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A little help please!

JonParky

New Member
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6
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Near Taunton
A question for all soprano saxophone players. We're in the latter stages of developing a new model soprano saxophone and wondered if any of you who are experienced sop players could help us out. We're trying to find out whether players prefer playing a sop sax with a curved or straight neck and the reasons for their preference. I would very much appreciate hearing the thoughts of anyone who has played on both types. Many thanks. Jon Parkinson. Director. John Packer Ltd.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
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3,651
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Surrey, UK
Sounds interesting. I take it you are just talking about a straight bodied soprano. And are you considering a one piece soprano or one with a removable neck ?

The only production one-piece straight-bodied soprano with a curved neck that I know of was the Yamaha 62R which has lots of admirers. I have heard that Yamaha are investigating making that style again.

I have got a R&C semi-curved (saxello-style) soprano with fixed, curved neck and I certainly find that more comfortable to hold and play than a straight soprano.

I guess that most beginers and intermediate players would prefer to have the flexibility to choose between both, so that means interchangeable straight and curved necks. Some of the more advanced players may have a stronger preference one way or the other AND may be able to hear/feel a difference between a one-piece and a two-piece body. Hmmm...

Good luck

Rhys
 

dooce

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1,416
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Daventry
Curved neck for me. I find it provides a more comfortable and natural position, and on my particular Bauhaus soprano, it gives better intonation than the straight neck, although that is of course a very subjective issue.
 
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JonParky

New Member
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6
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Near Taunton
Thanks for your replies guys. Obviously what would be really good would be for everyone to say that they prefer one or the other and all for the same reasons, but I suspect that I will get a very mixed bag on both the comfort side of things and the other more performance related issues. In reply to Rhys, I would say that although we have completed much of the work we haven't finalised our plans on the final spec of the horn. This was largely due to the differing opinions that we received when we tried to ascertain what the most popular format would be. Hence the query. Bottom line? All options are on the table. Thanks again. Jon
 

jonf

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3,641
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Betelgeuse
Hi Jon

I have a straight sop with curved and straight necks, and I always play it with the straight neck. I also have a curved sop, as well as a vintage straight sop with a fixed neck. Of them all the curved one is my favourite, I guess.

Jon
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
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3,651
Location
Surrey, UK
Thanks for your replies guys. Obviously what would be really good would be for everyone to say that they prefer one or the other and all for the same reasons, but I suspect that I will get a very mixed bag on both the comfort side of things and the other more performance related issues. In reply to Rhys, I would say that although we have completed much of the work we haven't finalised our plans on the final spec of the horn. This was largely due to the differing opinions that we received when we tried to ascertain what the most popular format would be. Hence the query. Bottom line? All options are on the table. Thanks again. Jon
If I had a blank sheet of paper, I would go for a design that makes the sax stand out a bit from the competition. My favourite sop is my Yanagisawa SC-991, so I would go for a curvie, but with a fixed neck. Then I would turn my attention to a straight soprano in one-piece configuration with a curved neck.

I definitely prefer the comfort of a curved neck, but as there are many, many sopranos out there with interchangeable straight and curved necks, why not go for the fixed curve neck ?

Good luck

Rhys
 
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JonParky

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6
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Near Taunton
Thanks for all your thoughts. They are appreciated. It looks like the curved vote has it so far (but then it looked like the Lib Dems might do something interesting in the election too!). Most of the comments have been about the comfort side of things. This is obviously an important issue, but does anyone have any thoughts about the effect of the curved or straight crook on things like the tone of the instrument, tuning, stability (or anything else)? Thanks again. Jon
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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McLean, Virginia
My preference is vaguely in favour of a curved neck. Unlike clarinets, sopranos should be held so that the mouthpiece projects more forward than downward. So unless you play with your face pointing at the floor, it is necessary to hold the soprano out from your body when there is a completely straight neck.

I always think the angle should equate with the angle of an alto or tenor which naturally comes out at almost 90 degrees.

For this reason people who need to wear a soprano strap, often end up with a more clarinet like embouchure when playing straight sopranos as the strap would be doing nothing if the sax is held out at the "correct" angle.

I don't like like fully curved sopranos any more, I find them less comfortable, so a curved neck is great for me if I have to play for a long time and might get tired holding a completely straight soprano, but the ultimate choice is going to be for the best sounding option, I'm personally not too bothered about straight or curved, but as I said if I do have a preference it would be for a curved.
 

littleplum

Member
Messages
446
Location
Leicester, United Kingdom
Curved

Hi Jon

I have a Yani Curved sop and previously a Stagg Straight. So with experience of both types I prefer a curved neck all the way.

good luck with the project and can you let us know waht you have decided please.

Cheers

Dave
 

RedBottom

Member
Messages
191
My (mega-cheap) Thomann came with curved and straight necks and, having tried them both, I prefer the curved. I've got some sort of instability in my left shoulder which means my right arm probably takes more of the weight than it should and thus tires very easily. I find with the straight neck that I have to hold the instrument higher and thus I strain my arm more than I do with the curved.
 

Greywolf

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Messages
61
Location
Morecambe prom
I have a Paris Artiste straight sprano. I don't play it very often these days but I always use the curved neck option (it has curved and straight). I find it gives a more natural and comfortable playing position.

Courtney Pine plays with a straight neck but hey, what does he know.
 
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JonParky

New Member
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6
Location
Near Taunton
Thanks to all of you for your thoughts and suggestions. We now have a plan 'A' and will be following it through over the next few weeks as we make modifications and go through a period of testing. I can't say what plan 'A' is for obvious reasons, but you guys will be the first to know........... Watch this space! Thanks again. Jon
 
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