SYOS

Saxophones How much difference is there between brands?

OP
randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
Subscriber
Messages
4,470
I know everyone will want to jump on this, but we've had some discussions about comparing sound before, maybe with regard to reed placement. In that case it was agreed that unless you had a robotic precision to mount it and a spectrograph to analyse the sound...

So the disputable point: How do you know that one day you find all of these playing factors (not build quality or finish) to be one way, and the next they were different on the same horn. Some may agree that a gourmet dinner in unhappy circumstances will not be appreciated when on another occasion, you'll remember a burger lunch with the person you'd spend the rest of your days with. In other words, we're human. I worked for 20+ years in a wine-related business. We worked with the top producers. In discussions with them and with other professionals, they agreed that the same wine might taste differently on different occasions, not because wine ages and changes -- it does -- but because of the context.

I just wonder if you tasted 6 wines played 6 saxophones one day, then played them again in the same order, same everything another day, your feelings would be identical. In the wine analogy, the thing that makes people professional tasters is that they can quantify and intellectualize a wine, it's what they do. They're not toasting their daughter's wedding, they're working. In the saxophone (or guitar or piano) world, is it not possible that your feeling and appreciation of a sound or even feel of an instrument might change depending on external circumstances (like needing a bathroom, hunger, hangover, etc.)?

I bow to the professionals whether players, makers, techs and other very experienced folks. Certainly some of you could call out the exact year an instrument was made and the side of the factory where the corks were glued and what glue, etc. But for mortals, good players or not, I would say the psychological context makes a big difference, too.

Do we have another 30 or 40 comments in us? >:)
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,854
Respectfully disagree.

If 90% of available new horn options are of a 'modern toned' paradigm....and the 10% which are not are priced quite high, out of the range of, say, 75% of sax buyers....it is not the sax buyers who are creating a 'demand' for that particular sonic quality.

They are simply being left with choices which happen to inhabit that paradigm.

Matter of fact, if anything I would argue that the demand exists and is increasing for contemporary models which have somewhat reasonable price tags and which possesses some of those sonic qualities. Some companies have (truly) tried to create and provide models which lean in that direction while keeping their pricetags in range of most folks.


Your argument, then, is that it’s the makers that have driven the ‘revolution’.
They’ve decided to make Horn X, and Horn X is all you can buy.
It’s an ‘interesting’ theory – and one that would have some merit if, say, the change happened over the space of a couple of years. In fact it’s taken about 100 – and arguably started with the Selmer 22.
What’s even more surprising is that your theory completely ignores the fact that players are often heavily influenced by other players. If you like the sound of Player X, you reason that there’s half a chance you can sound like them if you have what they’re having. T’was ever thus.

And it wasn’t like there wasn’t any competition – or that Selmer indulged in nefarious business practices to hobble the competition. No, they just got on with making horns in a calm, measured and consistent way. Not for them the plethora of weird patents and quirky designs – they just plodded along, making incremental changes which matched the needs of the players and gave them a little something extra to experiment with.
And no-one was forced to buy a Selmer, yet they came to dominate the market in terms of influence.

If there was any kind of revolution it happened in the early ‘70s when Yamaha threw the 21/61 series at the market.
Again, no-one was forced to buy one – but they chose to do so, and in so doing created the next generation of player-influencers. And this is essentially how the market works.
Music changes, players change – and art seldom moves backwards.

There’s now more choice out there than there’s ever been. Production costs have plummeted, R&D can be done in a fraction of the time it used to take, prototypes can be churned out by the baker’s dozen in no time at all – and pretty much anyone can spec a horn if they have the money to throw at the project. So why don’t we see a return to the sort of tonal landscape afforded by one of the horns of the ‘golden age’? Because, quite simply, no-one wants one.
OK – no-one doesn’t actually mean no-one in the real sense – but it sure as hell does in commercial terms.
The Big Three make what they make because that’s what players ask for – and what little of the market that’s left is covered by the likes of Keilwerth, TJ, Mauriat and a whole host of boutique brands...with the bespoke makers bringing up the rear.
Practically no-one makes a horn without running samples past a group of playtesters (I’ve done some of this myself) - and they’d have to be nuts to make the model that the fewest players liked.

Sure, the bigger of the smaller brands are more adept than the Big Three, and can afford to take a chance on low-volume ‘esoteric’ horns – but so far the furthest they’ve gone is to make horns that merely give a ‘flavour’ of the old soundscape – because that’s about as much as players will bear. The rest accounts for a cohort that’s so small as to not be worth pandering to – and it gets even smaller when you consider that a great many of them will only settle for ‘the real thing’.

But hey – if you’re that convinced that there is a market, why not pitch the idea to a couple of boutique manufacturers? Do keep us posted.

First off - you have referenced the vintage era with solely a negative attribute (and a somewhat ridiculous one - although that is how my dad wore his :rolleyes: ). I understand, tongue in cheek and all, but still....if I connected a brand new model to existing in the era of Botox....that wouldn't give a whole lot of regard to the model of horn....


I doubt that anyone would care much.

Secondly, you intimate that older instruments do not possess some sort of "dynamism" which is appealing to players.


Mmm, yeah - “The fresh dynamism of the contemporary era”...in relation to the vast majority of players. See above.
You make much the same intimation in relation to vintage horns below...

Now- as a purveyor of refurbed vintage instruments - I would counter: Vintage has become desirable and popular again precisely BECAUSE they possess elements of performance which folks cannot find in the vast majority of contemporary offerings. Sound, for example, IS the #1 desirable attribute which leads folks to vintage saxes.

So again, I would not agree that the 'vast majority' of players are 'looking' for that 'modern', 'dynamic', 'fresh' tone.

But rather, it's the sonic paradigm which is most readily available to most players. And happens to be the most profitable for asian factories to produce.
See above, again.

I get that you’re in the business of flogging vintage horns – I’ve been in the business myself many decades ago – so I know that it never hurts to ‘big up’ whatever’s on the shelf – but you can’t rewrite history because it threatens your bank balance, and nor can you ignore how the real market works.

Well, you can – obviously – but I don’t think you’ll be taken seriously.

Personally I don’t give a knackered Rico Royal what people play – as long as they play.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,270
I would say the psychological context makes a big difference, too
Without more time for a detailed reply, I'd like to add that I agree. In fact, aside from trying new stuff, some days I like my playing and other days I hate it, thinking my sound is garbage. In truth, it won't be off by much at all - if at all - yet that day, for some reason I was hyper-critical of my playing. Usual for most musicians and artists and athletes I guess.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
Your argument, then, is that it’s the makers that have driven the ‘revolution’.
As a quick aside...I always find your choice of words interesting. Sometimes when folks disagree with someone, they have a tendency to take the other's fairly moderate claim, rephrase it, and explode it into something which starts sounding a bit absurd.

I challenge you to find where I stated "manufacturers drove the revolution'.

What my point was, and is, is that...TODAY....the VAST majority of new/contemporary horns are of the modern sonic paradigm. That isn't particularly arguable, really.

That is quite different from stating "manufacturers drove the Revolution".

Indeed there was a 'shift' in the tonal paradigm of saxes starting in the 70's and Yama and Yani, as they took over the market, defined the new sound. This 'shift' was the result of a LOT of things...not simply a few companies deciding they were gonna build a brighter horn.

Sax music shifted away from bebop and post-bop, the last vestiges of BB continued to fade from popular music, rhythm sections became electric, rock kept getting louder (think, for example, of the George Harrison guitar sound vs. the Hendrix sound), Motown crashed the pop charts, Jazz Fusion began developing, avante-garde became stylish. I can keep going.
Artists needed and wanted horns with more edge and cut.

Companies were aware of this. So this is probably part of the reason that the Japanese were so successful in bumping off the 'traditional' American and European models in most genres of music.

Also, look at what Selmer came up with - the VII. Today folks look at it as 'the child which should have never been born' and such...BUT....Selmer was at the forefront.
Does one think they would actually just produce a 'botch' ? Just blow the whole affair ? The introduction of the VII....this was a much-awaited event back in the day.
It wasn't a botch, sonically. There was serious intent in that horn.
There are elements of the VII tone, when compared to the VI or SBA, which were an attempt to produce a model which would meet the needs and desires of the 'new sound'.

Fast forward to today .
"TODAY....the VAST majority of horns are of the modern sonic paradigm".
In new horns...there is LESS diversity in tone available out there today- particularly for players with moderate budgets....those folks arguably making up at least 75% of all sax players (higher, more likely).

This is probably the result of new companies employing a particular business model - looking at things not from an innovative point of view, but rather the more post-1980 business view of "what did the biggies do that was successful ?
Let's knock THAT off - but, of course, NOT REALLY - we will change things as necessary to keep our expenses down and our profits maximized".

Soooooo...the result is.... a lot of companies .....producing a lot of sameness.

So, as choices are limited for most (who seek a new instrument), the INDUSTRY today plays a significant role in what the 'common' or 'familiar' tonal qualities of the Saxophone (trumpet, drum set, etc) are.

I hope that clarifies my point.
 
Last edited:
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
Subscriber
Messages
4,470
Artists needed and wanted horns with more edge and cut.

Companies were aware of this. So this is probably part of the reason that the Japanese were so successful in bumping off the 'traditional' American and European models in most genres of music.
Funny, I would have thought that EQ and effects would solve this, at least on recordings?
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,874
I just want to point out that the "concept" of how a saxophone should sound has changed dramatically since the early 1900's. Not so much in the classical idiom, but certainly in popular music and jazz. Instrument manufacturing and mouthpiece design has either led the change or followed the change, I'm not sure which. Other than the guitar, I can think of no instrument where the sound has changed so dramatically over the years. From Coleman Hawkins and Johnny Hodges to Michael Brecker and David Sandborn, not to mention all the "smooth jazz" players who have crossed the saxophone with a kazoo to get the sound they are popular for.

So much of what make and model to play comes down to personal taste and concept of sound along with the style of music played. My pet peeve is players who acquire one of the classic vintage tenors that were designed with the sound of the 1930's in mind and then pimp it out with oversize resonators, and edgy mouthpieces to "force" a loud "contemporary" sound out of it. My thinking is why not just play a modern sax designed with that sound in mind instead of making a classic vintage sax something it is not.
 
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
Subscriber
Messages
4,470
I was talking to my brother the other day and he theorised that the people who don't like Coltrane's sound are those who idolise Lester and Coleman's sound. Personally, I think Trane has one of the purest, most beautiful tenor sounds of anyone. But speaking of sound, I think some saxophone players are not familiar with the recording technology that goes into an album. As for live, most venues today will have a sound system, so there's tech there, too. What you do on your phone is limited what to the carrier allows. They way you sound outside of your own perception is for a large part influenced by the interfacing (and some might say interfering) technology. If Charlie Christian began playing through an amp, Eric Clapton used the amp to distort and sustain (sax envy), and Hendrix turned the guitar into an instrument that evoked new universes. Guitar design hasn't changed that much, and there's a vintage scene, like the one for wind instruments, too. But the almost infinite boxes available to change the guitar's sound have that sound reborn in each generation.

I once ran a radio contest where people heard a few seconds of each of four blues guitarists, and were asked to guess which was which. That was relatively easy, because each had a very distinctive sound and style. How many of you think you could identify a brand (re:the original question) by sound? Hypothetical, because we'd need the same player in the same studio and then there's the issue of using the same mouthpiece, reed, etc and the possible fatigue or emotional drift. I admit when I first hear a saxophone, I have to listen carefully to decided if it's an alto or a tenor. But hearing music played on a saxophone in a band context, your listening to the room and sound system or the studio's enormous repertoire of ways to modify the initial sound signal from the mics, and indeed the mic placement itself.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
Funny, I would have thought that EQ and effects would solve this, at least on recordings?
Well....sure...but...if we take THAT as the solution, and it IS a readily-available solution today...then everytime someone starts a thread like "hey guys, can anyone recommend a mouthpiece with some good edge and cut ? My horn is getting lost when we play live"....

OR...

..."Yanis and Yamas are good horns, but they are just too bright, anyone have a recommendation on a darker modern horn ?"...etc....

...something similar to yours would be the exact same Rx.

Keep your darn gear as-is, use the $ you save for a vacation. Just adjust the mix.

End of story...so, voila !!! no need for endless suggestions of new items to purchase.....

Yet...sax Forums are bombarded with those queries constantly, right ? And most participants love those sorta conversations, apparently.

So obviously, folks ...pros and amateurs alike....want the sound to emanate from their horns....naked.... eh ?
 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
I just want to point out that the "concept" of how a saxophone should sound has changed dramatically since the early 1900's. Not so much in the classical idiom, but certainly in popular music and jazz.
Indeed.

And if you wanna take this to an extreme, just wondering of you (or anyone here) has ever heard Randy Emerick's recordings of him playing Adolphe Sax saxes ?
Randy, as some of you know, former studio and sideman, played with some greats (was the Bari player in Jaco's Word of Mouth big band, among other well-known groups), became a tech, and is very much a vintage horn aficionado.

Several years ago he posted, on the other Forum, some recordings (I think they were sax quartet recordings) he had done playing Adolphe horns.

To today's 'sax ear'...it almost sounds like a low brass quartet. It was really that different.
That is how much the tonality has shifted.

Regarding classical idiom...don't you think there's a significant difference between the Rascher-Buescher sound concept than today's ? (serious question, you are far more familiar with that genre than I).
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
I once ran a radio contest where people heard a few seconds of each of four blues guitarists, and were asked to guess which was which. That was relatively easy, because each had a very distinctive sound and style. How many of you think you could identify a brand (re:the original question) by sound?
Different sorta question than your blues guitarist example, tho.
Because a) was identifying the artist...not the artist's guitar.
In b) you wanna identify the artist's axe, not the artist.

A harder example for identifying the artist would have been: give each artist the same model guitar, with the tone settings exactly the same. THAT would have been an interesting challenge. (But of course, it would also take some $$$ to make happen).

But I understand the spirit of the question.

It'd likely be impossible to just listen to 5 or 6 samples of the same player, same setup, same room, same recording devices....and correctly guess what model sax they are playing...IF we were not presented with the 5 or 6 models of saxes used, beforehand.

BUT, IF...the test was: "We have, here:

~ Conn 6M/10M
~Selmer Mark VI
~Yamaha 23
~Keilwerth SX90
~Buescher Tru-Tone

...can you identify which horn it is in each track ? (toggling back and forth for comparison is allowed) "

I bet a fair number of players with good ears and familiarity with those horns could do it. Certainly most of those players could pick out 2 or 3 correctly, perhaps getting stumped by a couple....
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,239
BUT, IF...the test was: "We have, here:

~ Conn 6M/10M
~Selmer Mark VI
~Yamaha 23
~Keilwerth SX90
~Buescher Tru-Tone

...can you identify which horn it is in each track ? (toggling back and forth for comparison is allowed) "

I bet a fair number of players with good ears and familiarity with those horns could do it. Certainly most of those players could pick out 2 or 3 correctly, perhaps getting stumped by a couple....
Hmm. I would be prepared to bet that the results would be little different from random guessing.

Only one way to tell ......

Rhys
 
OP
randulo

randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
Subscriber
Messages
4,470
Something is in the air besides virus... I seem to agree with all of the last few comments!
Yes, the guitar example was not quite it, just something I did. In wine, people do blind tastings all the time. I'm sure everyone has seen in movies where the person says "Shhhhhht gurgle (sound made when pulling air over the wine in mouth). Yaassss. It's a Merlot. With Cab. A Château You Mout, 1996. Southern side of the vineyard (which gets less sun)".

So basically, experts can tell, or possibly tell. I wonder if you have to play sax for years or just listen to it for years.

Clearly, there are difference of the feel in the hands and fingers (or in the mouth if we're talking wine).
The sound is affected not just by the electronics, but if live, by the room, who's in it and maybe temperature.

Plenty of interesting contributions here, folks, many thanks!
 
Last edited:

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,874
Regarding classical idiom...don't you think there's a significant difference between the Rascher-Buescher sound concept than today's ? (serious question, you are far more familiar with that genre than I).
That is a good question and I am not sure I know the answer. In my understanding basically two "schools" of classical playing have evolved: the Rascher school and the French school. Generally speaking the Rascher school exhibited a "rounder" and "darker" (too strong a word) sound than the French school which was "brighter" and had a more pronounced vibrato.

One could argue whether the tonal quality of the Rascher approach was mostly due to the design of the Buescher saxophone he played or the larger chamber mouthpiece with a round opening he preferred such as the Caravan. The French school started with Marcel Mule had a brighter and more "delicate" orchestral sound. It could be argued whether that tone was due to the French designed Selmer saxophones Mule and his students played or the French design Selmer mouthpieces.

Contemporary classical players often lean more to one tonal concept or the other but there are many who are somewhere in between. The Rascher school is carried on by his former students such as Lawrence Gwozdz and James Houlik (tenor) and the French school by students of Mule which include Jean-Marie Londeix and Eugene Rousseau. Players somewhere in the middle include Otis Murphy who plays with just a "hint" of vibrato, and Arno Bornkamp.

My concept of a classical saxophone sound is this:

 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
Hmm. I would be prepared to bet that the results would be little different from random guessing.
Then you should prepare yourself to lose such a bet. (And Randy, you too).

You suggest, therefore, that folks who have a familiarity with modern vs. vintage models would not be able to tell the difference in a sound clip between a YAS 23 and a 6M.

Or a French Selmer and Keilwerth.

Interesting position to take....to say the least.

If they could not....I'd posit:

a) they are being argumentative and do not want to admit they hear the differences

or

b) they probably should have their ears checked.

Because the tonalities are quite different, and it wouldn't be hard for most players with a good ear to hear those differences.
So, if one had the very basic knowledge that a 23 is considered a 'bright' horn, while a 6M is considered a 'dark' and 'spread' horn...that's all one would need to identify.

Here's a mini-tester: 2:00 Yamaha 82, 8:30 a JK MX. If you argued most folks, with a basic knowledge of the signature tonalities of each brand.... would be 'guessing' which is which, respectfully, I'd say you aren't really being on the level, there:

View: https://youtu.be/b-Uo8UhIK9M
 
Last edited:

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,239
Then you should prepare yourself to lose such a bet. (And Randy, you too).

You suggest, therefore, that folks who have a familiarity with modern vs. vintage models would not be able to tell the difference in a sound clip between a YAS 23 and a 6M.

Or a French Selmer and Keilwerth.

Interesting position to take....to say the least.

If they could not....I'd posit:

a) they are being argumentative and do not want to admit they hear the differences

or

b) they probably should have their ears checked.

Because the tonalities are quite different, and it wouldn't be hard for most players with a good ear to hear those differences.
So, if one had the very basic knowledge that a 23 is considered a 'bright' horn, while a 6M is considered a 'dark' and 'spread' horn...that's all one would need to identify.
Your original post listed five instruments and you said that people would be able to identify two or three correctly. But now you are saying compare one instrument against another and differentiate them correctly: that is quite a different test. I need to remind myself about the probability of permutations and combinations and I will get back to you on the probability figures for your original test, given totally random selections by a deaf monkey ! That deaf monkey will be able to differentiate a 6M from a YAS 23 correctly 50% of the time.

I'm not being argumentative and bear in mind that I miles away from being a professional saxophone player but ....

When I play the sort of horns you mention (most of which I have in my collection) I can feel and hear differences. Mostly those differences reduce over time as I become more familiar with a different horn. But that is from the player's perspective, not that of a listener.

When I hear a proper professional saxophonist (and I listen to much more acoustic jazz than classical, both in concert and recorded) their own personal sound comes through almost regardless of their mouthpiece and horn. For instance I have heard Dave O'Higgins play his old Conn 10M, a modified 10M and a MarkVI with various mouthpieces (metal and ebonite), both in concert, on CD and on YouTube. He sounds great, he sounds like himself and if I don't have visual information I really wouldn't know (or care) what he was playing.

The actual format of any test would be important, including who the player is, how familiar they are with each instrument, what their mouthpiece is, what they play (e.g. long tones, scales, unaccompanied tunes), how it is recorded, how it is mixed and how people listen to the recordings. In that regard I think that many/most of the comparative instrument demonstrations available online are of little or no use - they usually tell listeners more about the player and how the recording has been made and mixed, than they do about the instruments.

It would also be interesting to bring some objectivity to any test of the sound character of different saxophones. So can objective measurements of the tone of different saxophones (e.g. by spectrum analysers) show those instruments to have measurably different harmonic content and do those measurements align with the subjective impressions of players "with a good ear" ?

Rhys
 

swhnld

Member
Messages
61
I agree there is difference in sound, however,the choice should be two sided.
First depends on where you play, as playing with an orchestra in a section with 12 other saxes and 70 other musicians asks something different then being the sole sax player in a small punk band.
Second depends on what you want to achieve, whether you want to copy someone or make your own sound, and for this it is a matter of trial and more trial to discover what fits you the best, at that moment.

For me, playing the sax is pure fun, and I ended up on a compromise of both requirements, where I differentiate with mouth piece and reed setup if I want to blend in with my orchestra or scream out a solo in my party band, or just whisper in the attic.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,239
Your original post listed five instruments and you said that people would be able to identify two or three correctly. But now you are saying compare one instrument against another and differentiate them correctly: that is quite a different test. I need to remind myself about the probability of permutations and combinations and I will get back to you on the probability figures for your original test, given totally random selections by a deaf monkey ! That deaf monkey will be able to differentiate a 6M from a YAS 23 correctly 50% of the time.
Right, my daughter has checked up on the maths of randomly identifying five "saxophones" from five known "saxophones" (I told her they were numbered balls as in a lottery). Apparently the maths relates to Rencontres numbers, which neither of us have ever heard of before.

Rencontres numbers - Wikipedia

Anyway, for five saxophones the probabilities are as follows:

Prob (successfully getting 5 out of 5 correct with purely random guessing) = 1/120
Prob (successfully getting 4 out of 5 with random guessing) = 0/120 (i.e. it can't be done - if you get four right, the fifth must also be right)
Prob (successfully getting 3 out of 5 with random guessing) = 10/120
Prob (successfully getting 2 out of 5 with random guessing) = 20/120
Prob (successfully getting 1 out of 5 with random guessing) = 45/120
Prob (successfully getting 0 out of 5 with random guessing) = 44/120

So a deaf monkey randomly guessing is most likely to identify either zero or one saxophones correctly. Doing better than one saxophone (i.e. two or more out of five correctly identified) has a chance of only 31/120 for the poor monkey, but even that will happen in more than 25% of trials.

For a statistically significant result we should see the "player with a good ear" doing better than the deaf monkey, so that really means identifying 3 out of 5 correctly or better.

Or alternatively an individual doing lots and lots of separate trials and consistently doing better than random.

Rhys

PS The monkey has gone back to typing some Shakespeare plays now.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
Your original post listed five instruments and you said that people would be able to identify two or three correctly. But now you are saying compare one instrument against another and differentiate them correctly: that is quite a different test.
a) yes, I did.

b) no, it isn't.

The 'second test' (same test, actually) is just a quick example of how a listener/player who has been around the block a few times, played a fair number of different horns, etc...would be able to discern.

You might also note that the horns I chose for the 5 or 6 were different enough from one another, soncially, that it would not likely require a whole lot of guesswork. I didn't, for example, ask folks to discern between an Aristocrat and a THC.

I didn't choose for that grouping an SBA, Mark VI, and Grassi Prestige.

Nor did I choose 3 contemporary models...say...a Mauriat, Cannonball, and Yani.

Had I done either of those things, then it would have become quite a bit harder, and I'd agree with you...for some, it'd just be an educated guess.

I know little about primates, and the funny thing about statistics and probability is how often in existence things pop up which contradict supposed logic. I also didn't note anything in your analysis which took into consideration a player subject base which was pretty well-versed in a variety of horns (beyond you noting they'd do better than monkeys...which I will agree with 100% but neither supports nor refutes your position, nor mine).

I DO, however, know a lot about saxes, having refurbished well of 1500 of 'em...

I do not thnk it going out on much of a limb to say that most players with a decent ear and experience with vintage horns would be able to tell a 6M from a VI and an YAS23.

Not really much 'guesswork' there...just a matter of paying attention ...and perhaps toggling back and forth a few times.
The hardest two to discern would likely might be between the vintage Conn and the Keilwerth.

But the others ?

I would guess the majority of members with a decent experiential background, and belonging to either sax forum, would do pretty well....

The tonal signatures of the horns chosen are distinct enough that they certainly wouldn't be just guessing, as you suggest.
 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,580
When I play the sort of horns you mention (most of which I have in my collection) I can feel and hear differences. Mostly those differences reduce over time as I become more familiar with a different horn. But that is from the player's perspective, not that of a listener.
The nice thing about the sax.uk vids is, it keeps the multiple variables under control (player is same, setup is same, room is same, recoding apparatus is same), thus allowing a viewer to focus on differences between just the horn models played.
If you (or anyone) hang(s) on the sax.uk showdown videos a bit....toggle back-forth now and again...you will observe that there are differences in tonality discernible from the listener point of view, quite clearly.

In some other instances (more than just Yama vs. JK) those differences approach quite obvious.

Then, of course, you will also not a lot of 'sameness' between certain makers/models.

The conversation here veered into tonality and sonic identity here because one member suggested that there is a 'sameness', sonically, to most horns made these days (I agree).

Then this lead to a convo about when there were shifts in the sonic paradigm of the instrument. These shifts were, indeed, brought about by the artist demands of the genre or period, as Stephen noted.

So, while, indeed...it is completely reasonable to say that 'we like players because of their playing style an personal sound'....one must also acknowledge that such players were the ones who drove the demand for shifts in the sonic quality of the instrument.

To imply that those tonal signatures inherent in the horns are not important...would be something many artists past and present would take issue with, I'd think.

I can count 3 'shifts'...
~from Adolphe's original horns (as demonstrated by Mr. Emerick) to those of the first few decades of the 20th century made say up until the early 30's.
~From those of the 1910-1930 split bellkey horn era... to the BB and Jazz era.
~Then from the BB/Jazz era horns to the rock/fusion era.

(JBT also notes the existence of sonic differences/schools in the classical realm, too).

IMHO there has been no significant shift in tonality and sonic quality since the last one ..the one which ushered in what many commonly refer to as the 'modern' tone/sound...and really, we are going on 50 years now....
 
Last edited:
Saxholder Pro

Members OnlineStatistics

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom