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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of a trade for a new tenor, and I've been given three days to try it out. While play testing it last night against my old tenor, I found that they sound very similar. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, because it was me playing both horns. :shock: However, the two brands aren't supposed to be that similar to each other. I expected to be blown away by the new horn, and I wasn't. My reaction, and the reaction of a friend that I sent a couple of sound clips to were that the new horn may have been slightly better "by a gnat's hair", in his words.

My questions are... Since I'm obviously extremely comfortable with my current tenor, should I be encouraged that the new tenor sounded slightly better even on the first play? Should I expect the sound to get better as I get more comfortable with the new horn? I only have three days to decide, so I wanted to get some more experienced opinions.

I'm borrowing a better microphone from someone today, and I plan to post comparison clips here so that I can get some opinions on which is better.

Thanks,

Frank
 

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Playtesting: An antidote to GAS. You are supposed to buy it sight-unseen with no return allowed.

Since you are "obviously extremely comfortable with [your] current tenor," why are you looking to get a different one? Do you think a different tenor will make you play better? Solve those small playing problems that you'd rather not address with the tedium of long tones and scales? Enhance your image in the eyes of other players? Is that what you think?

Join the club.

Al Stevens
(Five tenors and counting)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Al -

I thought I was the president of the club! :? And the answer to your questions would be all of the above. :)

The real answer is that (and this probably won't be popular) I like the idea of a matching alto/tenor set, and I already have the alto. Plus, it's a trade that favors both parties. (How often does that happen?!?)

Frank
 

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Al Stevens said:
Playtesting: An antidote to GAS.
Hear, hear!

(I'll never forget "that special feeling" I had when the multi-thousands of dollars early 5-digit Mark VI alto bought on eBay arrived, the horn that was supposed to "change everything" for me. Uncrated it, put it together, and tremblingly brought it to my lips for the first note, which sounded amazingly like "D'oh!!")

I wouldn't make the switch unless the horn being considered felt like a pretty solid improvement over your current axe....
 

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fballatore said:
I like the idea of a matching alto/tenor set..
I find that compulsions tend to be expensive one way or the other and accomplish little (at least speaking for myself). That said, if it matters a lot to you to have a matching pair, you have lucked out that the new tenor works as well for you as the old one.
 

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Al Stevens said:
Playtesting: An antidote to GAS. You are supposed to buy it sight-unseen with no return allowed.
ROLF!! Enjoying our new, shiny ROC tenor are we? :twisted:

Frank, I agree with the above comments. Now, I have tried saxes and heard/felt the differences immediately and that has enfluenced a purchase/switch. But I've also experience the no-added-value response. Having said that, if you are talking about (now, this is just hypothetical) an even swap of a YTS 875 for a Ref. 54 I would do it. I think there's more complexity of sound to the Selmer that you will discover as you get more used to it.
 

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Frank, just a little question : they sound about the same.
Do they feel the same too? (I notice that the difference for me is more often in the feel, both in the hands and at the mouthpiece).

If so, take whatever sax you want more.

Then again, I do have a tendency to have GAS, but I don't have the bucks for it, so I'm not that experienced...
 

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Al Stevens said:
Yes, we are, now that the extra holes have been plugged and assuming you refer to the Maurone. What does ROC mean?

Republic of China
 

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Yea, looking at all of the junk laying around here - mouthpieces, horns - I realize the amount of work involved just to give them a realistic trial. Afterall, my current horn took some time to find a good mouthpiece/reed/airstream fit, why wouldn't all the others. And when you think of all possible combinations of the above, it's pretty overwhelming.

However, I would say that if you try the new horn for a few days and it's not obviously better, send it back. Perhaps it's not better, or you are not to the point yet of exploiting its superiority, in which case, wait until you are to select the best stepup horn for you.
 

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Frank,

If the horn is one-of-a-kind, then you may have a real problem, but I have reason to think this is not the case. Even upscale horns vary from one copy to the next, so if you haven't already played several copies of this model, and since the horn doesn't impress you, why not pass for now? You can eventually try other copies. Even if it winds up costing you more for the same model, you won't be second guessing yourself. And you might decide on a different model, too. Either way, you could wind up with a horn much better suited to Frank.

Good luck either way.
 

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Have you tried the new horn with a different mouthpiece:twisted:


Sorry couldn't resist:D
 

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If you have been given 3 days to try it out, then I think you are lucky to have the opportunity. If you can, take the new horn into a real world situation, such as a gig or group setting and see how it fares. There are often times when we play outside of the practice arena in our own homes or practice rooms that things can seem a bit different in terms of sound or feel.

I am sensing a bit of "gear lust" from what you were saying about getting an upper level horn and expecting a magical sound from it. I think it is definitely a better tool, but in the hands of the artist it is only going to create what you do as yourself and your level of playing.

With that said, I would play the new tenor as much as possible in these 3 days before you make the decision. Try to play in as many scenarios as possible that you encounter, and "run it through the ringer" in terms of play cycle. You may find that it is giving you exactly what you are looking for, or could even pale in comparison to your current setup.

Good Luck! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the comments guys. You've definitely given me some things to think about. If anyone is interested in sound clips of the 2 horns, I posted a poll here.
 

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Frank, another thing to keep in mind: even if the candidate horn is a "good horn" it doesn't mean it's in good playing condition. If you feel like it's fighting you and you have a decent tech around, by all means squeeze in a visit to the tech during the 3 days to get an evaluation of the playing condition of the horn and a quote on repairs if any are needed.
 

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fadedsignal said:
If you have been given 3 days to try it out, then I think you are lucky to have the opportunity. If you can, take the new horn into a real world situation, such as a gig or group setting and see how it fares. There are often times when we play outside of the practice arena in our own homes or practice rooms that things can seem a bit different in terms of sound or feel.
This is a very good point. Although for me, it applies more for mpcs than horns. I've only had one experience where I tried a horn and got an immediate THIS IS IT feeling with no doubt whatsoever that I had something new and special. And it came after trying a number of horns which just didn't stand up against my MKVI tenor (including a Super 20 & a Conn, which were definitely nice horns!). In fact, I finally decided I was going to just look for something that I could live with as a back up to the VI.

Then I bought, on trial, a '50 Buescher Aristocrat 156 tenor from Gayle at vintagesax. It had been silver-plated at Anderson's and hence Gayle also gave it a total overhaul (in other words it was in great playing condition). The minute I blew it, I knew. It wasn't a matter of "well maybe," it was instantaneous.

Now, the important point is that my initial reaction has borne out to be right on. Four years later, after many different playing situations, I'm still amazed by this horn and it is my number one tenor. So it was obviously the right horn for me, and I knew it right away. I did of course go on a mpc search for the best match up (turned out to be an RPC), but most mpcs worked just fine.

If you're only lukewarm on the horn, compared to what you're playing now, you might want to search further.
 

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websrfr said:
I like the idea of matching horns! :D
Me too! That's why I have two tenors. :shock: ;) :cool:
 

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Really tho', Frank, there are few brands that excel in all size categories of horns. If you WANT a matching set, go for it. You certainly don't NEED it that way. I'd go for a better playing horn over one that matches something else any day.

Want examples?

Yanagisawa: great sops and baris in my experience, their tenors don't do it for me. Haven't played their altos.

Selmer: historically great altos and tenors - other brands surpass their sops and baris. Their baris were tops for a while but not any more.

Among each brand you consider, there will probably be one size horn that was their R&D flagship - the rest are derivative. It's difficult, especially for new brand, to have the R&D department concentrating on every horn at once. That's why, over history, you tend to see performance peaks first in one model then the next.

Bottom line: It's your money. And it's your ears that you have to please.
 
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