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Saxophones Is this the 5 minute argument...

Emma

Member
Messages
51
Location
Cambridge
So having a lovely shiny phosphur bronze sax won't make any difference to the sound I make then? Mmmm I think I might keep that information to myself & not divulge it to my husband - otherwise the main argument for getting a new Sax goes out of the window!!
 

Ben Cain

Member
Messages
108
Location
Essex, UK
HI Stephen

HI,
Your artical as with all of your writing on your website is clear, precise and offers us mere sax mortals with a common sense approach. Thanks
By the way, my JK 20th anniversery edition tenor you checked and fixed the leaks on has since been great to play. I am taking my Grade5 in 2 weeks after following only 5 months of lessons from complete beginner.
I really appreciate what you did and my horn looks a real treat on your website. I am thinking of a JK Shadow alto next year.
Can't wait to read your Hynes guide.
Many thanks again
Ben Cain
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
Great article Stephen, on the grounds of your fantastic research I placed 4.65 grams of clay around the outside of the bell on my sax.......It made my tone dark and sort of ....muddy! I suggest that Dooce removes the remarkable gem stone on his bit'o' bling and does the same. It'll brighten up his neighbours no end! :)))
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Mr Howard,

I am writing as a founder member or The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Saxophones, regarding the photographic illustration associated with your article.
The fourth saxophone has clearly had its body amputated. Was this performed under anaesthesia and was it performed for a sound medical or metallurgical reason?

Desist immediately and keep your biased opinions to yourself, or your workshop will be picketed by members of the RSPCS and Bauhaus-Walstein Owners Club, with your hard earned reputation sliding into oblivion.
A well meaning friend.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
22,004
Location
Just north of Munich
Dear Stephen.

About all I can say about this subject would show that I don't know what I'm talking about. But you've shown that the manufacturers don't. Or at least their marketing people are just making it up as they go along.

But I can't make a sax - and they can.

I read your recommendations and find it hard to believe that my lusting after an early mark VI because of the better quality brass and better tone is likely to be a fallacy. I see that the very expensive metal treatments used by the makers of Ms Dulfers sax are all a Conn, that the smooth tones of the now rare Grafton are not because of the plastic.

What am I to do? Must I really learn to make the sounds myself. I may as well get a Kazoo - wood of course for the added resonance - at least you didn't research these.

Yours sincerely,

confused of Munich.
 

robert1960

Member
Messages
57
Just as I suspected. I believe that the design of the mouthpiece makes more of a difference than the material the sax is made of.

Robert
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,427
Location
Sweden
A good article. Of course it’s you as a player and your mouthpice that does most to the sound.

I have joined the group of saxplayers that thinks that the character/sound/tone is determined by the neck, tube/taper and the toneholes placement on the tube. Between the toneholes geometris are established and that makes sound/tone. The way the toneholes are made can also give the sax a differnt tone. The angle of a soldered tonehole (Martin) is different than a drawn tonehole. So thick wall – thin wall, plated – bare brass, rolled toneholes – straight toneholes …. . It doesn’t matter that much?!?!

So are there any bigger differences between saxes nowadays? All manufacturors, there is a few exceptions, are more or less trying to copy Selmers succes; the MKVI? It’s very hard, or impossible, to hear the difference between modern saxes.

So if we can hear a difference between a Selmer MK VI, Conn 10M, King Super 20, The Martin, Beuscher 400, SML … it´s because they were all constructed to sound differnt and the main purpose with the construction (taper, bore, toneholes placement) was to give each manufacturor their own identity.

Thomas
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,626
Location
Rugby UK
I think that most of us agree that the mouthpiece/reed combination is definitely the source of 95%of your tone.
 
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Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,455
Location
brighton by the sea
I think that most of us agree that the mouthpiece/reed combination is definitely the source of 95%of your tone.
agreed- but there are certainly certain combos of mouthpiece and sax which complement each other and some that really, really don't..... I've never managed to get an ebonite link to sound any good on my Mauriat 66R - dark mouthpiece plus dark horn, the sound of a sax sounding like it's got a sock stuck down the end of it (or is that just me).....
 

RobatBlueRock

Member
Messages
100
Location
Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire
A Pound 'O' Sausages

Did someone just say...'dark horn' there?

I think the fundamental question is this...
"Does the vibration of the body of the sax, as a result of the air movement in the instrument, impart any influence or tonal colouration to the sound we eventually hear?"
I think it does... many disagree. We can talk till the cows come about this, but unless you hear it for yourself you won't be convinced.
So I've thought up this little experiment which you can all (including PT) do at home and you tell us the results...

Get yourself a role of cling-film, and a couple of packs of large sausages.... :w00t:.....I kid you not!:)))

Here's the experiment.....
 

RobatBlueRock

Member
Messages
100
Location
Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire
Rob's sausage experiment

Ok. Take your sax to a suitable location and find a spot where you can play. We're looking to keep the ambient environment as consistent as possible. If you have a recording facility/booth set up you might want to record this so you can play it back and listen more critically?

Play something... which you can repeat.. scale/tune etc. and have a GOOD LISTEN to what it actually sounds like. (or record it).

Now put a couple of wraps of cling-film around the outside of the bell to protect the instrument.
Next, take the sausages and stack them side by side around the bell, as near to the flare as possible, wrapping them on with the cling-film as you go. You might find it easier to add a few at a time between each wrap. You should now have the sausages wrapped tightly around your bell-end:)))... more to come...
 
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RobatBlueRock

Member
Messages
100
Location
Forest Of Dean, Gloucestershire
Rob's sausage experiment part II

Next, trim off any excess cling-film from around the exit hole so that it doesn't impede the air coming out.
It should be fairly obvious what we've done here.. the sausages (it could of course be anything else soft and dense..
blue-tack ,plasticine etc) will dampen most of the vibrations in the actual bell of the sax, which I would suggest is the most influential part of the actual body.(for the purpose of this experiment).
Go back to your start location and play the same thing again... what do you hear?.. any difference?

If the answer is 'YES' ..then what the body is made of and what treatments you apply to it, does affect the sound to a greater or lesser degree.:w00t:

If the answer is 'NO' ..then you can make the body from almost anything..wood, plastic, different metals, chocolate! :shocked: and the instrument would sound the same all other things being equal.:thankyou:
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,427
Location
Sweden
agreed- but there are certainly certain combos of mouthpiece and sax which complement each other and some that really, really don't..... I've never managed to get an ebonite link to sound any good on my Mauriat 66R - dark mouthpiece plus dark horn, the sound of a sax sounding like it's got a sock stuck down the end of it (or is that just me).....
Yes, the mouthpiece and reed it's very important to your personal sound. But if we are talking about what the sax does to your sound/tone, I'm convinced that it's the taper, bore, toneholes placements that makes the differences between saxes. Saxes are almost like Mc Donalds hamburgers; they taste all the same what ever they put on them!

Maybe the future will bring us saxes in one piece made of composite like racing cars! Very sturdy tubes and keys, no leaks (neck, bow-bell), perfect intonation, less corrosion, don't need a HD case .....

Thomas
 
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