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Saxophones Poll: What is your dream horn, modern or vintage.

My Dream horn is a....

  • Modern Alto

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Old/Vintage (not for sale in since the 80's at the latest) Alto

    Votes: 3 5.9%
  • Modern Tenor

    Votes: 18 35.3%
  • Old/Vintage (not for sale in since the 80's at the latest) Tenor

    Votes: 14 27.5%
  • Modern Soprano

    Votes: 2 3.9%
  • Old/Vintage (not for sale in since the 80's at the latest) Soprano

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Modern Baritone

    Votes: 4 7.8%
  • Old/Vintage (not for sale in since the 80's at the latest) Baritone

    Votes: 6 11.8%

  • Total voters
That’s really difficult to answer. At different times (somewhat obviously) I play different styles and change my sound accordingly. West Coast, Big Band lead alto, and “pop” alto are three that I move between.

I’ve had a 991, 62, Elimona, Mauriat, SBA; and my current horns are a Mk6 and an Ishimori Woodstone.

I don’t find intonation a particular issue and this isn’t a criteria for preference of any horn.

Finding the tone(s) that I want is the biggest factor - aided by changing mouthpieces - and the way that the horn speaks in each register (preferably easily and fairly uniformly).

None of the horns are the ideal West Coast - Pop, rather unsurprisingly. You can take the edge off the Mk6 for most of the range until you start getting into ledger lines. Then it’s natural voice is shouty.

The SBA I had was never going to be a pop or lead alto horn.

Woodstone and 6 are similar-ish, though I’ve played the 6 for 20 years and know it. We have an agreement that we won’t beat one another up too often. The 991 was a very good horn as was the Elimona, but I couldn’t push them far enough on the pop side. The Mauriat tenor I had just felt like a tank - though my mate sounded great on it and bought it from me.

So, I’ve had a few horns but there are so many, and to hope that you have a decent one in front of you is another variable.

Never tried (properly) a Buesher, Martin, Conn, Borgani, Rampone, Inderbinen… there’s probably another 20 I’ve missed out…

Edit: yep - the Signature Raw.
Reading this thread, I realise I've failed in one of my objectives.
I bought, as documented in other threads, the scruffy sax (Vito / yts23ish) with the idea that I'd see if I prefer tenor to alto and, if so, that I would be comfortable enough on it to buy new or used with some competence. Since then, I've fettled it, repadded it, upgraded it's MP, played it daily...
.... I still have no idea what other instruments would be like. I have tried to go to when I'm in London; but everytime I show up, they move.
So, looks like I'm stuck with old scruffy. Not my dream, but my mate... And, yes, I'm still talking about the sax, not 'er indoors.
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Bad dreams are becoming more colorful.
Though I like the idea of vintage horns, particularly old American ones, my ideal tenor is the one I currently use; my Sig custom RAW. I suppose a large amount of this is due to my absolute familiarity with this particular sax but from the 'tool to work with' angle me and my TJ are finely tuned together.
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Where are my bass options? Eppelsheim for me thanks.
When I set up the poll I thought I'd stick to more common interests (ya know ..... for the masses) but since then C Melody was also asked for so I did go back and see if I could add more but I was too late.

But I like this, it fits so well... its not you is it?
When I set up the poll I thought I'd stick to more common interests (ya know ..... for the masses) but since then C Melody was also asked for so I did go back and see if I could add more but I was too late.

But I like this, it fits so well... its not you is it?
Nope not me. This is me


I have no pic of me playing my current bass.

Would it be OK with you @Saxlicker if I took a crack at setting up a new poll? Or do you want to do it?

I haven't looked at the poll features on this forum to see what it can/cannot do, and how many variables you can have. I was going to do that now.
How far do you want to stretch this poll? We know there aren't a lot of C melody players or Tubax luggers, and as has happened, those who like those instruments post their preference... with or without adding to the poll.

I'm a sopranino specialist and just starting to favor some brands of C sops, yet know that mine would be only votes for these. Does it matter?
Hi @helen

You go right ahead and experiment. :thumb:
Is that a Selmer Tenor with an underslung neck? It just looks like European Selmer engraving.
Yup, it's a Mark VI with an aftermarket neck developed specifically for Mark VIs that I used for years when I played in rock & blues bands. I paired it together with Noyak star resos on black roo pads. The horn screamed. ;)

When I quit playing in rock and blues bands--read electric--I changed my set-up to a more acoustic-friendly one. Now I use the original neck, and the horn has Pisoni pads, and Selmer metal resos with rivets (the kind that they put in the Series II horns IIRC). Sounds awesome. Can still scream when I need it to, but has more lushness, and more blending ability for section work when I played tenor with the swing band.

The horn itself was sold in Canada, so this was the engraving that all Canadian horns have.
I absolutely love my '54 Mk6, and can't imagine swapping it our for anything else, but if money were no object, I'd like a Keilwerth Shadow, because I'm convinced that it'd make me sound like Ernie Watts.
I checked, "Old/Vintage (not for sale in since the 80's at the latest) Baritone" because back in the 1980's whilst with an Army Reserve band, I played an old King bari, which must have been from the 1950's to early 1960's.

They say that overall, nearly all brand name (stencils included if by name brand manufacturer) saxophones from the mid 1960's back were at least of intermediate quality.

This sax was unused and needed a few simple repairs. I checked it out and the band's instrument repair kit and went to work. I straightened a few keys, replaced missing key bumpers and replaced a few pads. Lo and behold, the sound coming from it was beautiful and it had wonderful intonation. This was in spite of its lack of fancy engraving, had may be 80% of its lacquer left.

One annual training (2 week summer camp), we played along side the 62nd Army Band in Fort Huachuca Army Base in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Comments by several of the members after concert band rehearsal, told me that although the bari looked rustic, that I was an accomplished player and it sounded wonderful.

Another more recent experience, an early 1950's Beaugnier Vito Bari, ex-high school instrument that I repaired also plays wonderfully in tune and extremely easy to hit falsetto notes.

Although I have a new Antigua Winds low A bari, I still have a nostalgic love for vintage baris.
Having only ever played my YTS-280, I have no idea how other horns sound and feel like. I'd certainly like to try out a vintage instrument one day. I voted for modern tenor though.
A dream horn should be something fancy. So let's arbitrarily say Selmer Supreme tenor in white lacquer :)
I have found my dream tenor already years ago; a wonderful Martin Committee III. I have tried several Martins (and other brands, of course), and mine is the best I tried so far. Great intonation, tonal flexibility, and somehow the Martin keywork works very well under my hands (maybe because as a kid, I started on a Martin Indiana alto).

While I am very happy with my Keilwerth Toneking bari, I can’t say it’s my dream sax. But then, I am not sure what my dream bari would be; probably a Martin Magna low A with the intonation ease of the Keilwerth (if such a beast would exist). Reality is that my Keilwerth does everything I need, and goes from a warm mellow sound to a roaring "put the trombone section in their place" with ease. I tried a Keilwerth SX90R as well, and while it has more modern keywork, and is likely more even than the Toneking (I did not record myself), it's not worth the extra €€€ for me.

Regarding alto an soprano, no real dreams there. I don't have a Soprano at the moment, and my SA80 II alto does the job. But then, my heart is with bari and tenor really.

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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