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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I'm one of P. Mauriat's endorsers and as I've said repeatedly, have become one by my choice because of my experience with their instruments. For me, they have offered a very different sound and experience and I've owned and played all the usual requisite vintage Selmers, Conns, Martins, Kings, H. Coufs, Keilwerths and more, and, was a Yamaha endorser for years before choosing to play P. Mauriat saxophones.

I needed a better alto for an upcoming piece I'm playing, I've sold a couple of Mark VI's and a Yamaha Z in the last few years, good horns, certainly, but just not quite the best fit for me. I asked the folks at P. Mauriat for info on their altos and they recommended the unlacquered System 76 2nd edition alto and I'm very pleased they did.

I play a 66RUL tenor and an unlacquered PMB-302 bari, am thrilled with them both, and figured I'd end up with the 67RUL alto since the tenor works so well for me. I was quite happy to go with their recommendation on this alto model, I'd previously play-tested a dark lacquer System 76 2nd Edition alto that I liked well enough, but, this is a completely different horn.

I am not able to put these two side by side, but, if memory serves correctly, the bell flare on the unlacquered model compared to the dark lacquer version is huge, much bigger than the dark lacquer horn I tried in a local shop (can anyone confirm or negate this?). I don't yet know all the technical details of the manufacturing process, but, this bare brass 'patina' is quite different in appearance than either my tenor or bari. It looks great, the engraving is quite deep and sharp and certainly appears to be done by hand, fantastic work.

This alto is very substantial, feels great in the hands, excellent ergonomics, fully ribbed and a 'robust' saxophone. The sound is huge and yet very easy to control, the altissimo pops out very, very easily, much easier than the three previous altos I'd mentioned above. The pitch is excellent, I'm very pleased with the horn's intonation. The two VI's I refer to had some pitch 'discrepancies', particularly in the middle register, the Yamaha was better in that area but I never felt I was getting a sound with which I was quite happy. I'm very pleased that the P. Mauriat alto is fantastic in both those areas.

For me, the sound is somewhere between the 'spread' of the 66RUL tenor (I've not played the alto version of this model before) I have, yet is certainly bigger than either of the two VI's and the Z altos I've recently let go. How does one describe their personal interpretation of 'dark/bright' that is so unique to us all? I've no idea, however, this horn sounds great to me. One player describes a VI as 'dark', 'spread', 'huge core' and the next (me) describes them as 'focused', a bit bright or mid-range-y, etc. To each his own, I'm pleased to have this one in hand.

As I've also said, I had no interest in changing from my Selmers and Yamahas but after repeatedly play-testing the 66RUL tenor, I simply had to make the switch because for me, and most of us here, sound is what it's all about.

Also, of course, we all have thoughts about finish differences and many of us have read various treatises on sound, I never felt there was a difference between lacquer or bare brass until I started playing these horns, no matter what anyone else says, for me, I've found a difference, yes, it may be attributed to any number of things with the horns, necks, etc., but as one previous poster in a thread about this related, I don't care, it works for me.

I highly recommend giving this model alto a play and I'd welcome others' thoughts about the differences between this and other System 76's and would also appreciate hearing about the design and finish differences, the processes, from anyone at P. Mauriat. This is a great alto and I'm having a ball with the horn, thanks to Alex and all at P. Mauriat. Having this alto in hand makes me very, very interested in the tenor version of this model, check out Bob Reynolds on YouTube playing the unlacquered System 76 2nd edition tenor, wonderful playing on a great horn.

thanks, DC
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