Sax on the Web Forum banner

Alto to Soprano...

3305 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Dave Dolson
I want someones opinion,
I am considering the switch from Alto to Soprano... Ive been playing a soprano that my friend has and its a lot of fun, but in the three bands i play in i play alto, two of which are classical bands. The jazz one would be fine with me playing soprano, but i just wanted some opinions and experience. Thanks
1 - 5 of 16 Posts
Are we talking about high school, college, semi-pro, pro bands? Does the band use written music or is it an improv situation? Regardless, if you want to play soprano, buy one and play it. I sure wouldn't give up the alto, though. It isn't necessary to SWITCH, just ADD. DAVE
In your situation, after you explained it more, my advice is offered with even more emphasis. If you are playing in a reading band, it won't do you any good to have a soprano when almost everything is written for alto. Yes, Bruce mentioned some music that has soprano parts. But most high school band teachers these days seem to be going for the most modern of charts and only occasionally do I hear soprano in them.

FWIW, I play improvised traditional jazz, so I take soprano, alto and clarinet to all my gigs and I freely switch among them as the mood strikes me (or sometimes as the tune requires by tradition; even then I can play another instrument - there are no rules). I am not tied to a charted performance. But if I were playing in a reading band, it would depend on the music provided to the ensemble. If you know there are no soprano parts to be played, then you could leave it home rather than to schlep it along adding more hassles. But by all means, buy a soprano - they are a kick.

About the old soprano you know about - write down the brand name and the serial number for us. We'll steer you right on that. Make sure it is a LOW PITCH horn, too. Conns and Bueschers from that era will most likely be marked that way or with a simple "L". This is CRITICAL. DAVE
See less See more
What Bruce said - I didn't want to get into the dating issues. I bought a new soprano when I was in the Army stationed in Germany in 1959. I had a choice between a Selmer and a Buffet. I foolishly chose the Buffet because it was a few dollars less. Oh my . . . DAVE
The Kenny G horns are Chinese but the ones I've played were fine instruments. What made them special was the involvement of noted repair-tech Rheuben Allen, who helped design the horns and distribute them.

The top model of the Kenny G soprano is a copy of the Selmer MKVI soprano. Except that the less-then-desireable palm keys of the Selmer design have been changed to the independent forked-style of palm keys typical of most saxophones. The ones I saw had Kenny G's name inscribed on the bell. This may or may not be a good thing on a horn with such a hefty price. While I consider Rheuben a friend and have used his great services for a long time, I thought the horns were over-priced. Still, they were good players.

I haven't seen much about them since I saw them at the NAMM show a few years ago, then saw an advertisement in SAXOPHONE JOURNAL a while back. For the money, I think you could do better, but if the MKVI style trips your trigger and the name Kenny G is important to you, spend away. DAVE
See less See more
The MKVI soprano (and the previous Selmers from early on) are a different animal. Some love them and others . . . let's say they don't love them. I count myself among those who don't particularly like the VI soprano (but my VI alto is a killer). While the altos and tenors seem to enjoy wide-spread popularity, not so much with the VI sopranos. However, there are some players who truly adore them (Kenny G seems to, for one) and I have some personal friends who play the heck out of theirs. I now own an Asian-made clone of the VI soprano and it displays the playing characteristics of a real VI. Must be something in the overall design. DAVE
1 - 5 of 16 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.