How to Growl on the Saxophone?

Growling on the saxophone is a technique where you create a raspy, gritty sound, often used in jazz and rock music to add an emotional intensity to the performance. The ‘growl’ is achieved by humming or singing into the saxophone while playing a note.

Understanding the Growl

The growl effect is produced when the sound of your voice, humming or singing into the saxophone, interacts with the sound of the note you’re playing. This creates a unique tone with added texture and richness. It’s often used in solos or to highlight particular emotional moments in a piece.

Mastering the Basics

Before attempting to growl, it’s important to have a solid foundation of saxophone techniques. You need to be comfortable with your embouchure, breath control, and fingering, as these skills will be the basis for any advanced techniques like growling.

The Technique of Growling

To achieve the growl, start by playing a note on the saxophone, then begin to hum or sing into the mouthpiece while still blowing air through the instrument. The note you hum doesn’t necessarily have to match the note you’re playing on the saxophone. Experiment with different pitches and see how it affects the overall sound. The resulting sound will be a blend of your playing and vocalization, creating that distinctive gritty tone.How to Growl on the Saxophone

Practicing the Growl

Like any technique, mastering the saxophone growl will require practice. Start by playing and humming simple scales to get the feel for the technique. As you get more comfortable, you can begin to incorporate the growl into more complex pieces and solos. Be aware, the growl can be quite intense, so it should be used sparingly to prevent overpowering the music.


Growling on the saxophone is a unique way to add intensity and emotion to your playing. It’s a technique deeply rooted in jazz and rock music but can add a unique element to any style of music. Like all techniques, mastering the saxophone growl will take time and practice, but the result is a unique sound that can bring your music to a new level of expression.

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