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Saxophones A scruffy 84 year old alto -v- modern horns

Hassles

Member
Messages
42
Location
Australia
copy a mid 20s Buescher True-Tone and have it 3d Printed from plastic. Have it replicated from carbon-fibre, PVC, stainless steel, titanium, MDF etc etc, attach original key cups and mechanics and no two experiences will be the same. Modern horns have modern mechanics (playability) and usually a cheaper material due to ever escalating material costs and this influences the sound / tonal characteristics of the instrument not to mention their ease of playability. Oh sure savvy sax makers know the differences and they do their best but older horns don't compare on the ergonomics stakes. Personally I prefer older horns but...when I pick up my MKX it simply functions flawlessly, is not so Mouthpiece dependent and is a bloody joy to play. I adore my True Tone, the old Dolnets, G.H.Huller, SML super 44 and 51 Amati Toneking if only for their tonal palate but.....the contemporary Keilwerth plays like air-guitar in a alcohol induced euphoria. If I want that same euphoria without the alcohol - I reach for the vintage saxes.
 

eb424

Member
Messages
178
Location
london
As a newbie i have the same struggle bought a buescher true tone because sentiment got the better of me. I sooo wnted to play a sax from tge 1920s.. In my head I know it sounds better than my hannsons series v but i still reach for that sax.. The sound on the tt is so much deeper and its a pleasure to play... but being advised wrongly i feel by so many people about the ergonomics, difficulty with the g# key etc i decided to advertise it. If only i could afford sentiment lol.....
 

Hassles

Member
Messages
42
Location
Australia
It's not about the amount of notes you play - it's about the tone of the notes you play. The 'ol TT's are veritable treasures in my opinion. It was the first sax I bought and will probably be the last I one I own - eg: I'll rid myself of the others first. If you have one - just keep it - and watch / listen to as much Johnny Hodges as you can.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wINfnnUlrwY
 

Devon

New Member
Messages
12
Location
Klamath Falls, OR, United States
Had a Selmer circa 1927. Still kicking myself for selling it. Picked up 3 Yanagisawa "Artist" horns in 1977 and love 'em. Mostly because they seem to be faithful replications of Selmer Mk VI. Playing 1-or-more of them daily and glad I don't have to shell out the $$$ to replace them.
 

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
285
Location
Canada
I like both sounds. The vintage makes and models have a natural raspy sound whereas the Yamaha’s have a clear tone. Both are beautiful in my opinion. I’ve got a 65 year old SML and a 10 year old Yamaha.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
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4,741
Location
Bristol, UK
80% of the tone is player and mouthpiece setup.

Oh, OK, maybe 79%
An extensive study by Professor Klangfarbe at the Bavarian Institute of Music Technology has concluded that on average for players whose height is over 1.80 metres, 76.7% of the tone is due to player and mouthpiece setup, but 82.3% of the tone is player and mouthpiece setup for players whose height is less than 1.80 metres. Choice of hat has been demonstrated not to play a significant role in tone production despite widespread popular belief to the contrary.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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7,097
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
I think It is also important to note that the "concept" of sound when early american made saxes were produced prior to the introduction of the Selmer Mark VI was much different than the concept(s) used today. It would be logical that the makers designed their instruments (and mouthpieces) with that sound in mind. It seems logical that saxophones currently being made are designed around today's concept(s) of sound. I always scratch my head when players obtain one of the vintage saxophones designed with a mellow sound in mind and "pimp" it out with oversized resos and use a high baffle "shotgun" mouthpiece to get the loud and edgy sound popular today. It seems to me it would be a lot easier to buy a more modern saxophone that was made to produce a bright sound.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,618
Location
UK
I think It is also important to note that the "concept" of sound when early american made saxes were produced prior to the introduction of the Selmer Mark VI was much different than the concept(s) used today. It would be logical that the makers designed their instruments (and mouthpieces) with that sound in mind. It seems logical that saxophones currently being made are designed around today's concept(s) of sound. I always scratch my head when players obtain one of the vintage saxophones designed with a mellow sound in mind and "pimp" it out with oversized resos and use a high baffle "shotgun" mouthpiece to get the loud and edgy sound popular today. It seems to me it would be a lot easier to buy a more modern saxophone that was made to produce a bright sound.
I largely agree with this - though I would add that the development of modern technology made it somewhat easier to chase the holy grail of perfect tuning, and this essentially dictated the modern sound. It's a bit of a 'chicken or the egg' situation, but I think it's fair to say that the tighter you dial in the tuning, the more likely you are to knock out some of the warmth and midrange from the tone.

As for pimping up a vintage horn - again, I largely agree...but with some caveats.
I once spent a very entertaining morning switching between my old Yamaha 23 tenor and a fine old Martin. With my Dukoff D8 piece on the horn they sounded remarkably similar - so much so that it took a lot of playing and listening to pick out the finer differences.
What the Dukoff did to the Martin was flatten out the fatness and enhance the upper harmonics...but not entirely. It left behind a 'hint' of that vintage warmth...just enough to season the tone without overpowering it.
It was an interesting tone, and I seriously considered taking up the Martin in place of the Yamaha...but the modern ergos won the day, and the Yamaha had that bit more clarity. It's also why the TJ RAW eventually replaced the 23, because it had a more generous soundscape.

I think 'modernising' a vintage horn is a viable proposition - provided you keep it within reason (a little like putting radial tyres on a vintage car). Once you get to the point where you're installing oversized resos I think you'd be better off with livelier horn that could be dialled down a notch with the right choice of mouthpiece.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,438
Location
Sweden
I think It is also important to note that the "concept" of sound when early american made saxes were produced prior to the introduction of the Selmer Mark VI was much different than the concept(s) used today. It would be logical that the makers designed their instruments (and mouthpieces) with that sound in mind. It seems logical that saxophones currently being made are designed around today's concept(s) of sound. I always scratch my head when players obtain one of the vintage saxophones designed with a mellow sound in mind and "pimp" it out with oversized resos and use a high baffle "shotgun" mouthpiece to get the loud and edgy sound popular today. It seems to me it would be a lot easier to buy a more modern saxophone that was made to produce a bright sound.
I think oversised resonators gives the sax more "volume and bigger" tone. Some techs like them.. Others don't.
 

Pete Effamy

Member
Messages
360
Location
UK
I think It is also important to note that the "concept" of sound when early american made saxes were produced prior to the introduction of the Selmer Mark VI was much different than the concept(s) used today. It would be logical that the makers designed their instruments (and mouthpieces) with that sound in mind. It seems logical that saxophones currently being made are designed around today's concept(s) of sound. I always scratch my head when players obtain one of the vintage saxophones designed with a mellow sound in mind and "pimp" it out with oversized resos and use a high baffle "shotgun" mouthpiece to get the loud and edgy sound popular today. It seems to me it would be a lot easier to buy a more modern saxophone that was made to produce a bright sound.
I agree but only in a vintage car type scenario. Be British and restore to original rather than hot-rod it. From a sound point of view, find your utopia any which way you can. Though granted, another combo might give the same outcome. Problem is, there were far fewer combos at a nicer price 40+ years ago.
 
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