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Great article Manlio! The Grassi community owes you a lot!
 

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Too generous Milandro, too generous!

Cheers,
M.
You are too modest....a very well constructed & much needed report.
My "Wonderful" alto & Pro 2000 tenor are as good as the best horns that I have ever played....including the best of Messrs Selmer, Buescher, Conn & R&C.
I am currently on the point of culling my collection to just one of each size & both Grassis stay with me.
I only take issue with your statement that all the Pro 2000 had adjustable thumb hooks....mine does not; perhaps the only less than perfect feature of the horn.
Again....well done.
 

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Thank you very much for a great article. This was very helpful to me for appoximating the age of my three old vintage Grassis (serial #'s 8800 - 15,600).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you for the compliments!
Captain B: thanks for pointing that out, I got the description from an old Lewington catalogue, but may be wrong! I have seen a lot of different configurations and probably the early Pro 2000 horns had some differences with the later production (I know that definetely the early Pro 2000 baris were none other than rebadged "Model 2000", quite different animals)... it seems that Grassi changed things at will! Also when I mention the top F# on request, it's possible that they just produced a batch with and one without... we may never know!

I cannot wait to get my Wonderful alto in playing condition and report back, but with my backlog of work it may take a while!
Cheers,
M.
 

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MMM
My comment was based upon the fact that my tenor (593xx) is marked "Professional 2000" & has a fixed thumb hook....unequivocal, I think.
However, since your excellent report, I am making an adjustable thumb hook following the style of that fitted to my (keyboard keyed) "Wonderful" alto.
While I am at it I may treat the horn to a makeover...it looks far too much like the typical distressed & unlacquered old Mk 6.....it deserves better than that.
On completion I will post some photographs.
P.S.
Mercifully, neither is my horn keyed to F#. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Apologies Captain, it looks like I've got it wrong: you are right and the thumb hook is indeed fixed! I'll change my description on the article.

Votaw tools sells the complete adjustable thumb hook bushing etc, but unfortunately the actual hook is plastic, I have still to find a source for an inexpensive metal hook... I am thinking of doing the same on my Model 2000 bari. The original hook is not only fixed but also not very comfy for my hands!

By all means show us some pics: maybe once completed the model photos we could have a page dedicated to "custom" Grassis!

Cheers,
M.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Eli Degibri Plays a Grassi. He has a very unique sound and is a great player!
That's right, I saw a few of his video on youtube and he plays what looks like a "Standard" model tenor (with a Morgan Excalibur mpiece?): he certainly gets a great sound from it!
 

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Votaw tools sells the complete adjustable thumb hook bushing etc, but unfortunately the actual hook is plastic, I have still to find a source for an inexpensive metal hook... I am thinking of doing the same on my Model 2000 bari. The original hook is not only fixed but also not very comfy for my hands!
Plastic, as distinct from metal, is probably more in keeping with the period.....the adjustable hook on my "Wonderful" (what a naff name, {perhaps the reason why it was not successful}) is plastic.
I am using black acrylic to make the hook for my Pro 2000.
Had I known about Votaw, that's the route I would have taken.
 

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Just peeped at the Votaw site, & the only adjustable thumb hook they list...catalogue No. 9548...appears to adjust only up & down...no obvious swivelling action.
Useful site however.
 

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Please ignore my last post....I now see how it works. [rolleyes]
It's been a long day.
 

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I am interested in replacing the thumbhook on my eldest Grassi tenor. It is fixed, metal and, after playing for an hour or so, quite uncomfortable. I'd love to see the pics of what you're doing with your Professional 2000, Cap'n B!
 

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Dave.
Probably the easiest way, as you live in the Americas, is to buy that replacement adjustable jobbie from Votaw as MMM suggested.
Simply remove that F# key that no-one uses (as it would be too close to the heat), unsolder your existing thumbrest & solder on the base plate for the replacement, & re-assemble. Should be a ten minute job.
I have spent most of the day making my replacement but, thanks to MMM's suggestion, I am about to email Windcraft (in the UK) to see whether they can supply me with a set such as Votaw supply.
I would get one from Votaw but I am fed up with waiting weeks for stuff from the USA to arrive....courtesy of our over zealous Customs & Excise coupled with my lack of patience.
A "proper" shop made replacement will always look better, no matter how much care I take.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have spent most of the day making my replacement but, thanks to MMM's suggestion, I am about to email Windcraft (in the UK) to see whether they can supply me with a set such as Votaw supply.
Ask Windcraft for a Jupiter replacement thumb hook assembly, much cheaper than Yamaha's or (God forbid!) Selmer, and don't think there's much difference in the plastic!
What annoys me is that on many inexpensive saxes you find the metal hooks, but no one seems to sell these as parts. Shame cause I much prefer the metal one to the plastic.
I mentioned the Votaw site because I thought they're prices are very good, if the y have stock it shouldn't take longer than 2 weeks.

Cheers,
M.
 

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Ask Windcraft for a Jupiter replacement thumb hook assembly, much cheaper than Yamaha's or (God forbid!) Selmer, and don't think there's much difference in the plastic!
What annoys me is that on many inexpensive saxes you find the metal hooks, but no one seems to sell these as parts. Shame cause I much prefer the metal one to the plastic.
I mentioned the Votaw site because I thought they're prices are very good, if the y have stock it shouldn't take longer than 2 weeks.

Cheers,
M.
Many thanks...that's the route I took, today. However, they were out of stock of the Jupiter parts. Surprisingly, the Selmer set-up is cheaper than the Yamaha & therefore I ordered the Selmer kit. I now await the postman.....invariably by return of post from Windcraft.
Having dealt with Dawkes/Windcraft for so many years & found them always to be inordinately obliging & helpful, my loyalty took precedence over the Votaw's low price. That, in concert with the fact that my recent purchase of a Martin Typewrier from the Americas was held up for yonks in British Customs.
Again, my thanks, & if I may, I will report on progress....with photographs.
 

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Here is the "google translated" version. I do NOT speak German! This is how it translates verbatim using Google's German to English translation feature.

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Quite unexpectedly, I found this test today by Markus Zaja a special vintage saxophone in my mailbox. I am very happy that he has still found time for this text, there has only just begun his evening concert series sonx in Essen. The object of meditation, I find particularly interesting, since it is the jazz clubs in our latitudes, a rarity on the stages:

An old sweetheart, almost unknown in this country: the Grassi tenor sax, silver plated, probably built sometime in the 60s of last century in Italy. Ida Maria Grassi was up to the company closure in 2000, the only small instrument company, which was run as a family from a boss. The operation was closed because Mrs Grassi wanted to enjoy a well deserved retirement.

For decades, many Grassi were in the Mediterranean countries and the U.S. worked as a very solid all-round tools, the better series than Mark6 toughest competitors. They claimed to have its own sound, and that's true too! Since there were no sales north of the Alps, Grassi remained almost unknown in this country and there are still wild speculation about serial and model years, model series and extras.

In short, the charming horns with the cheeky green G on the S-arm are not for the squeamish beginners who want a styliches vintage that gives them the thick clay (yes, there is a G!) - For good reason a professional musician work hard.

So if you do not bother learning a solid saxophone afraid you will be rewarded with a grassi with a very voluminous tone and enormous projection, may be presumed that no one was playing a no-name Hinterwältlerhorn - quite the contrary.

That takes some work: thorough Tonstudien are recommended to control the slightly higher blowing resistance. Who knows or does not Raschér this great name for a chocolate brand needs, not more ...

Close, screaming mouth pieces with stepped chamber are also unsuitable. It is not surprising that after Mundststücke acoustically - Sax'scher achieve proper design, the best results, especially in the intonation. The small finger holes of the highest notes unbrüllenden promote a centered sound without losing the instrument because of its assertiveness. It can be done without the Selmer-pans, which have become standard by now, too. I even achieved very good tones with the unknown in this country also Munstück Raganato Emilio, whose dark sound fits perfectly with the instrument. But the new-old Otto Link New Vintage Slant can be heard, it is a little sharper and will enjoy the big band players.

Common to all is that the sound gets a special vocal touch that appears after thorough training with the vowel sound of the player very similar and can therefore be necessarily individually shaped - and must.

The Italian bel canto sends greetings! I would recommend anyway, as saxophonist to have several years experience in singing in a choir at best. Only then does the human ear and the singing instrument will be trained enough to be able to recognize crucial nuances at all.

The mechanism is largely straightforward and feels smooth and pleasant. This in turn is at the very valued overhaul by Torsten Koehler from Pinneberg (www.holzblasinstrumenten-studio.de), who absolutely had to reach into their bag of tricks to wean the clatter of the old instrument. This is certainly a drawback for bargain hunters and people who do not yet understand their instruments properly.

The position of the handle for the left little finger will not please everyone safe, but it corresponds to the action of the lever means not so much like the standard copied Balanced Action, but the various precursors. However, should complain, who complains about too Buescher and Conn's, because there the conditions are very similar.

The Grassi paid this fact with a green tile on the G-sharp, even the wheels are green - very chic!

A real problem is particularly suitable for the position of the unwary Achsböckchens for the low C sharp. This is far to the left and makes for two problems: schnüsselige, huddled in the big band player with the adjacent leg mechanics also exert pressure on the coupled G # key, which leads to easy open state, making the known problems.

Also annoying is it when you look at the kid and then the chair may waive wegkloppt deeper tones: the simple flap lever is certainly a weak point, must look out for. This also applies to case: modern Selmer clones imaginary cases have since be adjusted accordingly.

The mechanics for the elderly, it also makes deep Cis a little more difficult to implement rapid change of tone in the bass: who so wishes must exercise increased. And who plays music that this provides compelling, will probably pay for it anyway ...

The last series of Grassi, the 2000 Pro, had significant improvements here, we assembled the cis As with other instruments on the same shaft on the main tube. Unfortunately, these tools are hard to find silver-plated version, clear lacquer Nickel is already there from time to time, but quite expensive. The owners obviously know about it!

The thumb hook is soldered in place, any tuning parts can not be so screwed.

It is not necessary: it is sufficient to remove the pointless Lyre bracket screw to make the instrument seem much freer, but not screaming.

Who once played clarinet, will also have to be friendly with the hand position of Oktavklappendrückers no problems. The older style verhindertdas pulling the wrist and the inaccessibility of the handle for the left little finger. The hand position is therefore very elegant.

So if you want to play a very individual instrument that plays with good care of every modern factory horn on the wall, should sometimes listen to and watch a grassi.

Or colleague at Eli Degibri: www.degibri.com.

The best thing at the end: unrestored Grassi available for a few hundred Euronen.

Just keep your eyes and ears open.

Markus Zaja
www.markuszaja.de


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I think you can get the gist of it, even with some of the awkward translation. There are many comments and Q/A following the article itself at http://saxophonistisches.de/ida-maria-grassi-–-der-grose-romische-ton-von-markus-zaja/ but I didn't try cutting and pasting all of that into the google translator.
 
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