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Is anyone familiar with Leblanc rationale saxophone or partial rationale???? I have one coming in this week and I am not very familiar with them. Any information would be appreciated.
 

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Is anyone familiar with Leblanc rationale saxophone or partial rationale???? I have one coming in this week and I am not very familiar with them. Any information would be appreciated.
In the 1950's Vincent J. Abato, who taught classical saxophone and clarinet at Julliard endorsed this instrument for his students.
It came with a Vandoren Vincent J. Abato mouthpiece. He secretly played a Selmer. There is a Vincent J. Abato mouthpiece for sale on Ebay.
 

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In the 1950's Vincent J. Abato, who taught classical saxophone and clarinet at Julliard endorsed this instrument for his students.
It came with a Vandoren Vincent J. Abato mouthpiece. He secretly played a Selmer. There is a Vincent J. Abato mouthpiece for sale on Ebay.
I know this because I knew one of his students.
 

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They are interesting & great horns... jazzmanted presents a good primer on the Vito 35 AKA 'semi-rationale' ( a slang term for the Vito model )...
 

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Fine horns with a very even scale. They are truly excellent if properly regulated- but that, sadly, is a pretty big "if". The whole idea of the horn's mechanism is based upon an arm attached to the rod from a lower tone hole cup depressing the cup of a higher tonehole. That cup in turn has an arm attached to it which presses another which then presses another. There is lots of opportunity for synching issues to cause stuffy notes galore.

The LeBlanc system horns marked LeBlanc have an elaborate mechanism with adjustable screws and lock nuts to regulate things. Seems like it ought to work great but in practice it turns out to be a bit of a labor- a frequently exercised labor- of love. Feel free to speculate that modern tech cork et al would cure this- it can ameliorate the situation a bit but not completely alleviate it. The LeBlanc system horns marked Vito have the same set up but with corks on the lever ends instead of the screws with lock nuts. More of a pain initially but, in my experience, liable to hold adjustment for a longer period.

I personally also found the C# to be poorly placed and the second G# tonehole and cup on the side of the stack constitutes it's own little world of potential misregulation.

Though I loved it when it was working I eventually sold the LeBlanc tenor and alto after pulling out the "working great the day before" tenor and realizing it had lapsed into "needs a wee tune up" yet again- but I still have the Vito alto. Lots of issues with the system, but those issues are both very positve as well as negative in nature. When they're "on" they're really "on"- surely worth trying one "just to see", if you can arrange it.
 

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Is anyone familiar with Leblanc rationale saxophone or partial rationale???? I have one coming in this week and I am not very familiar with them. Any information would be appreciated.
Hi there- is that "one coming in this week" as in you're a shop or tech and just have never run across one, or as in you've bought one on a lark and want to know in advance what to look for?
Henry
 

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I play one (tenor), and love it. Henry is right, it does require much more attention than other saxophones. My G# is on the side, not on the back, so no issues there for me.
You'll need a good tech to get the horn to play to it's full potential. When regulated properly, they are awesome horns. (At least, mine is)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I am a tech, and a shop. (www.bandmastersmusic.com) and a sax player retired from The United States Army Band. However, I am unfamiliar with the LeBlanc mechanism. I guess you can say "all of the above" as far as why bought the sax. Once it comes in, I will determine the fate of the horn depending upon how much I like it as a player compared to turning it over for a profit. The one I have coming is marked LeBlanc and I am assuming it is a full Rationalle system. Do you know the difference between the "full rationale" and the "partial rationale" systems???? P.S. My apologies for starting this thread in the wrong group
 

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HenryD ran it down!... Rationale horns (Leblanc labeled), alto and tenor (with early developmental prototype forms) had adjusting screws to balance and set the proper action... The so called 'semi-rationale' (Vito labeled 35 Model) alto horns have some unique wrap corking methods w/ 'no' screw adjustments... Beautiful sound and very comfortable hand feel w/ high F#... The Vitos... These are wonderful horns... Warp X is one lucky owner of the very few Leblanc tenors... Listen to some of his audio links here and it's apparent how good a sax he has and how well he speaks with it!
 

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^ Thank you!

Leblanc produced quite a few different models of the horn, which is actually called "System". There was one with an open low C#, and also one (two digits before mine) that had an extra roller key below the RH C/EB plateau. The extra key operated low Bb. With that key you could operate the bell keys just like a clarinet. Saxpics has lots of pictures of the System horns. It's clear that they experimented a lot with the design, especially the bell keys and the G#.
Cbandwoman, is yours an alto or a tenor? If you're getting into setting it up, I suggest you download the setup manual (You'll need it..). It's on the saxquest website.
 

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Copies of the original brochure (with one page duplicated and one left out- though it's clear enough as is) can be found at http://www.saxgourmet.com/leblanc.htm.

The basic fingering concept is pretty simple; 1 plus 1 Bb run amok! On the stack playing any note and then hitting anything on the lower stack drops it a half note. From A to G# (no LH pinky touch needed), from C# to C, from C to B...

As a tech you should have no issues with the basic horn set up. My tenor used screw in resonators (a through slot headed bolt to a socket affixed to the cup, not just a screw in to the pad deal) but was other wise unremarkable in terms of pad work. The pads have to seat pretty much perfectly with a light touch- given the mechanism the effects of any sponginess will be magnified and make the thing miserable to regulate and play.

The spring balancing for the side G# cup (the front G# cup is normally open until closed as opposed to the normal held shut approach- there's a duplicate G# tonehole and cup operated conventionally but for location) is a bit more sensitive than on most horns.

When regulating it's really important to work from the top of the stack down- if you do it in any other order it'll be a mess in the end. Note that the adjustment for the LH G touch assembly to work the body octave pip is adjusted, if neccesary, by bending. A unique octave mechanism which requires a bit of care to get right (works fine when set up)- you'll see what I mean when you check it out; hair springs, teeny tiny adjusting screws, swivelling cups and all...

The lock nuts for the adjustments tend to slightly throw off the setting of the adjusting screws they secure when tightened. Easy enough to anticipate and compensate for but a bit of a pain none the less. For missing lock nuts (and maybe, at your discretion; in place of the lock nuts) a drop of blue locktite holds the adjustment and doesn't have the same "changes when tightened" issues. The adjusting screws for the lower stack are very hard to get at because the bell prevents holding a screwdriver at a decent angle. I used a home made stubby (very stubby) screwdriver to access these. A decent offset screwdriver would work but is difficult to find in the proper tip size. Regrettably, I sent off the stubby and accompanying wrenches with my horn when I sold it.

The LH C# was a real pain for me, but that's down to the way I hold a tenor; off to the right with the bell bow even with the side of my right leg. If you play with a more "horn to the front" approach it'll work great. I always pictured the designers modeling the horn for those French military bandsmen pictured in faded black and white in my old method books; upright and formal! My experience with the 76th Army Band in USAREUR leads me to picture U.S. Army band personnel slightly differently than these...

Best wishes with the horn.
 

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The basic fingering concept is pretty simple; 1 plus 1 Bb run amok! On the stack playing any note and then hitting anything on the lower stack drops it a half note. From A to G# (no LH pinky touch needed), from C# to C, from C to B...
Adding to that, there's the forked Eb fingering and forked Bb. (LH 1+3). That last one is not mentioned in the docs, but it works nonetheless. Lastly there's the high F# which is a 4th LH palm key.
I agree 100% with Henry about the adjusting screws for the lower stack; they are a pain to get at.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Does anyone know what the value of a Leblanc Rationale alto sax in excellent condition might be in today's market???
 

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Well, I have been offering my model 35 for what I consider to be a low price of 600€ (needs overhauling) but , as yet, there were no takers only well wishers
 
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