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Sax on the Web / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / SML Tenor on EBay from Witchita Band

BFree
User ID: 1662364
Jul 16th 5:27 PM
Has anyone seen this late silver "Gold Medal" tenor for sale on EBay from Witchita Band (cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1446106797?) I can't help but think that a few posters in this forum sent some EMails to this guy with some questions that really ticked him off, cause he has posted a pretty testy letter detailing how he play tested the horn and affirmirming that in his opinion the neck is definitely SML..All well and good, but the last line suggests that anyone who doesn't feel this horn is worthy of a professional should instead invest their money on instruction! OUCH! Is ther a comparable term for "bedside manner" for EBay sellers? Just wonderin if anyone here was making life difficult for this guy.
morgan
User ID: 1348824
Jul 17th 12:39 AM
Looks like he was ticked off not by email, but by somebody who returned it claiming it had intonation problems.

Does intonation vary from player to player -- not the obvious reason of skill, but, say, like this:
(a) Player A is in tune on horn A, but plays sharp on the "E" of horn B
(b) Player B is in tune on horn B, but plays sharp on the "E" of horn A

in which case we would attribute it to peculiarities of their anatomy ??
saxpics Jul 21st 10:35 AM
Morgan, IMHO, that doesn't look like the original neck on the horn: all the Gold Medal tenors I've seen have a brace on the neck. Only some of the really early SML's didn't have a brace.

I think this regardless of the letter from Mr. Ray. Now, if the letter was from Fred Cicetti or myself, well ...

This was one of the few times I missed an SML on eBay -- I saw the first couple pics and thought they looked pretty cheezy, so I didn't load the rest of the page. (My 56k modem is laboring at my house: I only get the fun download rate of 2.6K.)

In any event, possibly the original buyer of the horn sent me an e-mail explaining how MANY of the notes on the horn played exceptionally badly and he thought the neck was at fault. He then enclosed a pic of the neck (sans brace) and said it was from his horn, a Gold Medal.

Now, WBI has sold a bunch of SML's in the past couple years, a lot of them fairly old (Rev. A and B). I think it's possible they included the incorrect neck, possibly unintentionally (the necks got mixed up on the repairman's bench, etc.)

It doesn't really make any difference, now, I suppose -- the reserve wasn't met :)

Morgan's right, tho: if you have a few notes you can't play in tune on ANY horn, it's you. If it's one note that doesn't sound right, but everything else does, it's probably the horn -- and you should adjust (after making sure you don't have a leak).

PH
morgan
User ID: 1348824
Jul 22nd 9:04 PM
My question was if it ever depends on the person, but NOT the skill -- for which the scientific evidence would be something like:

For me, that SML plays sharp on E, but this 6M is right on

For you, the SML is right on but the 6M plays sharp on E

(note that it wouldn't do if you found the 6M FLAT on E -- that would just indicate we play "E" differently)
Chuck Hollocker
User ID: 0916684
Jul 23rd 5:28 PM
One variable we're missing here is the mouthpiece the buyer put on the sax when he got it. Vintage saxes can be pretty sensitive to set-up. If he just slapped on the mouthpiece from his student Vito, then nobody would be surprised. As a seller I would have offered him a $25 check to go toward a new MP and told him to visit his local music store and ask for help trying out MPs. Then everyone wins. Better than overreacting and scaring away potential buyers.

Regards

Chuck
Paul C.
User ID: 2623374
Jul 23rd 5:48 PM
At least from just after WWII until the end of the line for SML saxes, the tenors had braces under the neck. Not all had the shield with SML on the front of the neck, but they did have the brace.
morgan
User ID: 1348824
Jul 23rd 9:39 PM
SMLs are not so finicky about mouthpieces.
Kaz
User ID: 0812164
Jul 24th 5:21 PM
Morgan, On a tangent: i dont agree about SML's not being finicky about mouthpieces! My experience has been that the higher you go on an SML, especially including the altissimo range, the more difficult it is to get the horn to speak cleanly and quickly. I have also found that the choice of mouthpiece makes a large difference in accomodating that altissimo difficulty. Apparently this is because the neck opening (tenon) of the SML neck is larger than on, say, a Selmer, and therefore the back end of the chamber of the mouthpiece is more critical and can make a big difference in sound production. Sound like gobbledeygook? How do SML players find the altissimo range in general, in comparison with other horns and with a tuner?