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Saxophones Hello again lady with the Handcraft

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Hi..firstly I did believe I had posted here earlier in the week, but on checking can't see it. But if by any chance I've done it twice I apologize.
Some of you were kind enough to welcome me when I appeared here back in June..I was going to buy a Yamaha 75 I think as good for a novice but discovered the vintage sax I had indoors was a Martin handcraft. It was lovely to get so many replies from other Martin players and thanks Phil for the CDs.
I thought you'd like an update. I live quite near Steve Howard so took it over there.and he declared it a Martin Handcraft, (but obviously a stencil for Wurlitzer and the United States Quarter Master Corps U.S.Q.M.C as both are engraved on the bell).

He recommended a thorough service and a lot of attention to the pads so I gave it to him to fix. It turned out it had some leakage to the tone holes ( see his website article on welded tone holes) and he gamely set about fixing it.

Well I collected it from him last week and his final analysis is he thinks it is a Buescher...largely because of the tones it produces. I was reading somewhere else that the neck screw always has the head on the left when seen from playing position..and mine is.

So I have an all black ( not gun metal) sax obviously the keyword and inner bell are brass, that I think sounds glorious when Steve plyed it and ideal for the ballad playing I aspire too.


So now I just really need to get to grips with it..so I would welcome any advice hints and tips or opinions on my sax and how to get the best out of it . I have an Otto Link Super Tonemaster 6* which Steve says is ideal.

Embouchure...I didn't have a teacher in the beginning..and reading lad night it turns out I have a double lipped embouchure ie my top teeth rest on a little bit of my lip..I really don't like the feel of them on the mpc. From reading there seem to be as many do it my way as the one lip " proper" way. What do you think?
have a good weekend and I look forward to resuming contact with you.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Bunny!

The sax must have been filthy if you've only just come upon what it is actually called.........:shocked::w00t:;}

The next thing will be to have your STM properly refaced so it is actually playable and not just a badly made, stuffy old thing.
Embouchure wise beginners often play with this method in order to provide some resilience, before developing the natural pumped up lips that occur once you have developed your embouchure. The process often seems to be:

1. Both lips turned inward over teeth
2. Bottom lip only turned inward over teeth, top teeth directly on mpc.
3. Bottom lip still furled, but not over teeth.
4. Bottom lip unfurled, and complete absence of oral pain.

At this point you are in the foothills of becoming an Intermediate player.

Welcome back to reality
(are you now going to call the sax Kate [Buesch]?!)

Kind regards
Tom;}
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Buescher

"The sax must have been filthy if you've only just come upon what it is actually called.........:shocked::w00t:;}

The next thing will be to have your STM properly refaced so it is actually playable and not just a badly made, stuffy old thing"

Duh!!!! I don't know what is STM?:confused by that sentence! I will have you know my sax was always a lovely twinkly clean thing engraved with Wurlitzer The American. And U.S.Q.M.C...it is a rare and lovely thing as befits it's owner.
Well I'd better get on paling now. Please explain above.

Nice to hear from you again

Bunny
Embouchure wise beginners often play with this method in order to provide some resilience, before developing the natural pumped up lips that occur once you have developed your embouchure. The process often seems to be:

1. Both lips turned inward over teeth
2. Bottom lip only turned inward over teeth, top teeth directly on mpc.
3. Bottom lip still furled, but not over teeth.
4. Bottom lip unfurled, and complete absence of oral pain.

At this point you are in the foothills of becoming an Intermediate player.

Welcome back to reality
(are you now going to call the sax Kate [Buesch]?!)

Kind regards
Tom;}[/QUOTE]
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,666
Hi Bunny, I'm glad you've got a sax to be proud of and well sorted by Stephen to boot! Now all you've got to do is learn to do it justice! Have fun and enjoy yourself.
 

Sweet Dreamer

Senior Member
Messages
505
It fun reading bout people having such lovely instruments out there. I would love to see a photo of your sax Bunny if you ever get a chance maybe you can upload one as your avatar? I have one of those horrid cheap Chinese toys that look like a sax but sound like a cheap clarinet. (ha ha) I just got it because it was within my budget and it's something to basically learn on. If I ever get really comfortable with the instrument and find myself playing it fairly well I may go on a tour visiting used music stores to look for my own little gem of a 'real' saxophone.

Sounds like a great sax. Owl bet you're real excited about it.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Welcome back young lady,
Oh dear Tom, I think you'r in trouble,and a bunch of flowers is in order!!!!!
On second thoughts, a large box of chocolates as well.

Bunny,
Just in case Tom doesn't stick his neck out of his shell - STM,think about it, clue is "Fits on the small end".

God I hope I'm right!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Glossary of sax language pt. 548 - "STM" = Super Tone Master, a metal mouthpiece made by JJBabbitt under the title of "Otto Link". The current production models are generally considered to be less well made than earlier mouthpieces which can command quite high prices in the used market. Many technicians make a reasonable living out of "customising" Otto Link "blanks" to improve the sound (like Phil Barone, Morgan Fry and others.) It was a very famous mouthpiece which is considered now to be an inferior version and suffering from a degree of inconsistency/poor finishing. I've had 4 Otto Link mouthpieces, all of which were returned for a refund....

Hope this clarifies any confusion.
Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Hi Bunny, glad you've got a good sax. About the identity, it's hardly surprising there's been a bit of confusion, as the Wurlitzer name appeared on saxes made by Buescher, Conna and Martin.

About the STM thing, it's a reference to your mouthpiece, the Otto Link Super Tonemaster. They are notoriously variable in quality, and some need to be tinkered with by a mouthpiece expert so they play well. In particular, the table the reed sits on needs to be flat, the tip level and the rails even. However, not all Super Tonemasters need this extra attention, some are fine as they are. I had one for a while which was great fresh out of the box, although the one I still have needed some work. Why don't you get an experienced player to give it a toot and just check it's OK?

I'd also recommend you have at least the occasional lesson with a teacher, and get them to have a look at your embouchure. I'd generally say to try to avoind a double embouchure, but beyond that there are as many viewd on enbouchures as there are players. For what it's worth I play with my bottom lip gently over my bottom teeth, as I have done for the last thirty years, and I've never had any oral pain, even when starting out.

It's fun playing the sax, isn't it?

Jon
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Oh...geddit now!!! Well I think as Stephen Howard was playing and testing it and said it is fine...I am more than happy to take his word for it. He played the sax for me with his own mpc then put the STM on and it sounded beautiful. But needless to say it doesn't sound like that when I play it..but it's not an unpleasant sound for a novice. However, my instinct is, and it is no more than that, is that the STM isn't as easy for me as a novice, as a mpc could be . I have a basic plastic one bought at my local music store that Stephen definitely didn't rate, but I found easier to play esp for longer times.
Sooooo to replace that till I have an embouchure worthy of the STM I am thinking of a yamaha 4c.....opinions?

I must try and take some pics but don't hold your breath I am hopeless with camera/ uploads. It is and alway was in immaculate condition since I got it in 2003. Hubbie found it for sale on behalf of the owner, in our local music shop. It was up for £370 he haggk
Led and got it for £320 Inc the STM. I don't think it's worth much more now but Mr Howard confirmed that to get that tonal and build quality I have to pay an awful lot more than that.

It was just a lucky find..the shop owner didn't know it was vintage,,nor my hubby who was just drawn by the fact it was unusual in being black with gold engraving. I saw it and though "oh dear I have never heard of Wurlitzer saxes..they are bound to be cheap and nasty" it might as well have said Triang or Mattel on it ( reference for oldies).
But then I played it and the researched it and entirely changedvmy mind.

I have been v.poorly with extreme tiredness etc so nowhere near enough puff to pay but gradually working up to it. Does anyone know of a good CD teaching system cos I want to know how to really bend notes and slide them together...then I will sound like a sax not a butch clarinet!!!
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Get a Rico Graftonite B5 mouthpiece from www.rapidreeds.com for £12.71 inc. P&P - cheaper and better than a Yamaha 4C!

I have one - could cost much more - excellent sound (designed by Arnold Brilhart - mouthpiece guru)!

Kind regards
Tom
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
A really dumb question but can I use the Otto Link ligature and/ or the leather kne I have..can't remember the make off hand, but it has rubber ridges in and you put it on upside down to logs?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
HI again.

If the lig fits, no problems, it'll work. If the link ligature is an original, keep it with the mouthpiece, they're becoming valuable.
Rovner, BG and the like are easy to use and pretty universal. They also have the advantage of not scratching the mouthpiece, which is a big plus for people who like their kit to look right.

On the mouthpieces, if Steve said the STM is OK, then look no further. However if you're having problems blowing it and you're already using a soft reed (say 1.5 or 2) then consider another piece to get you going. Like Tom I like the Ricos. But don't get rid of the link, keep it until you know what you want. And then if it's not what you need, use it to offset the cost of what you want. But the Rico will easily keep you going for a year or more.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
There are lots of Rico ligs as well for around £5 - 10 & sax.co.uk have the Rico H lig for about £11, which I use on my B5. But as Kev said check out the one's you've already got.
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Thanks Kev that is really really useful. Steve says the Stm is fine and absolutely the one for the sax. Don't get me wrong I can blow and play it but there just something...of course an experienced player wouldn't notice it, but you guessed right I am using only a 1.5 Rico royal so I can't go softer , it isn't that.interestingly, I had a tenor last year..nothing special just a Corton Amati,,but I could use a 3 reed on that with a "plastic". With the STM it feels like I ain't got enough solid diaphragm breathing and embouchure to make it resonate AS IT SHOULD. I sense an ebonite one might ease this..what do you think?
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Well I've risked it and ordered the Rico graftonite B5,, £14.70 with VAT and pp.

Interestingly my STM is at least 10yrsold and was the only one with the buescher/Wurlitzer when I bought it..I think the two have been together fir sometime so I have to assume it is not one of the later Links that Tom says need resurfacing to play.
It's all learning for me so onwards and upwards eh?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Just spend some time working on it. Should work wonders - and enjoy the rico, I get a smoooooth tone out of mine, and the tenor starts sounding like a french horn on steroids.... Probably why Tom likes them so much - the sounds a little more brassy than some mouthpieces. And they're good to play. Nice and responsive, without being supersensitive.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,924
Just curious! Did SH say if the toneholes were hard soldered or soft soldered? I've never seen a Beuscher with soldered toneholes, but I know they made saxes with soldered toneholes. So did King, Holton, Keilwerth (CZ) and Martin .... . Congratulations to your sax.

Thomas
 

Bunny

Member
Messages
59
Hello again!. Becausebof it's looks and the bevelled btone holes I'd have sworn it was a Martin..but I think SH did some research and found out that Buescher experimented with soldered tone holes in late 20s early 30s I think. Also he tried to explain the difference in the sound which was what made him think Buescher. I was a bit disappointed it wasn't a Martun Handcraft ..but does it really matter much if it's (in stencil form) a buescher true tone?
I know that the tone hole problem wasn't visible from the outside when I took it to him. He didn't want to get into taking the tone holes off because the black finish would be totally destroyed. He said that he used all sorts of tricks he's learnt over the years.

I thought the costs would then rocket but bless him it didn't...he's a really nice guy, amazing too and his workshop is extraordinary.

I will email and ask him.

How are you?


Bunny
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Hi Bunny

If the Otto Link plays OK I'd recomend you stick with it, and learn to play on it. A good link is as good a mouthpiece as you'll ever need. I learnt to play on a Lawton 7, which most people would not recognise as a beginner's mouthpiece, but it was fine, and it meant no need to step up from a tiny tip opening beginner's mouthpiece.

JOn
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,122
My initial thought on seeing the Wurly with the soldered on tone holes (soft soldered) was that it was Martin - for the obvious reason.
However, once it was repaired and I spent some time playing it I felt that the tone didn't quite match what I'd expect from a Martin. Not that the tone was bad - it just didn't have that characteristic Martin sound.
That prompted me to do a bit of browsing, at which point I discovered that Buescher has experimented with soldered on tone holes. I never knew that!
This, along with other indications, marked it out as a Buescher stencil.

There was some seriously dodgy work done on the alto in the past - so much so that it made it in to the Black Museum:

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/misc/black_museum.htm (last entry)

Regards,
 
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