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Discussion Starter #1
To preface, I received my BA in jazz and have been playing for almost 18 years. I started with a silver VI in high school and went to a King Super 20 (awesome sound but terrible intonation) at college and finally ended up with a 139,xxx Mark VI which is the one I have now. So, my setup is a Selmer Soloist E and the Mark VI in a perfect year. My sound is most like Kenny Garrett.

I've checked posts for something related to this but have not found an answer that has helped my decision. I'm really wanting to get an SX90R but don't know which to get; the Shadow or the regular gold laquer SX90R. I would naturally go and try these horns out along w/ my VI but there are no stores nearby that can make this happen. So, I'm stuck with online ordering based on comments. :| Basically, I am looking to go with Keilwerth based on their reputation of sound and intonation and effortless response, plus my friend swears by them (even over my current VI which he's played).

Based on my setup and sound, the questions are:
1. How will the SX90R regular gold laquer compare to the Shadow in sound only?
2. How will the regular gold laquer and Shadow compare to my VI?
 

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Game on...... :|
 

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mcphable said:
To preface, I received my BA in jazz and have been playing for almost 18 years. I started with a silver VI in high school and went to a King Super 20 (awesome sound but terrible intonation) at college and finally ended up with a 139,xxx Mark VI which is the one I have now. So, my setup is a Selmer Soloist E and the Mark VI in a perfect year. My sound is most like Kenny Garrett.

I've checked posts for something related to this but have not found an answer that has helped my decision. I'm really wanting to get an SX90R but don't know which to get; the Shadow or the regular gold laquer SX90R. I would naturally go and try these horns out along w/ my VI but there are no stores nearby that can make this happen. So, I'm stuck with online ordering based on comments. :| Basically, I am looking to go with Keilwerth based on their reputation of sound and intonation and effortless response, plus my friend swears by them (even over my current VI which he's played).

Based on my setup and sound, the questions are:
1. How will the SX90R regular gold laquer compare to the Shadow in sound only?
2. How will the regular gold laquer and Shadow compare to my VI?

The SX 90R is darker and less interesting then the Shadow. I didn't notice that so much until I had been playing the Shadow for a year and tested out a regular R for a friend. The Shadow has nearly the same dark low end, but a brighter and sweeter upper end. You can make it sound just about any way you want based on your choice of mouthpiece, but it needs a big bore and very little baffle or you will choke it.

I will leave your second question to someone else. I have tried VIs off and on since 1960, but have never owned one. Same for VIIs, IIIs, 36, and 54.

Though you did not ask it is the most effortless and mechanically precise horn I have ever played. It whispers and it sings. Like any horn it takes a while to appreciate it's nuances.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
mountainman said:
The SX 90R is darker and less interesting then the Shadow. I didn't notice that so much until I had been playing the Shadow for a year and tested out a regular R for a friend. The Shadow has nearly the same dark low end, but a brighter and sweeter upper end. You can make it sound just about any way you want based on your choice of mouthpiece, but it needs a big bore and very little baffle or you will choke it.

I will leave your second question to someone else. I have tried VIs off and on since 1960, but have never owned one. Same for VIIs, IIIs, 36, and 54.

Though you did not ask it is the most effortless and mechanically precise horn I have ever played. It whispers and it sings. Like any horn it takes a while to appreciate it's nuances.
From my experience, the Shadow having "a brighter and sweeter upper end" seems like a contradiction. ;) Even though my Soloist E (long shank) has a huge sound and doesn't have the bite or brightness or edge that most hard rubber jazz mouthpieces have, isn't it still true that any alto's that have a tendancy for a more focused and brighter upper end will hurt some ears on the ballads???
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ArnoG said:

Thanks for the link!! It nearly answered my questions. ;) I noticed that you contributed a great deal in that post, what are your views on the sound differences of the SX90Rs (hopefully the regular gold laquer and Shadow vs. a VI)??

Also, are these similarities and differences the same for an alto (which is what I play) as a tenor??
 

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mcphable said:
...isn't it still true that any alto's that have a tendancy for a more focused and brighter upper end will hurt some ears on the ballads???
Yes. That is quite true. I had to get rid of all of my high-baffled mouthpieces for that very reason.

Regarding the bigger question, I may be able to help with the comparison of an SX90R vs. a VI. I own a gold lacquer SX90R, have played a few VIs, and am a Garrett disciple of sorts, so I'm almost certain that I know where you're coming from. The SX90R is a dark horn, with a natural tendency towards fatness, despite its ability to be focused. It's very expressive and flexible, with great intonation. My horn is from the late 80s/early 90s run, and has a certain "VI-like" quality. It has the warmth and fullness of an earler VI, with the potential for focus and agressiveness of a 110,xxx - 150,xxx VI. Some have said that really good 70,xxx - 80,xxx VIs strike that perfect balance - I've played one that did - and the SX90R is more in that category.

Now, I don't have a point-by-point or pro/con comparison of the two, but I can tell you from personal experience that a good SX90R can rival a great VI, and it's great for the Kenny Garrett thing.

As for the gold lacquer vs. Shadow concern, I, although never having played a Shadow, would say that it would probably be better for you to go with the lacquer. My experience with nickel-silver horns has shown that they are generally brighter-sounding in the high range and are more prone to edginess. What you might gain in vibrancy and "liveliness", you will probably end up sacrificing in depth, warmth, and roundness.

Hope that helps.
 

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mcphable said:
So, my setup is a Selmer Soloist E and the Mark VI in a perfect year.

I'm really wanting to get an SX90R but don't know which to get; the Shadow or the regular gold laquer SX90R.
Why not stick your MKVI ? (edit: I meant to say "why not stick with your MK VI") I don't like them myself only as I've never found one that is in tune, but you mention a "perfect year" (not quite sure what that means), so maybe yours is better than most. The ones I owned had a nice sound and good feel but a few intonastion problems. They're not too bad though so I don't understand why you would want to change to something that has a reputation of having build problems (ie the keilwerth warped toneholes) that might be great to begin with then give you problems a bit later.
 

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I second the valuable and expert opinion of the illustruos Pete Thomas.
I will think long and hard about the warped toneholes. Reading the article I quoted before is very, very important ( the article is not mine nor am I connected to the writer) if you decide to buy a Keilwerth.....over a Mark VI or anything else!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
renaissance_man said:
Yes. That is quite true. I had to get rid of all of my high-baffled mouthpieces for that very reason.

Regarding the bigger question, I may be able to help with the comparison of an SX90R vs. a VI. I own a gold lacquer SX90R, have played a few VIs, and am a Garrett disciple of sorts, so I'm almost certain that I know where you're coming from. The SX90R is a dark horn, with a natural tendency towards fatness, despite its ability to be focused. It's very expressive and flexible, with great intonation. My horn is from the late 80s/early 90s run, and has a certain "VI-like" quality. It has the warmth and fullness of an earler VI, with the potential for focus and agressiveness of a 110,xxx - 150,xxx VI. Some have said that really good 70,xxx - 80,xxx VIs strike that perfect balance - I've played one that did - and the SX90R is more in that category.

Now, I don't have a point-by-point or pro/con comparison of the two, but I can tell you from personal experience that a good SX90R can rival a great VI, and it's great for the Kenny Garrett thing.

As for the gold lacquer vs. Shadow concern, I, although never having played a Shadow, would say that it would probably be better for you to go with the lacquer. My experience with nickel-silver horns has shown that they are generally brighter-sounding in the high range and are more prone to edginess. What you might gain in vibrancy and "liveliness", you will probably end up sacrificing in depth, warmth, and roundness.

Hope that helps.

Thank you!!! That gives me a lot to work with. Just to let you know, the silver VI I had was plagued with the edge in the upper end and is my complete source for concern with the Shadow. Can anyone confirm?? As much as I like what I've heard about it, if I decide to order it and find it to be painful to listen to in the palm keys and above, I'm going to hate to have to send it back!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pete Thomas said:
Why not stick your MKVI ? (edit: I meant to say "why not stick with your MK VI") I don't like them myself only as I've never found one that is in tune, but you mention a "perfect year" (not quite sure what that means), so maybe yours is better than most. The ones I owned had a nice sound and good feel but a few intonastion problems. They're not too bad though so I don't understand why you would want to change to something that has a reputation of having build problems (ie the keilwerth warped toneholes) that might be great to begin with then give you problems a bit later.

Thanks for the comment. By perfect year, I just mean w/in a year of what Kenny Garrett, David Sanborn (for the smooth jazzers), Chris Potter (on alto) all play on, which are in the low to mid 14x,xxx range. Also, from what I hear, they are prefered for their "beefy" sound and really free-blowing aspects, as compared to other years and SNs of VIs (which I believe I can confirm). The only thing with the build problem is to be prepared to be extra critical to response and playability of the horn and be willing to return the horn if necessary. What I'm getting at is, if the horn can sound great in a similar but larger sound and potentially play more effortlessly (in both, intonation and the notes speaking), why not give it a try at the expense of returning the manufactured defects??
 

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mcphable said:
Thanks for the link!! It nearly answered my questions. ;) I noticed that you contributed a great deal in that post, what are your views on the sound differences of the SX90Rs (hopefully the regular gold laquer and Shadow vs. a VI)??

Also, are these similarities and differences the same for an alto (which is what I play) as a tenor??

I was in the army band in 68 and they had nothing but tons of mk VI's back then the martins and king 20's were also real good i played several horns close to my number and some were not to good i just got lucky that i could pick from 5--- the sx90R i played seemed real nice.
i hope you can find a place that has horns you can try and find one that matches what you want to do---- for me it's long tones and balads and creating my inner sound.
good luck
 

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mcphable said:
Also, are these similarities and differences the same for an alto (which is what I play) as a tenor??
Only the part where Tryp' says "Try the Yanagisawa 992." Check 'em out.

If you don't like the upper end of your Mk VI, maybe all you need is a new mouthpiece.

If you are just looking for an excuse to buy the J-K, then ignore me. :cool:
 

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Dr G said:
Only the part where Tryp' says "Try the Yanagisawa 992." Check 'em out.

If you don't like the upper end of your Mk VI, maybe all you need is a new mouthpiece.

If you are just looking for an excuse to buy the J-K, then ignore me. :cool:
Nice! I will say that I love the sound I get on my Soloist E mouthpiece (which I just may play forever :D ) and there is a place for my Beechler metal custom 6 mouthpiece (although a much smaller one). I've played these mouthpieces on the King Super 20 I had and they sounded great there as well. I don't actually have any issues w/ the sound of my current VI, only my previous experience with silver horns (i.e. my siver Mark VI I had 10 years ago or so) which is causing my need for feedback from Shadow owners on the upper end sound. I will be honest and say that I have played on a few great sounding VIs, mine included, and am basically intersted in a Keilwerth by reputation. My entire reason for even considering the sale of my horn is because I played a new horn the other day (Yamaha but don't know the model) and the notes jumped out of the horn without the intonation issues. I actually didn't like the sound of the Yamaha but loved the response of it and the fact that the intonation didn't require me to compensate like I do on the VI in the palm keys and face E and F. It seemed to be a much more effortless playing experience which is what I'm assured will be the experience with a well setup Keilwerth.
 

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mcphable said:
It seemed to be a much more effortless playing experience which is what I'm assured will be the experience with a well setup Keilwerth.
A well-setup anything (assuming a quality pro horn) is better than one that has been rode hard and put away wet (pardon the cowboy axiom).

When was your Mk VI last repadded and tweaked? It'd be a crying shame to replace a solid horn just 'cause it has not received the requisite attention it deserves after a life of being your faithful horn.

As to silver horns being brighter, it just ain't necessarily so. My silverplate Borgani Jubilee tenor is anything but bright - unless it's out in the sun and you're not wearing shades. :cool:

Nutshell/executive summary: eh, nevermind. Go buy a new horn. :cry:
 

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Hi,


A couple of points.

I have a SX90R alto in nickel silver. I've owned it for about two years. My friend has a Shadow. For me there's not a great deal between them in terms of sound, tone etc. I know others here would disagree and I'm willing to accept that they may be better players than me and therefore exploit the horn to a fuller potential.

I have found that the action on the Shadow is slightly tighter, slightly more 'together', but again not a massive difference.

Tone Holes. Yes the problem does exist, I've seen it with my own eyes. How much difference it makes has been debated at length on this forum and I leave each individual to draw his or her own conclusion. What I would say, however, is that Stephen Howard sorted out my tone holes in no time at all and at a very reasonable cost. I would imagine that any competent tech could do the same.

My horn has also suffered from sticky pads (now sorted), which has again been debated at length here.

The point I would make is that although as consumers we have the right to expect better, Keilwerth are not alone in suffering from quality issues. Quality control and sticking pads on new Selmers has also cropped up here recently.

So it seems to me that with some manufacturers, you go into it with your eyes open and expect to maybe put right one or two things.

Or you buy a Yamaha or a Yani.

It's taken me a while to grow to love the Keilwerth, mainly because I hadn't found this site or Stephen Howards, so I was strugling on my own for a while.

Now it's sorted I think it's a great horn. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dr G said:
A well-setup anything (assuming a quality pro horn) is better than one that has been rode hard and put away wet (pardon the cowboy axiom).

When was your Mk VI last repadded and tweaked? It'd be a crying shame to replace a solid horn just 'cause it has not received the requisite attention it deserves after a life of being your faithful horn.

As to silver horns being brighter, it just ain't necessarily so. My silverplate Borgani Jubilee tenor is anything but bright - unless it's out in the sun and you're not wearing shades. :cool:

Nutshell/executive summary: eh, nevermind. Go buy a new horn. :cry:
It had a complete overhaul 3 months ago and plays better than ever.
 

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Regarding a problem with warped tone holes don't let that be what holds you back. IMO some of the commentary on them is reeived with more alarm than is warranted and does not apply in my experience. I've got a JK, I've played others besides mine and I know JK players. None of us - I say NONE of us- has problems playing our JK's because of warped tone holes.

If it'll make you feel better, take any JK you are interested in buying to a competent tech for an evaluation. I would suggest first playing it though to hear and feel if you think there's a problem or not without the enfluence of what the tech might say beforehand.

A highly regarded tech, particularly from his knowledge of JK's, told me when I asked him about warped rolled tone holes that that, while it might not be unusual, the instruments themselves have ways of adjusting to them. Have it checked out but don't be overly concerned.

"Go for the tone."
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks a lot gary for your advice! I will definitely be ending up with the one that sounds the best. I just hope to avoid having to ship the first Keilwerth back to get the other model. ;)

Does anyone have Shadow experience that can say whether the alto version gets edgy and has more of a shrill sound in the upper end compared to either a VI or a regular gold laquer SX90R??
 
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