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Saxophones Laquer n sound

Dobson

New Member
Messages
15
Hi there folks, does anyone have any experience of unlacquered horns? Is it true the lacquer reduces the resonant qualities and therefore quietens down the horn. Or is all this talk i read about just sales speak.

Regards

Dobson
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Maybe the best answer to this is ?????????????

You'll find people who swear tht it does and people who swear it doesn't.

Jules is right...
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
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13,958
Hi there folks, does anyone have any experience of unlacquered horns? Is it true the lacquer reduces the resonant qualities and therefore quietens down the horn. Or is all this talk i read about just sales speak.
Unlike pianos, bells, drums, the body of a woodwind does not vibrate or resonate. If it did, then holding it in the way we do would dampen any resonance.

The body is merely a container for the air column, which is what vibrates. Saxes sound different to each other because very small tiny changes in dimensions of the body can create significant changes in the vibration of the air column, so neither the material nor any coating will change that.

That is the science, however some people get horns delacquered, and when the y do they are generally overhauled, so when they come back, hey presto, they sound better, hence the myth.

The thing is nobody can ever prove anything as you can't get two exact horns one lacquered and one unlacquered, as every horn is different.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I have an unlacquered horn and it takes three people to hold it when I start playing..................... maybe I shouldn't take it on the running machine in the gym :shocked::w00t:;}

I would agree with Pete, but I have an unlacquered soprano ligature (Jean Marc) which is
awesome in terms of a resonant sound :blush:

Kind regards
Tom
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,619
From personla experience- in the vast majority of cases there's minimal difference- however- though Mauriat swear blind their 66R unlacquered tenors are identical in every way to the lacquered version- the difference in sound and repsonse is very noticable... go figure, as they say.....
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,891
An instinctive response to that question is that lacquer must muffle the sound.
If you took an unlacquered sax, 'measured' the sound then lacquered it and 'remeasured' there would be a difference.
The question is how noticeable would it be to a person or to scientific instruments.
 

Pete C

Member
Messages
344
Following on from what Jules said about Mauriats, I have owned a 66R and a 66RUL tenor - if they are identical horns apart from the laquer then it does make a massive difference - the unlaquered job has a much bigger and more complex sound. Pete
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,958
An instinctive response to that question is that lacquer must muffle the sound.
If you took an unlacquered sax, 'measured' the sound then lacquered it and 'remeasured' there would be a difference.
The question is how noticeable would it be to a person or to scientific instruments.
People have different instinctive responses. My instinctive response is that it won't affect the sound. Seeing as a plastic saxophone does not sound as different to a brass one as that "instinctive response" would imply. I mean if a thin coat of lacquer would make a difference, you'd expect the entire body made of plastic would make an enormous difference. But it doesn't with a plastic saxophone, it just sounds as different as you might expect a brass sax of different design to sound.

I think the best test would be to exaggerate the difference, ie apply a coat of lacquer 2 inches thick. My gut feeling is that it would sound the same as I believe the acoustic science in this regard.

Stephen Howard and I have discussed a project to demonstrate this, ie by finding a horn and doing something similar, maybe coating it with concrete. We both think it will sound the same, however if I hear a difference I'll be happy to eat my hat.
 

ManEast

Member
Messages
203
Unlike pianos, bells, drums, the body of a woodwind does not vibrate or resonate.
Hi Pete

I just can't get my head around this ! If you were holding onto ...lets say a YTS23 as it was being played, would you not feel it vibrate?:confused:

Also, have you never played a sax that you could feel vibrating under your hands ??
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
We all worry about Pete's sensory functioning. He cannot even hear he diferences in sound from changing ligatures, which still amazes most members on SOTW...................

Though it is the air that vibrates in the sax, not the sax itself, to be fair to the lad!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Apparently an unacquered baritone sax can make Nick Wyver vibrate, especially when his fingers are not covered in Blu-Tack...................:shocked::w00t:;}
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
I used to play baritone sax in a concert band and during periods of rest my sax would often hum along with the band.

Jim.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,619
Following on from what Jules said about Mauriats, I have owned a 66R and a 66RUL tenor - if they are identical horns apart from the laquer then it does make a massive difference - the unlaquered job has a much bigger and more complex sound. Pete
Its an odd one.. the exception that proves the rule? or are they fibbing... ? who knows...
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I have lacquered and unlacquered Saxes. The biggest difference between them is the unlacquered start to tarnish over time whereas the lacquered still look shiny and new!

They all sound different but that down to the choice of designs; such as bore size, pads, resonators, bell size, etc … apposed to what finish they come in. Having said that some say that black lacquer is thicker than either clear or gold lacquer which in turn encourages a warmer tone thus giving it a darker sound. Hmmm ...

Personally I prefer unlacquered simply because the way it looks when tarnished :mrcool

As for ligatures, in my opinion they do resonate therefore lacquered and unlacquered would make a difference!

We all worry about Pete's sensory functioning. He cannot even hear he diferences in sound from changing ligatures, which still amazes most members on SOTW...................

Though it is the air that vibrates in the sax, not the sax itself, to be fair to the lad!
Mystifying … :w00t:
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,958
We all worry about Pete's sensory functioning. He cannot even hear he diferences in sound from changing ligatures, which still amazes most members on SOTW...................
I sometimes hear a difference, e.g. if the ligature doesn't fit the mouthpiece as well.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,797
I don’t think lacquer (cellulose type or expoxy type) or plating, diffent material of the the sax and parts, thick or thin wall, straight or rolled toneholes … affect the tone of a saxophone. It’s more about the durability.

What makes the tone and character of a sax is the design/construction of the tube (dimensions, bore and taper), the tonholes placement on the tube and the angle/shape of the toneholes. Of course, the sax should be wellbuilt. So what do we hear when we play a tone on a sax? A groundtone and overtones. Every sax is unique when it comes to this.

IMO different types pads don’t affect the tone at all. Resonators/reflectors makes the sax louder and so does a big bell.

I can feel some vibrations when I play on some of my saxes. I have some Indiana saxes (secondline) that I can feel some vibrations when I play the low tones and push hard. I think it’s beacause the saxes are leaking. The keys are not that sturdy. That’s why these saxes were sold as an cheaper alternative.

Thomas
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,891
I suppose the only way to 'settle this' might be something along these lines.
If there is anybody who has access to the facilities or wants a subject for a univesity thesis then under laboratory conditons they could take several sections of brass tube of different length, bore and thickness fitted with a mouthpiece. Then take measurements using air at known volume, pressure, temperature and humidity.
Then lacquer the tubes with layers of different types and thicknesses of laquer (or concrete if Pete insists, I have relative who is a lecturer in civil engineering and knows more about concrete than is reasonable).
They can then produce a detailed report of strict scientific standing showing positive or negative results for everyone to disagree with.
 
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