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Saxophones Quieter Sax Models

Murillogf

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I've been wondering what are the most quiet saxophones on the market today.

As I was reading a review from a Vibrato plastic sax, I found out they are aproximately 20% more silent than regular brass models. My question is: do you know any other models that could be more quiet? Even brass ones?

I also heard plastic mouth pieces tend to be quieter than metal ones. But I dont know if there is a specific model that stand out in this subject.

I have a vintage alto sax from the 30's and its very loud compared to a selmer tenor I have, but I'm not sure if this is common with alto/tenors, so Ive been looking for a study instrument.

I appreciate any knowledge you guys may have on the subject that you could share.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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5,624
Basically, there's no such thing as a quiet saxophone. They were designed to be band instruments to compete with the brass. However, some setups will be easier to play softly than others.

C-melody saxophones were intended to play at home, and tend to be the quietest. But they are an odd breed.

I also heard plastic mouth pieces tend to be quieter than metal ones. But I dont know if there is a specific model that stand out in this subject.
As far as I know, there is no reason why a plastic mouthpiece would be more quiet than a metal one, but it is probably the case that mouthpieces which are designed to be very loud are often made in metal. Closed-tip classical mouthpieces are probably the easiest to play quietly.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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Personally I don't play sax to be quiet, to my wife's despair! :rolleyes:

To be quiet I bought an electronic keyboard. It's a new challenge, but it's really quiet! ;)
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
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3,643
"Colin the Bear" is right.

The early saxes were more quiet compared to the new saxes that reached the market in the mid 30's. And the sax designers continued to design "louder and louder" saxes. Perhaps it's better to describe "loud" as "more volume" or "bigger tone/sound". A saxophone quiet saxophone can be very load if you blow into a microphone and crank the amp!! For some guys "loud" can be "cut through", "piercing", "edgy", "bright" ..... as well. The design of saxs followed the progress of the "music industry". Back in the ealy days of the saxophone it was an instrument to fit in in miltary bands. Marching bands and other orch playing outdoors, needed saxes that could be heard. Marching bands are not for entertainment it's more about "here comes XXXXXX ....." . The HP saxes were more or less made for outdoor playing and the higher pitch was also "cutting through". But a HP sax can be soft and silky as well. Right mouthpice, right design of the pads/resonators, "right" key heights (set up), maybe some rubber bands around some keys to get a smoother/softer key action ...... .

A "quiet" saxophone ...
... is played by a player who wants to "be quiet".
... needs often a round straight "chamber" with small tip opening and soft reeds. No kind of baffle. I often read tha you should use a big round rubber mpc on an old sax. I mesured up the chamber of a Dukoff D chamber soprano mouthpiece and compared it to an old stubby hr mouthpice with big round chamber. The D-chamber was bigger (volume). But you need more and better methods to be sure.
... have no resonators/reflectors.
... have low key heights.
... have no key bell keys, split bell keys or leftside bell keys. If you hold a sax with split bell keys or left side bell keys close to you leggs you get a more muffled tone.

Some saxes I would recommend if you want to play "quiet".

-Martin Home Model in C. Keyed from C1. to C3. Played from C to C#. No bell keys (C#;C Eb on the bow), side keys and palm keys. This is another construction compared to the ordinary C-Melody or C-tenor.
  • Buffet Crampon S1 models. More or less designed for the classic saxophone player. The early ones had an "E" stamped on the body which means European pitch (A= 442 or A=444, I don't remember). Buffet dropped this later. Less noisy key action on these saxes (fewer rolls). Noise from the keys are also included in the saxophone sound!!! An old sax with nickel plated keys, bad or no corks, bad felts and hard pads (perhaps leaks?) needs a loud/hard blowing player to cover the key noise and to compensate for leaks.
  • Yanigisawa 880 models. I played a T-880 for a time. IMO hard to make these saxes to play "loud".
  • Lots of new low price saxes that IMO are "quiet". I played a G4M tenor for some months. I couldn't play my ordinary mpc on the G4M. The way I play, my mpc didn't speak the same language as the G4M. I had to go down from a "10" mpc to a "8" mpc. And still it was not pefect ..... .

Stay away from Keilwerth wide bow saxes, King Super 20, Conn Artist 10M, maybe Buesher 400 ??? .... they are designed to be heard. A loud player that wants to be heard, a Keilwerth wide bow sax with a Rovner #10 mpc with high baffle and hard reeds needs no or less amplification. Even the drummer ask the saxman to not play too close to tke drumkit. A Martin Committe with a metal mpc with baffle is the only sax that that could challenge the Stratocastor with a Maschall amp. A Martin cuts trough. ;)
 
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Murillogf

New Member
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4
Thank you all for the answers. The tip on c melody and Martin home are great :)
I love my old sax, and I'll continue with it as my main though it doesnt even have a brand ( it belonged to my great grandfather). So this quieter sax I'm looking at should be cheaper for studying only.


I know a good player should be able to play quiet, but the thing is that I'm not good yet hahaha, and I don't want to drive my girlfriend mad as I'll move in with her (or future neighbours) to a small appartement in a few months.

As for my mpc, it's a selmer c* s80 which according to my teacher already has a small tip opening, so I guess I should really work on my skills. The middle ranges are somewhat easier to play quietly, but I cant get the low bb/b and the high notes without making my cat hide from me. :(
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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1,556
Thank you all for the answers. The tip on c melody and Martin home are great :)
Welllllll...... :oops: no, not really.

I mean...yes...the C-mel is more muffled sounding, seriously missing some typical sax harmonics in there....which, yes, probably makes it 'less loud'.

But I wouldn't exactly be suggesting anyone spend their saxophone funds on either of these. You may end up with a 'quieter' horn (by just a bit).....

....but they are both such oddball members of the sax family that their negatives sorta outweigh their positives. There's a reason these aren't popular.....


I know a good player should be able to play quiet, but the thing is that I'm not good yet hahaha, and I don't want to drive my girlfriend mad as I'll move in with her (or future neighbours) to a small appartement in a few months.
Congrats, best of luck to the both of you on co-habitating.

If you need to bring down he volume, just use a saxmute...and learn to play quieter, as others have suggested.

OR

If there is a walk-in closet or pantyr or something similar as far as a small space (with a door) which would be large enough for you and a sax and a stool....just buy some sound-absorbing material and put it on walls and ceiling. It can still double as a closet.
 

Phil

Member
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I think you are wasting money. In a small appartment its not going to make much difference. As much difference can be had by playing while standing close to and in front of a closet full of clothes to absorb sound. In a little appartment you are gonna be loud. Practice when she is not arround when possible. Also practice the loud stuff or worse sounding material when you are alone. When she is there work on improving things that already sound decent. Also practice subtoning.

Just some thoughts. I dont think this problem requires a new horn....perhaps some noise canceling headphones for her.
 

swhnld

Member
Messages
48
As for my mpc, it's a selmer c* s80 which according to my teacher already has a small tip opening, so I guess I should really work on my skills. The middle ranges are somewhat easier to play quietly, but I cant get the low bb/b and the high notes
The mouthpiece you have does help you with getting your sound under control, but to be quiet also takes effort on the air flow and jaw strengt. More over the reed has an impact as well.

On the instrument side, many old instruments require more air to be blown through which make it more difficult to play soft on them. A modern "French" saxophone aimed at classic music (without blowing the violins and other wood blowers out of the orchestra), with all boreholes closing properly, will likely require less air and make it easier to play softly on. Go to a local sax shop and try for example a Yamaha or Selmer in there and compare it to your current one if you notice a difference in playing it especially if you can play more softly on it. If so, try some more brands the shop has to offer before deciding to buy any.

There are also solutions of cases to put the saxophone in to kill the sound fully enclosing the saxophone, but I never tried that, and don't know anybody who did that, but saw them in a saxophone specialty shop once. They are called "Saxophone Mute"

Another trick, fill your bell with a T-Shirt, though you lose the low notes, it will reduce the volume for the remaining notes.

My advice however would be to make the sound fall dead in the room you practice. Put heavy curtains around you when studying, or practice in a walk in closet full of clothes. Next to that, work on your jaw strengt and stamina so you can keep the air flow and reed under control and play softer or louder when you want to. Also make sure the sax you practice on has no leaks, making the air flow easier giving better control.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
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4,126
If I know I'm going to be doing something that, for a captive listener, might be awful to listen to, such as trying to hit that 5th overtone, I face the hanging coats near me and it stifles the noise a little. If I play right into them it well detune the notes, though so I play at them, not in them. The closet suggestion is excellent.
 
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Murillogf

New Member
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4
Thank you all for the answers.

Actually when I was thinking about a quieter sax it was based on the plastic model "Vibrato" that I found for sale (it goes for about 300u$s for a used one here in Brazil). So I was wondering if there was a better option.

All the sugestions are great. I'll keep the Yamaha and Selmer in mind for the future, but for the moment it's just not in my Budget as I also don't intend to replace my old sax (I love it's tone so much, even though some keys are really hard to play in tune).

And my girlfriend is very comprehensive about my playing, she even says she likes to hear me practice, but I think that will change after she hears me practicing 2 hours of scales every day hahaha.

I was also experimenting playing with a soft tenor reed into my alto mpc, I found it to be quiet too. Later I'll try to insert a wine cork inside the Sax to see how it reacts :)
 
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