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Saxophones 1925 Selmer model 22 vs modern Elkhart Curved Soprano

L

lydian

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The original poster is asking about a comfortable modern curved soprano. A modern Yanagisawa is a completely different sax to that S6, and in my experience, Yanagisawa saxes have pretty much the best ergonomics of any brand of sax.
I guess all my Yanis are pretty old.

Curved ones are pretty cute, and they're great for travel, but they've always been just toys to me. On gigs and recordings, you can't beat a good straight soprano. If it were me, I'd go for a modern straight soprano.

On the other hand, the soprano player in my quartet has always played a 22 and never had a problem. So there's no reason one couldn't just stick with the 22 indefinitely. Aside from the left pinky table, the ergos are the same as a modern horn. Yes, the modern pinky table is fantastic, but only an advanced player would be able to appreciate it. Many don't understand it enough to exploit how the G#/C#/B/Bb linkages work even when they have them.
 
jonf

jonf

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I have a straight sop and a curved at the moment. I like playing straight soprano, but my curved one is the one I play more, because it's a modern one, and it's just easier to play. The vintage one is a Buescher True Tone, and the left pinky table is pretty poor. I disagree that only an experienced player would notice the difference between the TT and a modern pinky table - the old one would be simply more difficult for a beginner to get to grips with. An experienced player would be able to work around it. I've had the Buescher for 38 years, and I can manage the pinky table, but that's not the only ergonomic problem, or even the big one - it's the palm keys. They are ridiculously small and low, so for anyone with reasonably sized hands they are almost unusable. I've got tall risers on them, but they're still awkward.

There is another reason why lots of people find they get on better with a curved sop - straight sops are not really designed for use with a sling, and if you hold them properly, most of the weight is borne by the right thumb. Doesn't bother me at present, as I have big strong hands. On a curved, most of the weight is supported by a sling. I am beginning to get arthritis in my right hand, and if it develops in my thumb, I think it's likely to be curved only for soprano for me. That'll be fine, as long as I can still play.
 
DaveT

DaveT

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I have a straight sop and a curved at the moment. I like playing straight soprano, but my curved one is the one I play more, because it's a modern one, and it's just easier to play. The vintage one is a Buescher True Tone, and the left pinky table is pretty poor. I disagree that only an experienced player would notice the difference between the TT and a modern pinky table - the old one would be simply more difficult for a beginner to get to grips with. An experienced player would be able to work around it. I've had the Buescher for 38 years, and I can manage the pinky table, but that's not the only ergonomic problem, or even the big one - it's the palm keys. They are ridiculously small and low, so for anyone with reasonably sized hands they are almost unusable. I've got tall risers on them, but they're still awkward.

There is another reason why lots of people find they get on better with a curved sop - straight sops are not really designed for use with a sling, and if you hold them properly, most of the weight is borne by the right thumb. Doesn't bother me at present, as I have big strong hands. On a curved, most of the weight is supported by a sling. I am beginning to get arthritis in my right hand, and if it develops in my thumb, I think it's likely to be curved only for soprano for me. That'll be fine, as long as I can still play.

Yep, more or less that. As far as I am aware Beefheart mainly used Buescher True Tone, I think you may have just given him an excuse for his 'interesting' playing!

I tried 9 used straight soprano saxes in the same test session including Yamaha cheap and the Purple Logo, Mauriat, Jupiter etc. That old Selmer was more comfortable and easier to play than all of them! I found the modern palm-risers too tall, the built-up ones on the Selmer just right.

The ergonomics on the curved Elkhart I have on hire seem to be OK, the Selmer beats it at everything else!
Easier to blow, sounds better.
 
SaxBoss

SaxBoss

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Easier to blow, sounds better.

Could we ask what mouthpiece you are using?

@Phil Would this give the OP the same sound concept on a Yani?
 
DaveT

DaveT

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I mainly use a Yamaha 4C on the Elkhart curved and the Selmer. It is the same 4C mouthpiece I used to try out the 9.
I have a 5C so I can get an idea for how different mouthpieces change things and a Syos I bought to try something better. So far the 4C is just easiest.
I have tried softer reeds (1.5) with the 5C and the Syos, they sort of help.
I have tried harder reeds on all 3 mouthpieces to get the feel for what they do too!
So far as soft as it will go without causing squeeks seems best (=2), remembering the wise words of BB King telling those that used heavy gauge guitar strings to get a good tone they were working too hard, he used light gauge strings and nobody ever said BB King sounded terrible!
 
Steve Marshall

Steve Marshall

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I think the latest Elkharts will be Chinese. The previous model was Taiwanese. They use them in schools. Some are great though they are a bit variable and build quality isn't always great. If it isn't easy to blow there is something wrong.
Yanagisawa is the go to for sopranos.
Yamaha 4C is a beginners mouthpiece that has a small tip opening. Pretty much everything else will have a wider tip opening. 6C with a 2 reed should work.
If the Selmer is so good for you then maybe stick with the Selmer?
 
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L

lydian

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The fact that you’re playing a #2 reed on a 4C tells me you have a very undeveloped embouchure and very little air support. I recommend you spend more time in the practice room and less time shopping for new gear.
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

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Where's the gog icon? :old:
 
thomsax

thomsax

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The fact that you’re playing a #2 reed on a 4C tells me you have a very undeveloped embouchure and very little air support. I recommend you spend more time in the practice room and less time shopping for new gear.
It's not easy .... I often hear I'm "macho" because I play mouthpieces with wide tip openings and hard reeds. I just play the set-up that gives me the sound I like. I do 2-3 different embouchure excercises ( not the same from time to time) every time I play. For me the combination mouthpiece and reed is a matter how much I play. Right now I'm playing a .130" tenor mpc with #3½ plasticonver reeds. The air sopport is ok but I need a better embouchure.
 
DaveT

DaveT

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The fact that you’re playing a #2 reed on a 4C tells me you have a very undeveloped embouchure and very little air support. I recommend you spend more time in the practice room and less time shopping for new gear.
And where's the fun in that?!!!
Your analysis is quite correct though.
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

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Tip openings on sop are tiny. I like a close mouthpiece but found a relatively wide opening was a very easy blow. It inspired me to investigate clarinet mouthpieces. I settled on an M11. Another easy blow. It's worth experimenting with these small pieces.
 
Steve Marshall

Steve Marshall

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I found a nice BARI ebonite - I think a .64. Then came across a Yanagisawa 7 which was very nice. I've found using a wider tip with a red Java 2.5 is a good combination. Very easy to blow and makes switching from alto or tenor an easier transition.
Matching the reed to the mouthpiece is half the battle.
 

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