Playing older saxes

Matthew Meador

New Member
Messages
7
Location
Houston TX, united States
Hey everyone, I’ve been playing sax for a while now and I have a couple of good modern horns that I enjoy playing on. There is one piece in my miniature collection of saxophones that is over 100 years old, and that is my selmer stencil c melody sax made in 1917. This horn is in pretty good condition and looks good as well; but it simply cannot play in tune. When I use a modern selmer c* tenor piece on it it is much more consistent, but it is about 40 cents flat when pushed on all the way. On the contrary, I can use the original 1920s mouthpiece which plays closer in tune, but is very inconsistent with each note and makes a very strange tone. My c melody is not the point however, as I’m looking into purchasing a 1929 tenor (American standard). Because tenor is not my main horn, I am planning on making it my main tenor, and I want a horn that will play with a good sound and not be similar to my c Mel. I’m not really looking for a mark vi, but I do want a horn that can play a good vintage sound with fairly good intonation. I don’t know if the problem I had was only usual for c melodies as I know they seem to have a lot of intonation problems, but I don’t want to go out and buy a horn that doesn’t play decently. Do any of y’all know weather or not all early 20th century horns play off or if it is a problem only my horn experiences?
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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4,768
Location
Bristol, UK
Some vintage saxophones can be fussy about which mouthpieces will work and which won’t. Other vintage horns are more tolerant.

Do you have a specific model in mind?
 
OP
Matthew Meador

Matthew Meador

New Member
Messages
7
Location
Houston TX, united States
Some vintage saxophones can be fussy about which mouthpieces will work and which won’t. Other vintage horns are more tolerant.

Do you have a specific model in mind?
Thanks for your advice,
I was looking at an American standard Cleveland h. N. White tenor sax. I found it a t a pretty good price. I’ll add the link to it right here:
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
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7,107
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Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
In my experience most of the early Conns, Bueschers, and Martins have acceptable intonation and for the most part are quite well made. The condition you find them in varies a lot.

I have discovered over the years that saxophones do not play "out of tune". Players play "out of tune". Playing even the best made saxophone is a bit like singing or playing the oboe. One has to hear the pitch in their mind and "humor" the note to match that pitch. The "rub" is that some makes and models make the player work harder than others which distracts from focusing mainly on the music.

On a cautionary note, looking at the pads in the photos of the Cleveland tenor it appears that pads too small for the keycups were installed in some of the keys. For the most part skilled professional techs install pads that fit by accurately measuring the keycups and sometimes ordering pads in adjacent sizes in 1/2 mm increments when there is any question as to the size that best fits.

If that store is in your area, I would recommend you put down a refundable deposit on the sax and take it to repair tech with a good reputation to get a second opinion. In my personal experience the "Music Go Round" store in my area takes their used instruments to the repair tech who will do the work for the lowest cost, not the highest quality of work.
 
Last edited:

guidocreo

Member
Messages
115
Location
anzio - Italy
I have a King tenor "The King" made in 1928.

When I have buyed i was not able to play in tune for a couple of weeks; I have had to think the pitch and hear it in my mind to play in tune. Now I play the King in tune but I have to be very focused on the pitch.

The problem, for me, is that to play a vintage horn is some different to play a modern one: different postures, different blowing, different mechanics and layouts and if you swap the saxes frequently can be a trouble to adapt you to the sax.

Ciao
 

Beavers

New Member
Messages
22
Location
Germany
One of my Saxophones are a King Tenor made 1938, and I love the sound and mechanics.
First time it was a little differently in the mechanics.
With a Gottsun #8 MP it soundet realy good.
( look at my avantar so you can see it )

Greatings at all
Beavers
 
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