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I have always regarded Stephen Howards webpage as a good source of impartial and reliable information of saxophones without any marketing efforts. In my opinion Mr. Howard does a fine job examining the instruments and discribing their pros and cons. For some time I have been waiting for a review of B&S (tenor) saxophone to come along and now that there finally is one it is also a bit surprising to read (click the link below to see for yourselves). Of course it is just one more opinion in the mass of different ones but it also has a saxophone techicians point-of-view making it more worthy of noticing.

http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Tenor/BS_2001_tenor.htm

More surprising then the evaluation of tone was the critic about the build quality of the instrument which has been usually considered almost flawless.

After reading the review I`d be interested in play testing my Guardala tenor (which is supposedly a 2001 with some esthetic improvements) with a studentline Yamaha (23 or newer). Here in Finland you can see advertisements of used YTS23s for a couple of hundred euros while the only used 2001 tenor that I´ve ever seen here was sold for 1900€. I hope you could chime in as my experiences in studentline Yamahas are limited to YAS275 altos (updated models of 23) which are in my opinion quite good for their price.

-Ville-
 

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The B&S should be way better than any 23 ...
 

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Are B&S 2001 tenor and Yamaha YTS23 somewhat similar? In a word, No.

I read that review too. I would say the tone on my 2001 is a lot more solid and interesting than the 23s Ive heard, which I find to be a bit tinny. The horn itself is built like a tank and has a lot more adjustment built in (stack key adjustment for example) plus it has the funky no stick G#. I would not recognise it as the same based on Stephens revue.

Frankly I dont think Stephen was commenting on the build of the horn in comparison with a 23 as much as the tone, and from what Ive heard there is bound to be variation of tone from horn to horn, even within the same brand and model? I think he would maybe admit to having an exceptional 23, and maybe the B&S he tested was an odd one?

The B&S 2001 I have is a 13xxx, and does have both stack key adjustment, and a flat spring on top of the low C# mechanism...maybe he was looking at an earlier one. My B&S made Allora alto (14xxx) has those features too.

I dont know about warped tone holes...Ive never had a reason to check, same goes for warped key cups. My pads seal well anyway, and nothing has jumped out at me. I think warped tone holes are more of a techy concern...makes it harder to seat pads maybe? Some people think he overstates this as an issue anyway.

My B&S has natural cork as far as I can tell, and the action is well set up for me, and not at all spongy.

Maybe he just had an old one?

I certainly would not trade my tenor for a YTS-23. 1900 euros is a lot ($2700). Recently 2001 tenors and the clones have tended to change hands used and on ebay for around $1500 give or take a few hundred each way on this side of the Atlantic. You cant beat them for that sort of money.
 

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I've played lots of Yamahas and I now own a B&S tenor and, frankly, I don't take this particular assessment of Mr. Howard's very seriously. Compared to the YTS-23, The B&S is a far superior horn in both response and tone. If I had to compare my B&S to a Yamaha, I would put it in between the 62 and the 875.
 

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I have a CJS tenor made by B&S and have played every YTS 23(we have 6) at the middle school where I teach, and there is no comparison. The sound of the CJS is much richer and more complex. The Yamahas blow easy and sound decent for the students and seem to hold up OK.

I think perhaps Mr. Howard was just trying to rile the B&S crowd.
 

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Ken Janak said:
I think perhaps Mr. Howard was just trying to rile the B&S crowd.
If that were the case he would not have had such nice things to say about the Alto;)

I think he just got his hands on an older horn that did not have the features of the newer ones, such as the flat spring on the low C# mechanism, or the adjustment screws on the lower stack. If those were missing it makes me wonder what else was a bit different about the horn he tested.

Thats the problem with any comparative study..unless you see half a dozen of each horn, who knows how representative of a model the one you are looking at is?

I certainly dont doubt that the horn he saw had the defects he outlined...and hes not saying that sounding a bit like a 23 was a defect anyway as far as I could see, but no one else here seems to have played a B&S with these 23 like sonic characteristics, so perhaps the one reviewed is not representative of B&S 2001s in general.
 

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Stephen Howard said:
Then think again. Harder.

Regards,
LOL!

You dont happen to recall the serial number range of the B&S you looked at?
 

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I was pretty disappointed with the build quality - considering the way the alto was built. I can see if I have the serial number...might be interesting to see where this particular model fits.

As regards the tone holes - they're basically the 'engine' of a horn...and as such ought to have the precision that a car's cylinders should have. That's to say that any leaks in your pistons might not stop you from pottering to and from the shops, but it would show up in terms of a loss of performance and economy.
So it is with a horn...every leak, even a slight one, comes at a price. What you have to decide is whether you're prepared to pay that price in terms of performance. You also have to decide whether you're happy to buy a horn with built-in defects ( and let's be clear here...it isn't hard to get a tone hole level at the factory ).
Some folks are prepared to let that pass...I'm not.

As regards the similarity with the YTS23....no doubt about it ( and no, my old 23 isn't exceptional...I must've blown examples running close on three figures by now, and they're all pretty much the same ) . For a short time I was even considering buying the B&S.
I guessed the comparison would be controversial - especially among those who've invested in B&S horns - which is why I took the time to expand on my conclusions. I should remind people, again, that no two players blow the same horns alike - and the playing impressions are merely a very rough guide as to the potential of a horn.

I'd be interested to see other examples of the tenor, especially after noting such stark differences to the alto ( < corrected in edit )...and as and when they come in I'll add to the review.

Regards,
 

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Based on my limited testing at least, my CJS sounds much different than the six YTS 23 horns I've played. Maybe the CJS sounds different compared to the B&S 2001 as well, although I understand they're supposed to be somewhat similar.

My comment about riling the B&S crowd was said a bit "tongue in cheek", although it didn't come across that way on the forum. I'll have to learn to use the "smilies" to help clarify.

Mr. Howard, have you had a chance to play the B&S Chicago Jazz Series or Guardala horns? Impressions?
 

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Mr. Howard's reviews are fun to read but such opinions should not be the basis for buying a horn or rejecting one. There is great subjectivity with musical instruments and every one is a bit different.

We beleive what we want to beleive. Mr. Howard's gushing send-up of a Conn 10M influenced me to some degree to buy a very fine example. It was the most unenjoyable sax I have ever played. Is Howard off his rocker? No. My sole tenor for 19 years previous was a 1931 Selmer Super. The Conn was so different and awkward it would have taken months to assimilate.

The ONLY way to select a horn is to play it. One man's gem is another man's lump of coal. The objective analysis from techs like Howard are valuable in some measure, noting the quality of construction,etc. But even then we must be careful of assuming too much from the observation of one unit.

My transition to a B&S was quite smooth even though it is a much more modern sax than the old '31. On THAT basis I assumed the B&S was very Selmerish, you know, a copy of a MKVI or SA80. That notion was shattered when I played a friends' venerable MKVI. VERY different feeling horn. The VI felt weak and stuffy, which was surprising. But HE plays it beautifully!

Lastly, it takes some real playing time to get the most out of a particular sax. I don't know if someone who plays many horns for breif periods in the course of servicing them can give us much more than entertaining and well crafted anecdotes.
 

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Ken Janak said:
Based on my limited testing at least, my CJS sounds much different than the six YTS 23 horns I've played. Maybe the CJS sounds different compared to the B&S 2001 as well, although I understand they're supposed to be somewhat similar.

My comment about riling the B&S crowd was said a bit "tongue in cheek", although it didn't come across that way on the forum. I'll have to learn to use the "smilies" to help clarify.

Mr. Howard, have you had a chance to play the B&S Chicago Jazz Series or Guardala horns? Impressions?
I always find it worthwhile to correct such assumptions on the basis that not doing so eventually leads to intertia and hearsay taking over. What starts off as a tongue-in-cheek comment can quite easily take on the mantle of fact - hence my finding it necessary to preface the spoof article on Cryogenics and Reeds with a note to indicate that the article had little or no basis in truth. You'd be surprised what people will believe...you'd be even more suprised what they assume ( my dad's a Chinaman, for example...??! ).

As it happens, the reviews are built over a period of time and subject to ammendment. It's a tricky business but I believe I'm fortunate in that whilst I might have my personal preferences for a horn it's part of my job to get the very best out of each and every example that turns up on the workbench - and it's that philosophy I use when compiling the reviews.
I could make it easier on myself and dispense with the playability section...but then I'd be inundated with emails asking me how such-and-such a horn plays. You just can't win!

I haven't yet seen the horns you mention..though I do have an early B&S tenor tucked away under the bench...might dig it out one day and see what it's made of.

Regards,
 

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Canadiain said:
LOL!

You dont happen to recall the serial number range of the B&S you looked at?
I had a look today...no note of the serial number..and I can't see it on any of the photos.
Might have a record of it in my email archive....somewhere!

Regards,
 

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58tenor said:
Mr. Howard's reviews are fun to read but such opinions should not be the basis for buying a horn or rejecting one. There is great subjectivity with musical instruments and every one is a bit different.


Lastly, it takes some real playing time to get the most out of a particular sax. I don't know if someone who plays many horns for breif periods in the course of servicing them can give us much more than entertaining and well crafted anecdotes.
As far as the first paragraph above is concerned, I concur.

Regarding the second paragraph..... well, in the "brief period" ( 5 minutes) in which Stephen Howard played my tenor I was convinced he knows what he's doing. If you can pick up an unfamiliar horn and mouthpiece/reed combo and immediately make it sound that good then I think you deserve some respect. I understand that it's difficult to judge someone's knowledge/integrity/ability from afar on the basis of a website, but with first hand experience of Stephen I do believe he is absolutely straight with everything he writes.
 

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Stephen Howard said:
I had a look today...no note of the serial number..and I can't see it on any of the photos.
Might have a record of it in my email archive....somewhere!

Regards,
No matter, If you were closer I'd love you to take a look at mine, but the Atlantic makes it a bit inconvenient:)

Keep up the good work, I find your reviews excellent, very well thought out and interesting to read. My suspicion is that in this case at least, the horn you had was certainly a little different to most of the B&S 2001s out there as it was missing certain features, but, hey, you can only review what you have in front of you.

Thanks for taking the time out to reply to this thread.
 

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Canadiain said:
Thanks for taking the time out to reply to this thread.
I second that. For my part, I appreciate the effort Mr. Howard has made to publish his reviews on his website. I also appreciate his willingness to participate in this dialogue.
 

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I had an early B&S 2001, 004xx. There is no comparison between that horn and my CJS 14xxx. There was so much about the horn that was different from the CJS. I sold the 2001. My understanding is that the later B&S 2001 horns were quite improved and more similar to the CJS, which is almost identical to the Medusa. The early one that I had may have been built around 1993-4. The CJS was built around 2004, at least 10 years later.

I am guessing that S. Howard got hold of a very early 2001. That would account for the disparity in quality that he noted between the late alto and the tenor that he review. I have a CJS alto also. If anything, the tenor may be better built.
 

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Yes, it sounds like there are some differences between the older B&S 2001 models and the newer B&S models(CJS, Guardala,Medussa).

PTH, how would you describe the sound & response of your CJS alto? I guess I've read more about the tenors because I bought one, but I've been tempted by the altos, especially at some of the prices they were selling at.

KJ
 
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