp you learn the fingering for G flat at the same time.
Why two different names for the same note? It relates to music theory which we will not be covering in this specific lesson. However you'll probably be seeing the F sharp note way more in sheet music for alto saxophone than the G flat.
So, to keep things simple you'll see instructions below for the F sharp note. Now that you know it's the same fingering for G flat you can play that note as well. Okay, lets get you playing your sax now.
Playing the F sharp note on Alto Saxophone
Instructions: F sharp is fingered by pushing the B, A, G fingering (3 keys) with your left hand and adding the middle finger on the middle key in your right hand.
That makes a total of four keys that you need to push down at the same time to get the F sharp note on your saxophone.
If you find it hard to play the F sharp on your sax you should double check that your left hand isn't opening any palm keys (side keys) by mistake.
Another common problem that beginner saxophone players run into is that they do not push the keys all the way down to make the keys seal tight. So, if that happens you know what to look out for.
Play Low F sharp and G flat on saxophone
You only need four fingers to play the low F sharp note on saxophone. Start by adding the B-A-G keys in your left hand and add the F sharp key (middle finger) in your right hand at the same time. That will give you the low F sharp note on your sax.
Play Middle F Sharp and G flat on saxophone
Add the octave key (register key) to the basic fingering for low F sharp and you get the middle F sharp on saxophone. That's the B-A-G and octave key in your left hand together with the F-sharp key (middle finger) in your right hand.
Note from the saxophone teacher: Practice octave jumps between the low and middle F sharp by adding/removing the octave key. To get a more direct change of tone you can add the tongue at the moment you switch note. That's called tonguing on saxophone and helps separate your notes making it easier to do octave jumps and play several notes in a row while maintaining tone control. Try it out and you'll see what I mean.
Alternate fingerings for F sharp and G flat on Saxophone
When you play certain patterns on your saxophone you may find it hard to use the basic middle F sharp fingering. That's when the alternate F sharp fingering can be handy to know about. Yet another tool in your toolbox that you can pull out and use.
The alternate F sharp fingering looks like this: B-A-G-F notes together (that's an F). Add the F sharp key in your right hand. (That's the odd looking key between the side keys and F-E-D keys in your right hand).
This fingering is useful when doing trills between F and F sharp among other things.
Play High F Sharp and G flat on Alto Saxophone
This is the highest note on saxophone within the normal range of the instrument. When you learn to play saxophone and work through the fingerings of all the notes on your saxophone this will probably be one of the last notes you learn in the normal range.
However, you are here now and no matter how much experience you have with saxophone fingerings we are going to get you playing high F sharp on your sax. Sound good? Okay, let's go.
There are three different fingerings for high F sharp on saxophone. You will learn all three here. Both the basic and alternate fingerings.
Note from the saxophone teacher: If you are playing an older saxophone you may not be able to use all three fingerings for high F sharp (G flat). In that case your sax doesn't have the alternate keys, but you will still be able to use at least one or two of the fingerings.
- The 1st high F sharp (g flat) fingering: Press all 3 palm keys in your left hand › Add the octave key with your left thumb. Press the top side key with your right hand and add the high F sharp key directly above the right hands pinky keys. (Not available on all older saxophones)
- The 2nd high F sharp / G flat fingering: Start with the A note fingering (B – A notes) and add the octave key. Next move the top finger from the B key to the fork F key directly above it. Finally add the B flat side key with your right hand. Done! (This fingering works on all saxophones)
- The 3rd high F sharp / G flat fingering: Start with the A note fingering (B – A notes) and add the octave key. Next move the top finger from the B key to the fork F key directly above it. Finally add the high F sharp key directly above the right hands pinky keys. (Not available on all older saxophones)
Now you have more options to play f sharp and g flat on alto saxophone. Use the variations and alternate fingerings when it makes the most sense.
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.