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Curved Soprano as travel sax

olivj0381

New Member
Messages
3
Hello everyone,

I started to play tenor sax about 1.5 year ago after a long musical break. I am learning Jazz and improvised music.
I try to practice everyday however I am often in business trip and the tenor is not very convenient for travelling.
I am considering buying a soprano sax to practice when I am gone. Here are my questions:
  • Is it difficult to switch between tenor and soprano and is my practice time on the soprano gonna pay off on the tenor?
  • the custom line curved soprano from Thomann Thomann Custom Line CSBS – Thomann Luxembourg seems to be a good price/quality trade-off, however I can only find review on their website which could be biased. Do you know anything about the quality of this sax?

Thanks in advance for your replies.

Olivier
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
Subscriber
Messages
3,462
I am considering buying a soprano sax to practice when I am gone. Here are my questions:
  • Is it difficult to switch between tenor and soprano and is my practice time on the soprano gonna pay off on the tenor?
Hi Olivier, I am almost as new as you are and I too bought a curved soprano for the same reason. More experienced players will have a better answer, but for me, my main focus is alto and I find the soprano to almost be a different instrument. Yes, fingerings are the same, but the intonation, embouchure, airflow are very different. Again, I say that from my newbie point of view.
I do not think it will be a huge benefit to practice it to improve on the tenor, and if you're in a hotel, I would bet the sound would be more disturbing to neighbors.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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7,073
Soprano is a convenient travel size and won't get dented if kept in a hard case

The fingering is the same as tenor (any other sax) and for practice purposes it is a good practical substitute

As Randy says the embouchure required is different between the two, but at your stage I would think soprano fits your needs

Can't comment on quality of Thomann sax
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
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3,462
Can't comment on quality of Thomann sax
I bought the cheapest Thomann and it's not great, but it gets me a little used to soprano if someday I want to buy one. It is far more convenient for travel, so that's one of the reasons I justified paying around €500.
 

Ivan

Undecided
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7,073
I have a conn-selmer that was double the price but cracking quality and sounds...

As bad as soprano sounds when I play it
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,183
I think we should not underestimate the differences between blowing a soprano and tenor.

IMHO the more of ANY sax one plays the better it will be for them. But as already mentioned, the embouchure is quite different for soprano AND they also tend to be intonationally squirrelly (somewhat intrinsic in the horn itself, and more so due to the aforementioned embouchure thing...IOW things you can 'get away' with as far as blowing on a T or A, will jump right out on a Soprano).

So...if you keep in mind there is gonna be a learning curve there, and you do not easily get put off by not sounding so great at the start, you'll be OK. Plus, littlehorns are sorta fun in their own right.
 

s.mundi

Member
Messages
516
Is it difficult to switch between tenor and soprano and is my practice time on the soprano gonna pay off on the tenor?

At first -- Yes. It can be very difficult to switch between tenor and soprano, but it can be extremely rewarding. The mouthpieces look similar and the fingering chart is the same, but they are different monsters. One is cat meat and the other is dog meat.

the custom line curved soprano from Thomann Thomann Custom Line CSBS – Thomann Luxembourg seems to be a good price/quality trade-off, however I can only find review on their website which could be biased. Do you know anything about the quality of this sax?

I'm unfamiliar with that brand. I have a "pro" soprano saxophone, but recently purchased an ultra-cheap "made in China" soprano and I love it.
I say go for it!!
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,183
I have a "pro" soprano saxophone, but recently purchased an ultra-cheap "made in China" soprano and I love it.
This is sort of the situation when someone wants to buy a new Soprano, you either are choosing from a cheapie or an established make (tending to be expensive)...or then the newer-brand ones occupying the 'middle zone' of new - which haven't really been around long enough to determine whether they can withstand the test of time....

Then of course there is the used 'middle zone' ($600-800) where you can get a solid, reputable horn but usually have to be patient as it may take a month or so to find.
 

Mark

Member
Messages
38
I've got the Odisei travel sax on pre order - but still waiting for news of general release.
 
OP
O

olivj0381

New Member
Messages
3
Thanks for your numerous answers.

I asked the same question to my teacher yesterday. His answer was that it would be great to play on another sax but the curved soprano might not be the best one especially at my level, I d better spend another year exclusively on the tenor.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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3,526
I can understand what you want to do and I'd say it's a good idea. Not sure why you want a curved soprano. It's not bigger than the curved one. Just shaped differently and as far as playing goes, the curved one may or may not suit you. It's a tiny thing, so if you have large hands, you may not feel comfortable with it.

Of course, there are many differences between the tenor and the soprano when blowing them. But at least they are both in Bb, so you can keep practicing the same tunes in the same key.

It can't do no harm anyways. Except on your purse!

I take my soprano from time to time instead of the tenor as it's so much easier to carry around. I play in the office before hitting home in the evening to let the worst of the traffic go while I'm playing... It's also a good way to relax and let go of the tensions accumulated during office hours.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,183
Did you mean the curved isn't smaller than the straight? It must be shorter, no?
Sure it is, but for the intent of 'traveling' I would agree...is a straight really gonna be any 'less' maneuverable/stowable/carryable than a curvy ? No, not really. A straight case is easily strappable to a backpack, conforms to carry-on requirements, and makes a better, more nimble implement should you find the need to whack someone upside the head during your journeys....
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
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3,462
I'm not familiar with the size of a good straight sop case, but they may be too big for airline carry-on? (Or I'm wrong). Oops, I just now saw you mention they fit on airlines. I wouldn't have guessed that as I fly EasyJet and other budget lines :)
 
Last edited:

Ivan

Undecided
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7,073
Curly soprano look like saxophones to Joe public

Straight ones don't
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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5,248
The case for my straight soprano is bigger than my alto case. There's no good reason for this, but it is. I think it would be too long for airline carry-on.
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
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3,462
Dumb question: why can't straight sopranos be made in segments like clarinets?
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,841
Dumb question: why can't straight sopranos be made in segments like clarinets?
Maybe it could be done but why would you want all that complexity of making a very accurate join and a mechanism that can bridge across two or more separate pieces ?

For wooden clarinets it is easier/better to split the main tube for ease of manufacture. My metal clarinets are made with a single piece body tube.

I guess your question is sort of the wrong way around.

Rhys
 

randulo

Playing alto 25 months
Subscriber
Messages
3,462
Understood, thanks. It would just have been a more portable thing as clarinet cases (IIRC) are much less voluminous.
 
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