Beginner Sax Do I NEED a vintage American tenor

thomsax

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PS ~ it's not quite as simple as looking at the tube/body attributes of a horn correlating to bright vs. dark. The bores/geometries do not necessarily correlate that way. I have played 'short neck', 'normal bore' horns which were quite dark, for example.
And JK changed their bows quite a bit over time, sometimes they were on the large side, sometimes not, sometimes they had a wide curvature, sometimes not...but they are always dark-toned horns.
I have played horns with pretty skinny neck tubes (Beaugnier comes to mind) which were pretty dark, and 'fat' looking necktubes which were pretty bright....
So what do you think about "The Martin Tenor" vs Martin HC Comm II tone?

Of course JK made different models. And they made changes on the tube over the years as well. But the wide bow on a JK sax from the 60's, 70's ... are pretty much the same? I don't know ..... .
 

thomsax

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And the choice of reed makes more of a difference with respect to bright or dark than anything else.
You're right. I play a thicker plasticover baritone on my tenor tenor mpc to change the tonalty/timbre.
 

eb424

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This thread is beginning to unfocus, a bit. @eb424 you are asking folks about Conn, Martin, now Buescher has just come up; and you now have noted that there's such a thing to your ears as 'too dark'.....so we may be starting to get into subjectivity here, and oftentimes that can just confuse things more than clarify....

IMHO, and although this is a generalization I believe it holds true....all of the vintage major models are darker toned than 90% of any contemporary horn, exceptions being maybe a Ref 54, Keilwerth, then the boutique Italian brands.

Doesn't matter which model....6M/10m, Committee, 'Crat, 400, S20, Zephyr.
If your definition of 'Dark' means the low and low-midrange tones/harmonics are more prevalent when compared to a modern horn.

I would not consider a Comm 3 'bright' by any means... when put up against a contemporary Yamaha, SA80, Yani for example.
It might be perceived to be 'brighter' vs. some other vintage Americans, however.

At this point you are just sorta asking folks 'which is darker ?'...going on their perceptions and already there's some contradictory opinion in the replies.

Not certain how much you are gonna just 'cross off' models on your Vintage List based on the replies of people on a Forum.

A better methodology would be to try to hunt down a few vintage models and playtest them. You don't necessarily need to try four or six, I believe it will become apparent to you the tonality signatures of the older horns after trying only a couple. You already know what a 10M sounds like so you have a 'base' - albeit from memory - to go off of. And I'd honestly say ANY name-brand vintage model is worth a blow...doesn't have to be the top-shelfers of the old Big 4.
Beaugnier (Vito/Noblet), a vintage JK, Grassi for example are some others out there, and a second-shelfer like Martin Indiana or even a King Cleveland or Conn 16M are going to have the tonal attributes which you seem interested in as well.
Think I was just surprised how much they have gone up..think it has to be a 10m1940s nrth..i know it wont sound exactly the same as the one i had but..asked about the martin as theres a comm 111 on e bay at a good price but its going to be a Conn...if anything...just would like 1 sax to do the lot..and the skills to do it..
 

eb424

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And the choice of reed makes more of a difference with respect to bright or dark than anything else.
Trouble is the caravan..in the summer to hot reeds were warping all over the place...to damp...cane just wasn't working so I went onto the legere sigs..even tried plasticovers..also the dynamics in the van arent the best...even tried a reedjuvinater to no avail...
 
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LostCircuits

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Trouble is the caravan..in the summer to hot reeds were warping all over the place...to damp...cane just wasn't working so I went onto the legere sigs..even tried plasticovers..also the dynamics in the van arent the best...even tried a reedjuvinater to no avail...

You can easily unwarp the reed when you moisten it and then press the tip against the table in a 90 degree angle and then flick the thick end of the reed to make it vibrate (like you did in school with the ruler to annoy the teacher). Two-three flicks and your reed is straight. It's a lot worse here in Colorado, in the summer with 0-10% relative humidity and very thin air on top of it but give it a try. And forget the reed juvenator and all that crap, let the reed naturally dry after you rinse/wipe it off. moisten it from the thick end when you get ready to play and when it starts warping, do the flick and you're going to be just fine.
 

thomsax

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It's hard to describe a sound/tone with words.

Words that also are used to describe "bright" can be "brilliant", "brittle", "clean", "classical", "crunchy" ..... . And other words that can be used when we talk about "dark" can be "bottom", "deep", "mellow" ..... . The lower tones on a Martin comes out pretty easy. I guess it's about how the sax is constructed? Just because you are able to play the low tones it doesn't mean the sax is dark?

Now I'm going to practice some ballads or "ballad-like" songs on my "centered", "focused", "punchy" Martin HC Committee ( I stay out to call the sax "bright" or "dark") with a "bright", "piercing", "powerful" mouthpiece and a baritone reed to make it less "bright", "pointed". It's ballads in concert E and I more or less play the pentatonic scale all the time. And I use the Bis key as well. I just play my sax and the music I like. Good? No, I'm not very good. I just like to make noise with saxes. But still searching for the big tone.
 

scotsman

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:):):) To get back to the beginning re different sounds. I was asked if I could repair a dropped alto (gasp!!). While I was working on it I suggested to Sarah (been playing 3 years) that she might like to try some alto's in the next room.. Conn 6m, Selmer ser 3 black laq, ref 54, Kholert and an SBA. Same room , same MP (generic, came with the Chinese sax) etc .. It was most informative to hear the blind sounds as it were. There was one especially which sounded full bodied and really sweet. Anyway, when I had rescued the sax she came in and said that her favorite was an old vintage one. We popped next door and she pointed to the horn..1949 Selmer SBA!!!!!.. Interesting isnt it?.. The never-ending search for the perfect horn eh??.. and BTW the SBA is the one I play afer years of GAS.... Regards to all...:)
:):):):)
 

LostCircuits

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:):):) ??.. and BTW the SBA is the one I play afer years of GAS.... Regards to all...:)
:):):):)
That's a great choice. I haven't found a better alto than my '34 Aristocrat. Yes my 6M is fantastic and my Medusa is spectacular but I rebuilt the Crat from "garbage" (second horn I ever worked on), down to the bare brass and then gave it a shellac spray paint job (Home Depot) that didn't quite flow as well as I hoped (too cold) but after a few years all that 'matte" finish has been hand-buffed to that silky vintage luster that you can't create on purpose if you wanted.
 

JayeNM

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So what do you think about "The Martin Tenor" vs Martin HC Comm II tone?

Of course JK made different models. And they made changes on the tube over the years as well. But the wide bow on a JK sax from the 60's, 70's ... are pretty much the same? I don't know ..... .
Honestly have never had a 3 and 2 in a side by side....but my impressions, from memory, is that the II is a bit smoother and less edgy, while the 3 is more of a roarer.

Bows between 60's and 70's JK....I can't really say, again I never looked at two side by side with the intention to compare. I do remember however, I once brought a JK stencil into a tech friend and he did some bodywork on it and when I told hm it was an older JK he did reply "really ? totally different bow than the JK's I have worked on".
 

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