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Sax on the Web / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / Is SML Low end okay, or Great?

Manofsteel
User ID: 9084913
Jan 31st 4:11 PM
Hello all,

(I first posted this a few days ago on Alt.music.sax but thought I could get some better answers here.)

I currently play a SML Gold Plate Tenor (SN 97XX). I got it from Gayle Friedenburg over at Vintagesax.com about 3 years ago. When I bought it, she said the pads weren't new, but were in good shape and that the horn was in good regulation. At the time I bought it, I was still pretty new to playing sax (have played clarinet for many years prior, but only sax for 1-2 years) and was still inconsistently producing solid low notes without cracking or warbling (C, B, Bf). The SML was much easier in general to play than my student horn, (not to mention that sound!) so I kept the horn.

I am now able to play throughout the lower register much better than when I first started out. But after having played all those new pro horns at NAMM (Selmer ref 36 & 54, Yanagisawa 991, 992, Cannonball Pro, Unison Pro and others) I realize that with my SML, I have to put much more effort into hitting those same low notes. Especially when trying to play softly (p or pp)

What experience do you other SML players have in playing the low register? Is it more or less difficult to play a soft low B than another horn you play?

I do realize the horn probably needs a repad/overhaul. But if I get an overhaul, would it be realistic to expect that my horn will speak as easily in the lower register (c, b and b-flat) compared to say a new, well regulated Yanagisawa 992?

I'm just trying to gauge whether I should spend the money and get an overhaul or trade my horn in for one that suits my needs better.

Best regards,

MoS
John T.
User ID: 8277173
Feb 1st 3:47 PM
Get it Repadded by a good reputable Tech in your Area.

Cheapest way to go ($300 - $600) and then you'll know how good the horn really is.
Paul C.
User ID: 9913923
Feb 1st 6:40 PM
Dr. I's SML tenor plays easily in the low register, but the pads are soft, and appear to be less than a year old. You probably need a repad now, get it done, and keep the SML. Money well spent.
morgan
User ID: 0784604
Feb 1st 10:29 PM
I think SMLs are a little harder to play than other brands on the lowest few notes
Dr. Inconspicous
User ID: 9099093
Feb 1st 10:35 PM
I disagree.
Miles
User ID: 1578334
Feb 1st 10:53 PM
Hi,

I recently tried out an SML King Marigaux alto. Although I had a little trouble with manipulating the C# mechanism I thought it sounded and responded great, especially on the low notes. Great low Bb's, B's, and C's from pianissimo to fortissimo.
saxpics Feb 4th 6:05 PM
Hi, folks. Long time, no post.

The repad is probably the number one best way to go. If you're not overly fond of resonators, a nylon brand may help with the seal without affecting sound quality -- much. You may also find that the keys aren't seating properly. A good tech can help with that. If that horn has rolled tone holes, you definitely want an experienced woodwind repair guy, not some guitar shop to do the repair.

I've also found that throwing a PLASTIC mouthpiece cap into the bell helps. There's an acousto-mechanical reason for this, probably discussed on the tech tips thread, but it can help out in a pinch.

I've seen your horn. It's a beauty. Got any more pics?

Ta!
PJT
saxpics@hotmail.com
Jack
User ID: 9767833
Feb 5th 8:55 AM
Many studio musicians play these horns so they must be good. Try a repad if you still like other sax's better you can sell the horn and probably get your money back.
SML's are hard to get and appreciating in value. Once you sell it you might not get another
mutha potamus
User ID: 8248813
Feb 6th 3:19 AM
Plastic mouthpiece cover!? That's just too wild! You learn something new everyday here at Sax on the Web!
Manofsteel
User ID: 9084913
Feb 6th 2:46 PM
I asked a pretty subjective question and the answers reflect that. Miles, Dr I, and Morgan, what other horns did you base your opinions on? Modern or vintage?

PJ, I told you about a million years ago that I'd get pictures to you. I finally got around to taking digital pics and will send them to you once I get them d/l to my PC. I also heard about dropping a wine cork into the bell to get rid of the 'gurgles'. However, my prob is dynamics.

I was planning on trying out Jim Schmidts pads but he informed me they really aren't for rolled toneholes. I guess he's going for the Selmer crowd.

Anyone know a great tech in Los Angeles?
morgan
User ID: 0784604
Feb 6th 5:41 PM
I based my opinion on my 8k tenor. On the alto -- yeah, low notes are a breeze. Actually they're not that hard on the tenor. I just think they're much easier on, say, a MkVI.

I hear the wine cork trick only works if you swap to a fresh cork each time you play....
ChuBarry
User ID: 9168243
Feb 6th 8:12 PM
I have an SML Gold Medal Tenor, #17xxx... one of the reasons I love playing it is because the low end speaks so freely, easily and with a rich resonance..... it blows even easier than my 1932 Chu... I would ABSOLUTELY get a repad.... worth its weight in gold.
D' Doc
User ID: 9029153
Feb 7th 1:13 AM
I purchased an SML GOLD MEDAL, Strasser marigaux 144.146 Boul-dela VILLETTE PARIS FRANCE. I find it just as easy to play the low notes on my SML as I do on my uncles' MKVI. Plus, the great big sound put his MKVI and the MKVI of a friend of mine to shame, sound wise. but I must admit that the fingering mechanics on the MKVI puts the SML to shame. My serial # is 14976. If anyone knows about this series let me know. Gene Walker, JAZZ ARTIST, offered to buy mine when he saw it. It was appraised by three different repairmen at 4,000.00 and I gave no hint to either of them in reguards to it's speculated value.
D' Doc
User ID: 9029153
Feb 7th 1:15 AM
I purchased an SML GOLD MEDAL, Strasser marigaux 144.146 Boul-dela VILLETTE PARIS FRANCE. I find it just as easy to play the low notes on my SML as I do on my uncles' MKVI. Plus, the great big sound put his MKVI and the MKVI of a friend of mine to shame, sound wise. but I must admit that the fingering mechanics on the MKVI puts the SML to shame. My serial # is 14976. If anyone knows about this series let me know. Gene Walker, JAZZ ARTIST, offered to buy mine when he saw it. It was appraised by three different repairmen at 4,000.00 and I gave no hint to either of them in reguards to it's speculated value.
Manofsteel
User ID: 9084913
Sep 14th 2:59 PM
Recap...Well I FINALLY took my horn in for repairs and low and behold, the low end speaks better!

Still doesn't whisper like the Yani 992 bronze horn (which is the easiest horn I've ever got to play pp while playing low Bb) but much better than before. And I only had the pads reset, not replaced so there may still be room for even more improvement.
Jerry K.
User ID: 9565813
Sep 14th 5:41 PM
If your pads are old and hard you will definately benifit from a complete repad. The new pads will seal far better and you'll get a bigger sound that takes a lot less work to produce. This should also help when you want to just whisper.