Supporting   special needs music

Saxophones Vibratosax

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,229
Locality
Breakfast room since '06 UK
Yep, sorry milandro, I'm sure they'll take great care in their selection of materials. I was just keen to get the joke in for Trev.
You're absolutely right, I was out of order :>(
John.

Slllluuurrrrpppp!!!!

Actually back on topic,
I am really interested to see how you find this Andre, I will probably get one in the end unless they prove to be completely awful.
Now slightly off topic again....
I remember a time in the 80's when I visited a couple of sax shops in London with Grafton's for sale.
Well neither shop owner was convinced about their merit and didn't actually seem over pleased to have them as stock. Of course they knew that Charlie Parker had used one but played it down completely, as if it were just a temporary necessity created by feeding his habits rather than him endorsing it in any way. Probably not far off the mark?
Anyway at the time they were £350 & £400 a go. I can't remember the condition of either.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
they were well off the mark! I have played 2 different Graftons and I must say that, although with a little trepidation due to the fragility of the horn (real or supposed by me) coupled to its value , I found them both (one equipped with toptone Pads, by the way) to be able to hold their own against the best horns out there!

I remember wanting to buy one when I was living in England (late '70 early '80), at that time , even a Grafton was too expensive for me........ .


I am sure (as I said many times) that many people will buy the Vibratosax regardless of its quality simply on account of its novelty value,and this will be the bulk of the initial sales.


The real test would be going over the , say, first 1-2000 pieces. In order to do that the horn would need to prove it has a place on the market and this would start marketing it to the right type of player.

At the moment, I am not quite sure who the Vibratosax customer is. Is it the student? Is it the experienced player? Is it the marching band player?


Determining who the client is for any given item is essential to determine its market strategy. Also, from a prospective distributor point of view, it would be important to know that Vibratosax wouldn't keep on offering this horn for sale on line because if I have to sell this in Europe, my return has to be bigger than the difference between wholesale buying price and single sale buying price because that margin is simply not enough to justify the investment and the work involved (let alone thinking of anything like advertising!).
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,229
Locality
Breakfast room since '06 UK
Regarding them being off the mark,
Just to clarify, I mean't the shop staff suggested that Parker used one out of necessity rather than choice.
I don't know if this is true or not.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
well, there are many stories about this , this is what wikipedia has to say about it

"........The most notable player of a Grafton saxophone was Charlie Parker. While in Toronto, Charlie Parker and “the quintet” were scheduled to perform at Massey Hall, but Parker had pawned his saxophone - some sources say to buy heroin. A sales representative for Grafton (or the owner of the company, depending upon from whom one receives the story) asked Parker to use a Grafton for a Massey Hall gig in May 1953. Although Parker was under exclusive contract to use only one type of saxophone whilst gigging in the United States, outside the U.S.A. he was free to use any sax he wished, including this Grafton. The recording of Parker (credited as Charlie Chan due to contract issues) can be heard on the CD "Jazz at Massey Hall" with Bud Powell, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus and Max Roach. The Grafton saxophone that Parker used (serial number 10265) was sold at the Christie's auction house in London in September 1994 for £93,500 sterling, though this was because of its association with a famous jazz musician rather than the instrument itself having any special merit. The buyer was the American Jazz Museum, located in Parker's home town of Kansas City, Missouri............ "


Anyway, although it might be argued that he kept the Grafton after his English tour because he couldn't sell it any further, the fact that he had kept the horn must mean that he held it in some esteem.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,468
Locality
Just north of Munich
At the moment, I am not quite sure who the Vibratosax customer is. Is it the student? Is it the experienced player? Is it the marching band player?

I'd add speculators to the list of maybes. They'll be hoping it'll become another Grafton. And it if doesn't they can always move it on.... Cynical? Me? Maybe but not when guys can offer old Links for 500 or more....
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
I think that there would simply be too many around to be worth anything and I am not Charlie Parker..........nor do I see anybody of that caliber anywhere around these days
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
446
Locality
Leeds
The Graftons were great horns in a lot of ways. A bit old-fashioned sounding like a Conn Chu or so, but the mechanism is great. Very fast, light action, maybe because there are leaf springs on everything. I'm not surprised Bird held onto it for a spell, they're real players. Shame the plastics from those days don't last. I'm interested to see how this new polycarbonate one pans out, do keep us updated when it arrives, Milandro.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
5,173
Locality
Surrey, UK
While we're talking about Graftons ...

I bought mine in 1985/6 through Exchange & Mart (those were the days). The advert was for three Graftons, two in need of repair. When I got all the way down to the seller's place in Eastbourne or somewhere, it turned out that it was one nearly-working Grafton, one with all the bits but slightly damaged body and one that was just the keywork. Having driven about 120 miles I was a bit cross, but made him an offer and bought everything.

I intended to do them up myself, which was pretty naive, as even top sax technicians run away from Grafton overhauls and repairs. Eventually the repairer at Michael White's shop got the best one functioning reasonably well and I sold off all the other bits for next to nothing.

I have heard that the Grafton body tube was based on a Buescher and it certainly has a nice tone, absolutely saophone-like in every way and definitely not a novelty. It's just the fragility and the mechanism that is the problem.

I have got a couple of interesting articles from old CASS magazines about the history of Hector Sommaruga and his Grafton company and there is a good Wiki page here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grafton_saxophone

My old sax teacher (Ken Stubbs, ex Loose Tubes etc) was certainly impressed when he played my Grafton and wanted to record with it.

Rhys

PS I told you Graftons aren't easy for repairers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_IIgXmmIuI
and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7UGFE8Gcuk&feature=related
 
Last edited by a moderator:

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
.........I'm interested to see how this new polycarbonate one pans out, do keep us updated when it arrives, Milandro.

I definitely will keep you updated on the Vibratosax........when it arrives since there is still no sign whatsoever about it . The track and trace says something like that it has been accepted 5 days ago at the Amsterdam post office (which is one of the main transit EMS post offices in Europe so it could actually still be in the international part of it) but it is unclear and it could mean that it is still travelling towards that post office...........

The fact is that the first reports from those who received them are not good since the first few that have arrived were all more or less damaged in transit being packed in a styrofoam box with insufficient protection for the saxophone inside .
Also the players are being warned to play this horn with a very gentle touch since playing it with the usual finger pressure would result into the soft pads bending and therefore not sealing.

All in all I can feel the funny feeling that I am an going to be an involuntary Guinea pig and I will have to be part of the development of this horn instead of being the first customer enjoying the fruit of a development which took almost 4 years and that was obviously not yet completed , otherwise we wouldn't have these teething problems.

Also, the fact that the horn requires a different playing pressure than normal makes me wonder, once again, about who is the " customer" other than the thrill-seeker buyer of the novelty Item that I obviously am. Could I give this to a young student and expect it to be playing it " carefully" and with a light touch? Could I give this to an expert player ............and why?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,237
Locality
UK
The Graftons were great horns in a lot of ways. A bit old-fashioned sounding like a Conn Chu or so, but the mechanism is great. Very fast, light action, maybe because there are leaf springs on everything. I'm not surprised Bird held onto it for a spell, they're real players. Shame the plastics from those days don't last. I'm interested to see how this new polycarbonate one pans out, do keep us updated when it arrives, Milandro.

The Grafton uses coil springs on most of its action - not leaf springs. They consist of two coils joined by a V section, with tails off each coil - exactly like the sort of springs found on water keys.
They're not very nice - being far too short to have any 'whip', and a veritable pain in the arse to replace.

Regards,
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,073
Locality
I live in Exmouth Devon.
The Grafton uses coil springs on most of its action - not leaf springs. They consist of two coils joined by a V section, with tails off each coil - exactly like the sort of springs found on water keys.
They're not very nice - being far too short to have any 'whip', and a veritable pain in the arse to replace.

Regards,

and the extremely thick pads held in with the screw resonator are a pain too.

I have not seen one of these in the flesh but they look like a saxophone version of the lyons C clarinet or the clarineo.
 

saxismyaxe

Honored SOTW Ambassador
Messages
174
Locality
Native of the Lone Star state.
Shame on me for not checking in here sooner, as there appears to be less hype and a more candid discussion of this topic here.

Short of a personal hands on play test of the Vibratosax (which I have put off shelling out the moolah for until all the reports are in) I can't reasonably make my verdict on this new horn design. However, in keeping with the inevitable comparison with the excellent sounding, but fatally flawed Grafton, I am a bit disappointed with what I have heard and seen thus far.

I was really hoping and expecting this design to offer a modern rectification of the Grafton's shortcomings utilizing modern plastics and technology, while providing all or most of it's attributes. I'm forming the opinion that it fails in this, and was not intended to champion that mission in the first place alas.

After the Honeymoon of the novelty has ended, I wonder what we will actually be left with?

This is in no way an attempt to disparage the Vibratosax. However I am tempering some of the rose colored comments made elsewhere with some observations that I cannot sweep aside.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
you are very right Mike. There are plenty of reasons to have expected the vibratosax to have picked up from where the Grafton had left but apparently things took a different course . I am still waiting for one and the more I see from the pictures and comments published on SOTW the more I become nervous about this and consider myself now a paying participant to the research and development . I am still waiting for mine which still in the hands of our bureaucrats .
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,237
Locality
UK
I see that Curt ( of MusicMedic ) has one, so his report will be worth waiting for.

As much as I'm for innovation in the field I think the Vibratosax is step too far.
Several reasons, but the most critical is the flexible nature of the keys and pads.

It's hard enough to get a normal sax properly regulated, and even then you have to make allowances for key flex and suchlike, so in that respect you're fighting a losing battle before you even start.

I've been critical of the Lyons clarinets down the years for the very same reasons - and upping the scale is only going to make the problem worse.

I'm sure the thing will work - after a fashion. Pete and I tried a cupless alto at Frankfurt in 2008 and it seemed to work pretty well...bit of extra finger pressure needed to hit the low notes...but it had metal keys, which helped to counter the floating pads.
Whether it works well enough to be taken seriously is another matter.

At this point in time it does rather look like the customers are testing the design, and that's a very bad mistake on the manufacturer's part.

I'll be very interested to hear what Curt has to say about it, and even more interested in seeing one myself at some point. I won't, however, be rushing out to buy one.

Regards,
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
yes, knowing that Curt has bought one makes me hope that much information will soon reach us first buyers and that some things will be said (and hopefully done) to correct any initial problems.
 

saxismyaxe

Honored SOTW Ambassador
Messages
174
Locality
Native of the Lone Star state.
you are very right Mike. There are plenty of reasons to have expected the vibratosax to have picked up from where the Grafton had left but apparently things took a different course . I am still waiting for one and the more I see from the pictures and comments published on SOTW the more I become nervous about this and consider myself now a paying participant to the research and development . I am still waiting for mine which still in the hands of our bureaucrats .

Hi André,

I know that you will give a candid review of the horn once you have had a chance to examine it at length. Please do post your findings here and on SOTW.

The "Paying participant to research and development" observation is the same conclusion I came to, which is one solid reason why I am reluctant to dive right in on the purchase right now.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
I will, to the best of my abilities, as you and others know I am not a technician by any stretch of imagination! Anyway Vibratosax has already said on SOTW (Or admitted >:) ) that because of the comments received that they are thinking of changing the tooling by adding two extra injection moulds
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?149430-Vibratosax-user-experiences/page6
this is good news for the future buyers and my guess is that by the time everybody (especially the technicians among us) has received his " prototype" many more changes will be necessary. This show , once again, how difficult is the process of innovation.

But ultimately innovation has to have a goal and if the goal is to provide a lighter saxophone to the masses my question (especially to myself as a prospective distributor) would be: how large a quantity are these " masses" who will require a lightweight saxophone (and why)? If that's the only thing that the vibratosax will be introducing and what's the trade-off?


If we get a lightweight saxophone, are we going to put up with any " problem" given by its " light-weighted " and prototypical nature or would we (the masses :) ) want a saxophone every little bit as good (if not better, because this would be the point of innovation, in my book) as a cheaper (not an unimportant factor) Chinese saxophone?


At the moment, I can buy, if I want, a Chinese saxophone for half of the price of a Vibratosax (wholesale but even retail they can be cheaper, look at Thomann for example) and, as it stands now, the best I can tell a customer is that it weighs less than 1 Kg , which, as it is , is my only selling point. I can , of course, tell his son or daughter that it looks extra-cool because of the colours and that everyone in the school band is going to find them very popular because of that but the reality is, and stays that, the ones who will have (ought to) be convinced are the parents (who are footing the bill) and educators and that the cool looks are going to be more a hurdle there than they are an advantage with them.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,237
Locality
UK
At the moment, I can buy, if I want, a Chinese saxophone for half of the price of a Vibratosax (wholesale but even retail they can be cheaper, look at Thomann for example) and, as it stands now, the best I can tell a customer is that it weighs less than 1 Kg , which, as it is , is my only selling point. I can , of course, tell his son or daughter that it looks extra-cool because of the colours and that everyone in the school band is going to find them very popular because of that but the reality is, and stays that, the ones who will have (ought to) be convinced are the parents (who are footing the bill) and educators and that the cool looks are going to be more a hurdle there than they are an advantage with them.

This, for me, has always been the main bone of contention.
If you can't match the price of a decent-quality Ultra-Cheap horn you're dead in the water when it comes to the student market - and if you're not competing on price then the quality has to be noteworthy.
The very design precludes this in many ways - which leaves just three selling points as far as I can see.
Robustness - assuming the horn can tolerate a few whacks, drops and some mishandling.
Weight - a definite plus-point, but a brass alto isn't that heavy and the Alphasax even less so.
Novelty - no competition here.

There may be one other reason to rush out and buy one...if the market says 'No!', there's a good chance the whole shebang will fold...in which case you could have a collector's item on your hands.

Regards,
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,426
Locality
the Netherlands
well, assuming that I am still getting the vibratosax (since it hasn't arrived to my place YET!) and hoping that it plays ( in spite of the shakes, rattles and rolls in he polystyrene box) I will then see what to do with it.......in any case any future project of mine involving the vibratosax is on hold awaiting further evaluation.
Whatever the selling point of this product is, one thing is for sure that its performance should be absolutely beyond reproach if the vibratosax wants to have any chance whatsoever to be having a serious go on the market. If the horn presents any aspects which makes remotely doubt a prospective buyer it will never breach the natural suspicion towards a product made the way that this saxophone it is made.
 

Similar threads (maybe)

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom