The saxophone has one of the most distinctive solo sounds of any instrument. When you hear “sax solo” you might first think of jazz music but sax solos also have their place in rock (think Dire Straits’ Your Latest Trick), blues (maybe Coltrane Plays the Blues), pop (how about Lady Gaga’s Edge Of Glory) or even hip-hop (with Beastie Boys’ Brass Monkey).

Playing a great saxophone solo is not just about the sound of the sax. Like any great improvisation it requires a combination of imagination, musical intuition and well-trained ears.

In this tutorial we’ll take a step-by-step approach to learning to improvise well on sax. It’ll cover you whether you play a B♭ or E♭ sax i.e. soprano, alto, tenor or baritone . We’ll assume you know the basics of th