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Why do people have back-up horns? I'm not the most experienced player, so I've never felt the need to get a second of the same type of horn. I was wondering why a person would get 2 Tenors or Altos or what have you. (I'm not talking collectors, however, that's a different animal.) When do you use your backup? How did you convince your wife you NEEDED 2 of the exact same multi-thousand dollar thing?
 

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Whether or not you gig regularly is a key consideration. The last time I had to use a back-up horn was when I attempted to reseat a pad before I left for a gig and ended up tearing the pad (think I burned it too). No problem. Just grabbed my other tenor. I think it's a must if you take paying gigs and aren't really talented in the area of instrumental repair.
 

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A lot of players won't keep a professional horn as a backup, although some will. I see a lot of pros playing on things like Yamaha 23's and horns of those sorts.

1. If you're playing in a dive, you don't want to bring a $3000+ horn with you.

2. If you end up needing serious repairs, and play real gigs that pay money, and a lot of them, you always need a working horn and sometimes it's better to have one you're familiar with than a POS store rental.

3. GAS (gear-acquisition syndrome) attacks many an advancing, or advanced, or young, or any saxophone player and we can't help ourselves.
 

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...and I've known players who take a different horn if they're travelling to non-critical playing situations and leave their more expensive and/or rare horn at home.
 

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I have my "A" horn and I have a "B" horn that I use outdoors in case of rain, high humidity, condensation forming on the outside of the horn due to temp change etc. and as Grumps and the above poster mentioned it good to have a reliable back up "just in case".
 

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Backup is what the name implies. If you can't work without it, and you need to work, you need backups for the essential gear. Everything breaks sometime. Things get stolen. Damaged.

Check your sound man's truck. If he's a pro, there's backup for everything.
 

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Al Stevens said:
Check your sound man's truck. If he's a pro, there's backup for everything.
including the backup. ;)

it's also nice if you do recording, as different horns can give you differnt sounds.
 

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Al Stevens said:
Check your sound man's truck. If he's a pro, there's backup for everything.
I checked. All I saw was a cell phone with a panic button on it. :cool:
 

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I have to say I've been playing out for 20 years and I've never owned a backup. If I have a problem with a spring breaking or a pad falling out a rubberband and some elmers glue will fix it. During the next week sometime I'm at a techs house getting it fixed. I've never had a problem. I play a pretty good condition SBA and I've played in some pretty bad places. I just am very careful. If the drunk crowd gets too close I back away. If I can't I turn my back to them so if they fall they won't hit my horn. If it's really bad I won't use my stand but just keep it around my neck. During a break I'll pack it up and put it in a corner...... I don't think you really need a back up horn but I can see why it would nice to tell myself I do. My wife would never go for it though. She's pretty smart!:)
 

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rs1sensen said:
If you're playing in a dive, you don't want to bring a $3000+ horn with you.
I totally understand why some folks wouldn't want to take their expensive horn into a dive, but I still do it all the time. I've learned to be very careful about where I leave it when it's not in my hands. Safest thing to do is put it in the case, but then you better keep your eye on it because it's easy for it to "walk away." I generally leave it on a stand behind the drum kit.

The funny thing is, my $3000 + MKVI looks like an old beater horn to the average person. OTOH, my silverplated Buescher looks like a very expensive horn. Which it is, but not as expensive as the VI, of course.

I like having 2 tenors (actually I have 3, which I'll agree is excessive) so I can always be sure of having a good horn to play, if one has to go into the shop. Secondly, I like having 2 different, but equally great, horns to play according to whim. It's a bit of an indulgence, but life is short!
 

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Neff.... I hope your wife isn't smart enough to realise that you can only play one mouthpiece at a time! Other wise, from what Ive seen of your website, I recon you'd be in big trouble!!! ;)
 

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Nefertiti said:
I have to say I've been playing out for 20 years and I've never owned a backup. If I have a problem with a spring breaking or a pad falling out a rubberband and some elmers glue will fix it. During the next week sometime I'm at a techs house getting it fixed. I've never had a problem. I play a pretty good condition SBA and I've played in some pretty bad places. I just am very careful. If the drunk crowd gets too close I back away. If I can't I turn my back to them so if they fall they won't hit my horn. If it's really bad I won't use my stand but just keep it around my neck. During a break I'll pack it up and put it in a corner...... I don't think you really need a back up horn but I can see why it would nice to tell myself I do. My wife would never go for it though. She's pretty smart!:)
You, my friend, have just cursed yourself.
Now that you have made this statement, the powers that control Murphy's law have their sights aimed upon your sax.

I have a Conn 50M (that my son uses) as a backup alto.
That horn goes to outdoor jobs when the weather is instrument unfriendly.
I also keep a handful of emergency tools and parts with me.
You never know what will happen.
 

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Ferret said:
Why do people have back-up horns? I'm not the most experienced player, so I've never felt the need to get a second of the same type of horn. I was wondering why a person would get 2 Tenors or Altos or what have you. (I'm not talking collectors, however, that's a different animal.) When do you use your backup? How did you convince your wife you NEEDED 2 of the exact same multi-thousand dollar thing?
Reason for even a life-long amature to have a backup sax:

1. Son leaves sax in band hall. Calls at 6:00 pm on his way to concert 100 miles from the school. Band director with only band hall key is with son on bus.

2. Son plays in 8th-grade football game and forgets he has to play and march for the 9th-grade game. Sax is again locked in band hall. Band director with only key is at game.

3. Son bends a key right before performance.

4. Main sax is in the shop for repair or adjustment.

5. Old sax-playing friend arives and wants to jam with you.

6. Performing in environment where main sax could damaged or stolen.

7. Main sax is locked in wife's car trunk at work.

8. Main sax is locked at the church.

9. Main sax in my office at work 55 miles away.

10. Daughter cleans up house and main sax is no place to be found.

11. Backup sax gives me something to do instead of exploding while daughter finds main sax.
 

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Ferret said:
How did you convince your wife you NEEDED 2 of the exact same multi-thousand dollar thing?
New wives are easy to find.
 

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Prodigal Son and Forum Contributor 2008
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Seriously, I do have back-ups for all my horns, but I've not yet needed one as a back-up. Emilio keeps my tenors in check, and Danny put the alto together just fine. If one goes bad on a Saturday night gig, it's in Emilio's hands on Monday morning.

These days, if my tenor goes weird, I'll pick up my alto. And vice versa. I play the songs on both horns just to mess the guys up anyways, They wouldn't even notice.

I now have a cheapo alto and soprano if I ever get that urge to smash, but I haven't played one of those gigs in a while.
 

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There are other reasons, too. I have a beat-up old vi that is my main tenor. But it's ugly. When I have a dressy gig, tuxedos and all that, I take my ref 54 LE, which is really pretty with its honey-gold lacquer. I'd rather play the vi—it's like an old shoe—but sometimes you go for the show.

Plus each horn is here for when the other is in the shop. I have my horns regularly adjusted and regulated, which sometimes takes time if the tech is having a busy week.

I do not, however, have backups for my alto, sop, or bari. And there's a c-mel on its way here just for grins. I won't get a backup for it either.
 

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I usually throw my cheap (it actually plays pretty good) soprano in the trunk just in case something were to happened to my tenor during the gig.
 
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