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I tried my teachers SBA tenor years ago and loved it. I Wish it never left my hands. So, I'm all for a successful replication of it.
 

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We've done the "Why can't Selmer get it back?" thread - the simple answer is that Selmer has made a different choice, taken a different path.

The Mk VI has been the basis of so many clones and copies - that, too, is beyond the realm of this discussion.
Agreed.

The quest here is to tease out whether the "vibe" of the Balanced Action (BA) and Super Balanced Action (SBA) tenors can be captured and retained while making improvements in mechanism and intonation. Or, were the very idiosyncracies in intonation responsible for creating the core sound of those classic horns?
Isn't this what the Mark VI was? I'm not sure you can change much without loosing the way the horn sounds and responds at least to the player. 99% of the folks listening can't tell the difference between an alto and tenor much less a particular horn model so it will come down to how it feels to the player.

I played a Balanced Action tenor for 20+ years before that horn was so worn and I was so tired of fighting its bell key and palm key issues that I moved on. That took me on a 15 year path through a Serie III, Reference 36, and finally two Borgani Jubilees.

I am excited to see Rich Maraday of Viking Instruments taking up the cause to create a horn that is rooted in the tradition of the earlier horns - there are enough American-vintage and Mk VI-inspired horns to go 'round for everybody else.
I think this is great though I wonder if he wouldn't be better off spending more time marketing the low Bb bari he has in the works. The problem with the market right now is there are a zillion different horns coming out of Asia with everyone making all sorts of claims. Differentiating yourself enough to get above the "noise" won't be easy. One of the few things that isn't easy to come by is a good low Bb bari with modern keywork at a reasonable price. Yes, it's a niche market but at least one that isn't packed with numerous alternatives like the alto/tenor marketplace.

So what is it about the BA and SBA that make them sound so good? Certainly the first approximation comes from the bore geometry and tone hole placement. Can "corrections" be made and still maintain the Good Stuff? I think so - the Reference 36 was a nod in the right direction (to me, the Ref 54 is just another modern horn).
Nothing really that's the problem. There's no metric except your belief that SBAs sound so good - it's not like measuring gas mileage, horsepower, bandwidth, screen resolution, etc... Your corrections may be my "good stuff" so who decides what's kept and what get's "fixed"?

I don't see any reason this couldn't be done in a physical sense but economically there are many challenges. I think Rich's biggest problem will be convincing folks this horn is better than what they already have. While you good Dr. are very open minded my experience from reading posts here at SOTW is that the demographic that includes the folks who really like the BAs and SBAs is also largely made up of folks who don't believe anyone knows how to make a sax but Selmer. So even if this horn could be produced by someone else how many folks will buy it?
 

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I think someone could improve the saxophone and that it will evolve like all mechanical things seem to. But analogies to old cars or any older mechanical interactive objects are informative since the sensation and experience from a ride in an old triumph tr3 is wonderful and never to be duplicated, but i wouldn't want to drive it in traffic to work every day if I lived in SoCal. The horn is a tool. If you perceive what you want it to do for you, the best horn (and mouthpiece, reed lig) will be the one that makes that perception happen the easiest. That said, the ride in the TR3 will never quite be duplicated. One great thing about life is that every human interaction is so complicated and involves so many variables, that it is eventually beautifully subjective.
 

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"I don't see any reason this couldn't be done in a physical sense but economically there are many challenges. I think Rich's biggest problem will be convincing folks this horn is better than what they already have. While you good Dr. are very open minded my experience from reading posts here at SOTW is that the demographic that includes the folks who really like the BAs and SBAs is also largely made up of folks who don't believe anyone knows how to make a sax but Selmer. So even if
this horn could be produced by someone else how many folks will buy it?"

And some of those same folks believe even Selmer cannot make a horn to measure up to the iconic models.
 

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Good point. I play on a 70's(?) Link STM. I tried out a Warburton refaced modern Link and that part was very true. The modern Link had a quarter pound more material on it, which seemed to me to kill the sound
That shouldn't have any influence at all. It probably sounded worse but the amount of material isn't going to magically absorb sound waves.
 

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That shouldn't have any influence at all. It probably sounded worse but the amount of material isn't going to magically absorb sound waves.
Why not? My old link has a buzzy sound, if I strap on a leather lig, it deadens some of the vibrations and hence the sound. Adding more material changes the vibrating characteristics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibration look for lower case m for mass, it's all over the place..
 

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I've always thought that the old horns were from the analog age and are warmer and fuzzier in sound like the tube amps of the past. the same comments that people make about horns are made about analog vs. digital sound replication. Digital= serile, sharp, edgy, brighter, more precise ect ect. Analog = warm, fuzzy, rich, deep, ect ect. Maybe turning back the clock and making an old sounding horn is impossible because of the perception that the player now brings to the horn. If you want the old horn sound, feel and response you have to get an old horn. And then you can put your "new super blaster 5000 wedge-o-matic tone enhancer" mouthpiece on the old horn and sound pretty much the same as you would on any other horn with that mouthpiece.
 

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Why not? My old link has a buzzy sound, if I strap on a leather lig, it deadens some of the vibrations and hence the sound. Adding more material changes the vibrating characteristics

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vibration look for lower case m for mass, it's all over the place..
Yes that's because leather is soft and absorbs vibrations directly from the reed. Your mouthpiece isn't vibrating when playing a note.
 

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Yes that's because leather is soft and absorbs vibrations directly from the reed. Your mouthpiece isn't vibrating when playing a note.
yes it is. I've put my hand on it before, the mpc definitely vibrates. Two bodies in contact. One vibrates, so does the other. It would defy physics if it didn't. People may make the "assumption" that the amount of vibration is negligible, but in my case, that would be a bad assumption because it's clearly not negligible and in the case of the subtleties discussed in this thread, it's a detail that can't be assumed away.
 

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yes it is. I've put my hand on it before, the mpc definitely vibrates. Two bodies in contact. One vibrates, so does the other. It would defy physics if it didn't. People may make the "assumption" that the amount of vibration is negligible, but in my case, that would be a bad assumption because it's clearly not negligible and in the case of the subtleties discussed in this thread, it's a detail that can't be assumed away.
I used to play a stainless Berg Larsen that vibrated so badly I sold it. I now play on a bronze Sakshama Guardala and I don't fell any of this buzzing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Horn technology peaked a good 50 years ago. Taking good notes of what worked might be a better path forward than trying to independently recreate the wheel. The things that needed tweaking are well known by the technicians that have worked on the old horns. Selmer moved on by choice - regardless of their motivation.

A new BA/SBA need not be any more expensive than any Mk VI clone - with the exception that it will need some tooling changes. The materials and technology are already done, mature.
Isn't this what the Mark VI was? I'm not sure you can change much without loosing the way the horn sounds and responds at least to the player.
No. The Mk VI was not an improved BA/SBA - the Mk VI was a new design, as was the VII, SA80, II, III... ad nauseum. Selmer doesn't want to retain any of the old horns - they are trying to move the horn forward (despite others wanting to hold on to the old).

The key to the tone is the bore geometry - you may lay whatever mechanism on top that you like and it will sound much the same.
 

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No. The Mk VI was not an improved BA/SBA - the Mk VI was a new design, as was the VII, SA80, II, III... ad nauseum. Selmer doesn't want to retain any of the old horns - they are trying to move the horn forward (despite others wanting to hold on to the old).

The key to the tone is the bore geometry - you may lay whatever mechanism on top that you like and it will sound much the same.
And, as keith said, none are very open minded in hearing anything else. even if people want to discuss other things, some here jump in and tell tehm how dumb they are.

the geometry argument is compelling but i have yet to see any of you be able to mathmatically quantify what difference some variations make.
 

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Are there any excellent players who can't take a superb sax and after a number of months make it sound the same as a Mark VI to a group of listeners?

It might not feel the same to the player and it might not even sound exactly the same to the player, but out front, is anyone really going to tell the difference?
 

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Are there any excellent players who can't take a superb sax and after a number of months make it sound the same as a Mark VI to a group of listeners?

It might not feel the same to the player and it might not even sound exactly the same to the player, but out front, is anyone really going to tell the difference?
Amen!
 

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Really depends on who is listening. Yeah you are going to sound like yourself, but many times subtle equipment changes make all the difference. If that wasn't the case would we have numerous reed types and strengths?
 

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yes it is. I've put my hand on it before, the mpc definitely vibrates. Two bodies in contact. One vibrates, so does the other. It would defy physics if it didn't. People may make the "assumption" that the amount of vibration is negligible, but in my case, that would be a bad assumption because it's clearly not negligible and in the case of the subtleties discussed in this thread, it's a detail that can't be assumed away.
But you still can't compare something that influences the reed(the part that creates the sound) to a mouthpiece which vibration is indirect and not directly responsible for creating your sound. It's like comparing the effect of dampening(correct English?) a guitar string comparing to something that influences the neck of the guitar. It's just not comparable.

Maybe you can try this. Play a B, just a normal B without octave. Then play the be while holding the mouthpiece with your right hand. Does it affect your tone?
 

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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
the geometry argument is compelling but i have yet to see any of you be able to mathmatically quantify what difference some variations make.
What would make you happy re. "mathematically quantify"?

Ever switch necks between horns? What do you think makes the difference in sound?
 
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