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Discussion Starter #1
I have this late model Martin / Yanagisawa stencil curved soprano. Plays great. Even so, I've tended to play one of my straight soprano because I prefer the freer blowing feel and playing posture. The other day I realized that my slightly curved neck from by Yanagisawa 991 fit perfectly on the curved soprano. That 991 has two neck pipes. I've tended to use the straight one on the 991. This slightly curved neck was relatively unused. Much straigher than the curved neck on the curved soprano, however. I added a little cork to the lever that lifts the octave key and it operated the octave key very nicely. To my surprise my curved soprano played great and in tune. Plus, it had that free blowing feel I like on the straight soprano. I still have that tipped bell sound presence that is really nice in a louder setting and the somewhat more 'saxophoney' sound of the curved horn remains. I even liked the horn/mouthpiece playing posture better than with the original curved neck pipe. Has anyone else done this?
 

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I've posted several times over several years about using a straight neck on my SC902. I have two solid silver after-market Yanagisawa soprano necks - one straight and one curved and both work well on my curved soprano. The straight neck gives me the same result as when I used the furnished straight neck on my straight S992 (which I no longer own) . . . that is that the straight neck opened up both horns. Of course, I've always preferred straight-neck sopranos just because of that.

However, it is still a matter of personal preference - some love the sound from a curved-neck straight soprano. For the curvy, I've played mine both ways. One thing for sure, whenever I put the straight neck on my curved soprano, it sure gets the conversations started. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for your comments Dave. I also prefer a straight neck on my straight soprano. I have that various necks on tenors can make a difference in timbre and response (especially response). Do you find the silver vs. standard brass vs. bronze neck makes a noteworthy difference on soprano?
 

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I have the same soprano as Freeradical - a curved Yani marked Martin that came with a neck curved much like a 1920s curved Conn soprano neck. When Yanagisawa started making soprano necks with a curve that was less severe, I bought one. I found that the palm keys, high D, Eb, E, and F were easier to play and more in tune. So I guess I had the same results as Freeradical. I always use the straighter neck now.
 

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Freeradical: I found no differences among all the different materials used to make necks. The only difference was the shape of the neck . . . and given the small sampling, I'm not sure that any conclusions should be reached if only that for me, with the necks I used, the shape mattered. Others, using other necks and other saxophones, may have different results. DAVE
 

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But if you play a curved soprano with a "slightly curved" neck intended for the straight soprano, don't you either have to hold the curvie way up like a straight one, or end up with a clarinet-like angle of the MP to the embouchure?

Personally, since my main instruments are not soprano, I play soprano (straight) almost horizontally with the mouthpiece entering my embouchure at an angle very similar to an alto or tenor. The appeal to me of a curved soprano would be to have the same playing position of an alto, taking the weight off my right thumb, while keeping the "saxophone-like" angle of the MP. Putting a nearly straight neck on it would defeat all that, it seems to me.
 

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The use of a straight neck on a curved soprano is strictly personal. Yes, I hold the curved soprano more like a straight one when the straight neck is affixed. I don't suffer physical issues when playing any soprano without a strap, so the horn's position doesn't bother me. Still, sometimes I use the standard neck on my curvy - it depends on how much I want the effect of the straight neck. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Dave, I could never get used to playing a soprano without a neck strap. Maybe my issues with the curved neck on the curved soprano are partly a function of how used to straight soprano I have become. In any case, I do feel that the curved one simply has a better playing feel with the my almost straight neck. I feel the response is improved, the playing position feels less cramped and close. When using a strap the horn is held closer to my body and I feel constrained by that. So I think I'll just make this switch my permanent setup...at least until some years from now when I come across the curved neck in a drawer and put it on the horn and wonder how or why I haven't been playing with that beautiful sounding neck. I'll call the playing position 'cozy' and be intrigued by what seems to be the warmth of the bent neck and then, if I live long enough a few more years will go by and...
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Even though some soprano players need (or want) a neck strap, I'm in the opposite boat - I can't understand how a player can stand using a neck strap because of the way it interferes with my left thumb.

Still, if hand-pain is such that the pain is more bothersome than the left-thumb rubbing on the neck strap, then that's the choice one makes, I suppose. And please, I don't think we need a bunch of posters claiming they do or do not use a neck-strap or aren't bothered by one. Like I said, it is a personal choice - understood. Some use them, like them, need them, don't use them, etc.

Free . . . I agree that as time goes by and we revisit our choices (like your soprano-necks), we realize that our wants have changed. That's why I rarely sell a mouthpiece - I like to keep them and re-visit them from time to time. Funny how some of those that I put away suddenly play well for me. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Dave, sometimes we revisit those mouthpieces or set up and like it because our taste has changed or maybe even evolved. At other times I think we are just attracted to what is now different. In some respects I simply good bored with the fact that the instrument sounds pretty much the same, day after day. That old mouthpiece in the drawer is now simply novel, again. Humans like novelty. Can something be novel...again? Well, you know what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
But if you play a curved soprano with a "slightly curved" neck intended for the straight soprano, don't you either have to hold the curvie way up like a straight one, or end up with a clarinet-like angle of the MP to the embouchure?

Personally, since my main instruments are not soprano, I play soprano (straight) almost horizontally with the mouthpiece entering my embouchure at an angle very similar to an alto or tenor. The appeal to me of a curved soprano would be to have the same playing position of an alto, taking the weight off my right thumb, while keeping the "saxophone-like" angle of the MP. Putting a nearly straight neck on it would defeat all that, it seems to me.
turf3, yes I do tend to hold the soprano (straight or curved with mostly straight neck) up at an angle, sort of standing clarinet player style. The mostly straight neck on the curved soprano allows me to have that posture while playing. With a neck strap it is very comfortable for me.
 
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