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Saxophones Grassi Tenor 1976 - a trickier blow than new Chinese model. Hmmm.....

DavidUK

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:confused:

The Grassi Tenor is back from the sax tech. 6 new pads, straightened keys, some new cork and felts, regulated and tested.

Four rollers still stuck, which I freed last night. Maybe he wasn't checking for those? :confused:

Anyway, first blow last night with 4 MPs.... Selmer Soloist F, Windcraft Student & Etude, Grassi (original?).

The Selmer, which was the best blow on my 6 mth old Carmichael Tenor, was rubbish, but slightly better than the Etude, which was also the worst on the Carmichael - squeaks from both. Grassi was OK, Windcraft Student the easiest but I still struggled with middle and high D and a slight warble on middle G (which I know the reason for).

QUESTION: Is a newly set up vintage sax more difficult for a newcomer to Tenor (and only 6 mths on Alto) than a newly set up Chinese model ?

Just wondering which to keep. I have no problems with anything using the Carmichael and Selmer MP so I'm thinking maybe I've gone vintage too early and need to improve my technique first. Or would an experienced player find the newer sax easier too?

Keep both? Hmmm..... try telling that to the wife!

;}
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
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I started on a "new" alto sax and then switched to a vintage. Having just decided to pick up my "new" one again I found it very easy to blow and finger! So I don't know!
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
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As long as the Chinese horn is of reasonable quality (they aren't all, but many are) it is likely to be easier to play. Ergonomics have improved greatly so even though some vintage ones sound much better, they can have action and intonation problems so that they are better suited to experienced players who can work around the issues. An experienced player would still need to spend time with an individual vintage sax to get to know it and get the best out of it though. Beginners with under developed embouchure have much less chance of achieving that, but it might just speed up their development if they spend enough time. It could put them off too!

My teacher tells me when he play tests student horns, he can't believe how easy they are to play (after set up) compared to his MKVIs.
 

Nick Wyver

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Playing a vintage sax is rather like driving a vintage car.

If you want something that just works you get modern.

If you want a bit of a pose and are prepared to work at it, you might try vintage.

If I have a car, I want it to get me from A to B reliably - I really don't care that it doesn't look anything like a Bugatti. If I have a sax I want it to play in tune and not need constant tinkering. They all sound much the same anyway. It's what you put into them that matters.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
I think it is all down to the individual player and individual horn (and mouthpiece - and factor in reed and ligature for that matter) - you might have some modern horns that are easier to play than vintage horns and some vintage horns easier than modern.

If you have a freeblowing horn you might want to balance it with a mouthpiece with a bit of resistance and resistance horn with a freeblowing mouthpiece...personally I don't want to fight the horn so a freeblowing horn and freeblowing mouthpiece...

Greg S.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
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I like modern horns for all the added factors they bring.A MKVI sounds nice and has still to this day amazing ergonomics but most other vintage horns can be very hard work say on your hands and then a lot have more intonation problems but again its what you like and want.With time spent on a nice vintage horn you would of course get to grips with it.
 

thomsax

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IMO, there are around 10 "vintage" brands/models that are better than a new/modern horn. I can do things on a Martin that is not possible on a new/modern horn.

One reason for playing an old sax, was that it was less money compared to new horn. But that's not the case any more. I use to recommend players to buy a YAM 62, new or used, when they are looking for a sax. Best allround sax. But still more money than my Martin saxes!!!!!
 

Fraser Jarvis

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1,917
Playing a vintage sax is rather like driving a vintage car.

If you want something that just works you get modern.

If you want a bit of a pose and are prepared to work at it, you might try vintage.

If I have a car, I want it to get me from A to B reliably - I really don't care that it doesn't look anything like a Bugatti. If I have a sax I want it to play in tune and not need constant tinkering. They all sound much the same anyway. It's what you put into them that matters.
Couldn't have put it better myself Nick...brilliant..
 

DavidUK

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Playing a vintage sax is rather like driving a vintage car.

If you want something that just works you get modern.

If you want a bit of a pose and are prepared to work at it, you might try vintage.

If I have a car, I want it to get me from A to B reliably - I really don't care that it doesn't look anything like a Bugatti. If I have a sax I want it to play in tune and not need constant tinkering. They all sound much the same anyway. It's what you put into them that matters.

Ah... I get it now, thanks. :thumb:

Over 27 years I had eight modern BMWs in a row followed by one "vintage" Aston which cost me £1000 a month to keep on the road, drove like a pig on castors, and leaked like a colander! It lasted a year.

Mid life crisis over. Been there, done that. Back to BMW now for an easier life.

Looks like the Grassi could be an old Alfa then?

:shocked:
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
IMO, there are around 10 "vintage" brands/models that are better than a new/modern horn. I can do things on a Martin that is not possible on a new/modern horn.

One reason for playing an old sax, was that it was less money compared to new horn. But that's not the case any more. I use to recommend players to buy a YAM 62, new or used, when they are looking for a sax. Best allround sax. But still more money than my Martin saxes!!!!!

With comments like that Thomas you'll become a honorary member of the C.S.Y.A.S. (Cafe Saxophone Yamaha Appreciation Society) :thumb:

Greg S.
 

milandro

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the Netherlands
the good old car analogies........ :)

Some Grassi are VERY good robust and uncomplicated PROFESSIONAL saxophones ( Professional, Wonderful, Prestige, Professional 2000) and some others (the rest) are good robust and uncomplicated saxophones.

I have yet to come across a real bad one. Simple: yes! Bad: no!

Of course we are talking or should be talking of a saxophone in decent state and no major disrepair.

Which brings us to the question..........are you sure that your tech has put this thing in playing conditions? Because, really, a well set up Grassi, plays like any good horn should play.
 

DavidUK

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the good old car analogies........ :)

Some Grassi are VERY good robust and uncomplicated PROFESSIONAL saxophones ( Professional, Wonderful, Prestige, Professional 2000) and some others (the rest) are good robust and uncomplicated saxophones.

I have yet to come across a real bad one. Simple: yes! Bad: no!

Of course we are talking or should be talking of a saxophone in decent state and no major disrepair.

Which brings us to the question..........are you sure that your tech has put this thing in playing conditions? Because, really, a well set up Grassi, plays like any good horn should play.

Yes, it's just me whos not up to the Grassi!

Took it to my tutor last week and he had no problem playing it at all after 25 years experience. He noticed one sliver of cork missing in the l/h pinky table but that's all, and it doesn't affect the playability. He didn't like my Selmer Soloist MP on it, but the Grassi's original MP was good in his hands, as was his Runyon MP. Lovely sound, but not when I play it!

So, how long will it take me to do the Grassi justice? My cheapie Carmichael is such an easy blow with the Selmer MP and sounds much better at my level of playing. I guess at some point (years ahead) I'd make the Grassi sound like the Carmichael does now, and after that the Grassi would keep growing with me whereas the Carmichael would then be holding me back? Does that seem like a likely scenario?

:confused:
 

Nick Wyver

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My cheapie Carmichael is such an easy blow with the Selmer MP and sounds much better at my level of playing. I guess at some point (years ahead) I'd make the Grassi sound like the Carmichael does now, and after that the Grassi would keep growing with me whereas the Carmichael would then be holding me back? Does that seem like a likely scenario?

:confused:

Not really.

What have you got against the Carmichael? Why do you think it would hold you back? If I had 2 saxes - one hard to play and one easy to play - I'd play the easy one every time.
 

thomsax

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What things?

Sorry for my english! Things is maybe not the right word/expression? But I find Martin Committee's as a rocker ....
..... tolerant when it comes mouthpieces, fast key action and quick response, great low tones, richer overtones, growl is effecient even in the lower tones, great "doo wop" ..... .
 

thomsax

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Sweden
Nowadays I use to park my car (old Toyota) in woods or behind the barns and walk the last houndreds with my saxes. When I owned a Buick Super Eight - 51 it was different. A original Martin "snake/crocodile-like" leather case came out great in the trunk of my Buick. Lee Hooker also like the Buick Super Eight!;}

hookerbuick.jpg

Same coulour as mine (Geneva green) but my Buick was a Riviera model with ivory top.
 

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