Sax on the Web - Forum Archive / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / SML Newbie

User ID: 0046004
Feb 15th 1:01 PM
SML Dudes,
I'm going to test an SML alto in a few days and I'm interested in any advice you guys can give me.
For Ex. Do SML's have any particular faults that I should watch-out for?
I've only played one SML, a tenor, several years ago and was not very impressed. I would like to give them another go because so many of you seem to like them. I've played all of the new altos out there and owned a Selmer Series II for a few years. I haven't been really crazy about the sound of any of these horns so I'm looking into vintage altos.

bill kasper
User ID: 0937864
Feb 16th 6:08 PM
well, keith, i too am an sml newbie. just before getting dog-sick the past few days, i received and played fairly happily three different sml saxes: two altos and one soprano.

i currently play a conn "chu" alto and a buescher aristocrat (big B from the late 40s). i love the conn's flexibility and tone, but the keywork is only so-so for me (damn that g# pearl!). the buescher's keywork is excellent, but the tone is rather light and has less low-end than i'd like. so i am searching for a compromise, and thought, after all has been said, that perhaps sml is where to look. i am keeping my conn and gonna probably ditch the buescher.

the first alto is a 73xx gold medal, rolled tone holes, pads in ok shape, crappy lacquer. has taken a couple of severe hits, and has had the bow resoldered to the body, along with a couple of posts. the action was sluggish, but the tone excellent. in a blind test my wife chose it behind the conn ahead of the buescher in liking it. i've sent it back.

the second alto is a 23xxx gold medal, straight tone holes, (get this PJ!) nickel keywork, pads in poor shape, excellent lacquer. only one ding in the bell, but needs some padwork. however, the tone was still excellent, enough for me to get ready to send it for an overhaul. i love the action (having learned on the chu lh table, i am in heaven!), love the tone, and wish i could play easily on it all up and down...that will come after the overhaul. the buescher is standing by the door...

the soprano is a mixed bag. it's also a 23xxx, straight tone holes with (get this again, PJ!) nickel keywork. pads in great shape, ok lacquer (one patch near the neck completely missing, but otherwise just scratches and wear). tone is amazing! my first sax was a buescher curved soprano, and it's completely different. warm, open, excellent projection. however, the intonation is way off at the upper and lower end. most probably a mouthpiece issue (i hope!), as i was using a stock yamaha 4c. i currently have 4 pieces to try it out with from jey clark at 4winds. i am undecided about this horn. the keywork is a bit loose and wiggly, but that's being tightened up by my repairman. the action is set high, and is being lowered a bit by same. the pads have nylon resonators, though i don't know what that would mean. we'll see about this one.

anyways, with each one i *love* the sound, and where i could tell from anything else the action. the sound doesn't quite grab me by the short hairs the way my conn's does, but it certainly has more to it than the buescher...yet is still refined.

i eagerly await the results of the alto's repad and the soprano's adjustments, and will post more.

and a status update on "Amazing Grace": all the pictures are up and ready (adjusted, cropped, and shrunk), and the overall layout is set. i just have to write bits about the specialty horns, and organize more of the standards (you'll see!)...

User ID: 9614573
Feb 17th 10:15 PM
You're kewl, Bill.

OK, so the "Two Tone" wasn't discontinued at 20,xxx. I submit. I've also received some pics of a 66xx SML Super tenor that's gonna make a big splash when I post it. I just wanna see YOUR horn, Bill!

Keith, the one thing that I'd make sure about when testing the horn is that it doesn't have any obvious leaks, especially if the SML has rolled tone holes. Dunno why, but all the horns I've ever tried with rolled tone holes tend to leak like a sieve and then when I get the horn regulated, it takes a long while for the pads to seal "tight."

Vintage is the way to go!

The Vintage Saxophone Gallery
Jenseman Feb 18th 2:27 AM
Hi Bill,

thank four comments on the SML soprano. I have bought one recently ( and it has the same problems as you described. The sound is amazing, but the intonation on the upper end is horrible. I tried 5 different mpcs (Selmer F metal, Link HR 7, Link metal 6#, Vandoren S15, Yanagisawa 7 HR)and it was never really in tune from high C on upwards. Best one was the Yanagisawa, but the opening is to much for me. Perhaps you want to try a 5 or so. Please keep me informed, if you are successfull in your search for the right mouthpiece.
p.s.: Imagine the sound of a sax quartett with SML´s only! You need a soprano in tune for this.