SYOS

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

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
469
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.
Now there’s a man who knows what he wants.
Very impressive.
 

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
469
My saxophone journey isn’t quite as colourful as most of yours. In fact, perhaps a bit on the boring side.

I’ve got a 1952 SML alto which I bought second hand in 1974 and was the second owner. It’s been played off and on. Probably more off than on. I’ve tried a Selmer which was rented through long & mcquade Toronto. It was nice but not nice enough to purchase so I kept my SML. It’s been completely overhauled twice including all new pads which it needs now BUT instead of doing that I decided to try a soprano. I’d considered renting one to try it but found one advertised not far from where I lived and had a good instinct about it.

So a year ago last December I purchased a second hand Yamaha YSS 475 and the moment I first played it, I knew I’d found the instrument of my dreams. I fell in love with this instrument and this feeling hasn’t changed since. In fact, I’ve never in my life been more excited about playing as I do now and have YOU people to partially thank for this. I had no idea how great Yamaha saxophones were until I tried one and have zero regrets in my decision. It’s made in Japan not Indonesia.

The mouthpiece I use most is a Selmer C which I love. It’s used with a flexible reed holder. Another thing I really like but I’ve also got a Warburton mouthpiece with a different leather reed holder.

Even with my alto , I found changing the mouthpiece, life changing. I’ve got a Morgan, a Meyer and a gold plated Strasser SML mouth piece which I believe came with the saxophone and a Selmer S - 80 D. It’s my believe that before you purchase a new saxophone , to try a variety of mouthpieces first.

I don’t think I’d have changed a single thing about my purchases. Sometimes I think that if soprano saxophone was offered at my high school, I may have picked that instead but then perhaps I wouldn’t have the same intense appreciation of the one I have now.

I also bought a pro pac for my alto. The saxophone was ultra musty so members here made some suggestions which I followed. I threw out the old case, aired out the saxophone and bought this new case which is just perfect.

Here is the collection of mouthpieces I have for both the alto and soprano
2BE6D068-CDD5-4B53-8F17-EBFA06E0042A.jpeg

And my beloved saxophones
D02EA062-213D-4C49-94C4-7592DB82B3B5.jpeg
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,779
My first "quality" alto saxophone was a Mark VI. I played that through high school and college, but when I found and restored a Selmer SBA alto I found myself going to that one more often and ended up selling the Mark VI. I did later buy a Cannonball Alcazar alto as a back up when I was doing a lot of work in a junior high school because I didn't feel comfortable taking my Selmer.

The first tenor I ever owned was "Frankentenor" made from parts of two old Conn tenors I picked up in pawn shops. I sold that to Jaice Dumars and bought a closet 10M from my mentor in repair. I have never needed or wanted another tenor since the 10M has the "voice" that suits my taste.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,643
As saxophone player an Amati, B&S Blue Label, YTS 23 or 25 ... is probably more than enough for me. As long as I can use my mouthpieces and play what I want. Never been paid as sax player. So my saxophones didn't pay my bills. Love to play 2 or 3 chords songs, 8-or 12 bar blues ... that kind of stuff.

As saxophone owner I did a log long journey. I've always been intersted in saxes. "Who, How, Why and When" is important for me. In the late 70's a bought an magazine and there was a translated article called "Saxologic" written by Leo van Oostrom. After that I tried to get as much info as possible about saxes. Later I started to work extra in a music shop.

Today I'm not hunting saxes anymore. I try to find a way to get rid of my some of my saxes without selling them. Last year a gave some altos and tenors to an african education project. For two years ago a music friend passed away. Also kind of "collector". Not easy for his family: What is this? Was it important to him? What to sell, give away or keep? On the right in my sax room the keepers. The saxes and mouthpieces I use . Conn NW soprano 1925, Martin Handcraft Comm II alto, 1940, "The Martin Alto" 1957, Martin Handcraft (comm I) tenor 1938, "The Martin Tenor" 1955 , "The Martin Magna Tenor" 1959 and "The Martin Baritone" 1962. On the left side: saxes and saxophone stuff to sell or give away. Just so they know!

A saxophone journey is also about friendship. Lots of nice people in the saxophone world. I called an old man who lived in Maine, USA. He had some saxes for sale that he advertised in Saxophone Journal. I didn't buy any saxes, But we talked for a long time. His wife also grabbed the phone. They told me about thier house, garden, cakes, children and grandchildren ...... . We kept contact for some years. When I was in Boston for some years ago I drove up to Maine. I found the house. And the garden and surroundings was so beautiful as they told me.

Saxophone hunting is not always about to find saxophones. But an article like this is always interesting.
pawnshoptwo.jpg
 

sizzzzler

Member
Messages
200
This saxophone thing is wonderful. I’ve owned a few and played more since I started this journey as a teenager. But I’ve never played a King, a Conn or a Borgani. Of those I have played, the jubilee series III tenor and I have an all embracing chemistry.
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,534
Started with a Jupiter 565-567 my wife bought me 8 years ago to see if I really wanted to play sax.

Then, as with other hobbies (cameras, target rifles/pistols) I did my usual "buy something better when you see it cheap, sell on if it's not actually better."

This isn't GAS for the sake of GAS, it's a thought through way of trying every horn over a lifetime knowing it's not going to cost much if anything to do so.

This has allowed me to own all 80 or so horns at little cost other than hours and hours of time researching and hunting them down. Highlights have been mint 1970's Buffet SDA (pawn shop), 90's Grassi 2000 Pro (left with bar owner to pay tab) YAS-62 Purple Logo (can't recall!), SA80II (deceased estate), and currently my freshly overhauled 1958 SDA (house clearance company).

Looking back, the SA80II was probably the one I should have kept. I had to have it re-paded due to sticky original pads but then it just became a tool. In a good way. Nothing to ever worry about, no quirks, just play.

I've had Conn, Keilwerth, Martin, Pierret, Grassi, TJ, Yany, and so many more, and there are still others I keep a look out for.

Of those in my sig below I have no intentions of selling the Jericho or the Vito 23 (until I've finally replaced those 5 pads at least) and the vintage SDA is another I'm sure I'd regret selling. Never say never though.

Now... what's next?
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,534
Some of them have been duplicates. It's hard to pass by a bargain buy even when you've had one before as a YAS-275 played in year six may suddenly have attributes I didn't spot in month six.

I had two A901s because I was so unimpressed with the first one I thought it must have been the sax.
No, the second one was just as "bad" so it must be me. By that I mean not every horn suits every player, but we know that...
 

eb424

Member
Messages
410
well feel a bit out of place here as a releative newbie...forgive me sax group for i have sinned... 2 years into my journey and so far hanson's tenor hanson's alto, yam 32 yts, selmer ref 54, beuscher tt series 1v, beuscher tt alto, soooo many mouthpieces. All ive learnt is its got to come from me.. current set up 1952 conn 10m and beuscher big b.. is it enough??? No i'm off to look at a king zephyr on Sunday why i don't know. The Conn 10m, Morgan Fry Vintage and a rico 2.5 reed gives me everything I need to progress. For me its not about finding the perfect sax, my technique isn't developed yet but the sheer pleasure of trying something new.. although the chaos that follows does drive me to drink...:cheers:
 

brianr

Senior Member
Messages
1,027
For me its not about finding the perfect sax, my technique isn't developed yet but the sheer pleasure of trying something new.. although the chaos that follows does drive me to drink...:cheers:
I think this atttitude of having fun is totally valid. It is a hobby. Something to enhance your life. If trying different saxes allows this....great.

And any excuse to justify more booze is always welcome !!!!
 

brianr

Senior Member
Messages
1,027
The hunt for the perfect sax has been great for me.

Ive learned so much about what works for me, and what doesn’t.
It has been fun, and I’ve gained so much knowledge about my favourite subject.....of saxes.

Over a period of about 15 years up until about ten years ago, I must have owned about 30 mark six altos.
Looking for the one !!!!!!
Eventually I realised that there wasn’t one that had everything. All had something, but none had everything.

I eventually settled on a really nice one, and played that for about 5 years, without buying any others.

Then I realised that what I was looking for was actually the sound of a tenor.
So, I dumped alto, and changed to tenor !!!!

Of course, I’ve bought many saxes looking for “ my” tenor. But none have bettered the first one one I ever bought, 30 years ago, and I always revert back to it.

It’s a fun journey this sax stuff.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,015
The hunt for the perfect sax has been great for me.

Ive learned so much about what works for me, and what doesn’t.
It has been fun, and I’ve gained so much knowledge about my favourite subject.....of saxes.

Over a period of about 15 years up until about ten years ago, I must have owned about 30 mark six altos.
Looking for the one !!!!!!
Eventually I realised that there wasn’t one that had everything. All had something, but none had everything.

I eventually settled on a really nice one, and played that for about 5 years, without buying any others.

Then I realised that what I was looking for was actually the sound of a tenor.
So, I dumped alto, and changed to tenor !!!!

Of course, I’ve bought many saxes looking for “ my” tenor. But none have bettered the first one one I ever bought, 30 years ago, and I always revert back to it.

It’s a fun journey this sax stuff.
30 Mark VI altos!?. I think you have summed it up - there is so such thing so that "perfect horn" - all saxophones or wind instruments, or musical instruments in general have their own idiosyncrasies...and it's up to the lump of human flesh on the end of it to get the best of it...good luck...:rofl:

Greg S.
 

SaxyNikki

Member
Messages
469
Thirty alto saxophones? 30? :eek:
Are you people hoarding saxophones?
A saxophone hoarder?
Is this some type of addiction I’m unaware of perhaps?
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
1,048
I knew very early in my saxophone journey that I would never set the world alight with my playing, nor was it necessary for me to earn my bread and butter.

After my first TJ student model alto I was fortunate enough to acquire as my second horn a Leblanc Full Rationale alto, I still have it and play it regularly despite its foibles and an earlier attempt to sell it’s now a keeper along with a Mki YAS.

As for tenors again just three a Buffet,sold, a Conn 10m silver plate Lady Face fully restored by Griff a year ago and a cheapo Chinese G4M, extremely heavy, plays well above expectation, built like a tank to spare wear and tear on the Conn when busking.

I have had just 2 sopranos a BW curvy, sold, and what I was told was an early Eastman, straight interchangeable necks no markings so who knows but it plays fine intonation is good for its ilk and I rarely play sop anyway.

So I have just 5 can play only one at a time and will not be looking for another ever methinks, maybe another cheapo Tenor if needs must.
 

brianr

Senior Member
Messages
1,027
Thirty alto saxophones? 30? :eek:
Are you people hoarding saxophones?
A saxophone hoarder?
Is this some type of addiction I’m unaware of perhaps?
LOL.......

Hello, my name is Brian.
I am an addict, but have been clean now for years. I take it one day at a time, and have to be very careful.
I don’t twitch now on hearing the words “mark 6 alto “, but I do sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat.
My wife says I often mutter the phrase “original lacquer”, and quite often state a serial number. Usually this is around about 60,000 !!!!

Yes, the figure would be around 30. That is just mark six altos. In addition there would be some BAs, SBAs, and S80s.
Possibly 40 selmer altos !!!!!

In my defence, I was not hoarding. Just trying stuff!!!!
I wouldn’t have had more than 2 or 3 at a time.
They were much cheaper then than they are now. Probably about £1500/2000, as opposed to £5000 now.

I had the spare money to allow me to do this....so I did.

The great thing was that I then had time to compare saxes over a period of time. I then kept the one I liked, and sold the other.

I don’t think I ever lost financially. Usually I got back what I paid. Sometimes I made a profit.
BUT........ a huge bonus was mouthpieces. There would almost always be at least one mouthpiece in the case. I always resold without a mouthpiece. So, usually I got back what I paid, but had a mouthpiece or two.
Very often, there would be an ebonite selmer soloist in the case.
That was another addiction of mine. I loved them.
So, I ended up with about 100 Selmer mouthpieces for alto. ( I was also buying them via EBay ) but that’s another story !!!!!

That’s my story. Thanks for your understanding, compassion and support.
 

eb424

Member
Messages
410
good spot DavidUK..lol.. I'm trying to fight the madness.. Don't have the room to store saxes but that doesn't seem to stop me.. fir the first time in a while I can pick up my conn stick on the MF vintage and play...sort of to my limited ability... I know if I go I will buy it and not sureif it will add to my confusion. I have a beutiful relaq completely overhauled big b plays beautifully its in a case upstairs.. suppose it could do with some company :rofl:... Opinions welcome i am only 2 years into my journey: think i prefer vintage saxes, as a beginner is it better to stick with one does exploring hinder progression, so many to try but love the conn..
 
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