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Saxophones Has the hunt for the perfect horn (for you) been good?

Wade Cornell

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A current thread in which the OP has asked about recommendations for "vintage horns" has brought to mind whether those of us who have over time owned a number of different horns wish we had known from the beginning about our current "favorite"? Would we have even recognized it's merits?

My personal point of view is that I've enjoyed all the different horns I've owned/played, although I haven't kept most of them. It has been a journey of discovery which helped form my style and taste in horns. I frankly don't think I would have been satisfied or a better player if I'd had the horns I play now 20+ years ago.

Yea, this sounds like an rationalization for GAS, but I've finally reached a point where I really do know what sound I want and the equipment that delivers that best (for me), and find that I'm not buying a lot of new (or old) gear any longer.

Where are you in this journey? Have you found the right gear for your playing, or or at least satisfied with what you've got? Is it likely to be a never ending quest? Are you trying to resist the expense and potential exasperation of chasing (and possibly not finding) what you're looking for?
 
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GCinCT

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I completely agree that early on, we don’t have the knowledge or skill to recognize our ideal horn so experimentation is necessary. I don’t have nearly your years of experience, Wade, but I have tried a number of altos and I believe my Super 20 is my ideal. I feel really dialed in on my current reed and mouthpiece set up. That could change down the road, but I believe I have found my forever alto.
 

Wonko

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I still play my first tenor (Yamaha YTS32) that I bought nearly 20 years ago (had a few periods of not playing in that time).
About 2 years ago I had the opportunity to test the Dinant II by Adolphe Sax & Cie. I found that saxophone very appealing at that time (I still do to some extent).
It was a nice saxophone, played very well.
But the main conclusion of that event was "I can't play good enough yet to appreciate a better saxophone". Or maybe my YTS32 is quite good already, perhaps I don't need a better sax (yet).
 

Nick Wyver

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It now seems unlikely that I'll buy more saxes. Age and financial circumstances contribute to that but I'm pretty happy with what I've got. My main ones are:

sop - Yanagisawa S991 (since 2013)
alto - Keilwerth SX90R (since 2000)
tenor - Keilwerth Shadow (since 2007)
bari - Yanagisawa B900 (since 2002)

I've not possessed or played any better ones than these. It's quite possible better ones exist but I'm no longer really interested in trying them.
 

Halfers

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I work on the theory that everything about my playing needs improving.....apart from my horn (assuming that it's in good working order)

I'm short into my Saxophone Journey, so things might change, but the whole search for the perfect horn thing doesn't turn me on in the least. I hope it stays that way too* ;)

*I retain the right to change my mind at some point in the future
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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It took a few tries before I found the "right" alto for me (Buffet S1). This was because I was unhappy about some feature of each successive one I had, rather than that I was on a journey of self-discovery.

I have never been satisfied with how I sound on tenor, but I have experimented with different mouthpieces rather than different saxophones. I know that the problem is me rather than the gear, but I sometimes think that maybe the perfect tenor horn is waiting for me, and I always hope that the mouthpiece I bought yesterday will be the perfect one.

I would like a soprano that makes me sound good, but actually I have one, I just need to practice.

I got a new bari last year, and I love it, but that was GAS.

Soprano: Sequoia K91 (and a cheeky Bauhaus curvy)
Alto: Buffet-Crampon S1
Tenor: Grassi Professional 2000
Baritone: Yanagisawa B992
 
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GCinCT

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It now seems unlikely that I'll buy more saxes. Age and financial circumstances contribute to that but I'm pretty happy with what I've got. My main ones are:

sop - Yanagisawa S991 (since 2013)
alto - Keilwerth SX90R (since 2000)
tenor - Keilwerth Shadow (since 2007)
bari - Yanagisawa B900 (since 2002)

I've not possessed or played any better ones than these. It's quite possible better ones exist but I'm no longer really interested in trying them.
That is an impressive line up!
 

Ivan

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No inspiring stories here...

In my youth I went for Selmer SA80 alto and tenor on the grounds there wouldn't be much wrong with them, and, for my purposes at least, that was true (once the tenor was set up correctly)

I have robust but cheapish Soprano and Bari bought on the grounds of bang for buck

The SA80 tenor has given way to a Sequoia that fits like a glove

I seem to have little inclination to change horns. I've tried a few expensive tenors in music shops and almost none have turned my head; most have been lacklustre. I have not tried any vintage horns. I find Yamahas bland
 

Halfers

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I seem to have little inclination to change horns. I've tried a few expensive tenors in music shops and almost none have turned my head; most have been lacklustre. I have not tried any vintage horns. I find Yamahas bland
I found the same when I tried out some expensive horns (3K Price tag, so certainly a lot higher than I'm used to). I was blown away by how completely un blown away I felt after playing them (granted I aint going to push the playing barriers with anything, but nonetheless, my perception of what I might expect wasn't matched by the reality of holding and playing them). Also not tried any older horns, maybe one day, but I'm not in a rush at the mo.

Perceptions and opinions aside, as they're all relevant to our own experience. Whenever I take my Yam 280 for a mild fettle, I'm always blown away by how it sounds when it's played by someone who knows how to play the thing. Yes. I've just admitted @Stephen Howard is my tone inspiration!!!! I'm more Frankie Howerd at the moment, but hey, give me Month. :cheers: :sax:
 

MarkSax

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Started on alto. First a Bundy, then Buffet, Selmer USA, LA SAX. Final setup Martin Comm 3 with a Yam4C and Rico number 3.
Tenor: Selmer SA80 II - stolen. Selmer SA80 II Jubilee + Martin Comm 3 both with a Link STMNY 7* and Royal 2.5. Best of both worlds.
Last acquisition a Yani SW01 sop. Still learning.
I have spent the equivalent of a mid range sax in mouthpieces and reeds. The right combination of sax, mpc and reed were the hardest choices. The hunt has been good but the practice has been better.
 

thomsax

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Today I'm just playing tenor and baritone. I'm back to my Martins. I'm not playing as much as I used to do. But in 2007 I started to play modern saxes because Martin saxes were not so friendly to my body. YTS 62, Yani T-880, YTS 25 and G4M. As a player I sound like me on most saxes. The best saxes for me are Martin HC (Comm sax) 1938 and "The Martin Magna Tenor" -1959. To play saxophone for me is like playing football, ice-hockey ...... you got to win the battle. And I see the sax as a bludgeon.
 

Clivey

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My 1935 10M has been with me since about 1986 and had only ever been limited by me . It's been injured a great many times and also repaired and completely repadded ,thanks to skills Learned here and along the way by Steven Howard's book.
I own a Truetone thingy stencil tenor and Wee kitty who calls herself many things but who is a lying cheat and really should not discussed in an open forum. It's her of course that demands and gets my attention.

This trio are safe me for the moment though .
It's 100,% Bb for me from here on .
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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1,556
I think that a person will simply handcuff themselves if they embrace the concept of " I am gonna find my perfect horn".

Just like "I am gonna find the mouthpiece which ends my search"

Or

"I'm gonna find my soul mate"

Simply because that's a hella lotta expectation/weight to be putting on the horn model, the mouthpiece, or the partner.

When, occasionally, I am selling something and the prospective buyer starts saying things like "is this the horn I have always been seeking ?" or some such.....

I actually suggest he find another purveyor. If you get my drift.

Interestingly, @Wade Cornell used the semantics "has the hunt been good for you? " Eh ? Eh ?

Meaning, as I interpret it....has the experience of 'experiencing' different horns been...enlightening, enjoyable, etc ?

For me, who is on no such search for the 'perfect' instrument (be it sax, bass, drums, whatever), it's been a complete joy ...(with the possible exception of those very few horns which just refuse to allow you to fix 'em o_O)...for the same reason I stated in the other thread:

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.

PLUS...it's the INTERPLAY between musician and hardware, right ? That is also part of what makes it interesting.
 
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Ivan

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Meaning, as I interpret it....has the experience of 'experiencing' different horns been...enlightening, enjoyable, etc ?
In that respect, yes

Though I am easily pleased by horns. Less easily pleased by mouthpieces and down right irritable at cane reeds
 

GCinCT

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I would agree that the perfect anything doesn't exist. Perhaps a better way to put it is that I have found a horn that I am completely satisfied with. Playing every possible saxophone ever made to find the perfect one is not feasible for the vast majority of us.

There are many, many saxophones, vintage and modern, that I have never touched, left alone played. So, I will just say, I am very happy with my Super 20. It fulfills all of my expectations. I don't think that will ever change, but ya never know!
 

BigMartin

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I've never thought of it as a search for "the one". I've mostly bought horns I expected to be of better quality than the current one, and I've ususally been right, I think. Same deal with mouthpieces. And I've bought a couple of clarinets on the grounds that they might be a bit different (but not necessarily better). But I've always been aware theat it's me that needs to improve and to adapt to any new gear.
 

Jeanette

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I've absolutely loved my saxophone journey, I've owned 3 sopranos and trying different saxophones, mouthpieces and other gear has introduced me to some lovely people.

I love my current sop (yss62) and have so far only played one other that I was tempted to buy and still regret a little but I doubt I'll ever part with this one but a backup would be nice ;)

Jx
 
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