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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,
Some makers, including 2 (K & Yana) of the big 4, as well as outsiders like Buffet or Rampone, produce(d) beautiful horns made of copper alloys containing more copper, or less zinc, or whatever.
They claim their horns to sound and respond differently, what I'm open to believe and experiment. At least they really do look great.
My question is: how do these specific horns stand over time ? Specially the bigger, tenor & bari. As copper is very soft, are they getting out of whack and dented easier ? Is it reasonable to carry them around to gigs ? Do you have to choose between leaving them at home, or bring them to the tech every other month ?
 

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the high content in copper doesn't necessarily imply a lesser resistance in normal use. If you research both the Keilwerth and Buffet full copper horns (much used by classical players) , they have been around for quite some time and to my knowledge they are not more prone to damage than any other horn.

I personally don't believe in any sonic differences are due to the material itself , the only convincing case that I have heard until now was made by MartinMods who wrote here that different material would bend differently (with a different radius) when the tonehole is pulled due to their different hardness, this could indeed result in some differences in sound among two otherwise identical models. Otherwise there is no prove that simply changing the material of the saxophone would do anything to the sound. Of course if the toneholes are not pulled but soldered on this whole thing doesn't apply.

Several companies have now a choice of high content copper materials , those horns are still not made of copper only and are considerably harder.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Milandro, I'm also rather on the skeptical side regarding sound, though, as I said, I'm open to any experience. I just NEVER see (or hear...) those horns in real life (well, I know 2 guys owning bronze altos, and playing.. Mk6s).
 

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I see them hear them and own some. I have a cupronickel (rolled toneholes) one and have owned one made of copper and another one made of high content copper (both straight toneholes) 85% copper, alto.

I also have a brass version of the same horn (rolled toneholes) . They all play differently as different saxophones do and not necessarily because of the material but because of the way they are made and the natural variation between horns.


At the moment the trend is to offer several types of metals. In certain countries this is more appreciated than others. Some factories are also offering saxophones with different metals in different part of the saxophone.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Milandro, are these all Keilwerth (or Buffet) ? Do you play them on gigs ? As my horns are rather on the "truck" side, I almost forget the name of my tech. Therefore my concern with one those high copper horns.
 

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I am a very modest amateur and not really such a good player that I have paid gigs , but I do play at least twice a week outside my home with my quintet and the community improvisation band.

None of my altos are or have been Keilwerths (although I did try them and found them spectacular) but they are HL SAX a Taiwanese brand with which I work aiding them in their export
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Milandro, I'm also rather on the skeptical side regarding sound, though, as I said, I'm open to any experience.
My tenor is bronze with solid silver bell (R & C), and I know it has the sound and response that I have always been dreaming about, (compared with my previous MKVI, Conn 10M, Martin Committee III and Buescher TH & C).

See: http://tamingthesaxophone.com/sax-rampone.html

However, like most people whose pinions I see here, I don't put the sound down to the material. Apart from (as milandro and others say) possibly the way the material bends when manufactured.

I've played R ^& C copper instruments also, very nice indeed, and I believe any disadvantage of the copper being slightly softer would possibly be offset by it being easier to repair if it does get dented or damaged.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Does a gig need to be paid to be a gig ? This is another question...
Anyway, what I meant is basically put the horn in the case, take it on whatever transportation mean you prefer (for the NL I'd say tram or bike, no ?), play somewhere, where you could hit a stand, a mic, a chair, take off the neck a bit in a rush before packing it and turning home. All those things rugged horns like modern Selmers or japanese withstand quite well.
I'm also an amateur and do it on average 1-2 times a week.
How do the copper horns survive ?
Regarding the ease of repair, it is true. But if your horn is constantly out of adjustment and prevents you from playing low D and below, what is the point of sounding great down there ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Regarding opinions: what was Dirty Harry's quote ?
 

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I am rather careful with my horns and I suppose that if someone gigs professionally and tours the chance that things go wrong grows exponentially.

Having said that, I don't see any problem using a high content copper horn. German, Italian and Taiwanese horns are at par with French and Japanese.
 

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Pete, I know you play several different horns, and I know you've made major shifts, like from the Mark VI to the 10M. Will the R&C fit into the mix and have it's 'place', or is this going to be the main horn for a while? Thanks.

Jim
 
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