Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Focused sound

Toni Linder
User ID: 1049474
Sep 15th 3:25 PM
What do you mean when you talk about a focused sound?
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9209903
Sep 16th 3:43 PM
Toni: It is difficult to describe sound, but here goes . . . When I compare my old silver Buescher TT alto to my new Yana A992, using the same mouthpiece, they sound completely different. The Buescher's tone is more compact - more centered (e.g., focused) with a strong core within the tone. It has a sound like a 1920's saxophone should have - almost classical in nature. The Yana has more resonance - the sound to my ears is more modern (well, DUH - it IS a modern saxophone), more spread - wider if you will. Another way to describe it is that I feel as if I could draw my Buescher's sound through a pin hole, while the Yana would require a fist-sized hole. The Buescher is like a garden hose's water stream while the Yana is like an open fire hydrant. To my ears, the Buescher is much more focused.

Both horns are neat - I prefer the Buescher for the type of music I play (trad jazz from the '20's). Get it? I tried . . . DAVE
User ID: 0255034
Sep 27th 12:25 PM

I also has a Yana alto (A-901) and it the best buy horn for that price range. Do you think Yana alto is situable for smooth jazz/Fusion music music compare with Selmer horn? Assume use same MP & Reed.

I've compared a S/N 12XXX Mark VI alto with a Yana A-991, I found Mark VI sound are more rich, thick, more tone color & 3-dimension.
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9209903
Sep 27th 3:05 PM
Andy: You may be asking the wrong guy when you ask about smooth jazz/fusion. I don't like that stuff and I don't understand it. I tend toward the melodic, basic-chord music of the '20's and '30's BEFORE swing (although I enjoy big-band things) and bebop.

BUT, I would imagine that it doesn't really matter what brand saxophone you bring to the party as long as you can play it. All of this talk about tonal qualities is just nuance - I've said many times that I seriously doubt that the audience will recognize that you are playing a MKVI or a YanaA901. Whether it is an old Selmer 22 or a sterling silver Yana, if you play in that style with confidence and skill, no one will toss you out because of what kind of horn you are playing.

Your choice of an A901 was a good one. Although may find a MKVI that will outplay it, stick with what you can afford and play well. Time may allow you to upgrade if that's what you want. Personally, I had a great MKVI and gave it to my son. I'm just as happy with my other altos. DAVE
soprano player
User ID: 8290473
Sep 27th 3:36 PM
The audience won't notice so easily which horn you are playing on, especially when you've got a mic in front of you.

Here's my opinion on Yanagisawa saxes (I own an SC-901 myself, and play tested the A901 extensively for 2 weeks). Yanas are a lot easier to control than Selmers. By that I mean you can get a good sound on it easeir. But ultimately, the MarkVI, or any other Selmer, is the only horn worth keeping. The possibility of getting different palettes of tone color on the Selmer is infinite, while the Yana runs out of space shortly. But if you like fusion and smooth jazz, by all means, go for the easy playing horn, since smooth jazz listeners aren't as picky about different nuances like hardcore jazz fans. And some smooth jazz players can stop practicing for 2 years and still think they can play anyway.
User ID: 2804914
Sep 27th 3:46 PM
"Focus" has much more to do with the player than the horn (put an amateur on a professional horn and I guarantee he won't have a focused sound). From my experience, a player who really plays in tune and knows how to put air through his horn tends to sound "focused" and "centered", regardless of the horn he plays on. If anything it's because he knows what he's doing and knows where he's going pitchwise, notewise, and stylewise, i.e. he's "focused". LOL

As for playing smooth jazz, there's no horn out there that is more suited or less suited for any kind of playing. Smooth jazz is "smooth" because of all the sound processing that is added to the mix. Reverb, compression, and equalization are the rule in that genre.