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Hard one to explain. Play a Selmer and then play an old Conn, and you can hear the difference better than someone could explain it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
so on a selmer, can you get your own unique sound out of it?

i own an intermediate yamaha, and am looking to get a reference 54, and my instructor told me i should try to find my own sound, and i'm not sure if it haveing a focused sound affects it.
 

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Is your own sound a focused sound? The "own sound" comes more from the player than anything else. Someone with their "own sound" will sound very similar regardless of what instrument.
 

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JC: I agree with Martinman that the term "focused" is difficult to define. I also like "centered" to describe that tone, equally difficult to define. But I know it when I hear it. I equate those terms to a bullet - right on target, where a non-focused or non-centered sound is more like shotgun pellets - more scattered.

I'm not so sure that Selmers give any more focus or centered sound than say a vintage Buescher (of which I have five). Much of that is in the player and the mouthpiece set-up.

I have three Selmer altos (a Ref 54, a Cigar Cutter from '32, and a MKVI from the early '60's) and they sure don't sound alike. For me, the Ref 54 has a booming, round sound with lots of depth. I love the thing. I vary among my two later Bueschers and the Ref 54 when I play in public.

My Cigar Cutter has a lot of resonance but a more focused tone than the Ref 54. The MKVI kinda runs between the Cutter and the Ref 54 - it too is very nice.

And, before I bought my Ref 54, I played four or five different Ref 54's, all of which had that unique core sound that comes from the Ref 54. Others have not reported that sound, but I sure hear it. Maybe it was just me. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks guys, those are some helpful posts,
dave, how did you get to play 5 ref 54's?
the only store that stocks them is sam ash, and they only have one,
 

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Dave Dolson said:
JC: I agree with Martinman that the term "focused" is difficult to define. I also like "centered" to describe that tone, equally difficult to define. But I know it when I hear it. I equate those terms to a bullet - right on target, where a non-focused or non-centered sound is more like shotgun pellets - more scattered.

I'm not so sure that Selmers give any more focus or centered sound than say a vintage Buescher (of which I have five). Much of that is in the player and the mouthpiece set-up.

I have three Selmer altos (a Ref 54, a Cigar Cutter from '32, and a MKVI from the early '60's) and they sure don't sound alike. For me, the Ref 54 has a booming, round sound with lots of depth. I love the thing. I vary among my two later Bueschers and the Ref 54 when I play in public.

My Cigar Cutter has a lot of resonance but a more focused tone than the Ref 54. The MKVI kinda runs between the Cutter and the Ref 54 - it too is very nice.

And, before I bought my Ref 54, I played four or five different Ref 54's, all of which had that unique core sound that comes from the Ref 54. Others have not reported that sound, but I sure hear it. Maybe it was just me. DAVE
No. I hear it. I was playing afro blue in the house on the ref the yesterday, and the thing just blew my roommates (and me) away. The thing is booming, like you said, and just can create some amazing sounds and emotions with it's tonal depth and color. I haven't played another alto that even comes close to doing that.
 

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I think different horns have different sounds. If you want to here a focused sound, listen to kenny garret on you tube. That is the definition of focused.
 

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Dave Dolson said:
I have three Selmer altos (a Ref 54, a Cigar Cutter from '32, and a MKVI from the early '60's) and they sure don't sound alike. For me, the Ref 54 has a booming, round sound with lots of depth.
Have you been curious enough to swap necks between the Ref and the VI to see how much of the character follows the neck?
 

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I would say that some of the old guys.....Lester Young...had a pretty spread fat sound. I would describe it as wide, but I guess the term "spread" would fit here. As for the opposite....alot of the younger generation. I think if you listen to saxophonists through the years, there has been a gradual change towards a much more focused sound. There are still a few individuals that this doesn't apply to, but in general, I would say the "modern" sound of today is a much more focused sound.

I may be mistaken, but I also think individual phrasing and articulation effect whether a sound is "wide/spread" or "focused"
 

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It depends on how you define "spread" too. My HS band director says that David Sanborn has an extremely spread sound. Some people would probably disagree with this.
 

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You guys still make no sense to me haha. I've never grasped the term "Spread/Focused." I would think focused is something that like, can cut through a band like a laser while a spread sound would blend in easier? So would these two be related to bright or dark sound?

Am I on pot?

We need a sound description dictionary or something...:(
 

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I found one new Ref 54 alto at a local store in my community and gave it a toot. Wonderful sound. Then , I arranged to stop by Kessler's store in Las Vegas enroute to Montana by car. Dave Kessler had four Ref 54's (as I recall). I picked the best of those, but all of them had the same sound - all the others needed was some tweaking, which Kessler would do later. What amazed me was that this was the first time that I'd heard similar tone out similar models. Most of the time, each saxophone, even if all Yamaha 62's (or whatever) had different sounds.

Based on my experience, a friend of mine who posts on SOTW bought a Ref 54 sight-unseen from Kessler's. When we got together, I played his alongside mine. They were the same. Such consistency was unheard of by me until this experience.

George: I tried switching necks but it made no difference. DAVE
 

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CountSpatula said:
You guys still make no sense to me haha. I've never grasped the term "Spread/Focused." . . . .
We need a sound description dictionary or something...:(
Well, now I know there's at least two of us. I've even had teachers play more or less "focused" and I'm still not sure really have it down. A library of sound clips would be very helpful, and probably also a source of some debate about what sounds go with what terms.

CountSpatula said:
Am I on pot?
An intriguing question. How many cookies have you eaten since 10:30?:)
 

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LampLight said:
Well, now I know there's at least two of us. I've even had teachers play more or less "focused" and I'm still not sure really have it down. A library of sound clips would be very helpful, and probably also a source of some debate about what sounds go with what terms.


An intriguing question. How many cookies have you eaten since 10:30?:)
It seems there is just as much agreement between focused and spread as between dark and bright. None.
Martin
 
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