Fork F on Saxophone. The fingering for alternate high F, Front F on all saxophones

How to Play Fork F on Saxophone

Written by Greger Hillman, Saxophone teacher and music educator

The Fork F on Saxophone is an alternate way of fingering the high F on saxophone. It can really speed up your fingerings and technique moving between high A and F, C and F as well as D and F.

The Front F ( aka “Fork F”) is most useful when playing certain note combinations on your saxophone.

I always teach my students the regular high F fingering first, as it flows naturally when moving chromatically from high D, E flat and E up to F using the palm keys in your left hand on the side of the sax.

Differences between Front F and regular F on saxophone

Both fingerings let you play the same note, the high F. Based on my experience it's easier to maintain an open and full sound with the Fork F compared to the standard high F fingering on saxophone.

However, you can achieve the same “openness” in your sound with a bit of practice. It ultimately comes down to two things. Your Embouchure and mindset.

First, the embouchure (“The way you form your lips around the mouthpiece and position it in your mouth”) is important as it forms your saxophone sound.

Secondly, it's common for saxophone beginners to increase the pressure on the mouthpiece when you play in the upper register. That's what cause the tone to become thinn and fragile.

In opposite, you should maintain an open throat and use a steady air stream and support throughout the entire range of the saxophone.

This does take same time to get used to as it is a bit counterintuitive of what you “think” you should be doing. So, by changing your mindset about how you play high notes on saxophone, including the Fork F, will actually improve your overall sound.

The Fork F (Front F) Fingering

The way you finger Fork F is pretty simple. You only need two fingers on the front and the octave key on the back. It's played like a high C with the Fork key added on the front.

Here's an easy way to find the Front F on you Saxophone:

  1. Finger a high A on your sax using the B and C keys with the octave key on the back
  2. Next, move the B finger up to the front fork key directly above it on your sax. That's it!
Image of Fork F on Saxophone with illustrative explanation of the Front F Fingering on Sax.

This fingering makes it super easy moving between C and F in the upper register on the saxophone.

Practicing Front F arpeggios on saxophone

To get comfortable playing Front F in different combinations I recommend that you practice arpeggios incorporating the Fork F.

Here's an example for doing arpeggios over a F Major Chord on Saxophone:

Starting from Low F › A › Middle C › Middle F › High A › High C › High F (Fork F fingering)

Make sure to practice this slowly to get familiar with the alternate Fork fingering as well as listening to the intonation of each note to make sure you are playing in tune.

The arpeggio exercises are great both for developing your saxophone technique and musical understanding. So, if you are not already practicing arpeggios I recommend that you make it part of your practice routine.

It will make a huge difference as you progress to learn more chord arpeggio variations on your saxophone.

In conclusion

Learning Fork F on Saxophone is really useful. However, it will not replace the importance of learning all the basic saxophone fingerings.

In some musical situations the Front F will make it much easier to make a passage or jump between notes like High A to High F and High C to High F.

You should look at Fork F as yet another fingering to put in your musical toolbox that will help you become a more complete saxophone player.

There are a total of 3 Fork fingerings on Saxophone. You've already learned about Fork F here, but there's also Fork F# (F sharp) and Fork E on 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.

Saxophone teacher online Greger Hillman

Written by Greger Hillman

Greger Hillman is a saxophone teacher with +36 years of experience playing saxophone. 

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