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Saxophones Help, GAS Is Attacking And Won't Go Away

Jazz Is All

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For years, I was happy with just one alto. After all I was mostly a tenor player so my one TT alto was plenty enough because it's just that great a sax. Then entropy started getting the best of me (that's the title line of a song I've written) and all the body parts rebelling and even jumping ship made dealing with my tenor a schlep in every sense of the word. I put my nickel Big B tenor on consignment sale at Sax-On(still unsold due to Covid economics) and started playing the alto more and more of the time. That led me to want another alto to enjoy some variety. Great, right? Wrong! Once I had opened Pandora's eBox the possible choices began overwhelming me. I had a three-way contest going on in my head with a Blue Label, a Hammerschmidt Klingson, and the Couesnon that I finally chose to buy. Great. It came, and I've been playing it and really enjoying it. Easy Peasy to play, fantastic intonation up and down, a great sound, and good-looking to boot.

So what could possibly have gone wrong, you ask. It sounds too similar to my TT IV, believe it or not, so how is it a new and different horn?. How the hell could that be that a French sax made sometime in the 80s (most likely) almost the same as a vintage Elkhart sax made in 1928? I mean it's wonderful because if the TT is considreed a really great vintage sax by people in the know, then this fact should boost the cachet of the Couesnons, right? But, I as myself, is that what I wanted to happen? Isn't it better than if it had sounded crappy or just too bright? What was I after anyway and do I even know? Who the hell is minding the store here?

Naturally right away, why do I need a sax that sounds just like the first one? Would the Hammerschmidt have been the better choice? Or perhaps the Blue Label? Brain gears grinding at night keeping me awake because due to the Pandemic those two are still for sale on ePrey and at lower prices too. Lower, lower, lower.....buy buy buy.....the voices say in my mind..

Okay, here in Spain they have an expression that fits this awful situation but doesn't help resolve it: "No hay dos sin tres", i.e., You can't have two things happen without a third one occurring as well. That's the plain truth, right? I had one alto, I now have two, and every night I'm perusing the net looking at a possible best third horn to get.....but with the fear in my mind that not only will my wife kill me but that it will turn out that where there are 3 there are 4.....Just look at Duky Dave.....he's buried in saxes. Worse yet, this despite the fact that I should be happy with this great new sax and that I now have TWO, count 'em TWO TWO TWO saxes instead of one. One voice in my mind says.... I have 2 great ones and don't need more than that and besides which that if I do buy another I'll have to hide it from my wife through subterfuge this time. Self-gifting is over for this year. Wait till next year and do it then man!!

Unfortunatley the heart wants what the heart wants and drives the mind crazy...or is it the other way around and isn't this is absurd and just some distorted effect of simple hoarding syndrome and MPD (material possession disease) to make up for being less physically active due to aging? If I had had real money I'd probably have 5 cars because I love to drive but there are only bargain saxes at the beggar's banquet. However, isn't it all just the compulsive buying of some new object regardless of what, just for the pleasure of acquisition to amass in one's overflowing vault of possessions like the Smaug in his cave? An all-too human desire to stave off death by having too many things to make death conceivable perhaps? Who the hell knows? Whatever it is I know it is illogical and wrong of me and I feel like a weak sinner, which is strange because I'm neither Christian nor a theist. Too bad my not being Catholic because if I were, I could just go to confession, say 100 hail Adolph Saxes and go on my way. No I'm agonizing constantly as I consider variously: a Martin Indiana alto, a new more pristine nickel TT IV to replace the current one that will need a repad soon, an even more pristine satin silver TT, a Keilwerth Hohner President in beautiful nickel, a M. Boiste nickel Series A alto, a M. Boiste nickel Bari, an SML nickel Super 47, and the original Blue Label and Hammerschmidt altos now both at give-away prices.

I think I'll get drunk tonight so I can pass out and forget the whole thing in a dark alcholic fog.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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I think I'll get drunk tonight so I can pass out and forget the whole thing in a dark alcholic fog.
I wish I was a gear head. I see how it helps as a distraction to these crappy times.

Now, a drink or two though. That sounds like a wise idea! Cheers!
 

DavidUK

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Keep calm...

My rules:

1/ Have a "hit list" BUT only buy when you see a bargain.

2/ A bargain = Under half of the price you'd usually expect to pay. Preferably a third or less. Do your research as well as you can on condition, especially if buying remotely.

3/ When you get a new bargain, play all the same type together and see if you can keep just ONE alto, tenor, etc.

4/ If you can't keep just one, leave it a while and see if you get tired of a particular horn. If so, sell it.

5/ You'll buy a few lemons, sell a few you regret selling, but you'll have fun and never lose money. A free hobby within a hobby.

:)
 

Mostlytenor

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99
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London
I think what lies behind the guilt about GAS is the recognition at some level that the the justification for buying another instrument is a fallacy, that is, the idea that a particular sax will obtain The Sound. I've been through the whole GAS cycle myself so many times. It is true that lower quality instruments have some limitations but the point to stop at is when one has a decent quality instrument. Then it's about practise. Say I piously, waiting for the delivery of my new mouthpiece...........
 

Dr G

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Northern California
No I'm agonizing constantly as I consider variously: a Martin Indiana alto, a new more pristine nickel TT IV to replace the current one that will need a repad soon, an even more pristine satin silver TT, a Keilwerth Hohner President in beautiful nickel, a M. Boiste nickel Series A alto, a M. Boiste nickel Bari, an SML nickel Super 47, and the original Blue Label and Hammerschmidt altos now both at give-away prices.

I think I'll get drunk tonight so I can pass out and forget the whole thing in a dark alcholic fog.
No lust for Borgani?

Always here for ya,

George

Silver bells, silver bells...
 

Ivan

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If they sound so similar, despite their diverse pedigrees, save your sax money and roam through the endless possibilities of mouthpieces?
 

saxyjt

Saxus Circus Maximus
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I have been very good on the sax GAS front lately (IOTW last month) but the other night I couldn't sleep as I was turning a stupid idea in my head over and over. I purchased a cheap 27' screen in october that on using for work. You know, work from home. But I considered a 32' screen that has a much better resolution... I finally woke up to check if I could return the 27' and get the 32' instead. And I ordered the 32' at 2am and decided to hang on to the 27' a couple of weeks before I return it. I have a pretty major job to do that will require running several tasks in parallel, so several screens will come handy to monitor them while doing other things. All I need to get it all going smoothly is a DP cable. I thought HDMI would do but my docking station doesn't have an HDMI port. Only 2 DPs!

Here's how it looks:

IMG_20201223_162913231~2.jpg


The Mac under the big screen will go. I can't get distracted...
 

Phil

Senior Member
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France
Putting aside that Im a mpc maker, I think first there is a greater degree of difference in tenors than in altos. In both you will find a greater change in sound and presentation with mouthpiece changes than in entire horns. This does not cure GAS nut it helps to focus and reduce its financial impact. Also, maybe you dont need anything. On top of that remember it will, most likely, have to travel in the mail!
 

Jazz Is All

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No lust for Borgani?

Always here for ya,

George

Silver bells, silver bells...
Well it's a nice thought George but that sax is for people with the kind of money I don't have. I'm strictly looking for very inexpensive altos....not cheap in make or quality, just low in price due to nobody bidding and sellers being forced to keep dropping the price every 2 times they have to repost the listing. The cheapest right now is a B&S Blue Label that is just above 300€. It's the same person who owned the Couesnon I bought. A very clean sax in excellent condition but the problem is I keep reading contradictory things about them....some people on here say they are excellent and others seem to say they are nothing special. This is a later one but not one made in Asia. Made when the GDR was still existent....around 1980. I feel dumb however buying a 40 year old horn and saying it's vintage, so I am leaning more towards the Keillwerth Hohner President sax with all the extra features before the later models deleted them. It's nickel or silver plate...so won't tarnish and has these great eyebrow key guards. Supposed to be excellent players. Then too there is a really decent SML Super 47 in great shape and priced very cheap to start at 250€. I've always heard great things about SML saxes....this is from '47 as the name suggests.....so it might be a winner. However the snag is that he has 24 bidders already and 5 days to go, so no way it will go cheap and I don't want to go over 600. The new stimulus check was going to be $600 so would cover most of that, and now that T refused to sign it that is supposedly going to be at least the same as the earlier one or even as much as $2000. Hell, for that money I could even spring for a horn costing a full grand. I won't hold my breath however. Of course if someone would just buy my L.P. Big B, I would be in the money. A nice gift for my wife to offset the 2nd sax of the winter, and cash to spare.

Anyway, these auctions have days and weeks to play out with nobody bidding at all here in Europe so there is time for the prices to drop and for a decent offer to get accepted. Gotta stay on my P's and Q's. Then again if I can fight the GAS demon off successfully I may end up not getting anything this year at all.
 

Jazz Is All

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If they sound so similar, despite their diverse pedigrees, save your sax money and roam through the endless possibilities of mouthpieces?
Well, yes playing them with different mpcs to get different sounds is the next step but up to now I have been playing them with the same Super Session E with the same reeds to hear what the differences or similarities are. Truthfully they sound an awful lot alike and the only differences are when I change the brand of reed. I've learned a lot about how all these brands play and sound doing this for the past 2 weeks, and I'll post about that in a reed thread. The fact is that I can play them both with most reeds, but I tend to avoid sounding too bright and certainly not shrill or cutting. Clean, rich and on the darker side is what I prefer for the most part for jazz and standards. The blues of course I would choose a brighter reed and/or a raunchier mpc.

I have been playing many mpcs for years and have more than enough. I have my favorites for playing at home and those I played at jams are going unplayed and may never be used much anymore. I mean who needs a high-bafffle paint peeler in an apartment unless you're planning on repainting the place. So I only buy them when a real bargain pops up or a valuable sleeper gets past the rubes. I keep my eyes out for offset Bergs all the time because those are a good flip when the rubes don't know about them, and the Selmer Super Session Altos and Tenors are on my radar because they are no longer made and are excellent pieces. I got a real steal on a Ralph Morgan Vintage Sop HR piece because they discounted it by over $100 and the package is so small that Spanish customs doesn't catch most mouthpieces coming in from the US. A damn fine mpc for my Chu stencil sop.
 
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Jazz Is All

Member
Café Supporter
Messages
790
Locality
Barcelona, Spain
Putting aside that Im a mpc maker, I think first there is a greater degree of difference in tenors than in altos. In both you will find a greater change in sound and presentation with mouthpiece changes than in entire horns. This does not cure GAS nut it helps to focus and reduce its financial impact. Also, maybe you dont need anything. On top of that remember it will, most likely, have to travel in the mail!
You're talking about Vintage altos here, right? I had a Jupiter JAS 769-767 for a couple of months years back...it was on sale at Cash Converters for a price I couldn't pass up.....a student had quit it seemed and her folks cashed it in. Like new. Well it played well and truthfully as well as what Yamaha 23s do, but it still couldn't sound like my TT alto regardless of the mpc and reed setup. So I think the thing I am hoping to find...besides just a groovy looking new sax toy, is one that is a vintage sound that is neither like what I have now nor what modern saxes sound like. I can't say what that would be or even it exists, and it may be all just a b.s. story to convince myself that there is a reason to buy a 3rd alto. If variety in sound really exists at the horn level in altos then the third time will likely be the charm to prove it or dispel the notion.

As to saying I might not need anything....well that is the crux of the inner struggle, is it not, and I know it. This is like a 50-step program for sax junkies you could say. I played my Martin Comm III tonight for the first time in 3 weeks....all the time I have been putting that energy into my born-again altoitis. The fact is I figured that if it made me feel the tenor love inside me again I might be drawn away from the dark side by the Martin Side of The Force.

Well lemme tell you when I finished playing it I knew that I don't need no tenors other than it. My '45 Comm III is still the be all and end all of tenor sounds and feelings for me. I also discovered, because I suppose that my ears were so unaccustomed to hearing it playing, that I love the way it sounds with an Alexander Superial D.C. 3. They have to be the most consistently clean, clear, and undistorted sounding reed there is. It sound great with most reeds but the Alexanders are just a whole step above all the rest in purity of tone and sound quality. Not even a Vandoren Trad can come close to these reeds.
 

PigSquealer

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The thing that remains to do is to record myself, something I hate to do, but really need to, so I can hear if my impressions playing these saxes are borne out hearing that played back out of some speakers.
2021 The year of recording equipment GAS ?
 

DavidUK

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I'd forget the B&S and Hohner. The SML maybe but at a price. We're any of these ever on your "hit list"?
Are you bored with the Monopole already?

And why always eBay? I guess it's for safety whilst you can't roam for horns but that comes at a price... other bidders. And those with no interest are like that for a reason... think of resale too.

Wait, save up, watch for something which has the hair standing up at the back of your neck. That's always the sure sign for me.
 

PigSquealer

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Excuse #1225, self holiday gift. Purchased on 3rd to quarantine ample time.......NOT GAS it’s a holiday gift, really ! :optimistic::optimistic:
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F2A84D39-1E83-4BA4-9D3A-1039FA3F5DE2.jpeg
53B31D9F-844A-4FBD-BCA6-F048704FACD7.jpeg
325FA1A3-CB5A-4943-B69C-5ADEF49E24EC.jpeg

couldn’t pass @ $75 quid for the lot !
 
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