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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It bothers me that for all the improvements in design and manufacturing, there hasn't been a correctly designed saxophone made since the 50s! Every maker jumped on the trend to place the bell pads all on the right side, with a mechanically more complicated and inferior system. This was of course, to please the growing hipster trend of playing with the saxophone against your right side, a position that's wrong for many reasons, but it should never have happened in the first place!

Curved sopranos, and a few baritones, were mostly spared the trend, though there are still surprisingly many curved sopranos that have the pads on the right side though there's no reason at all for them to be placed like that.

I'm surprised that few saxophone experts seem to care about this, i guess they prefer the percieved comfort or versatility of having the left side devoid of pads, but they if anybody should realize why it's WRONG! So are there any makers who went against the norm and made a "modern" alto and/or tenor with the bell pads on the left side where they should be? Seems like something the likes of P. Mauriat or Cannonball should investigate, but i guess they just haven't gotten to it yet....
 

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Thank you for a morning laugh, Nguyen. It’s a great way to start the day.
 

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yet another myth? Or a “ Popian” case that a little knowledge is dangerous?

The most celebrated saxophones in terms of value ( BA, SBA, Mark VI) all feature the bell keys on the right hand side.

This is a direct consequence of the most important construction technique ( the balanced action ) which led to a lighter action of the bell notes which otherwise need very long rods to be activated. Balancing the action has nothing to do with the playing position that you describe and if hipsters were responsible for this they have been around since the ’30 ( most of those hipsters in their ’20 back then must be dead by now!).

https://www.selmer.fr/histdetail.php?id=45

The reason why curved sopranos (curved sopranos are not produced by Selmer) weren’t affected by this is that balancing the action of the bell notes had very little advantage but yet, Yanagisawa (which previously had le curvies with the bell keys on the left) introduced it and they never looked back since.
 

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This is the best post since the one where Phil Barone was yelling at us for buying mouthpieces =) thanks for this
 

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I could be wrong (I frequently am) but weren't the bell keys moved to the right side to avoid body and clothing interference? I seem to recall that complaints of "stuffy" low notes were actually due to interference and not leaks or key venting issues. Anyone who thinks "modern" saxophone design should go backwards, feel free to play something older with LH bell keys.
 

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Well just go back even further and go for the clappers. The offset design contributes to a more balanced and warm timbre.

Oh, and bring back the wire guards too, essential for giving the tone a roundness that gets lost with the sheet metal design.

 

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When I read the OP, I too thought it was tongue in cheek and thought it a good chuckle.

If not, well, nothing should surprise anyone anymore.
 

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If the old timey wire guards were heavier, would they give the same wonderful enhancements that the resonance weights provide?
(Just kidding!)
 

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…This was of course, to please the growing hipster trend of playing with the saxophone against your right side, a position that's wrong for many reasons, but it should never have happened in the first place!
You try sitting in a sax section holding a tenor or bari in front of you.
 

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Well, as far as which mechanism is simpler, left side keys with old style LH little finger keys have the exact same degree of simplicity as right side bell keys with modern LH little finger keys. Right side bell keys with old style LH-LF keys have an additional linkage (as Conn 12M, King Zephyr tenor and alto, etc.)

Actually when Conn went to the left side location for both bell keys with 6M/10M, and Buescher with Aristocrat, it was hyped as simpler and more reliable than the older system of one on each side which I believe derived from adding a low Bb in the late 1800s.

I think the last sax produced by a reputable maker with old style LH-LF keys and pads on the left was the Yanagisawa curved soprano which I believe has now been changed.

Everyone who plays sitting has held tenor and baritone to the right (except for a tiny fraction of attention seekers) since the things were invented in the 1840s. That's why key guards are present.
 

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Hilarious! Petition to have the whole world regress to be posted soon i hopw.

I am fairly large, and play alto in the center always. Standing or sitting.

I could play tenor like that too. But i never do. Like, nobody does that. Ever. Actually.

Right??
 

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Hilarious! Petition to have the whole world regress to be posted soon i hopw.

I am fairly large, and play alto in the center always. Standing or sitting.

I could play tenor like that too. But i never do. Like, nobody does that. Ever. Actually.

Right??
Wrong. I play my old Rampone & Cazzani tenor out in front like a kazoo. The sound is similar as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all your responses. It never occured to me that the term "Balanced Action" referred to the bell keys. I just had the notion that the left side pads were a simpler mechanism, and the popularity of right side pads was mostly to enable the low-down-to-the-side posture, which i still think is unergonomic and detrimental to technique as well as looking ridiculous, but that's my opinion and not the subject of this thread.

I've never actually tried an alto or tenor with all left side bell pads, as it's rare to come across them unless you deal with vintage sax collections. My main alto has long been a 1920s Buescher with split bell keys, and i find it easier to finger and produce the low tones than on any other i've tried, and the one split bell tenor i tried gave me the same impression. I did try a cheap modern curved soprano with all-left-side bell pads and i also thought the lowest notes felt easier to finger with it.



R&C did produce a very limited edition alto with left side bell pads, called the Alessophone, it was probably intended to be more of an art piece than a playable instrument, there's probably noone who's reviewed it as they all went to collectors rather than players, but i'm curious why they made this very unusual choice, since none of their regular saxes have it. I take it there hasn't been any modern saxes made with it, then?
 

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no
 
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