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Discussion Starter #1
OK this is a subject that really interests me and I would really appreciate as many peoples' opinions as possible please. Don't be shy, I'm interested to get your input...

Imagine that there's a new sax manufacturer just starting up and you have been picked as their consultant to help them design their nice new SATB models which will be coming out to compete against everything else that's currently available. Assume you have complete carte blanche to specify anything you want, what would be your list of "must have" "nice to have" and "must not have" that you would recommend?

To make things easy, let's assume for this intellectual exercise that skills, quality control and other "practical" issues are all sorted out and this manufacturer will be able to turn out top class equipment to rival anything that's already available.

You could think about these things as starting ideas but feel free to add your own ideas to the list or just state one thing it must or must not have if you prefer...

  • Material (brass, bronze, silver, rose gold, etc)
  • Finish (laquered, unlaquered, etc)
  • Tone (like which existing sax - Mk VI, SX90, 10M, etc)
  • Ergos (like which existing sax - Yani, P Mauriat, Yamaha, etc)
  • Construction (eg ribbed, non sticking G#, screw on bell, underlsung octave mech, etc)
  • Engraving (none, or like which existing sax or like something else?)
  • Customer defined options (extra necks, different finish options, a full flightcase, etc)
You might also consider...

  • Price bracket (cheap as chips, good beginner, intermediate, pro, bespoke)
  • Target market (pros, semi pros, students, 40 somethings, complete beginners, etc
Thanks very much if you reply, I'm going to be very interested in the results!
 

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I would do some experimenting initally on a prototype with a combination of metals and their preperation on a existing sax design. Find one that I liked, and make my horns with that.

The horn would be available in 3 basic finishes, lacquer, nickel plated, and Matte but would offer custom finishes on a made to order basis.

The horn would be available in a big bell and standard model. Standard being the Mark VI deal, and larger bell like a conn / keilwerth. Rolled tone holes would also be an option.

Ergo's would be somewhere in the neighborhood of the yamaha custom z and the Mark VI.

Adjustable palm keys of the Keilwerth to fit different hand sizes. Soldered bell. One of the necks with underslung octave. G# design like Keilwerth. Mark VI construction.

Engraving should be offered in "traditional", and made to order from a handful of designs that you pick out of a catalogue to include no engraving.

2 necks should be included with every horn, one should be bright and one should be dark. The case should be a Walt Johnson Hiscox hybrid.

This is a pro horn only. That was fun
 

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I think I wouldn't get away from Brass, so the horn would be brass lacquered, bare and come with real silver plate and a Gold series.

Maybe do a nickel plate as an option through out the line, so band leaders could have twinkly shiny horns for parades and protective finish that would last for years.

I would offer the top of the line model closest to the Buescher sound of the TH & C, the intermediate would sound like an M series Conn and the student horn would sound like a cheap Selmer. I would do that to get even to them for ruining Buescher. :twisted:

I would make the mechanics fit a mans hands not like a MK VI with its low palm keys and cramped left hand. Conn M series key heights and palm heights. Maybe like a Yanni.

I would make the horns very affordable for at least ten years to establish a market. I would use the professional market feed back and colleges as a test ground for new designs. I would only raise the cost with options and engraving packages. Silver necks and all that would be away to add price when marketing.

Two case options, Standard case would be decent, pro case would be bullet proof designed for Baggage handlers to attempt to ruin.

I would not make an F Mezzo or a soprannino.

I would make a Bass sax that rivals the OLD Conn/Buescher sound and have accurate intonation and easy mechanics. It would not emulate a Selmer Bass. :shock:

I would offer standard engraving packages, basic, floral and the Custom design of that year, chosen through a world wide competition. Marketing ploy for sure to build interest and a customer connection.

I would make 500 ridiculously plated and engraved marvels of Art and design totally for the wow factor. They would be part of a promotion and they would expose the latest newest ideas in artistic expression. (Maybe like King did with sweetly engraved Super 20's with pearl side keys).
I would raffle them off every year to kick off the next annual engraving design contest.

I would make them in Taiwan or Japan.
I would give dealers profit sharing.

Choices in necks would be offered in the two top models but not the basic student tank, which would be built nearly indestructible like a Bundy was.

I would fund a touring troupe like the Nuclear Whales to perform at schools and colleges using only my horns.:cool:

The horns would be dark and complex sounding with great projection and would have a fat altissmo range.:D

We would perfect cloning and clone Ralph Morgan as our mouthpiece Guru
We would probably clone a few copies just to be sure, so occasionally would could discontinue one and put it on back order indefinitely.
 

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Carbon fibre body, titanium keywork, some space age (self sealing) rubber pad -- let some or several F1 teams design and develop a prototype and have us all test their wares to see who comes out on top.
 

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sterling silver, gold plated.
soldered toneholes.
measurements reflecting an early vi.
yamaha front f, and maybe a bis roller.
low Eb and C on the same axis.
g# on the same axis as the right stack (it'll seal much better).
double bracing on f#, low C, B, and Bb.
toneholes leveled.
carefully assembled with schmidt gold foil pads and smooth resonators.
hand engraved from neck to bell.
ships in either an anvil or walt johnson.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
This is really interesting so far, especially the discussion on materials. Haywood, I think you might just have designed both the first $100,000.00 sax and the first sax to make 0-60 in sub 4 seconds - fantastic! :)

I'm also really interested in the smaller details that go into making the action and ergos right and provide robustness. I don't know enough technically to make sensible decisions about the mechanical workings (although I'm interested in learning about it) so I can't comment on how this could be best achieved and will just have to read other people's comments and learn.

For the crook, body and bell I'd stick with brass simple because it's the ideal material - relatively cheap, malleable and very workable on - although a lighter weight sax is certainly a great idea.

I love the rose gold of the really expensive Yanis so I'd like a lacquer finish in rose gold. I know different people like different finishes so let's go with a gold and silver plate model as well! I also like my clear lacquer sax, but I don't know that many others do.

I'd want my Keilwerth's big bore tone with as much added warmth as possible, but I would definitely want to take the ergos from a different horn, although I've not got enough experience to say which. It might be interesting to include more than one neck, but only if they really made a difference. I am not experienced enough to say.

I like the idea of having custom engraving/lacquer options from an online catalogue and an annual "special" engraving (perhaps hand created by a top notch engraver like Jason duMars) and I like the idea of having a decent case like a Hiscox because it saves money in the long run.

For an engraving design I had this idea of a music stave with notes starting at the neck and spiralling down the sax and then up to the bell, widening as it goes. Stupid idea? Probably.

Having got p****d off with sticky pads of late my sax would come with Roo pads and whatever mechanisms are needed to help prevent this. :(

If rolled toneholes help subtoning and sealing and can be done accurately then this would have to be a feature.

Anyone more ideas? Please keep them coming...
 

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Chu-Jerry said:
Solid titanium - for the lightest weight and fastest key action.
Liquidmetal keywork 'for the lightest weight and fastest key action', AND far cheaper construction.

see http://www.liquidmetal.com/
 

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newtenorsax said:
I would remake the the Grafton alto using modern plastic.
Yes, but please, please, not those flying springs!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Re Liquid Metal - Anything that's introduced using groovy lounge music gets my vote :)

That "three tubes" demo is fascinating...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
...with previews on the 10th ;)

As the name of thread states, this an intellectual exercise so please add your thoughts on practical ideas for what turns a good sax into an excellent one...
 

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I love the look of Matte Silverplate, Id go with that. Something that modeled the design of the super 20 In bore, bell size etc. but with modern ergos. One thing that HAS to be there is the LH pinky table on the Buffet S1 horns, hand down the best pinky table ever there.

It would be cool to offer options for a second neck from the factory in a huge variety of materials. Solid Silver, brass plated with just about anything, titanium, carbon fiber, wood, etc
 

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I'm too tired to really think about it right now, but one thing that I'd definately do is have nickle silver key barrels for the longer keys on bari and bass saxophones to remove as much of the key whip from the longer keys as possible.
 
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