All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
Tutorials

Saxophones Can you recommend a vintage Tenor?

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,717
How is an Indiana not a vintage sax ? They stopped being produced in the 60's. ;)

Regarding your experience, I am glad you posted that here....ALL vintage horns need to be brought up to good tack in order to serve their owners well. Your story indicates once the Indiana was put in good tack (it was NOT in good tack when you took ownership) it proved to be a reliable, good player.

(This is what murdered the reputation of Holtons back in the early 2000's. The saxpics founder was collecting data on a variety of mfrs then and from that data and experiences created saxpics. Unfortunately (and I literally found these old threads/discussions from back then)...all of the info he collected from a very small sampling of owners of Holtons... were from people who had just acqured their horns as-is, or had had the horns in the closet or attic for a decade or two...and had put no $ into getting them into good playing shape.
Thus all of the feedback/impressions collected on those horns were basically based on horns which hadn't been upkept , hadn't received repads, overhauls, etc.
Sadly, he failed to make that discernment, and proceeded with posting his Holton 'information' on the web.
End of story. Bad information, poorly collected. But it 'got there first', and it was the stake thru the heart of the rep of a number of good sax models.
How is a horn which was last serviced in 1979 ever going to be a sample which can provide an accurate picture of the instrument's qualities and capabilities ?)

Your experience with the Indiana is a common example of what may happen when one delves into vintage horns. I am sure you have had similar experiences with other old horns. Rarely do they arrive to their new owners in very good playing shape. This has NOTHING to do with the intrinsic quality of the model/brand.


It is of paramount importance that the vintage horn be in serviced, very good playing condition. It is unreasonable (and unfair) to expect any horn which is NOT - to be able to perform adequately when compared to a current horn of yours which IS. This seems obvious, but is missed by a lot of people.

Thus, again, a new buyer of vintage has to get that assurance from the seller. OR, have a trusted tech do the work on the horn after the new owner has acquired it.



*Many people ASSUME when a walk-in shop is selling a used horn, the shop has obviously had it go through their repair shop PRIOR to them hanging a pricetag on it.

Do NOT make that assumption. You have to ask if this has been done. Oftentimes older horns are consignment horns, and all the shop does (and I mean even very reputable shops) is take the owner's word for it and hang it on their display wall. Even if not consignment horns, but acquired on a trade-in or something, the store will NOT have invested adequate attention to the instrument before putting up for sale. They want to turn a profit, after all. And having their tech spend 8-9 hours on a trade-in is not gonna give them the most profit on turning the sax around.
So if you find one of interest, INSIST that the agreed-upon sale price includes a complete "play condition" servicing (not just a cursory one) from their shop.
I'm not saying that an Indiana is a bad sax. But I would not say an Indiana is a vintage horn unless you get your hands on one of the late HC Comm I that were sold and stamped as an Indiana. I don't use the word vintage when I'm talking about saxes. To say an Indiana is a vintage sax is strange for me. "Vintage" is something special for me. But I've been seen that it's often used in USA and UK.

Many "The Indiana by Martin" were made through the years. It was a horn meant for schools, marching bands ..... and they made lots of Indianas. The bent key cups, bent keys, off-center keycups. ..... was something the should have been taking care of at Martin in Elkhart back then. As it was a sax that not been playing much it had origianal pads. And we could also se tha there were no repairs made on sax. My tech told me it was almost impossible the straighten a key cup without leaving marks. Some key cups om the rh stack were off-center and the long Bb side key (in one piece) was also bent. But after new pads, corks, felts, adjustments .... it's a very good sax. I bought it for less money because it didn't play well.

I met a younger sax player that bought an Indiana. It was ok and he told me that the seller had told him that it was tha same sax as "The Martin XXXXX !!!!!! I don't like when sellers is pumping up the value by telling something that is false. He had paid too much for the sax. I felt sorry for him so I gave him a Berg Larsen ss bullet mpc !!!! He is into Rocksax and the BL sounded good on the Indiana.

Is my The New King -68 a Vintage horn? I would say it a good sax for less money. The vintage on this sax is the electroplated (black nickel) body. Why did the give a The New King that finsh?
tnkincase.JPG
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,797

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,879
Whilst I like a good vintage horn (and have owned many over the years), I'm going to recommend a few modern horns that you really ought to try before you make your mind up.

The first is the Mauriat PMST 86UL. The build quality of the action is a bit pants, but then if you're buying a vintage horn there's a damn good chance it will have a very poor action - even if it's been 'overhauled'. So few repairers these days seem to have clue about such things.

The second is the Bauhaus M2. This is a horn that wears a Zoot suit. You might find it has all the character you can handle.

And the third is the formidable TJ RAW. It's superbly balanced between the old and the new. I recently tested the alto against a Ref 54, and the RAW comprehensively out-vintaged it (and it had a better action).

The advantages of a modern take on the vintage tone is that the ergos are a non-issue, they're usually more widely available (at very sensible prices on the used market) and the tuning is about as good as it gets.

But if you REALLY must have a vintage tenor, at least try to find and have a go of a Hawkes XX Century before you buy anything else. Just in case...
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,090
Whilst I like a good vintage horn (and have owned many over the years), I'm going to recommend a few modern horns that you really ought to try before you make your mind up.

The first is the Mauriat PMST 86UL. The build quality of the action is a bit pants, but then if you're buying a vintage horn there's a damn good chance it will have a very poor action - even if it's been 'overhauled'. So few repairers these days seem to have clue about such things.

The second is the Bauhaus M2. This is a horn that wears a Zoot suit. You might find it has all the character you can handle.

And the third is the formidable TJ RAW. It's superbly balanced between the old and the new. I recently tested the alto against a Ref 54, and the RAW comprehensively out-vintaged it (and it had a better action).

The advantages of a modern take on the vintage tone is that the ergos are a non-issue, they're usually more widely available (at very sensible prices on the used market) and the tuning is about as good as it gets.

But if you REALLY must have a vintage tenor, at least try to find and have a go of a Hawkes XX Century before you buy anything else. Just in case...
The OP has a 902 Yanagisawa. The modern horns you quote certainly aren't better. What the OP was after is the tonal difference that some better "Vintage" horns may possess. I think they already know about the shortcomings, but are looking for the tone/sound/presence of those older horns. If one has owned quality new as well as "vintage" horns then you can tell the difference. The mentioned lower bracket Asian horns may be great for those who can't afford a Yanigasawa but neither match it or come anywhere close to sounding like the mentioned real vintage horns.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,797
The OP has a 902 Yanagisawa. The modern horns you quote certainly aren't better.
It's all a matter of opinion. I play an old Conn 10M now mostly but I have played a Mauriat that I thought was every bit as good - quite possibly better but I didn't take it home to give a a side by side test. I also like the bauhaus M2, but actually prefer their original cheaper model.

What I find is I play loads of horns and for while think one is better than the other - but in the end they all have theior nuances that you may prefer one day, but on another day you like a different horn's nuances.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,879
The OP has a 902 Yanagisawa. The modern horns you quote certainly aren't better. What the OP was after is the tonal difference that some better "Vintage" horns may possess. I think they already know about the shortcomings, but are looking for the tone/sound/presence of those older horns. If one has owned quality new as well as "vintage" horns then you can tell the difference. The mentioned lower bracket Asian horns may be great for those who can't afford a Yanigasawa but neither match it or come anywhere close to sounding like the mentioned real vintage horns.
So what was your opinion of the three horns I mentioned when you played them, or took them apart?
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,090
So what was your opinion of the three horns I mentioned when you played them, or took them apart?
I don't own any of the three but have played several different Mauriats models on a number of occasions (a friend of mine is one of their "endorsers" but also only gigs with his "vintage" horns and not the Mauriat). I've never played a Bauhaus. I've tried a TJ RAW as well as a number of other horns when last at Sax UK's London shop. They are certainly OK horns, but I don't think they are necessarily better than the OP's Yani. It is a presumption on my part that the Bauhaus will be somewhat similar to a Mauriat or TJ, and that seems to be the way they are considered (certainly nothing better). You also mention comparing to a Ref 54, which certainly isn't a vintage horn either but an attempt at retro and also very expensive. I just frankly don't think you're helping the OP by recommending they buy a new VW bug when they are looking for something like a classic Morgan and already own a MX5.

At some point we have to give other players the respect of knowing what they want and just trying to help them achieve their goals. You, I, and others have had our flings with various horns and come to our own conclusions. Here's a question for you: Would you have been a better player or able to decide on the horn(s) that are right for you without having owned and played a variety of horns? Do you wish you didn't experience those other horns and that you immediately had whatever horn you play now? (not taking into account the $$).
 

Pooleman

New Member
Subscriber
Messages
13
Many thanks thus far for the advice, very interesting information and comments.

The car analogy used by Wade is useful - in my case I have owned and driven a reliable and comfortable Ford widget for a number of years and am now tempted at the idea of an open top car sports car, to take out on high days and holidays?
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,869
Many thanks thus far for the advice, very interesting information and comments.

The car analogy used by Wade is useful - in my case I have owned and driven a reliable and comfortable Ford widget for a number of years and am now tempted at the idea of an open top car sports car, to take out on high days and holidays?
Far easier question - Morgan.
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,900
It's all very well going on about the wonderful vintage sound, but you still have to actually like the wonderful vintage sound. It's not intrinsically better than the modern sound.
I agree and I think there has to be some acceptance of the fact that we are all different. Although I have not tried vast numbers, I have tried some classic vintage horns. None of them persuaded me that their sound was so good that it warranted dealing with the ergonomics issues.
When the world returns to some vague semblance of normality I might go and see what I can try to see if I can be persuaded.

When I tried a big bunch of modern secondhand saxes at Woodwind Exchange a few years ago (Yanagisawa, Yamaha, Keilworth, Selmer). the one I liked the least and which I thought was the most uncomfortable to play was the most expensive - the Selmer.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,090
Well, yes. But don't forget Morgan are modern cars, not vintage. So more like a Ref 54 than a 10M.
According to this:
History of Morgan Motor Company - picture special | Autocar
the company has been around since 1909. That's a pretty long history with the majority of those cars being produced before 1970 (fitting with what we think of as vintage saxes) with the newer Morgans being (as a point of pride) made much the same way.
 
Last edited:

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,090
So what's your point? Do you think the Ref 54 is a VI? This is about the OP wanting to know about vintage saxes. They said they aren't interested in Selmer (as a vintage sax). Recommendations/information was given on that basis (by some of us). JayNM was especially helpful with his information. We are all different in what we want to sound like with there being a whole lot of people swearing by their particular brand and model/year. It's subjective as each of us tries to achieve that ideal (to us) sound. We can use this thread to argue, assert ourselves as experts, or make jokes. I think the OP was just looking for the information.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,926
Going back to the original post, the OP is asking for a horn with character and vintage nostalgia, rather than necessarily a vintage sound, although I assume that the sound is a big part of it.

It seems fair to point out that some modern horns can compete with the vintage ones on sound, but I'm guessing that this isn't what the OP wants.

It also seems fair to point out that vintage horns can come with their own problems of ergonomics and intonation.

But let's face it, in the end if one is looking for good-quality vintage nostalgia without re-mortgaging the house to buy a Mark VI then the most-likely choice is one of the US "greats" (Buescher Aristocrat or 400, Conn 10M, King Super-20, Martin Committee), or one of their almost-as-good-but-not-as-sexy second-line models (e.g. Conn 16M, Martin Indiana) for a big sound or non-Selmer French (e.g. Couesnon Monopole) for something more refined and exclusive.

The Prof is selling a Martin Typewriter in the Yardsale. That's pretty special!

But for a Brit, there's always that elusive Hawkes XX Century as well. Can't get more nostalgic than that!
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,797
rather than necessarily a vintage sound, although I assume that the sound is a big part of it.
I don't actually buy the concept of a "vintage sound" - I think there are some modern horns that have very similar "sounds" to some vintage instruments.

I remember when I was buying a The Martin at Stephen's old workshop, we compared it and it was just incredibly similar to his YTS 23.

And that Martin Comm III is quite different to a Conn 10M so I don't subscribe to the notion there is such a thing as a "vintage" sound.

OK, a TrueTone for example has a sort of possible aspect to the sound you might describe as vintage - but very often that's because the person playing it is using an old Buescher mouthpiece and is very aware they are playing a 100 year old instrument etc. (Arthur Blythe being a possible exception)

I bought my Rampone because it seemed to have big aspects of both The Martin Comm III and the 10M. In the end I'm back to using the 10M now.
 
Saxholder Pro

Members OnlineStatistics

  • Members online

  • Forum statistics

    Threads
    24,355
    Messages
    417,724
    Members
    7,157
    Latest member
    Darlene
Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom