All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
PPT Mouthpieces

Saxophones Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive?

Jane M L

Member
Messages
265
Location
Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion
I'm trying to find an alto that is capable of wide expression, darkness and liveliness.
Does anyone else feel that a sax can be almost alive, quite apart from mouthpiece, ligature and embouchure?
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,348
Location
leicester
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

everyone will give you a different opinion, but for me my Martin Indiana and Conn 6M both feel almost alive on a good day
 

thesaxman71

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,687
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

I tend to like higher end yamaha, great sounding and for me it just has that certain extra 'personality'.
the funny thing being on alto i'm using a cheapass elkhart series 2 but i am getting it to sing, and i really like how it feels great under the fingers too so maybe budget and an expensive shiny new toy is not the factor and it is mostly down to you the player.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

I'm trying to find an alto that is capable of wide expression, darkness and liveliness.
Does anyone else feel that a sax can be almost alive, quite apart from mouthpiece, ligature and embouchure?

There he goes again. My Alto is really alive. He keeps running out the door, heading for the pub. I don't mind that he wants to go to the pub, I'm just upset he never asks me if I want to go to go with him.
Seriously. It's up to the player, not the equipment.
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Location
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

+1 for Jamesmac. I love my Yanagisawas as they are easy to play and comfortable and they have certainly helped me to progress quickly in a relatively short time. They sound alive and the expression grows with my experience with what they can do and how I can make them do it. I don't think any new sax player could make even the best sounding sax come alive, but a great player could make a cheap one do that.

It is about the player's ability and his/her choosing the best individual sax for them.
 

majordennis

Senior Member
Messages
481
Location
Gone West
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

An instrument comes "alive" when all the component parts complement each other, comfortable ergos, a mouthpiece and reed combination that works (I'm still sceptical about ligatures), but most of all the bit on the sharp end.

FWIW I have owned a Noblet Beaugnier Tenor for about 3 years and although I don't play it much I'm still amazed by how close it is to a few of the "big name" tenors I have played and they are very well thought of in the US.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,348
Location
leicester
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

I don't think it's just down to the player - some saxes are a joy to play and you don't want to put them down, others just don't inspire any enthusiasm - and there's a lot in between that are ok, but don't have any real wow factor..
If I could afford to get my Buescher Aristocrat serviced and get the leaks fixed, I'd add that to the list
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Location
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

Agree with you altissimo, but everyone has their own opinion about which sax does that for them and they are many and varied.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,988
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

I've played a Selmer VI that you couldn't even feel under your fingers. The action was so light and responsive it played as if it wasn't there.

I've blown a Yanni that the sound just seemed to ooze out of with the least bit of effort.

I've blown a Hanson that as soon as I blew it wanted to give it Bill Hayley rocking round the clock with the first note.

The Cannonball I tried had the richest, fullest, heartbreaking, blue moan I've ever felt from a saxophone.

The Yamaha felt like a magic flute. It could do anything I could and wanted me to carry on playing faster and faster like some charm was on me, skipping down the bebop road to madness.

I hear my old Lafleur calling from the cupboard on rainy days. I take it out to find it battered, scuffed and tired with a simple lumpy slow action. I find this strange as I always think of it as shiney and brand new like when I bought it. It still plays a good romantic ballad. My first love.

The old Apollo from East Germany will clunk out a good tune with rich low tones and fruity highs. There's so many bits of cork and felt missing these days it sounds like it has its own percussion section playing along.

I tried a Carmichael in a second hand shop I'd ducked into to get out of the rain. Interesting but no sale.

I tried a Startone in another second hand shop. Lovely action but completely out of tune. Purple it was too.

I don't think what you're looking for exists to be bought. It may be earned with diligence, patience and hard long practice, but even then it might turn out to be a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

I haven't stopped looking though and nor should you.

Meanwhile,

I play a Gear4music alto. Good enough and for real.
.
 

majordennis

Senior Member
Messages
481
Location
Gone West
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

I don't think what you're looking for exists to be bought. It may be earned with diligence, patience and hard long practice, but even then it might turn out to be a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Exactly, quote from a famous mouthpiece maker "there is no such thing as chops in a box".
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,475
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

I like Colin's take on the "personality" of different saxophones. That has been my experience as well.

This thread borders on a topic that I am quite fond of---that is saxophone acoustics. My reading of Benade and others has led me to believe that a lot of what we as musicians call the "playability" or "response" of certain instruments has to do with the harmonicity of the sound waves produced. In an ideal soundwave there are harmonics produced that are perfect whole number multiples of the fundamental. In many instruments "inharmonicity" exists to one degree or another which gives the player a feeling of sluggishness and causes the player to work harder to produce a full and robust sound.

Here is a quote from a study by Jean Pierre Dalmont and others entitled:
Some Aspects of Tuning and Clean Intonation in Reed Instruments


Since in practice the saxophone player actually feels that the ease of playing worsens if the inharmonicity increases, we conclude that the harmonically of resonance frequencies is linked with the ease of playing. A quasi-periodic oscillation is the limiting case of an unplayable note, The above described experiments are an illustration of the relation between good harmonicity and ease of playing, and an experimental confirmation of earlier statements by Bouasse6 and Benade.7
 

Jane M L

Member
Messages
265
Location
Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

The funny thing is, though, that the Buffet Crampon 400, greenish matte antique finish, is absolutely right for what I mean, newbie and all. is it the colour then ?
 

Jane M L

Member
Messages
265
Location
Newcastle Emlyn, Ceredigion
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

Since in practice the saxophone player actually feels that the ease of playing worsens if the inharmonicity increases, we conclude that the harmonically of resonance frequencies is linked with the ease of playing. A quasi-periodic oscillation is the limiting case of an unplayable note, The above described experiments are an illustration of the relation between good harmonicity and ease of playing, and an experimental confirmation of earlier statements by Bouasse6 and Benade.7



Excellent! So does harmonicity trump the player factor that was winning hands down in the above posts? [ mouthpiece, embouchure, experience etc]
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,988
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

To understand the answer you have to first understand the question.


Yes the colour affects the sound. Some colours sound sad. You must have heard of Hue and cry.
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

When learning clarinet I sometimes played my teacher instrument, I dreamt of owning that clarinet it played it's self almost beyond words. It was the same make just a couple higher up the ladder than mine. When I look back I think the difference was it had quiet a few miles on it so had been run in.
One other thing to consider, key spacing and layout changes from make to make year to year so one may fit your hand better than another appearance matters in as much as if you find it attractive you will want to spend time with it.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
8,475
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
Re: Is there anybody out there who knows what I mean by an instrumen'st feeling alive

Since in practice the saxophone player actually feels that the ease of playing worsens if the inharmonicity increases, we conclude that the harmonically of resonance frequencies is linked with the ease of playing. A quasi-periodic oscillation is the limiting case of an unplayable note, The above described experiments are an illustration of the relation between good harmonicity and ease of playing, and an experimental confirmation of earlier statements by Bouasse6 and Benade.7



Excellent! So does harmonicity trump the player factor that was winning hands down in the above posts? [ mouthpiece, embouchure, experience etc]

It takes a good player to make any saxophone play up to its potential. All the good harmonicity does is raise the bar.
 

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom