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Distinguished SOTW Member
1,640 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well it's been a hot day here and for the kicks I went to a local music store to play some altos. My current alto is a Yanagisawa A991 with an un-lacquered neck (I also have bronze and a solid silver necks too but that un-lacquered is my favorite).

Mouthpieces for testing were: Phil-Tone Meyer 5M, Otto Link STM 5 and a Runyon (model 22) #6.

I consider myself as a solid alto player. The alto is my main instrument although I play the tenor and the soprano too. Bebop's my style, I'm not into contemporary jazz..

Yamaha YAS-62. It's a solid instrument. Free-blowing, easy to play and solid intonation. Compared to my Yani it had more clarity and pureness to the sound. I really liked it. Keywork is nice and it was set-up pretty well. Compared to my Yani it was few notches louder. I still prefer my Yani's creamy sound with some fuzziness to it. I could easily use this horn as my #1 horn.

Bronze Yanagisawas A902 and A992. Both nice instrument. Those both were a bit too dark for my tastes. I didn't have any bright sounding mouthpiece to match with those. Maybe they could have worked better with a brighter mouthpiece than with my pretty dark sounding test mouthpieces..

Tried some Jupiters also. Wasn't impressed with those. Solid horns though.

Selmer Reference 54. I was a bit dissappointed because I really wanted to test Series III alto but they only had those Ref-models available. Comparing the price tag vs. what came out of the horn I was dissappointed. Nothing special, I really wanted this to be THE horn for me but my Yanagisawa played and sounded as good or even better. Tried 2-3 or those.

P. Mauriat 67R (UL). Wow, at first it really sounded different than the other horns. I found the keywork and build-quality a bit cheapie compared to the others. It didn't feel as solid in my hands as the others did. But it played well. Very free-blowing and even a breath of air produced a loud sound! I really noticed that they are going for a vintage sound. No doubt about that. As some others here, I found it pretty one-dimensional horn. It had that one sound and that's about it.

And my favorite.. TADAA!

Keilwerth SX90R "Vintage". This horn immediatly felt and sounded different (in a good way) from the others. I'd emphasize that the sound was DEEP and very easy to mold. I liked the keywork very much and the build-quality was very solid. As many have stated here on SOTW that Keilwerth is really doing their own thing.

First I apologize my english and shortness of this review. To my surpise all the altos sounded pretty same to me (differencies were very subtle) expect the Keilwerth that stood out of the crowd.

I wish I could try Series III alto later. I also found out that I prefer semi-bright or semi-dark sounding altos. The alto has to has some brightness to the sound, let's leave the pitch-black sound concept for tenor ;-)

Thanks for reading!

EDIT: I have to emphasize that I'm looking for another alto, something different from my Yanagisawa. The YAS-62, Ref 54 even the Jupiter could be my #1 horn but this time I was looking something a bit different. I left the shop with my trusty Yani and I'll try to test others altos later.. And BTW. I love my A991. it did well :)
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