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Pad sets are not a good option, as makers frequently changed their cup size. The only way to re-pad a horn is to measure each cup with a mm ruler. They go by 1/2 mm size, so when in doubt, order the smaller of the two options. A tiny bit smaller than the cup is better than a tiny bit larger. I recommend Music Medic. The only reason I use Frerree's is that someone gave me a huge supply. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #62 · (Edited)
Holton fans,
I know there are a lot more Holton owners out there reading the board that the handful that regularly post. I would ask that you update this "playing tendencies" thread, per the original post. The good, bad, and ugly is all welcomed--no need for only "rosy" observations. As always, pics are a plus too! :D Let's get to the bottom of the Holton reputation, whether it was deserved or not, and if any particular model may be to blame.

On the flip side, if you're playing a horn found at a garage sale with 80 year old pads and damage, and it sucks, then that is an important caveat too. (that is the case with someone who was thrashing Holton on the board a few years back---several posts about how bad their horn was, then in a later post, an admission about its sorry state of repair.)
 

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I'm still really enjoying my Tenor. I'll try and post some images of it soon and I'd like to share the serial number too, which I know is a total lottery with Holtons.

In terms of playing tendencies, I find that the pitch and intonation difference between cold and warm is larger than I've noticed on other saxes. Sometimes I find myself having to adjust by a good 6mm by after about 10 mins of playing.
 

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I find the overall tone to be brighter than other horns of the 1920s-30s. The ergonomics are good for the era. The only serious intonation problem I've had was on the Rudy tenor, which required the low C and breather key to be adjusted down about 1/4 inch to get the D in tune. I'm very excited to see how my new 244 tenor will play. It is about a month from completon.
 

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I recently picked up a Conn Comet mouthpiece on EBay. It is a Santy Runyon design from about 1950 and is of the elongated style, giving the airflow a higher velocity. The sound proced is round and full, with a slight edge. It sounds great and plays in tune on my Rudy tenor. Aside from my rarely used 85/2 Berg Larsen M.P., it is the only post 1940 item in my heap. The Larsen makes the Rudy scream. Not the sound I (or Rudy) want. I was surprised how modern the aged Rudy tenor sounded with either M.P. I noticed the neck bore to be very close to a Selmer Mark VI, which would be quite radical for 1929.
 

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I started on a Collegiate tenor years ago. Played it for maybe 2-3 years. I was playing a Selmer scrollshank metal C* on it at the time. Friendly, intonation was really good too. Sound? It's been a long time but I found some recordings I made back then. The tone I was getting was pretty darned dark and rich leaning towards Henderson. I remember liking my sound and other players being surprised when I'd tell them I've been playing for 3 years on a "student" horn. When I switched to another brand I do remember the keywork on the Holton felt a little cheesy to me, but not bad by any means. Also my first repairman was this old fellow who spoke very favorably about it. He said you don't see many of these but they were good horns. I don't think I could have started on a better horn and frankly, my tone then was pretty colorful. I wound up giving it to a friend who still plays it. BB
 

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Also, when I was shopping for a Baritone I had the choice between my Conn New Wonder and a Rudy Wiedoft Bari. The Conn won, but not by a huge margin. The Holton had really comfortable keywork and felt really stout. Well built! I liked the sound, it was sweeter than the Conn but brighter and less refined than my friends Aristocrat. It really fell right in between the 2. Intonation wasn't bad, a little better than my Conn around middle F actually. I chose the Conn only cause I felt it cut better and I like how spread it is sonically. But the Holton definitely didn't leave me wanting. If I had to choose between the Crat and the Holton, I'd be playing the Holton now!
 

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Discussion Starter · #69 ·
Thanks for the input on the Collegiate Tenor and Rudy Bari, Baltimore B!
 

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Old thread but still valid I think
So after reading this thread. Would any of you buy a 1929 Rudy silver plate this day and age ? I have found one in good orginal condition. Complete with the original mouthpiece clamp included. It will most likely need a re-pad. No wear on any of the keys that I can see in the pictures. I don’t think it’s a rebuild although some corks may need to be changed.
 

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Well, is it alto tenor or soprano?

My experience on Holtons is two sopranos and one bass. The bass was so long ago that I really can't comment on it. I've had a Bb soprano with the extra trill keys and high F but it wasn't a Rudy model. It was a fantastic soprano and I made a big mistake when I sold it to a friend. I now own a C soprano which is also excellent but a little wild as one would expect from such a teeny instrument, in the hands of a player who's primarily a baritone player. I also own a Bb soprano marked Holton Collegiate but my internet research seems to indicate this was actually made by Couturier. I think a lot of Holton baritones and basses were made by Conn in some way from the photos, ranging from obvious stencils to horns with mechanism so similar that it's hard to believe they weren't at least partly made by Conn. I can say that the sopranos I have had, the mechanical details were a lot sloppier than, say, the Buescher soprano I also own. (for example, there are some of the palm key axles that are threaded too far so if you keep screwing they go way too deep, or a couple of point screws that can't be fully screwed in or they bind - the Bueschers definitely don't have this kind of stuff, neither do the Martins I've had in my hands through the years (not that many). Conns are kind of in the middle, I love Conns but a lot of their mechanics are kind of "string and sealing wax".

As you probably know Holton was purchased by Leblanc long ago and Leblanc purchased a lot of horns from various manufacturers, especially for their "Vito" line which appears to have been made at one time or another by almost everyone except Selmer Paris; so a Holton sax made after the Leblanc takeover might have some Vito genes too.
 
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