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Saxophones Soprano sax of choice?


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I'm the guy that asked the question about soprano mouthpieces. Now I'm curious which soprano folks prefer playing. I personally prefer a darker soprano sound, but I play jazz not classical. My favorite soprano player is Steve Lacy. I know he played a Selmer throughout his life. Selmers tend to be a bit out of my price range, but I'm considering them anyway. I'm curious what folks think about the series ii and iii for jazz playing. Players have a tendency to warn against series ii and iii for jazz, but I' open to them. I know Yanigisawa is the new crown prince, but personally I find their sopranos typically to be a bit too sweet sounding. Anyways, I'm happy to hear what experienced soprano players prefer playing. Thanks!
I've not found anything (so far) that I prefer over a Yanagisawa.
Sweet? Dark? Oh dear, I was always under the impression that sweet was pretty much the same as dark.
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Reactions: Sue
Guess favorite soprano's aren't really a popular topic around here;)
How do I put this... for me, the yani sopranos, and all their horns for that matter, have a certain creamy, sweet sound. For me sweet is more indicative of brightness. But everyone has their interpretation of "Bright and Dark". By the way, I don't define the sweetness as bad necessarily, just when compared to an older horn it lacks certain characteristics. I do think yanis are super nice and would love to have one. And I do prefer the way they sound over Yamahas. I just don't hear as much character in the tone out of them as say an older selmer or conn. Surely the intonation is better though;)
I can't give a qualified answer here, because I am a relative beginner, not an experienced player, but I recently tried out various soprano saxes looking for an upgrade, and I was not particularly impressed with any of the several Yanagisawas I tried - there was nothing wrong with them, but there didn't seem to be anything special about them either. This was a surprise, because I was expecting them to be really good. I tried a silver Yamaha 475, which I thought was nicer (more personality) than any of the Yanis. (I didn't dare try the more expensive Yamahas in case I was smitten.) I also tried a couple of mid-range Taiwanese horns (Chiltern, System54) which to me didn't seem sufficiently better than my Sakkusu to justify the extra cost. In the end I got a Sequoia, and I am feeling happier and happier with it as I get used to it. I got the lacquered "classical" one, but they also do an unlaquered jazzier model. I'm not sure, but I think the difference is more than just the coating.

There is a review by @David Roach here:
Saxophones - Sequoia saxophones review
I play a YSS 62. I have played the Sequoia that Nigel has and found it to have a warmer tone than my Yamaha and was very tempted to buy it. However when I tried the same Sequoia in silver it didn't have the same impact on me.

I have also played the other Sequoia model and funnily enough it reminded me of my 62.

I have briefly played a curved yani and quite liked the tone but not sure about a curved sop :)

I agree with Nick. I've played a curved yani for as long as I remember and the only thing that came close was a cannonball straight (don't remember the model name/number) but I didn't like it enough to be tempted to change.
I've recently got my Rampone & Cazzani saxello (half curved soprano) back from loan and I have reminded myself just how good it is. I am playing it with a Selmer S80 mouthpiece and it has persuaded me to put my Yanagisawa curved sop back in its case, at least for the moment.

OK, I'm a soprano freak with lots horns. I have two Yanis, three Martins, two Buschers, one decent Taiwanese and an R&C. I've also owned a number of others. Part of the reason for having various horns is that I sometimes want a very mellow retro sound, and at other times something bright and aggressive. I also need to have these in New Zealand and Australia as I live in both countries (my excuse and I'm sticking to it). I think your questions has two components, tone and play-ability. The older horns have the tone, the new the ergonomics. The only horn I have that fits both of these criteria is the R&C. Wide frequency spectrum that can be molded by the mouthpiece used, and modern ergonomics. I use a Morgan on it for the mellows and a Lamberson when I need power and a bright sound. The Yanis and Yamahas have great ergos, yet just don't have the potential for those bright harmonics. Second place goes to an older Phil Barone Taiwanese horn.
I have seriously limited experience of sopranos. I bought a Bauhaus Walstein about 9 years ago when they were first produced and everybody was saying lovely things about them - just bought it online without even trying it; since then I've literally not played another sop till I bought a s/h System 54 last week, which was just a bit warmer and creamier and suited my music better. I hate to imagine the outcome if I started going through all the sops in serious sax shop.....
i've had a few soprano saxes and still have some of them. my current favourite is a borgani macerata curved soprano, it's joyous. SML or king marigaux sopranos have the best combination of tone and intonation i have actually played (the borgani needs quite some persuasion to stay in tune). i have had a yanagisawa 991, which was marvelous but cold, and a martin handcraft which would not play in tune. i've still got an ancient pierret and a buescher true-tone - the buescher is great but i'm finding the curved sax is easier to mike up. it's down to taste, of course. i never played a yamaha and the only selmer i tried was horrible.
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