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Vintage horns, such as a Conn NW transitional, Buescher Aristocrat 146, Buescher stencil alto from about 1939, 1950 King Zephyr, are all comfortable for me, really more comfortable than some modern horns. Friends, who play modern horns, have tried my horns and some have liked them and some were not comfortable.
 

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I guess we'll agree to disagree. I've also owned and played a 10M (from around '52 if I remember correctly) and currently own a Buescher Big B from 1941. While I prefer the overall and more spread sound of my Selmer Super, neither the 10M or the Big B have any kind of spongy feel or flex in the metal in any way. Maybe you know something I don't, but I honestly don't believe the Conn or Bueschers of that time frame were made with thinner or more spongy metal. I'd wager it's more about how the horn is set up than the metal. Trust me, there's nothing flimsy about how 10M's or any model of Bueschers were made. If anything, I've heard more fellow players say the contrary, that they feel those horns are built more like a tank than a saxophone (which I also disagree with). I'll leave it at that.
Yes, my series 1 Aristocrat is built like a warship and has the piercing sound of a samurai sword. Nothing spongy on that horn, nor on any of my TTs, Big B, vintage Conns, Kings or Martins. The exceptions may be some Shooting Stars that may have been assembled from parts of various origins but even that's a stretch
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
I was talking to my tech yesterday and we were talking about Vintage horns, since I am looking for a vintage Alto.

His opinion is that the Brass from before, like 1930, 40s, 50s and 60s was much better, or better said, had a different consistency. He said that the older horns brass is very hard and very hard to bend, vs. the newer horns he can bend the brass very easily, he thinks that obviously that it has an impact in the sound, which I agree with him and his opinion.

Thanks!
 

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I was talking to my tech yesterday and we were talking about Vintage horns, since I am looking for a vintage Alto.

His opinion is that the Brass from before, like 1930, 40s, 50s and 60s was much better, or better said, had a different consistency. He said that the older horns brass is very hard and very hard to bend, vs. the newer horns he can bend the brass very easily, he thinks that obviously that it has an impact in the sound, which I agree with him and his opinion.

Thanks!
That is far too broad a generalization. It's not so much a matter of when it was made, but its composition and processing (including final thickness). The choices of manufacturers varied then, and will vary now. To say that every horn made now has soft brass is simplistic and just not true.
 

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I was talking to my tech yesterday and we were talking about Vintage horns, since I am looking for a vintage Alto.

His opinion is that the Brass from before, like 1930, 40s, 50s and 60s was much better, or better said, had a different consistency. He said that the older horns brass is very hard and very hard to bend, vs. the newer horns he can bend the brass very easily, he thinks that obviously that it has an impact in the sound, which I agree with him and his opinion.

Thanks!
Well, the brass used in a particular component in a particular instrument is going to be chosen from the stock of the local metals distributor according to the properties desired. For example, you might well not choose the same material for keywork (need good machinability, high yield strength) as for a body tube (need formability), which is opposed to the high yield strength you want for keywork.

Some key touches are cast, so they'll be made from casting alloys which are different from the alloys used for the key touches that are forged. Long rods are going to be rolled bar stock. Key arms are going to be sheet stock, stamped. So in a given saxophone we may have alloys chosen for key rods and arms (machinability, stamping, high yield strength), casting (easy flow to fill a mold), forging (hot formability) and body tube (ability to form and draw cold).

I believe the basic copper based alloy specs have been pretty much stable since the 1930s or so, thus differences are due to the choices that the designers made and put on the drawings, and were then bought by the purchasing agents.
 

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I came from the teachings that you can learn to deal with mechanics, but not sound. That being said... my personal OPINION (as I have no facts to back this up except for assumption) is that modern design has not changed saxophone for the better.

When it comes to sound, the definition of "what is good" often is defined by modern players as "how in tune does it play with the least amount of work". My OPINION is you PLAY they saxophone in tune, not just blow air and wiggle fingers.

Scientific advancements that have come about to determine where to place tone holes, better bore, etc, I think take out some of the human effort that was previously needed to play, thus you needed more cognitive effort to play.

Again, this is all an opinion. To each their own.
This makes a lot of sense. Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
That is far too broad a generalization. It's not so much a matter of when it was made, but its composition and processing (including final thickness). The choices of manufacturers varied then, and will vary now. To say that every horn made now has soft brass is simplistic and just not true.
Well, that was his opinion and I am not sure you can say that is not true, is just his opinion. That is what he does on a daily basis for the last 30 years and he just shared his opinion, and to clarify, he didn't say that the brass on new horns is soft, but he said that is SOFTER than the vintage horns.
 

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Well, that was his opinion and I am not sure you can say that is not true, is just his opinion. That is what he does on a daily basis for the last 30 years and he just shared his opinion, and to clarify, he didn't say that the brass on new horns is soft, but he said that is SOFTER than the vintage horns.
Without Rockwell or Brinell data, it's just speculation.
 

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Well, the brass used in a particular component in a particular instrument is going to be chosen from the stock of the local metals distributor according to the properties desired. For example, you might well not choose the same material for keywork (need good machinability, high yield strength) as for a body tube (need formability), which is opposed to the high yield strength you want for keywork.

Some key touches are cast, so they'll be made from casting alloys which are different from the alloys used for the key touches that are forged. Long rods are going to be rolled bar stock. Key arms are going to be sheet stock, stamped. So in a given saxophone we may have alloys chosen for key rods and arms (machinability, stamping, high yield strength), casting (easy flow to fill a mold), forging (hot formability) and body tube (ability to form and draw cold).

I believe the basic copper based alloy specs have been pretty much stable since the 1930s or so, thus differences are due to the choices that the designers made and put on the drawings, and were then bought by the purchasing agents.
+1.
That's what all about.
 

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Well, that was his opinion and I am not sure you can say that is not true, is just his opinion. That is what he does on a daily basis for the last 30 years and he just shared his opinion, and to clarify, he didn't say that the brass on new horns is soft, but he said that is SOFTER than the vintage horns.
... indeed, older horns were made from thinner sheets of brass: easier to manufacturing/forming but much more delicate.

Take a Selmer SBA and then a Series II.
Check how much the two horns weight... and which is easier to bend.

If he works with chinese crap, he's totally right.
But with modern pro instruments from the Big 4... that's not the case.
 

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Well, that was his opinion and I am not sure you can say that is not true, is just his opinion. That is what he does on a daily basis for the last 30 years and he just shared his opinion, and to clarify, he didn't say that the brass on new horns is soft, but he said that is SOFTER than the vintage horns.
Even that is not true - for the reasons that turf3 has taken the time to spell out.

We need to be careful about what false truths are left uncontested, lest people read them and take them as factual.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Even that is not true - for the reasons that turf3 has taken the time to spell out.

We need to be careful about what false truths are left uncontested, lest people read them and take them as factual.
I don't consider a false truth, I consider it an opinion.

Unless you can show me in paper with facts, the brass composition from vintage horns and the one from the new ones.
 

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Well, the brass used in a particular component in a particular instrument is going to be chosen from the stock of the local metals distributor according to the properties desired. For example, you might well not choose the same material for keywork (need good machinability, high yield strength) as for a body tube (need formability), which is opposed to the high yield strength you want for keywork.

Some key touches are cast, so they'll be made from casting alloys which are different from the alloys used for the key touches that are forged. Long rods are going to be rolled bar stock. Key arms are going to be sheet stock, stamped. So in a given saxophone we may have alloys chosen for key rods and arms (machinability, stamping, high yield strength), casting (easy flow to fill a mold), forging (hot formability) and body tube (ability to form and draw cold).

I believe the basic copper based alloy specs have been pretty much stable since the 1930s or so, thus differences are due to the choices that the designers made and put on the drawings, and were then bought by the purchasing agents.
I've always wondered why the keys were a slightly different color than the body tube and neck on some of my vintage horns. I guess different brass alloys might be the answer! It's really obvious when the lacquer is gone.
 

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Did you own the 10M and Cleveland at the same time? I own both, and I find the touches a bit cramped feeling on my Cleveland, after playing the 10M exclusively, for months.
I don't think so - I think I had the 10M first, and then later the Cleveland. And the 10M was one of the later '60s ones with the underslung octave key.
 

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I don't consider a false truth, I consider it an opinion.

Unless you can show me in paper with facts, the brass composition from vintage horns and the one from the new ones.
Not all manufacturers of vintage horns used the same alloys, nor do they use the same alloys today. The difference in perceived hardness is also a function of processing - something that, again, is not common among contemporaneous manufacturers. Therefore, a generalization about old vs new is ill-founded. Some are nearly the same, others vary widely. Any paper will not contain everything, old and current, so what you ask for cannot exist.

Much of this has been explored in depth over the span of your tenure at SotW. I am sorry that you didn't get to read it while it was news.
 

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I think saxes peaked a long time ago in design and construction, [and popularity]. I play 95 year old and 15 year old saxes interchangeably, so I think the "ergo" thing is exaggerated. I can't really think of a single performance-based innovation [not cost savings] to have happened in sax design in the last 60 years? Maybe longer.
 

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I’m amazed at how whenever somebody’s tech says some sort of crap it becomes gospel.
My first tech said Martins are ****e, stay away from them.
So I bought one and went to a different tech.
 
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