If you can play the overtone series with low Bb up two octaves, you can probably handle starting to work on the altissimo range. Working on all this will develop your sound further, but it is a more advanced topic.
It can strengthen your tone and can be a different sound, check out this video. I play the note at the beginning using a low Bb fingering. When you use the harmonics, you can hear different parts in the sound that make it rich & interesting. Not necessarily pretty though.
I’m in the upper left, mostly covered up…..
If you are unsure about the harmonic series, check out the diagram and video below, then leave a comment about what you are able to do.
Note: You should be able to get low Bb, the octave, and F. Maybe not more than that initially.
Here are some audio recordings I made:
Bb_overtones_tenor (mp3, right click and save)
You should work on the harmonic series until you can get that two octave jump, fourth in the series, before working on altissimo. The overtone series and the control you develop while working on it will help a lot with playing altissimo.
Check out this video about the overtone series (.mov movie file, right click and save, I recommend using quicktime to play the file).
Leave a comment about what notes you can play when you finger the low Bb.
After you have worked on the overtone series and can play at least two octaves above the low Bb, while fingering low Bb, then try this.
The easiest altissimo note to play on saxophone is definitely not G, even though it’s immediately above F#.
I would recommend starting with these four notes in altissimo: B, C, C#, D. They use the palm keys.
Here’s how to play them. The fingerings work for both tenor and alto. I’m playing them on tenor in the video version of the guide.
Those four fingerings seem fairly consistent across the horns I have played them on.
PDF Guide (right click and ‘save as’ onto your computer)
Video Guide with Audio (right click and ‘save as’ onto your computer)
The A isn’t too bad to get either, though probably a little harder than B, C, C#, and D. That fingering is a little less standard in that you can hold down the right fingers too to bring up the pitch a bit (if necessary on your horn). And you’re pressing the second two fingers on your right hand.
Here’s an example of me playing it in a solo (on alto), at 1:12