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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So - after creating WW3 with a different thread - and talking to some good friends who are experts in sopranos, and researching many other factors - I have a Curved Chineese Soprano in my possession. It is marked with the brand name "Hunter".

In the end I want to overhaul this sop to get a better feel about what is going on here - however I will start with the initial review (as I got the horn an hour and a half ago)

Google - 6434L Soprano Saxophone and You will see the one I got. It appears that there are some with bell keys on the normal side - and ones where the bell keys are both on the opp. side (ala Conn 6M) Mine is the latter (ala 6M).

Solid Feel - Great Sound - VERY good intonation - initial response - I am blown away. SOme tweeking in the key work I would like to work on and the LH thumb rest is loose - but these are minor in the grand scheme of things .

I will post pics and more comments as they become available and / or discovered

Charlie
 

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Hey Charlie,
Since you are a tech, can you elaborate on key hardness? Once you take the horn down for the rebuild, let us know about tone hole condition too if possible. I'm sure the pads are ultra cheap with 2 drops of hot glue holding them in. A repad with good pads and proper shellac will really help the feel of the horn.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' bit of clarinet
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I googled "6434L Soprano Saxophone" and came up with four different sopranos; some with bell keys on right, some on left. Please give us an exact web link. When you say the intonation is very good what are you comparing it to; Other curved sopranos or sopranos in general? I'm looking forward to your review.
 

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I am really looking forward to seeing what Charlie finds. My Cecilio that I acquired from Bruce Bailey has been outstanding, and I am as please with it as any sax I have ever bought. I have a YouTube channel you can listen to it if anyone wishes.
I look forward to seeing what Charlie determines. (I am making the assumption that Hunter and Cecilio are close if not the same ...)
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
While mine is not listed as a DC Pro - it appears to be most similar to this one here - but I purchased it directly from hunter (through the store I work at)
http://www.dominicsmusic.com/productpages/prod_1072.html

Intonation is pretty good when compared to a tuner

Well - I will let your ears be part of this first part - 2 clips - (Sop Duet with Trombone (without the trombone) in the Song Cold Feet from the musical Drowsy Chaperone - which I will be playing in a couple months)

Hunter Curved Soprano http://www.graysax.com/hunter.mp3
Selmer S80 Series 2 Straight Sop http://www.graysax.com/s80II.mp3

Both played with a unaltered Selmer S80 MPC - Facing D with a Rico Jazz Select 3 Medium Unfiled reed

Recorded with my Zoom H4N Sitting on the music Stand
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
saxophone, flutes and lil' bit of clarinet
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Wow, that was quick! Thanks for posting. The intonation sounds good on both horns (as do you). If you get a spare minute, please check the low notes on your tuner. These notes seem to be most problematic on curved sopranos. E down to Bb.
 

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If you get a spare minute, please check the low notes on your tuner. These notes seem to be most problematic on curved sopranos. E down to Bb.
Hey Charlie- I can hear that S80 inhibiting those low notes. All other things being equal, it's the piece that either chokes off the air column down low or allows the column's speed to sag, either one bringing on intonation issues with curvies.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey Charlie- I can hear that S80 inhibiting those low notes. All other things being equal, it's the piece that either chokes off the air column down low or allows the column's speed to sag, either one bringing on intonation issues with curvies.
Got ya - I usually use a super-session - But for the sake of the evaluation I was just going to use a generic S80.

Maybe I will re do with that different mpc as well.

Once I got a bit more friendly with this horn - my next call was going to be to you to talk MPC's.

Also to the SOTW Universe ..... General Disclaimer ...... I am no monster Soprano player - Beyond test playing horns in the shop - I just pick one up a few times a year when I have to play a show that has it written into it's book.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well - after a few more days of playing it and inviting QWERTY (from SOTW) over to play it, I have discovered a few more things.

There is a bit more core to the sound of the Series 2 Selmer than the Hunter, however the amount of difference is not great. As far as intonation, there is a bit more flexibility to the Hunter which means the player has to be careful to listen while they play because it can wander (more so then the Series 2). The bottom end is a bit flat but can be corrected by venting with teh low Eb or C#. I am wondering what can be done with pad heights (we will soon find out).

This flexibility in pitch and the little bit less to the core of the sound really make this little curvie play like an old conn curvie except with a much more modern Keywork.

Now for the mechanical stuff that I kind of figured I would find in a Chineese Soprano...... I took a strong magnet to a couple of the pivot screws and realized that they didn't have a strong reaction (meaning metal quality was poor). Also the glue used for Regulation corks doesn't hold well and flakes right off.

Bottom line (for being right out of the box) ..... Nice soprano for the money. If you have some chops and some time to sit with a tuner and learn what it's intonation tendency is, you can have a very fine, nice sounding soprano for not alot of money that in the hands of a professional can be used on professional gigs.

Now ...... the next step.

What I would like to do .....
The springs in the horn actually look pretty nice so I may keep them.
Pads I would like to replace with Black Saxgourmet Pads.
I want to replace all regulation corks with synthetic material
The horn uses a plastic type bumper instead of felt. That will get fixed.
I want to replace the cheap pivot screws.
I will level the tone holes - and will report just how good or bad they were before I started.
There are one or 2 keys that have an unacceptable amount of play in them for a pro level horn. That will get fixed
I am sure more items will show themselves as I dig into it.

In the end - the goal is to have a solid made soprano. I think this soprano has potential.

Charlie
 

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Thanks, Charlie, this is tremendously helpful. I'm in the market for a curved soprano but my budget is limited. I'm looking at a lot of horns but have wondered about some of the mainland China saxes. Evidently some of them are pretty decent though they may need some work. Hope you'll keep us posted on how this project goes. And again, thanks. I so appreciate men like yourself who share their expertise with the rest of us.
Peace.
 

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Well - after a few more days of playing it and inviting QWERTY (from SOTW) over to play it, I have discovered a few more things.

The bottom end is a bit flat but can be corrected by venting with teh low Eb or C#. I am wondering what can be done with pad heights (we will soon find out).

This flexibility in pitch and the little bit less to the core of the sound really make this little curvie play like an old conn curvie except with a much more modern Keywork.
Great take on this horn, Charlie. Remember that, like a Conn, this things needs a fast column and a bit wider column too, and that S80 probably doesn't give that up easily. That could contribute to the flat bottom.

The Ser II is about as opposite as you can get- tighter bore, a firmer resistance. It is French, after all.

I'm interested in what happens after you've done a full set-up.

Thanks
 

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Remember that the "pearls" on these are usually plastic so heating pads can be an iffy situation due to burning and melting.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Remember that the "pearls" on these are usually plastic so heating pads can be an iffy situation due to burning and melting.
Oh yes - As I was typing yesterday I thought there was another mod I wanted to make - I wanted to replace those awful plastic pearls with abalone ..... Thanks Bruce
 

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I've replaced all the plastic "pearls" on my Chinese made sop and nino - feels and looks much better now. Why they don't use real pearl in the factory I can't imagine, they can't be saving much more than a few $s by using the plastic ones.
 

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Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've replaced all the plastic "pearls" on my Chinese made sop and nino - feels and looks much better now. Why they don't use real pearl in the factory I can't imagine, they can't be saving much more than a few $s by using the plastic ones.
Buy over 100 at Music Medic and they are like $2 each. I am sure you can buy 500 plastic ones for $2 for the lot
 

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even though made of plastic they are not easy to buy these " Mother of toilet seat " pearl touches , especially in the right size, let alone replacing them properly.....
 

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finding the pearls the right size can be a problem. My sax tech filed some down by hand!...but he seemed to do it easily enough. He used Selmer ovals for the oval keys (although at least one of them needed filing down to fit too)..again it's amazing they don't come in standard sizes...but the price of the pearls themselves wasn't very great (the exception being the large Selmer ovals which were £9.50 each!), I think all the others together were around that price!
 

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working with MOP can be hazardous too since the dust is considered a carcinogenic element , so, probably better stick to plastic unless taking precautions , there are very few standards in " Saxonia ", the size of the mouthpieces , necks, tenons, .........you name it is rarely comparable between one saxophone and another ......
 
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