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Saxophones Any ideas on what soprano to get?

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
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695
I am toying with the idea of getting a soprano. I like its range (close to that of the oboe), but actually I prefer the sound of the English horn or the oboe d'amore. That, by the way, could cut the Yamahas out.

My reading leads me to think that straight sopranos may be more approachable. I would in any case prefer that because I find it easier to hold. When I had an alto, I could never quite decide whether to hold it on the side or in front.

I would like a modern instrument because I want top F#, but I do not see top G as a necessity.

My budget is reasonably flexible. If, for example, it came down to the Yanagisawa S991 I could manage that, but I think that for my purposes it may not be necessary to go that far. Basically I want something that sounds good, has good ergonomics and does not require a personalised mouthpiece.

Grateful any ideas you may have.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
With those criteria I'd go for a Yanagisawa, but I wouldn't pay as much as the S991 costs. I'd go for the S901. Comes with a great mouthpiece and is a super horn. Not cheap, but beautifully made.

Doubtless someone on the forum will suggest you get a Bauhaus Walstein, which costs a quarter as much. They're great as well (I know, as I've got a soprano and baritone BW, and have had an alto as well). However, they're not as well made or finished as a Yanagisawa (got two of those as well). They may well be better value for money, but if you've got the cash I'd go for the Yanagisawa.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,925
I am toying with the idea of getting a soprano. I like its range (close to that of the oboe), but actually I prefer the sound of the English horn or the oboe d'amore. That, by the way, could cut the Yamahas out.

My reading leads me to think that straight sopranos may be more approachable. I would in any case prefer that because I find it easier to hold. When I had an alto, I could never quite decide whether to hold it on the side or in front.

I would like a modern instrument because I want top F#, but I do not see top G as a necessity.

My budget is reasonably flexible. If, for example, it came down to the Yanagisawa S991 I could manage that, but I think that for my purposes it may not be necessary to go that far. Basically I want something that sounds good, has good ergonomics and does not require a personalised mouthpiece.

Grateful any ideas you may have.

Something that sounds good, has good ergonomics and does not require a personalised mouthpiece: Selmer SA 80 II or Yanagisawa. Good allround soprano saxes (jazz, classic and contemporary).

If you want a more round/dark tone you can look for vintage ss from the 20's. Beuschers (LP 122 modell) , Conns , Martins , Kohlerts .... sounds in my ears better than the modern sopranos. The best soprano I've played (tonewise) is a Martin from 1928! Very warm and round tone. Maybe these saxes are more the solist choice.

Thomas
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
What exactly do you mean by that? A mouthpiece that has to be worked on to suit you?

There's plenty around without going that far.

Why do you rule out Yamahas?

I mean that I would like to use an off-the-shelf mouthpiece, whatever that in the end may be.

So far I have found the Yamaha sound to be on the bright side, but it is quite possible that the sopranos are different. So I am not ruling them out altogether. I am just a little more sceptical that they are waht I want.
 

Pete Thomas

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Commercial Supporter
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14,538
Doubtless someone on the forum will suggest you get a Bauhaus Walstein, which costs a quarter as much. They're great as well (I know, as I've got a soprano and baritone BW, and have had an alto as well). However, they're not as well made or finished as a Yanagisawa (got two of those as well).

Mine seems to be well finished. It's an M2. Thats is the soprano I'd recommend.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
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4,610
I have 4 sops in Bb and one in C. On the whole I prefer playing a modern curved soprano and mine is the Yanagisawa SC991. It plays a bit like a small alto and I like the fact that you can hear the sound coming back at you more than on a straight sop. There's no trouble about knowing whether to hold it to the side or front - but that has never bothered me with an alto either.

I played the SC991 back-to-back with one of the early prototypes of the Bauhaus Walstein and they were very similar indeed. The necks were interchangeable although the BW neck was less curved.

The Yanagisawa mouthpieces, both ebonite and metal, are very good, as are Vandoren.

Good luck.

Rhys
 

will a

New Member
Messages
23
take a look at the Paul Marriott I love mine to be fair I would have liked a selmer but couldn't justify the money (well I could but Jenny had different ideas on it ) any way with my standard of playing dident really warrant it
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Thank you all for your suggestions. I will think it over a little more.

At this stage, on balance I am inclined to go with the M2, as suggested by Pete Thomas.

That would leave some money left over for a decent mouthpiece Probably more than one till I get the right one. I have looked into this just a little, and the tip openings seem to be amazingly small.
 

Pete Thomas

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Commercial Supporter
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14,538
I have looked into this just a little, and the tip openings seem to be amazingly small.

Strangely, I find that small tips work very well on soprano. On teor I use a very wide tip (9*) but on soprano I use a Selmer C* or PPT equivalent.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I bought an M2 last December and absolutely love it! The build quality rocks for the price (I paid £1250 for mine; I rushed to beat the VAT increase).

It’s a real pleasure to play but found it bright with the supplied 4c mouthpiece which is very good, but a little small.

It comes with two crooks, one straight and one curved. The curved crook does make it a little warmer but it was still too bright for me.

I tried a Rico Graftonite B7 and Vandoren V16 Ebonite S6 but had some small intonation problems. The V16 was still brighter than I would liked on the M2 and decide to try a Brancher Metal J15. Fortunately for me a forum member had one for sale ;}

It has warmed the M2 up very nicely and the intonation is spot on top to bottom!

I highly recommend the M2!

I haven’t tried any other Sopranos apart from a few TJ’s and Yamaha 475 but IMO the M2 beat all those hands down!
 

singlereed

Member
Messages
124
Another 'value' option is the Antigua sop - especially in silver plate. If you want a refined tone, try a close facing mouthpiece such as an Optimum SL3. Not sure why you ruled out a Yamaha - after Selmer, I found them the best for a classical approach.
 

saxomophone

New Member
Messages
22
+1 for yanagisawa 901. I tried both straight and curved 901's, the straight was a tad easier to blow but nowhere near as cute IMO. Also I find I can hear the curved ones better when playing. Went for the curvy 901 and have never regretted it, beautiful instrument.

Never tried a 902 - theyre the bronze ones arent they? I was stretching my budget enough with a 901 which I got on offer for about 1250 if I remember from Myatts (quite a few years ago).
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
To get a bit back on topic, and back to the comments about finish of the BW saxes, maybe the M2 BWs are better finished than the standard phosphour bronze models. These are the ones I own/have owned, and they are great saxes, but definitely not as well finished as the (vastly more expensive) Yanagisawas and Yamahas.

I've had issues with all three BW saxes I've had -

Ridiculously sticky pads - sop, alto and bari
Corks falling off - sop and bari
Slightly squiffy tuning - sop
Poor finish to keys - sop and alto
Keys bending easily to the touch - sop (definietley not the bari, the keys on that feel very strong)
Rod guides sharp enough to cut fingers - bari

None of these is a big deal, and are tolerable in the context of a great playing sax at a low price.

The cases are just about OK, the standard mouthpieces not.

So, if I was skint or couldn't justify spending much on a sop, I'd go for the standard BW. If I could afford a bit more, I might get an M2, but more likely a used Yani or Yamaha. Money no object, I'd get a S901.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I'd get a Rampone & Cazzani again -I used to play an R1 Straight Soprano which had a beautiful sound, and finished in matt gold plate.

I agree with Jonf about several of the criticisms about the BW, but my Curvie produces such a lovely tone, and it has responded well to having my tech give it an overhaul, and being housed in a Pro-Tec case

Kind regards
Tom
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I agree with Jonf about several of the criticisms about the BW, but my Curvie produces such a lovely tone,

Not really criticisms as such, given the low price, just observations. And I agree about the tone, lovely. I actually prefer the tone to my Buescher True Tone.
 
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