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Saxophones Can you recommend a vintage Tenor?

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,821
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 $$).
OK, so…you have a friend who has some unidentified Mauriats, you once tried a RAW in a shop – and you’ve read some stuff on the internet about the M2. And you don’t seem to have had any experience with them as regards build quality.
Not much to discuss there, really.

I’m not recommending they buy anything. I’m recommending they TRY alternatives – and I’m really not seeing how doing so fails to respect a choice or prevents them from achieving their goals.
All we really know about the OP is that they have one horn, and haven’t played anything else. Sure, we know they want a ‘vintage’ horn – but what specifically do they want from it? A vintage tone? But which vintage tone – and how do you know that their idea of a vintage tone is the same as yours?

I see this sort of thing all the time in the workshop – people come in with vintage horns that they’ve bought on the basis of ‘internet advice’...and now they’re wondering why they’re not getting out of it what everyone else seems to be. Oh yes, they’ve often done their ‘homework’ with regard to model numbers and ‘golden years’ of manufacture – but the one thing they haven’t done is try them out. And more often than not they simply lack the chops to be able to do a worthwhile side-by-side comparison.
And it’s equally common to find that there’s nothing wrong with their original horn other than they’re using a mouthpiece with a tone that can cut glass at 20 yards...and all they really needed was, say, a Selmer F or a Link 7*.

The three horns I suggested all have one thing in common – they all have a tonal approach that leans towards the vintage rather than being out-and-out contemporary horns (like, say, the YTS62) – and they’ll all be very, very different to the OP’s 902.~
As such they all represent a ‘bridge’ to the tonal landscape of a proper vintage horn (without any of the associated issues) – and there’s no-one here that can say for sure that none of these horns will float the OP’s boat. And given that the OP has only ever played a 902, I doubt even they can say for sure until they’ve tried a good few other horns.

In my books, showing ‘respect’ to a player’s choices means providing them with the sort of information that may save them money, time and heartbreak down the line. So there’s never going to be a time when I say “Don’t try alternatives” - and if that irks you it’s frankly not my problem.

I’m really not sure what the point of your questions was, but I’ll answer them anyway:
I don’t think that merely trying out different horns makes one a better player. It’s just practice and more practice that does that.
I couldn’t have decided which horn was truly right for me without trying a number of alternatives – which rather makes the third question superfluous.
 

MarkSax

Member
Messages
166
Yes, I can recommend a vintage tenor. IMO: not too old and knackered, not too expensive and relatively easy to maintain, good intonation, good ergos and works with vintage and modern mouthpieces. Most important something that can easily be sold on should one come to a disagreement with it. ;-))
1. The Martin Comm 3 - alto $1000 max, tenor $2200 max ( should be 1600 but they're just popular)
2. Martin Indiana Deluxe, Medalist or Comm 2 - $600 max for the 1st 2 and $900 for the Comm2.
3. Lyric- $500 max. Martin stencil, blows like the Imperial, Indiana or Medalist.
Ok, now that I've shown my Martin prejudice, on to the rest of MY best:
Conn 10m if you find one in good state, RTH preferred but non RTH 99% as good. 16m if not MexiConn.
Buescher 400 or Big B.
I know nothing about King but the 615 is cheap and the Super 20 has cult status.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,556
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.
Interesting comments. I find it funny that you'd think that bent lkeycups, off center keycups, etc came out of the factory like that, however (?) We are talking about a 40-50+ year old instrument; even if the finish is in good shape, to ascertain that what you had in your hands was literally 'as it was when new' is a stretch. If someone told me "this is just as it was when it was brand new" - on a 50- year old horn....I would find that claim very specious. We can never know this. Even if it was a supposed 'closet queen'.

I, for example, have refurbed plenty of Indianas which looked like they had been through two wars, and back....yet as a rule displayed no 'bent keycups', off center cups, key play, or the things which you note. Yet they had clearly been played in the trenches for decades and decades

FWIW, they are arguably my best selling vintage model, I'd say I have sold more of these than any other model and I have never had a displeased client; which is why I am perhaps challenging some of your comments here. IMHO they basically give you everything which Martin was famous for, for a fraction of the cost of a Committee, and in some aspects I find they actually exceed the III, which was supposedly their 'flagship' model.

Not to digress the thread, too much. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,556
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.
I actually sorta agree with this. I mean, the thread isn't entitled "what modern horn has that vintage vibe ?"
There are some which do (oddly, I actually wouldn't put Mauriat in that category, myself, although I know their marketing angle implies such).

The OP stated he wants to delve into a vintage horn. So, with soooooo many great models from the past to choose from, and the desire clearly stated....why would one jump in with contemporary models (particularly when OP has a great modern horn already) ?
Seems like it'd just be a distraction more than anything else to start trying contemporary horns if one's desire is to dip their toes into vintage.
 
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JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,556
intonation issues?
Really ? Interesting. You are a far more advanced player than I, but I have not in my memory played a well set-up S20 of any era which wasn't quite straight-arrow, intonationally...and far more mouthpiece friendly than a 10M.

Both are cream of the crop models....I love 10M's, too.

I am just reiterating that a 10M, even in overhauled shape with great original lacq, should not fetch $3000 on the used market. I just don't feel they 'give enough back' for that sort of dollar. If one finds an RTH Lady in good shape, recently serviced, for $2300-2400 ? Go for it.

Of course, up to the player to try both and form their own impressions. These are just mine.

That they currently do fetch so much is simply because they are 'hot' items these days (whereas back in, say, 2016, one could regularly find an RTH one, serviced, nice finish, for around $1500-1700). I just wouldn't pay $2500+ for one, is all.

A Comm III, for example (just as good a horn as an S20 or 10M) has had its values DROP over the years. Back in 2008-2011, they were the 'hot' horns.... a Tenor in good, serviced shape which looked pretty nice aesthetically, easily fetched $24-2600ish, yet nowadays one can pick up same thing for $1800ish. One in good playing shape with a lot of lacq wear back then still got $2000, today they'd get maybe $1500ish.

So the market can be fickle, I guess was my main point.

We need not necessarily have our wallets acquiesce to a fickle market when looking at vintage, not when so many good old top-shelf models were made between the 30's and the 80's.

(BTW am talking US market here, I understand European market for vintage American horns has a higher price point, generally).
 
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JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,556
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.
Except...it really IS.... :rolleyes:

(ducks and runs for cover)
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,556
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.
Some do, the vast majority don't.

There was a shift in the tonal paradigm of the sax around the late 70's-early 80's (this concept is not mine, I stole it from Tim price, actually...yet it is 100% true).
Just as there was a shift in the tonal paradigm at the start of the BB era, away from the sonic nature saxes possessed in, say, the 1910's and '20's.

The #1 reason people choose a vintage horn is the tonality/sonic signature.
To get 'that', they are quite fine with navigating older-style keywork (which, when well-designed and well-regulated, is quite easy to acclimate to most of the time, actually)....and quite fine woodshedding a bit to get the more flexible intonational aspects which many possessed, to work as an advantage.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,821
Seems like it'd just be a distraction more than anything else to start trying contemporary horns if one's desire is to dip their toes into vintage.
Cool - now let's see you mangle the semantics as you try to match the statement above with your one from another thread below.

"Within the family of saxes there's such a diversity of sound, feel, performance, etc that I feel it is something which every player should at least experience to some degree. THAT is the point of the search, and if one sets that as their goal, they'll have a LOT more fun. "

Use as many 'buts' as you need....
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,643
Interesting comments. I find it funny that you'd think that bent lkeycups, off center keycups, etc came out of the factory like that, however (?) We are talking about a 40-50+ year old instrument; even if the finish is in good shape, to ascertain that what you had in your hands was literally 'as it was when new' is a stretch. If someone told me "this is just as it was when it was brand new" - on a 50- year old horn....I would find that claim very specious. We can never know this. Even if it was a supposed 'closet queen'.

I, for example, have refurbed plenty of Indianas which looked like they had been through two wars, and back....yet as a rule displayed no 'bent keycups', off center cups, key play, or the things which you note. Yet they had clearly been played in the trenches for decades and decades

FWIW, they are arguably my best selling vintage model, I'd say I have sold more of these than any other model and I have never had a displeased client; which is why I am perhaps challenging some of your comments here. IMHO they basically give you everything which Martin was famous for, for a fraction of the cost of a Committee, and in some aspects I find they actually exceed the III, which was supposedly their 'flagship' model.

Not to digress the thread, too much. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
I agree on most of what you are writng. I have a -58 Indiana alto as well. So I know they are good saxes. Maybe it just my -59 was a lemon? But I don't say my Inndiana is a vintage sax. Just a very, very good sax.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,527
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?
Not vintage but I love my Mx5 MK3, highly recommended, sounds good, smells great, lovely drive :)

Jx
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
Subscriber
Messages
1,959
Not vintage but I love my Mx5 MK3, highly recommended, sounds good, smells great, lovely drive :)
Jx
I can't let that go! Tell us...what makes your MX5 smell so great?? Is it cos you live near a chocolate factory and you keep the roof down?
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,556
Cool - now let's see you mangle the semantics as you try to match the statement above with your one from another thread below.

"Within the family of saxes there's such a diversity of sound, feel, performance, etc that I feel it is something which every player should at least experience to some degree. THAT is the point of the search, and if one sets that as their goal, they'll have a LOT more fun. "

Use as many 'buts' as you need....
No need to get overly touchy, here.

Just, for me, if someone opens a post stating certain parameters, for example "I wanna delve into vintage" or " I have decided I am going to buy new"....

...I tend assume those are the parameters of the discussion, therefore would not tend to reply "vintage is nice, but try these contemporary horns"...or...."you know, buying used gets you so much more sax; I recommend these used ones : " etc....

is all...
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,527
I can't let that go! Tell us...what makes your MX5 smell so great?? Is it cos you live near a chocolate factory and you keep the roof down?
No, it just has a smell I love, not sure what it is, the canvas maybe?

Before this I had an MGF and that smelt great too but that had leather upholstery.

And boats, love the smell of boats and speedway......

And bazil and garlic :)


Jx
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,821
No need to get overly touchy, here.

Just, for me, if someone opens a post stating certain parameters, for example "I wanna delve into vintage" or " I have decided I am going to buy new"....

...I tend assume those are the parameters of the discussion, therefore would not tend to reply "vintage is nice, but try these contemporary horns"...or...."you know, buying used gets you so much more sax; I recommend these used ones : " etc....
Y'know...that's exactly what I do. I read the opening post and comment appropriately.

"What recommendations/ advice could you offer please?"

My personal take on it is that we have a player who's only ever played the one horn (a Yani 902 - with God knows what mouthpiece), whose prowess is unknown and whose motive for 'delving' doesn't go much beyond "Vintage is cool, right?"
I'm absolutely gonna advise trying out some warmer/darker modern horns before telling them to dive into the vintage bargain basement.

And at the risk of driving you to complete despair and further humbuggery I'm going to add the Hanson LX to my list of try-out horns. It's a Selmer MkVI copy - and while it doesn't quite capture the true essence of the marque, it gets pretty damn close. And at £2400 it's definitely worth a look. Review will be up in the next week or so.
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Café Supporter
Messages
13,465
It's a Selmer MkVI copy - and while it doesn't quite capture the true essence of the marque, it gets pretty damn close.
The LX is a different kettle of fish to all the many different MKVI so-called "copies" as it was properly reverse engineered down to very small details of the bore, as opposed to just being a lookalike. ie a saxophone with MKVI shaped keywork.

Although some of the Chinese lookalikes are actually not bad at all. The LX stopped at being cosmetically too similar, perhaps due to it coming just that little but too close for comfort.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,821
The LX is a different kettle of fish to all the many different MKVI so-called "copies" as it was properly reverse engineered down to very small details of the bore, as opposed to just being a lookalike. ie a saxophone with MKVI shaped keywork.

Although some of the Chinese lookalikes are actually not bad at all. The LX stopped at being cosmetically too similar, perhaps due to it coming just that little but too close for comfort.
It's certainly the best stab at it I've yet played, though it doesn't quite ring all the bells. I would have said that maybe it was down to the individual horn - but as it happens I've got two in for servicing at the moment (built 5 years apart), and the newer one is actually less close to the mark than the older one.
But at the price there's really not a lot to complain about. Well, aside from some build quality issues....

And then there's the strange business of it being remarkably similar in design and build to another horn I reviewed recently...
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
1,958
OK, so…you have a friend who has some unidentified Mauriats, you once tried a RAW in a shop – and you’ve read some stuff on the internet about the M2. And you don’t seem to have had any experience with them as regards build quality.
Not much to discuss there, really.

I’m not recommending they buy anything. I’m recommending they TRY alternatives – and I’m really not seeing how doing so fails to respect a choice or prevents them from achieving their goals.
All we really know about the OP is that they have one horn, and haven’t played anything else. Sure, we know they want a ‘vintage’ horn – but what specifically do they want from it? A vintage tone? But which vintage tone – and how do you know that their idea of a vintage tone is the same as yours?

I see this sort of thing all the time in the workshop – people come in with vintage horns that they’ve bought on the basis of ‘internet advice’...and now they’re wondering why they’re not getting out of it what everyone else seems to be. Oh yes, they’ve often done their ‘homework’ with regard to model numbers and ‘golden years’ of manufacture – but the one thing they haven’t done is try them out. And more often than not they simply lack the chops to be able to do a worthwhile side-by-side comparison.
And it’s equally common to find that there’s nothing wrong with their original horn other than they’re using a mouthpiece with a tone that can cut glass at 20 yards...and all they really needed was, say, a Selmer F or a Link 7*.

The three horns I suggested all have one thing in common – they all have a tonal approach that leans towards the vintage rather than being out-and-out contemporary horns (like, say, the YTS62) – and they’ll all be very, very different to the OP’s 902.~
As such they all represent a ‘bridge’ to the tonal landscape of a proper vintage horn (without any of the associated issues) – and there’s no-one here that can say for sure that none of these horns will float the OP’s boat. And given that the OP has only ever played a 902, I doubt even they can say for sure until they’ve tried a good few other horns.

In my books, showing ‘respect’ to a player’s choices means providing them with the sort of information that may save them money, time and heartbreak down the line. So there’s never going to be a time when I say “Don’t try alternatives” - and if that irks you it’s frankly not my problem.

I’m really not sure what the point of your questions was, but I’ll answer them anyway:
I don’t think that merely trying out different horns makes one a better player. It’s just practice and more practice that does that.
I couldn’t have decided which horn was truly right for me without trying a number of alternatives – which rather makes the third question superfluous.
That's a good answer and certainly covers your point of view. Unfortunately it still doesn't give respect to the OP as possibly knowing what they want. I respect that Mauriat has lots of different models as does TJ. Have I tried them all or remember the models of all the ones I tried? No. Are they vintage horns? NO, and neither is the Ref 54. That doesn't change. This is about specifics. The OP was specific. He didn't say I'm a beginner looking for advice about what horn to buy and maybe I'd like a vintage horn. Please advise me if vintage horns are a bad idea. You have presumed that they have no idea what a vintage horn is and should open up a search including modern horns. You have justified that well, but you're still not giving respect to the OP and what they have stated as their preference.

In the oddest of ways I agree with you, as I own (and have owned) a number of horns, vintage and modern. The tenors I play regularly are modern with Vintage type sound (R&C and Borgani). There is no disrespect intended towards your knowledge or opinion, we just need to give help that's asked for. In that respect several of us have already flagged that vintage horns are worn and may require an expensive rebuild.
 
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