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I had the opportunity to play a B&S Blue Lable tenor and was not impressed at all. It felt good and had very hight quality keyork, but one of the most bland fairly dead tenor saxophones I've ever played. I've never had the opportunity to play a 2001 Series model or similar stencil.

Are the 2001 tenors considerably different? Better? Based on my experience with the Blue Label, I should hope they are.
 

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well, then you were not in luck. I have had several B&S blue label, all rather impressive soundwise. Maybe not a horn that I would play classical music with (I don’t anyway).

The blue label hasn’t got the greatest keywork compared to more modern horns but it surely has a great voice.

The more modern B&S have very different keywork and they are equally powerful.
 

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... Are the 2001 tenors considerably different? Better? Based on my experience with the Blue Label, I should hope they are.
yes, the 2001/Medusa/Guardala is quite a bit different from a blue label. It’s a major redesign. Imagine the difference between a Yamaha student model and a Yamaha 62 or 82. That’ll give you an idea of the amount of difference. Also keep in mind that the blue labels themselves changed over the years with the newer ones being superior to the older ones.
 

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I had the opportunity to play a B&S Blue Lable tenor and was not impressed at all. It felt good and had very hight quality keyork, but one of the most bland fairly dead tenor saxophones I've ever played. I've never had the opportunity to play a 2001 Series model or similar stencil.

Are the 2001 tenors considerably different? Better? Based on my experience with the Blue Label, I should hope they are.
You must've been quite unlucky. My B&S was pretty amazing. Not bland at all; not even a little bit, but I will say that it was carrying a premium overhaul.
 

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I had the opportunity to play a B&S Blue Lable tenor and was not impressed at all. It felt good and had very hight quality keyork, but one of the most bland fairly dead tenor saxophones I've ever played. I've never had the opportunity to play a 2001 Series model or similar stencil.

Are the 2001 tenors considerably different? Better? Based on my experience with the Blue Label, I should hope they are.
You played a horn in need of some serious work! Most likely full of leaks or had been overhauled with pads that were too thick. Definitely not dead horns! The two Blue Label tenors I’ve owned were very resonant and ballsy! They could whisper down to Bb effortlessly or roar. I sold mine in favor of a late Medusa era 2001 that shares the core tone but better ergos. Try to play another example before passing judgement.
 

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You played a horn in need of some serious work! Most likely full of leaks or had been overhauled with pads that were too thick. Definitely not dead horns! The two Blue Label tenors I’ve owned were very resonant and ballsy! They could whisper down to Bb effortlessly or roar. I sold mine in favor of a late Medusa era 2001 that shares the core tone but better ergos. Try to play another example before passing judgement.
Agreed ! big sound very Conn like.
 

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I just bought a silver Blue Label. Should arrive in a few days; it was here in the US. I figured, a good playing vintage tenor under 1,000 bucks, why not just buy it and see what's what; so many player reviews of it, pro and con. I can assess whether it's the right one for my purpose and, if not, I can always off-load it here to some monied collector at an enormous profit.

Stephen Howard, the world-famous technician, reviewer, and lover of everything labeled YTS-23, picked one apart for all its faults a few years ago and then said it was on a par with Yanagisawa and Yamaha; talk about dichotomy.

In any event, since I really don't have a dog in this hunt, I'll post my impressions here. I've still got 5 or 6 varied tenor mouthpieces to try it with. Everyone posting thus far "had" one or tried one. Seems no one kept one; that's pretty telling, and does lower my expectations.
 

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“...if not, I can always off-load it here to some monied collector at an enormous profit.”

Really, never found those guys when I sold mine. If you can play it a while, flip it and not lose money, you’re doing well.
 

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I sold my YTS-52 here in a day at a fair price; and the member who bought it likes it so much I see it's for sale now at $1,000 more. So, no, I don't have a storied flipping experience.
 

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Apparently the trick is to not disclose the needs overhaul part, and sell it on Facebook. You can also claim its a factory relac even though you have no proof whatsoever.
 

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I sold my YTS-52 here in a day at a fair price; and the member who bought it likes it so much I see it's for sale now at $1,000 more. So, no, I don't have a storied flipping experience.
Didn’t mean to imply you were a flipper looking to make a quick buck. I have a habit of putting a lot of money in horns, then later deciding to sell them. Not the best plan if you’d like to be whole when you sell a horn.
 

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… Stephen Howard, the world-famous technician, reviewer, and lover of everything labeled YTS-23, picked one apart for all its faults a few years ago and then said it was on a par with Yanagisawa and Yamaha; talk about dichotomy.…
We've discussed his reviews of B&S here before. Some of the B&S saxes he reviewed were very early prototypes. so, not so relevant. I have much respect Mr Howard's work and knowledge. He's taught us a lot and his book is a great reference. But when he gets on the subject of tone or intonation, he's just like most sax players with his own preferences and biases.
 

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I just bought a silver Blue Label. Should arrive in a few days; it was here in the US. I figured, a good playing vintage tenor under 1,000 bucks, why not just buy it and see what's what; so many player reviews of it, pro and con. I can assess whether it's the right one for my purpose and, if not, I can always off-load it here to some monied collector at an enormous profit.

Stephen Howard, the world-famous technician, reviewer, and lover of everything labeled YTS-23, picked one apart for all its faults a few years ago and then said it was on a par with Yanagisawa and Yamaha; talk about dichotomy.

In any event, since I really don't have a dog in this hunt, I'll post my impressions here. I've still got 5 or 6 varied tenor mouthpieces to try it with. Everyone posting thus far "had" one or tried one. Seems no one kept one; that's pretty telling, and does lower my expectations.
I think some of us that like B&S have found bargains in the past on more modern horns 2001 platform. I think they were very undervalued for a while. I snatched up several.
 

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OK. I don't mean to be presumptuous, and know that one person's perspective is just that. Anyway, my first impression when inspecting the horn and while giving it a leak light test was that it is a very solidly built tenor.

I mean, even its neck outweighs those of the other tenors I have by at least half! So forget pull-down potential. And I expected what a reviewer called "clunky" action. No way. Everything worked very smoothly. The key layout is close; almost too close. With the left hand position that I am used to, the G# key lies 1/2 way under my ring finger. I had to re-sling the horn (using the top ring of the three; nice feature, the triple-ring) and tilt my hand a bit so I wasn't landing on C#-B. It's the same with the right hand C-Eb. This is a tenor with which a young player with small hands would have no trouble fingering. So, solid and durable (it's over 30 years old now), and it is comfortable to play, once accustomed to the left-hand position.

Tone is very broad and deep at the low end, and this one plays in very good relative pitch. I test simply using the Bb - E notes in three octaves, using my wife's grand piano as a gauge and not doing a lot of lip and jaw adjusting. I found the mid-range lacking in power at first; so much so that I gave it another leak check. No leaks. I narrowed the "problem" down to just the middle C; I suspect it needs to have two cups raised to vent that note better. It's stuffy, like the common problem with middle D. This will be easily corrected.

Altissimo was clear and loud; high notes always seem too clear and loud to me, though. I nearly never shriek out on tenor, tending toward slow ballad playing. This horn has a beautiful ballad voice using a Meyer 6M, and a crisp, defined sound with a Vandoren T5 and metal Meyer 5J. I played using a relatively soft Rico Royal 2.5 reed and heard no reason to change.

After 1/2 hour I broke out a couple of my Taiwan tenors (Cannonball and Unison) and a 1963 Conn 10M to compare sound. They all blew this B & S away as to volume. I mean, it was not even close. Makes little sense, except I do think the tone holes are not venting enough. I'm going to take it to my trusted tech and discuss the middle C issue and whether everything should be raised just a tad. I'm not a technician, and that's all I can think that would make this tenor so much quieter.

All told, this horn does suit my primary purpose, which was to get an easy-playing silver vintage tenor saxophone for a student who wants to upgrade to a better horn than her Jupiter 600-something and change finish to something more distinctive. (I suspect a polishing fetish.) And to not break the bank; at under $1,000, even after the cost of regulation, this would be a good horn for her to play for a few years. I wonder, though, about the absence of engraving. It's pretty plain-looking and the silver finish is more "nickel-like" than bright silver.

Oh, well; it will be her choice. I've had my fun and the horn answered my questions about this model. I can see why it's a popular horn in Europe where they're widely available and, as far as I know, still bargain priced. I may hunt for a B & S 2001 sometime.
 

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I know you have had a lot of horns extradarcafe. Therefor you review has weight and is appreciated. I have always wondered about the blue label B&S tenor.

My Guardala, Chicago Jazz and 2001 series are all based on the same horn. I find them to be very Mkvi like. In comparison to the Mkvi tenors I have owned, they have just a little more power.

I know that you are familiar with the Eastman 640. The Eastman had a little more volume than my B&S horns. Not at all surprising that your Cannonball does as well. So did mine.

I do a lot of head to head comparisons. If I start playing a horn that is not as bold like my Yani 992 and then pick up the B&S, the Yani seems weak. However if I just play the Yani, I start to explore the horns capabilities. I think man this is a great horn.
 

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I've been selling off my instruments, hoping to quit the play test hobby and devote more time to drooling and staring off into space. A friend asked me a week or so ago how many instruments I own now and I answered "around 40." An actual count out of curiosity confirmed that lucky guess; and 22 are saxophones. Here I am buying another; it's truly a sickness.

As a side note, I see there are two of these that look just like mine, also newly re-padded and looking undamaged, on eBay now at around $900 shipped. I don't do eBay, neither buying nor selling. But for those who do, there they are.

I'll post whether this horn's volume issue can be easily corrected, probably within a few days.
 

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... My Guardala, Chicago Jazz and 2001 series are all... very Mkvi like. In comparison to the Mkvi tenors I have owned, they have just a little more power.
I agree with your findings with both alto and tenor sax.
 

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I pushed a padsaver into my Blue Label and stuck to it was a small piece of cellophane under 2 inches square. Played the horn and there is no longer any problem with the middle C, and the volume of the horn has improved greatly. Where that thing was inside the sax I have no idea, but it must have been interfering with airflow or half covering some tone hole.

And the student wanted a silver sax with gold keywork, so she bought a Jupiter Artist model. Look for this one in the Marketplace.
 

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so it was a great horn after all....
 

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And the student wanted a silver sax with gold keywork, so she bought a Jupiter Artist model. Look for this one in the Marketplace.
Funny how that works! We once bought a condo with the understanding that a friend’s daughter would rent it for two years in graduate school. She decided, nah found a place for a few dollars less and we were like “damn that didn’t go like we thought!” Luckily we had a happy ending when our renter bailed a few months early, giving us a chance to sell it before the bottom fell out in 2009! Hopefully you find a great home for your Blue Label!
 
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