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Saxophones Okay, I Was Wrong - New Sax

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,166
Ever since I got my Selmer Modele 26 I've been defending how good it is. Yes, it had some slight intonation issues that made life tricky but it was still basically a great alto. After a couple of studio sessions I realised that a new(er) sax would make life a lot easier but I was still happy to use the Selmer live and in rehearsals.

Yesterday I finally got around to getting a replacement alto, a Keilwerth EX90 Series II. As we didn't get back from buying it until late last night I wasn't able to spend any time playing it when I got home. Today, however, I've been able to get in the shed and give it a proper session (for as long as I could bear the heat, anyway). After running through a couple of songs that have never sounded quite right, and that I've struggled a wee bit with playing as precisely as I would've liked, I've had to admit that I was wrong - the Modele 26 is actually really hard to play and its intonation is not good. ;)

Even my other half and my neighbour noticed the difference as they could hear me as they worked in their gardens. 'That sounded so much better. Is that your new sax?'

For the life of me I don't know why Keilwerth aren't that popular because, for me at least, they're superb.

keilwerth ex90.jpg
 

eb424

Member
Messages
542
hmm sounds like me with a certain conn 10mm and my new raw... what's next will you keep on with the keilworth...
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,618
Bravo sir! Always liked Keilwerths myself.. I think a lot of their lack of popularity is the fact they don't really seem to market themselves (and the Shadow model does look insanely cool)....
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,932
For the life of me I don't know why Keilwerth aren't that popular because, for me at least, they're superb.
They can often sound superb and play very well. I once awarded my 'best in show' to an SX90R tenor at one of the Frankfurt Music Messes - but a lot of players struggle with the curious ergos.
They're not so bad, if you give yourself time to get used to them...but an awful lot of players will pick a horn up and put it down straightaway if it doesn't feel quite right under the fingers.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,805
EX90's are sort of the bastard child of JK's....no reason for it, really, they were a very good attempt at offering an intermediate model and they do have that signature JK tone and feel.

Congrats.
 

malteof

Grew a beard, got tired of it, shaved it off
Subscriber
Messages
109
They can often sound superb and play very well. I once awarded my 'best in show' to an SX90R tenor at one of the Frankfurt Music Messes - but a lot of players struggle with the curious ergos.
They're not so bad, if you give yourself time to get used to them...but an awful lot of players will pick a horn up and put it down straightaway if it doesn't feel quite right under the fingers.
Then the next question becomes, why don't they adjust the ergos a bit - they could probably sell more horns that way!
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,166
I think a lot of their lack of popularity is the fact they don't really seem to market themselves
Indeed! It's almost as though they don't have a marketing department at all. Their online presence is almost zero.

but a lot of players struggle with the curious ergos.
<...> an awful lot of players will pick a horn up and put it down straightaway if it doesn't feel quite right under the fingers.
Since falling into the sax world almost by accident, having absolutely no pre-conceived ideas about the instrument or the culture (for want of a better phrase) that surrounds it (other than Wesley Magoogan on Breaking Glass and 'the sax guy' from The Lost Boys I don't think I'd ever really noticed the instrument at all), I was more than a little surprised at how conservative the average player seemed to be when it came to the physical instrument itself.

It's like everyone plays a Strat (or Strat copy), in white with chrome hardware and a black strap. A tiny handful of people may add black hardware, with a few others going for the aged look. If you're feeling really rebellious you have a black paintjob. The only thing that really changes are the pick-ups.

Coming from the rock world, and having grown up during the really silly decade of glam rock where bands like Motley Crue and then Guns n' Roses ruled the world, being wildly gregarious (in both clothing and instrument choice) was all part of being a live musician. And then there were the different bodies, the different sized necks, the different woods used.

I'm used to it now but for an instrument that is so associated with boundary pushing, if not shattering, music I'm still not really sure why there's so little real choice between instruments ... and straps for that matter.

I have a horrible feeling this is now going to trigger an argument...

EX90's are sort of the bastard child of JK's....no reason for it, really, they were a very good attempt at offering an intermediate model and they do have that signature JK tone and feel.
That's something I've found really surprising because it doesn't feel like any corners have been cut. At the moment at least I can't fault it.
 

stitch

Member
Messages
310
having grown up during the really silly decade of glam rock where bands like Motley Crue and then Guns n' Roses ruled the world,
Glam rock? Hair metal surely?
I grew up in the decade of glam rock - Roxy Music, T Rex, The Sweet, Slade, Suzi Quatro ... ah, happy days!
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
354
It's like everyone plays a Strat (or Strat copy), in white with chrome hardware and a black strap. A tiny handful of people may add black hardware, with a few others going for the aged look. If you're feeling really rebellious you have a black paintjob. The only thing that really changes are the pick-ups.
Nice comparison. With guitars the big diversity is of course in the realm of electric guitars. The parts where the extravagance is most noticeable is the parts that don't have anything to do with the sound production.
And yes, one can change the sound quite a bit by using different strings, pickups and such. That would be like using a different mouthpiece or reed on a sax.
If you look at acoustic guitars, there is not a much variety either. since changing the shape of the body would alter the sound.

If you want extravagance with saxophones, one could start using extremely shaped keyguards or something like that. But you would not want to touch the core components that determine the sound or the ergonomics of the saxophone.
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,166
Glam rock? Hair metal surely?
I grew up in the decade of glam rock - Roxy Music, T Rex, The Sweet, Slade, Suzi Quatro ... ah, happy days!
Suzi Quatro <swoon>. :D

The American press IIRC called it glam at the time. I think the hair thing came along when Nirvana changed everything over night and suddenly an entire genre of band was no-longer cool.

As a Brit I think of Mr Glitter and T Rex, too.

If you look at acoustic guitars, there is not a much variety either. since changing the shape of the body would alter the sound.
Even with acoustics there's actually quite a lot of choice. Body-wise, some have cut-outs to make reaching the top frets easier, for example. You also have different widths of neck and also different neck radius.

Continuing using the guitar example, Keilwerths have slightly wider necks than Strats. It's not really a big difference and yet it seems to be too big for most players.

Good news for people like me, though, because it means that you can often pick-up a Keilwerth for a really good price. :sax:
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,166
hmm sounds like me with a certain conn 10mm and my new raw... what's next will you keep on with the keilworth...
I'm one of those lucky people who doesn't suffer from GAS. As long as the alto doesn't get in the way of my playing I won't be looking for anything else.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
Sounds familiar. For about 5 years (1995- 2000) I played a late 20s Conn alto. Looking back, I've no idea why. In 2000 I happened to find myself in Ian Crowther's shop in Canterbury where he had an SX90R alto in black. I bought it there and then. I played the Conn once after that, sold it and wondered why I'd been so daft. The Keilwerth is still my favourite alto.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
Subscriber
Messages
4,044
Dave, this is fantastic news! Now, don't blame that poor 26, it has been there for you to get started playing the alto. And now that you put up with the 26 for so long, you really enjoy the change and the joy that comes with that new alto.

Pleasure can come at a cost!

Enjoy your new toy, oops sorry, work tool!
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
Subscriber
Messages
4,044
I have a very soft spot for my Selmer. I'll never sell it. Not sure it'll get played much, if at all, but it won't be going anywhere, either.
I get that entirely. I have this French alto I bought as my second horn, but it's been my first 'repair' project. Actually a very badly done clean up. I have since overhauled it, but it's very far from a great vintage horn. But it's good looking. So I can't imagine selling it.

Now, you have playing history with it. So it's even stronger!
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,805
I gotta say, personally I do not 'get' the 'odd keywork' argument when it comes to JK's. They feel no different to me than, say, a Yani feels different from a Jupiter or Yamaha. Buffet, Eastman, etc, etc....they all feel slightly different but are far more the same-feeling, IMHO.
Granted my hands are not small (nor large), but I never quite understood that one. They just feel like good, modern-keywork horns to me.

As far as marketing, huge thread on the "other" Forum related to this. It appears JK is contracting (not as in "signing new business contracts"...rather, as in....getting smaller) in regards to output, given they recently nixed the MX series....yet another GOOD horn (like the EX's) which wasn't given a chance to gain some market traction.....

They are no longer their own independent company, but now rather a subsidiary....and they clearly feel that simply offering the SX's is the path which makes most sense for the brand....they also apparently have no huge plans for any sort of new marketing pushes.....all of which puzzles me, and makes me a little sad, as well....
 
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