Sax on the Web - Forum Archive / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / SML vs. Buffet

User ID: 9056633
Jan 16th 8:24 AM
I asked this once before, but it was buried in a huge category. Would anyone care to comment on how SMLs play, compared to Buffets?
User ID: 3208784
Feb 18th 6:21 AM
WEll- Ive never played an SML but I have a very nice superdyna that I have real mixed feelings about. In a lot of ways it has great characteristics for jazz but then other it does not. Maybe I just havent found the right mouthpiece for it.
bill kasper
User ID: 0937864
Feb 18th 10:17 AM
now i've played an sml. i've played an early superdynaction alto, too. liked them both, but the sml has more power and more versatility. buffet had a beautiful tone, but i couldn't get as much out of it (with the same setup) as i could the sml.

and both were equally in tune.
User ID: 1676554
Feb 18th 11:21 AM
One nice thing is that most folks don't seem to realize that both SML and Buffet horns are extremely well made and are excellent for almost all styles of music. This leaves both horns seriously undervalued.

Diane, are you planning on buying a horn or are you just trying to compare and contrast?

BT, if you're just doing jazz on the SDA, you might wanna try a Selmer LT hard rubber mouthpiece -- the square chamber ones. I was able to get decent intonation and power out of it.

User ID: 3208784
Feb 18th 10:34 PM
Hey thanks for the advice--lack of power (or gusto as I like to say)is a problem especially in the upper register for me. I use an old NY meyer on it and for real control (and no power) I play with the original Buffett mouthpiece just for a sense of the spectrum.

What does the LT in Selmer stand for and can you say why you like it? What would a Morgan do? Do all square chambers tend toward a "forward" sound

When I go back from the SDA to my Lady Conn the sound/tone resolution seems so incomplete (but of course soulful, etc.)

Im not a pro but do play regularly Im a mainstream swing jazzer with a fondness for Art Pepper and Webster (?!?!)

Thanks again
User ID: 0575574
Feb 19th 9:19 AM
Try an RPC mouthpiece with either of those horns. You will be amazed what they will do.
User ID: 9878643
Feb 19th 10:27 AM
I use a RPC on my SML Gold medal alto, and it's give great flexibility and power. Just as what Steve says, you'll be amazed.
Lost Lamb
User ID: 9056633
Feb 19th 6:13 PM
Oh Lord, just when I had all the mouthpieces I'm ever going to need, I learn of one I don't have.
We have a SDA alto that mostly gets played on a c star because well, you know, that's what students play on in school. It does not project nearly as well as we'd like and its C sharp is, well, sharp. I do not own an SML; but, I heard one today at a chamber music competition, a silver alto.
Our lacquered SDA is dark; this SML was bright.
Would that be a function of the horn,, the plating, or the player?
We have had some trouble finding a projecting mouthpiece for this SDA; a Rousseau sounded good with a fibracell reed, but the private teacher hates fibracells and Vandoren 3.5s are really stiff and tough for my son to to blow with a Rousseau.
The kid who played the SML has a private teacher who wasn't real keen on the SML. Is this just academic prejudice about anything but Selmer, or are there real reasons not to choose an SML?
I read about RPCs; are they useful for classical work?
User ID: 9878643
Feb 19th 9:10 PM
I play in a Symphonic Band in my university, but on the weekends, play in a Big Band setting. For the Big Band setting setting, and forjust jamming around, the RPC is fantastic.. Gives you the flexibility to be as quiet as you want or the power to be as loud as you think you want to go. But unfortunately, I find the RPC a big too loud for a Symphonic Band kind of setting. We play a lot of classical pieces, and the Upper partials that make up most of the sound from the RPC, is to me quite undesirable for this medium of music.
They are a bit too bright I find for classical, have a bit too much of an edge in the sound. It could just be my playing though. I have tried to use them for classical, but they were just too loud and to me not pure and dark enough to be a classical piece.
User ID: 1509104
Feb 20th 2:12 AM
Sorry for the delay. WRT: LT stands for "Larry Teal." Selmer has kept the model name, but I believe the mouthpiece now has a round chamber.

I liked this mouthpiece because I could get a fairly jazzy sound and play mostly in tune on my SDA. I already had a couple other C* mouthpieces when I bought the SDA and considering the LT was in the case and had that funky square inside, I decided to give it a shot. Suprisingly it played better than the C* (both old and new) -- which tended to make my notes a little sharp, just like in Diane's case. I know of a complex aural theory of why using a square chamber would affect the intonation so much, but that's neither interesting nor do we have space ...

Tying all this into the world of SML, I did have my forays into the world of jazz/big band and I needed a mouthpiece that would suit well for that. The LT did well for my SDA alto and a Berg Larsen worked great for bari (both hard rubber). I play an awful lot more classical, tho, and when I started practicing 6+ hrs a day for college I took my teacher's suggestion and got a Sigurd Rascher mouthpiece. Perfect for classical: the intonation was pretty good (makes the horn flatter) and the sound was much darker. I liked the fact that I didn't have to struggle to hit harmonics. It was kewl. And they're not expensive.

Diane, as you point out, the SML was much brighter than the Buffet. This can be caused by differences in plating (particularly if the SML had a sterling-silver neck) and mouthpiece. You can go further and talk about resonators and/or pads, as well. The SML also has a larger bell and (probably) larger bore than the Buffet ... so you've got more projection. The strength of the reed can make a difference. Benny Goodman used 1 and-a-half reeds because he found it easier to play in the altissimo range.

I can't think of a good reason NOT to buy an SML, except that if you're happy with the horn you've already got, why buy another one, except as a collector's item?

Final note on academic prejudice: some schools get kickbacks from instrument manufacturers. Some teachers just prefer that all students work with one horn for both uniformity of tone and to make sure all the students have instruments of good quality. Even though I dislike Conns (someone send me a mint 12M bari to convince me otherwise, ok?), if I had a student that came in with a mint 28M when the school's policy was to use Yamaha horns, I wouldn't make him sell it and get a YAS-23 -- provided it was in tune.

User ID: 9349783
Feb 21st 6:48 AM
Many music teachers in school play an instrument other than the saxophone. As a result they are not always a good source for knowing the value or versatillity of a sax. They do tend to recommend selmers or yamahas. A private teacher is usually a better bet to evaluate a sax, corrosponding MP and reed. You can't always trust the child to pick out the sax that plays best. They tend to buy "the shine" and the "price tag" When trying out instruments the blind fold test works best with children.
User ID: 9056633
Feb 21st 7:18 AM
btw, I thought I'd point out that this guy does play sax a lot... he kept complaining about being beat by a buffet at all state in high school.
User ID: 1850204
Feb 28th 6:44 PM
where can i pick up one of those rpc mouth pieces?
User ID: 9878643
Feb 29th 5:00 AM
You can get them direct from the maker.. Ron Coelho. The website is if I'm not wrong...You can't go wrong.. Tell him what are your needs and he'll do a great job on your piece.
User ID: 1850204
Mar 7th 3:43 PM
where can i get one of those Sigurd Rascher mouthpieces, (sorry been goin crazy lookn for the right one for my sml)
User ID: 9948493
Mar 8th 8:12 PM
I generally bought mine from the corner store: (I wish Wally would move out to Phoenix! We need a good store out here!)

Alto mouthpieces were a measly $35 last time I checked. They also have the Selmer mouthpieces and may have a vintage LT kickin' around.

User ID: 0247944
Mar 9th 8:30 AM
<<where can i get one of those Sigurd Rascher mouthpieces>>, but be sure also to try the caravan and bilger for comparison. I found the bilger played much more in tune than the other two.