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Saxophones semi-rationelle(s)

peterpick

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typically, i have been buying saxophones that nobody wants or likes, apart from me. recently a couesnon alto (having just sold one) and a franz kohler 'empor' alto, but also a LeBlanc 'system' alto, and it's near relative, a vito 35. the leblanc is odd in that it has no top f#, not even in the stupid place leblanc put them, and the front f is a tiny little sliver of metal. there are about 5 ways to play e flat. i'm not sure how useful the alternative fingerings available are to me (i have a couple of saxes with strange fingering possibilities, a menge system f x huller, and a boosey, and the leblanc is closer to the boosey alto but sounds much better). the leblanc is quite bright, i took it out to a noise/punk alldayer gig in worthing (i kid you not) with my quartet 'the bare springs' and it was bloody loud, even with the blandest mouthpiece (otto link ebonite) i could find. the intonation is great and the action is lovely. naturally i paid too much money for it, but the vito was really cheap by comparison and for what it should be worth. the vito (made by beaugnier) is remarkably heavy for an alto, probably all the weird keys and rods, and it does have an f#. much less bright, rather a beautiful tone with a meyer on it, and like the leblanc it's great for high harmonics. good saxes these vito 35's, i recommend them to you, they would seem to be quite a bargain - immaculate intonation, great tone, good action, no sticky g#. bloody heavy though. i bought these saxes because i have never seen them for sale before, and i don't expect to see one on offer very soon. mind you i say that and 15 turn up, just like with the selmer new large bore of which there seem to be several examples on ebay currently, some advertised as cigar cutters.
a happy new year, anyway, and anyone wanting to hear some brand new meshmass can discover it at lapis lazuli ashtray on soundcloud.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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Hi @peterpick I have a full Leblanc Rationale alto. It was the first serious sax I purchased, I did try to sell it on but am now glad it didn’t sell, I think I may have even tried the yardsale to no avail.
The alternative fingerings are fairly easy to adapt to, the problem comes switching back so that I now only play standard fingerings when playing it. High F# is a doddle ring finger left hand just a continuation of the hand roll of the palm keys.
Personally I don’t find it particularly bright or loud but it is responsive to changes in mouthpieces. I play a C** Soloist and a JodyJazz DV and the difference is chalk and cheese. You are right about intonation it is spot on and probably the easiest blowing sax I own altissimo those notes I can play are easy. One of my teachers used to like to borrow it particularly for classical orchestral work.
I’ve no experience of other Beaugenier saxes but this one is a keeper alongside my YAS MkI
Regards Al
 

peterpick

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hi al, i'd love to try a full rationelle, but they are truly rare. altissimo is easy with the semi-style too, as you say. i'd really like the high f# on the right-hand keys because i do strange things with one if i have it. whatever, they are splendid instruments.
 

ellinas

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Hello I played a Vito 35 ... it’s sound wasn’t that different from my 38..... and indeed it was a bit heavier..
 

JayeNM

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Good horns, I have refurbed many...both Vito and LeBlanc branded. Indeed, their market values have plunged in recent years. Back in '08-'10 I could sell a refurbed one for $1g easily, and to find a 'project' one would have set one back a good $500-600.

Nowadays, people apparently have difficulty selling one in play condition for $600.

Absurd, really....they are great horns.

(for folks who don't know what System fingerings/keywork is, here's a half-decent demo of what a System or "semi-rationale" can do. The creator misidentifies his Vito as a Rationale, however):

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AU3MVYQASBs
 
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peterpick

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thanks ellinas and jaye. i think the 35 sounds good, quite rounded, which i prefer in an alto to the shrill noises i produce from some of them. it's also great at getting the 'super-register' using the front f. very interesting horn, perfectly playable in normal fingerings and with added peculiarities. does take a bit of regulating, though, everything depending on everything else. the octave mechanism alone is enough to make you puzzled, i eventually sorted mine out by reducing the strength of the flat neck spring, but it's got little wiggly bars and bouncy levers and all sorts of things going on. i've seen some complex mechanisms (old pierrets 'spring' to mind) but this is a peach.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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thanks ellinas and jaye. i think the 35 sounds good, quite rounded, which i prefer in an alto to the shrill noises i produce from some of them. it's also great at getting the 'super-register' using the front f. very interesting horn, perfectly playable in normal fingerings and with added peculiarities. does take a bit of regulating, though, everything depending on everything else. the octave mechanism alone is enough to make you puzzled, i eventually sorted mine out by reducing the strength of the flat neck spring, but it's got little wiggly bars and bouncy levers and all sorts of things going on. i've seen some complex mechanisms (old pierrets 'spring' to mind) but this is a peach.
I hear ya'...the first one I ever refurbed was a real education. Was just a matter of really studying what attached to what, and determining the relationships and purposes. But yeah, it took me at least twice the amount of time to regulate the keywork. But I love that sorta stuff. After the first one, things became more familiar.
I have never gotten my hands on one of those crazy Pierrets...but I would love to, someday.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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I have part of the original manual for a full rationale and a full photocopy of the regulation set up and alternative fingerings. There is a specific order to setting up the regulation which must be adhered to for best results. I might point out that all of the pads so far that I have had to replace were very tight fitting in the key cups and held in only by the screw in resonator, none had shellac or glue of any kind although one or two were shimmed with card. Regards Al
 

jbtsax

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I have part of the original manual for a full rationale and a full photocopy of the regulation set up and alternative fingerings. There is a specific order to setting up the regulation which must be adhered to for best results. I might point out that all of the pads so far that I have had to replace were very tight fitting in the key cups and held in only by the screw in resonator, none had shellac or glue of any kind although one or two were shimmed with card. Regards Al
I would love to have a copy of that since I have one of these in queue for an overhaul. I would be happy to reimburse you for it.
 

saxyjt

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I hear ya'...the first one I ever refurbed was a real education. Was just a matter of really studying what attached to what, and determining the relationships and purposes. But yeah, it took me at least twice the amount of time to regulate the keywork. But I love that sorta stuff. After the first one, things became more familiar.
I have never gotten my hands on one of those crazy Pierrets...but I would love to, someday.

Sounds like fun!

I read another thread discussing these modèles 34, 35... and my interest has been increasing since. I'll keep an eye for them in the future.
 

rhysonsax

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I would love to have a copy of that since I have one of these in queue for an overhaul. I would be happy to reimburse you for it.

I got various information sheets when I bought my Vito/Leblanc Hodges model that @Stephen Howard is currently fixing up.

I uploaded the files here: Rhys Vito Leblanc Files - Box so they may give you what you need.

Rhys
 

DavidUK

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What's this one I spotted for sale the other day?...

Note the extra little key and roller to the right (in the photo) of the pinky table. Can't remember this on any similar horn?



 
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peterpick

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Lewes, East Sussex
I have never gotten my hands on one of those crazy Pierrets...but I would love to, someday.
well, i've got more than one! if you'd like one it can be arranged. as for the 'semi-rationelle' pictured above from david it looks like a 'rationelle', except they have evn more actuating rods going to the low keys, the only thing i can think of that looks that complicated is a selmer low a alto i used to have. but they all seem to be different! the palm keys are weird (of course), and the high g# is on the left hand, at least on my vito version. i've also got quite a bit of documentation about these, if i ever see one and have any money (two unlikely things) i will buy one of the older rationelles - my leblanc must be fairly recent and simplified (despite the very low serial number) - does the name 'leblanc system', or 'leblanc 100' ring any bells with any of you? i think this would be the third of 4 iterations of the rationelle - boehme system saxophone. i've been playing both the vito 35 and the leblanc recently with a meyer, really lovely horns, they sound quite different, the vito is kind of breathy and husky, much like its cousins from beaugnier, the leblanc is sweeter and more pure. the vito weighs approximately half a ton.
 

peterpick

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Lewes, East Sussex
for the sake of clarification i have done some research and am now satisfied that my leblanc is a 'semi-rationelle', and that it is very early in the series, probably early 50's i think, since the high f# is a later addition to the keywork. there was one up for sale just recently with a high f# which had a higher number than mine. i'm very happy with the sax as it is, it really plays well.
 

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