Tutorials

Saxophones Ornette Coleman Special SML

bodak

Member
Messages
72
Hi fellas
Any info on the Ornette Coleman sml alto special.
Are they good horns,do they play well,are they just an average sml that has been hyped up with Ornetts name on?
Any price guide would be welcome.
Regards:)
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,416
Location
brighton by the sea
are they just an average sml that has been hyped up with Ornetts name on?
Can't comment on altos but I've played a couple of SML tenors and they are by no means an average horn. Decently looked after SMLs are absolutely awesome horns..... the guys who made them were reputedly defectors from Selmer who had worked on the MKVI and wanted to refine the design further....
 
OP
bodak

bodak

Member
Messages
72
Thanks Kev.
Id'e read Saxpics,and though it mentions that particular horn,i just cant seem to find any info about it-discussions etc
Regards
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
Thanks Kev.
Id'e read Saxpics,and though it mentions that particular horn,i just cant seem to find any info about it-discussions etc
Regards
The discussions on saxontheweb are, as far as I can remember only about SML in general. Seems that they were pretty much dismissed until a couple of guys tried them, realised they were on to something special and started championing them. Sicne then the price has gone right up. You may still have a bargain there- you can see the rolled tone holes clearly, and the pads look to be in good nick.

But... Needs an expert to check it out unless the price is really good. If someone's been messing with those tone holes it could be a nice ornament only. Is it playable? Any dings? If you can get to examine it, read Stephen Howard's stuff on levelling tone holes/rolled tone holes first.

Looks really tempting....
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,473
Location
Surrey, UK
Hi fellas
Any info on the Ornette Coleman sml alto special.
Are they good horns,do they play well,are they just an average sml that has been hyped up with Ornetts name on?
Any price guide would be welcome.
Regards:)
But looking at the pics it's not "Ornette Coleman" but "Coleman Hawkins" ! Hawk was a tenor giant, but SML obviously made his model in alto as well as tenor.

This one looks nice: http://mussi.ch/Altos/SML_Coleman_Hawkins/sml_coleman_hawkins.html

There are threads on SOTW about the Coleman Hawkins model which is quite well known and respected.

SOTW threads:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?107890-Sml-coleman-hawkins-special-inside
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?121450-SML-coleman-hawkins-inside-2
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?98770-SML-Coleman-Hawkins-Special-Alto
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?86529-Coleman-Hawkins
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?37973-Coleman-Hawkins-What-brands-did-he-play

I'd like it for sure.

Rhys
 
OP
bodak

bodak

Member
Messages
72
It was of course Coleman Hawkins SML I was refering to.
My mistake--got a bit confused with my colemen.:(
Thanks to all you guys for the info

Regards
 

peterpick

Member
Messages
348
Location
Lewes, East Sussex
the coleman hawkins special SML is quite famous and well-regarded, but it's old - a rev a or rev b., made before 1940. the little finger table will not be the recognisable SML one. looks to me as though the later 'super'series owes quite a lot to it. i do love the 'super' series, but i never played a coleman hawkins special. no SML is 'average', they are high end saxes (and clarinets) for professional players.
 
Last edited:

Bruce Grove

New Member
Messages
28
I think the Coleman Hawkins model is similar to the 1930's La Strama model. The La Strama had a really big, thick sound and good intonation but a really old fashioned left pinky arrangment. Having said that a little bit of practice soon made this less of an issue.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,266
Location
Victoria BC Canada
If you can handle the pinky table..the difficulty of which is somewhat dependent on the size and shape of ones hands/fingers they do have that SML sound. I think they are kinda a cross between Mk6 and Silversonic soundwise. They have always been the subject of a very small fanatic cult. Now that we have let the cat out of the bag, prices are starting to go up and up. For my hands they have the best ergo's of any sax on the market and the sound....oh what a sound.
 
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