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Saxophones Bauhaus-Walstein hit the Continent at last

bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
Hello, dear friends of Sax!

The BW saxophones seem to get quite popular, at least in GB. Here in Austria and even Germany this is a almost entirely unknown brand. Because of your rather positive comments about them, I ordered one of their Bronze Altos as my first own instrument.

I confess, I'm not in the position to judge any instrument by more than "like it" or "don't like it". After about 6 months into playing the Sax with a borrowed "La Fleur", it finally arrived yesterday evening, just in time to take it to my weekly lesson and have my teacher look at it.

In short: I like it. :D. It is just as I hoped it would turn out.

My first impression was a big :w00t:, as this instrument looks really amazing. But what good would be a pretty instrument, if the sound is bad or the keywork is unsuitable to my small hands.

The sound question was solved to my pleasure, as soon as I did change the supplied mouthpiece/ligature against my current Brilhart-Special. While that not one of the top mouthpieces, it did produce a far superior sound than the one supplied. I did expect that and will evaluate some MPCs the next weeks. I know they have a package with a Yamaha MPC, but then again, it could easily turn out that that this is not the one I would like.

The instrument has a lot of "keywork" attached to the body, It almost looks twice as much as the one on my current instrument. Probably an optical illusion, however it looks really complicated with lots of little adjustment screws, dampers and other things.

What really could be a problem is the fact, that the neck hardly fits into the body. The junction is so tight, that I have to force it in. Getting it out again is even worse. What will certainly trouble me in the next weeks is the completely different Bb spatula. My current instrument has a more vintage layout and the modern Yanagisawa layout is quite different. I hope, my short fingers will eventually do the trick.

Another thing that did surprise me, is the seemingly slightly asymetric position of the bell. My Lafleur is strictly symmetric, where the mounting ring is exactly in the same axis as the bell, which has a soldered fixation to the body right in the center. The BW Alto makes the impression as if the bell is mounted slightly to the left to that it does not play straight forward, when I hold it right in front of me. It does feel well balanced and maybe it's more of an optical illusion too.

Anyway, thank's for recommending this instrument to me.

P.S.: My teacher considered this instrument well done and in tune and certainly a bargain. It should serve me well in the years to come with no need to change for at least a couple of years if ever.
 
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Rogerb

Member
Messages
766
Location
Costa Blanca, Spain
Welcome Bebob :)
I had a similar surprise on getting my first alto (a Hanson) a few years ago....I was surprised by the weight of it, and the 'offset' bell.
After posting questions, in SOTW, (BR was not 'born' then!) I discovered that both were quite normal....modern saxes do appear to be generally heavier and many do have the bell off-set, to the RIGHT, from the player's point of view, so that, when the sax is by one's right hip, the bell points straight forward.

My newly-acquired BW also has lots of 'adjustment screws' and other paraphernalia, but it's so pretty that I don't mind, especially as I have never owned an 'older' horn :)
It's also HEAVY, at about 2.7Kg ....most vintage horns seem to be about 300-500g lighter :eek:

Enjoy it!
 
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Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
Hi Bebob
I see you have a lafleur, so do I. I was thinking of getting a Bauhaus too, but I am becoming quite attached to me Lafleur, so now I'm not so sure.
The Lafleur is built like a tank, and although only classed as a student sax, I think any sax only sounds as good as the mouthpiece/reed combi and the embouchure/ability of the player. I believe Taz, who busks and plays semi pro I believe, also has a Lafleur. Sometimes called an Amati. Mind you, the Bauhaus does look rather pretty:D
I M V H O
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
What really could be a problem is the fact, that the neck hardly fits into the body. The junction is so tight, that I have to force it in. Getting it out again is even worse.
Hi bebob, welcome to the BR, as Pee Dee said so correctly, I also play an Amati, some times a called a Lafleur they are great sax's but I'm pleased your happy with your new BW. They are indeed highly rated sax's especially on this site. As for you tight fitting crook, try using some cork grease on the joint. That should help a bit.
Enjoy your new sax.;}
 

kreggurree

Member
Messages
30
Location
North London, UK
First off, welcome Bebop. Good to see some mainlanders as come september I shall also be one, as I will be living in Prague.

You have chosen a good sax, I recently got the tenor model and my neck was also very tight but its only been just over a week with daily playing and it seems to go in much smoother and snug now. I don't know if anyone else does this but I put a little cork grease on it every so often.
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
I see you have a lafleur, so do I. I was thinking of getting a Bauhaus too, but I am becoming quite attached to me Lafleur, so now I'm not so sure.
The Lafleur is built like a tank, and although only classed as a student sax, I think any sax only sounds as good as the mouthpiece/reed combi and the embouchure/ability of the player.
There was nothing wrong with the instrument, other than it is not mine, but borrowed from my brother in law. It's indeed quite sturdy and heavy and does give a lovely sound too. It even has a complete set of replacement pads and a bag full of blue needle springs. Should last for life.

Nontheless, the BW is quite different in playing. It is much more "snappy". The g# and d# keys are far more easy to my fingers - quite the opposite of the Bb, that I have to learn from scratch now. The c, c# and d are a little faint with the lafleur. No problem with the BW.

Within an hour, my dynamic expression changed quite remarkable and the fingering is more fluid. Maybe my sample is not in a good shape, but I found the change to the BW a big step forward.

-- addition --
I have to express, that I still use the same mouthpiece (Brilhart-Special Ebolin) and reed (Légère 2 3/4) as with the Lafleur. The supplied MPc did not *ahem* fit my habit. So all differences must lie in the horn. I constantly had the problem to be "out of oxygen" before my breath runs out. I had to force the air into the instrument. The BW is far more free blowing. I can put more air through and need less pressure, so it is a far more relaxed playing. I can almost "breathe through".

In addition, the horn picks up the vibration of the reed more quickly, so it is more easy to play pp. With the Légère reed I always had a problem with the dynamic variations. A Vandoren JAVA was much more dynamic, probably the cane is lighter and stiffer than the plastic. I got the impression, the air and the sound is stuffed into the tube instead of just flowing through, leveling all my attempts to play soft or loud. Now the same MPc and reed sounds more "interesting".

Another difference: Playing the Lafleur, sounds quite different for me than for the audiece. I had to play against a corner to get an impression how it sounds to others. From behind the instrument it sounded a little dull and boring. Maybe because of the tilted bell (it's tilted to the left as seen from my point) on the BW, I get more from the "bell sound" reaching my ears. It sounds quite similar from behind as the Lafleur from the front. Richer, with more overtones but not scratchy. The sound does not change that much anymore when playing against a corner.

Certainly one can get happy with the Lafleur and for a pro, none of these things would be any problem. I don't even noticed them as problems. Indeed I was quite surprised that all this CAN be improved so noticable. For me, it's a relief to play the BW and I would not consider to switch back, although the Lafleur did serve me well till now.
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
I also play an Amati, some times a called a Lafleur...
As for you tight fitting crook, try using some cork grease on the joint. That should help a bit.
You see, how ignorant I am. I did read a lot about "Amati". I never thought it coud be the instrument I'm using.

Yesterday I did thoroughly clean the joint on both parts and used a bit of cork grease. I thought it could not harm much. :confused:

The joint is far better now. Maybe there was some machining dust leftover. The joint is so tight, that even the faintest bit of dirt can essentially jam it.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,352
Hi and you made the best choice on your new sax,cracking horn's for the money and very well made.Intonation is very good and they sound very nice .Your in the BW Club now.
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
And here is my first problem with the instrument....

While it does have a lovely tone and overall good response, I have some troubles with the left hand key arrangement.
When pressing the C# key, it goes a big way down in a little angle with respect to the Bb spatula. This results in the "link" loosing contact, as the bolt is gliding out of the guide rail.

Sometimes it jams,



sometimes it jumps out completely



In addition, by playing a C#, the C# and B spatulas get separated so much, that I almost jam my finger between them, when I try a legato C# to B transition. The roller is of no real benefit here. The other way from B to C# is no problem, the finger just "jumps" down the cliff.



Careful inspection did not show anything obviously wrong. Nothing bent and the spatulas look well, as do the pads. The hole closes nicely, just as the C# spacer finds its rest.
Yet I do believe it was not meant to behave in the above way. Does it? I'm truly convinced, that the connecting guide should stay connected and the big C# B transition seems to be a bit too big.

What would you suggest?
 

jadoube

Member
Messages
150
Location
Fleet, Hampshire
I can't get the C# to do that on my Walstein - at least I'm not keen to use the force necessary to make it happen.

Wait for some more knowledgable than me to comment, it may be a case of phoning the place you got it and asking what they will do about it.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,507
Location
UK
I suspect it's had a knock in transit. A tilting table mechnanism is rather less fault-tolerant than the simpler non-tilting designs, and if one or other key gets pushed out of line it often won't show up until the keys are pressed.
Given the symptoms I'd suspect the C# touchpiece - but it could also be a misalignment on the Bb touchpiece, and it could be down to either the height or the angle.
It's not a difficult fix, but you have to know what you're doing. I'd give the suppliers a call and see what they think.

Regards,
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
766
Location
Costa Blanca, Spain
I had been thinking of saying that I have no such problem, but decided against, as mine is a different model....and because it was prepared for sale by one Stephen Howard :D

(I have to add that the lh pinky table is the only group of keys in which there is any 'play' at all on mine...lots of 'linkages' in there)
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
I suspect it's had a knock in transit.
...
It's not a difficult fix, but you have to know what you're doing. I'd give the suppliers a call and see what they think.
The shipping box was quite well built. The Sax inside the carrying bag, that one in a box and THAT one in another box, stuffed with lots of soft material. The outer box looked a bit squeezed, but the interior seemed to be perfectly OK.
I cannot blame UPS with a clear conscience.

WW&B offered to have it repaired by a knowledgable local specialist on their cost or they even would send me a replacement when I can arrange a "cheap" return. :welldone Both means that I'm without my instruments for at least two weeks :(

I think I will look for an instrument-maker as first option and ask for a quote. Too bad that there are so few of them and they certainly have closed on weekends.

I'm a curious person. While I'm scared of changing anything by myself, I still would like to know WHAT could cause this problem.

I did another careful inspection yesterday and noted a faint squeaking when I operate the C# key. It turned out that the reason was the actuator(?) that lifts the C# flap. The actuator on the rod has a plastic cover and the "nose" on the flap-lever is padded with a piece of cork. The (round) actuator now glides with high pressure on the (flat) cork that emits the squeezing. The cork itself gets a dent as the actuator digs in deeper and deeper. Although I have the instruments for just a few days, the cork is almost through. The plastic cover on the actuator shows some rubbed-off remnants too.

I found a similar actuator/nose construction on another flap, but without any cork. That seems to be more reasonable.

Could someone please check that out that on another BW Bronze Alto?
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
Not sure how you're going to get this fixed - or exactly where you are, or if you have someone local, but if you need a good instrument person and you're near Munich, Franz Traut is really first class and fairly priced. Bayerisch speaker....
I'm in the middle of nowhere, when looking for an instrument maker. This is a big black hole in the classified directory. It's a 2 1/2 hour drive from here to Munich and I have to do that during working hours. I found another one in southern Austria (2 1/2 hours again) and yet another in the Tyrol (3-4 hours).

I still can hand it over to a local music store who send their repairs "somewhere" once a week. This will earn me some moaning about not buying their stuff and probably a price premium. :(
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,507
Location
UK
It's more likely to be shock damage rather than any obvious bash.
It can be extremely hard to spot shock damage unless you know what you're looking for, and it's all too possible to find shock damage on a horn that's been well packed.
What happens is that the parcel is dropped - and although there's lots of padding around the sax case, the interior isn't quite so snug...so the package hits the floor and the sax quite literally bounces inside the case. It can hit the lining with enough force to knock keys and pillars out of line.
See the 'whodunnit' article in my Notes section on my site.

You can pop a drop of oil on that C# cork...that'll help with the creaking, but it'll probably come off soon anyway. It's largely superfluous on that model as it's usually so thin as makes no difference, and there's a plastic buffer on the C# cup arm.

I'd be inclined to send it back and either have it replaced or fixed by the dealer - it'll save time in the long run and it'll give you something to look forward to!

Regards,
 

Mikec

Member
Messages
201
Location
Buckinghamshire, UK
I had one of those little corks drop off my BW tenor. I took it back to where I bought it and the tech said, as Stephen does, that they're not really necessary and were probably put on for transport purposes. There are none of those particular corks left on it now and there are no playing problems with it.
 
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bebob99

New Member
Messages
13
Location
Austria
There are none of those particular corks left on it now and there are no playing problems with it.
Meanwhine I got another response from WW&B on this topic. They checked a bunch of fresh Altos and each and every one has this little piece of cork and every instrument has this cork "pre-worn" to a mere foil i.e. it has it's dent factory made. So obviously it is not a "worn spacer", but deliberately squeezed to offer a soft glide.

They told me this will not wear through during use and even if it would, it would not change playability.

I put a droplet of oil on it and gone was the squeaking.

The C# key still needs repair :(

I certainly first try to get it fixed "locally". If it is a transportation problem, it could well happen again. At the same time it could get some adjustments and thightness checked. The B does not give a clean sound (the Bb and C do) and I suspect some of the "auxiliary flap holders" (The ones that keep a second hole closed, like the B that forces the C# closed. Don't know how this is named correctly) seem to have some space.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,992
Location
Just north of Munich
bebop, if you want to send it to me (Hermes, DHL etc.), I'll take it in to Munich and then collect for you. Then you can drive up and collect at the weekend so no risk from shipping damage on the way back. btw, H. Traut does a lot of work for the big Munich orchestras, as well as a lot of saxes... If you want to go that way, ring him and discuss the problem, make arrangements with him and pm me. No reason why you should be without the sax for more than a week.
 
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