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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Does anyone else have a SBA Soprano? There are only a very few around. Mine is gold plated, 40xxx, which is even rarer.

I love its sound, like a vintage Selmer should have. But like the soprano MKVI's, it has those palm keys that are not really comfortable, and intonation issues - which I fixed anyway with the embouchure.

I am considering buying a modern soprano, with a warm sound too. I am looking into R&C saxellos, Yanagisawas and Borganis, What would you say that comes closer to the SBA sound?

Also, is there a market for the SBA soprano? How to find out what is its value? I am not sure, but depending on its value I would possibly consider a trade for a modern soprano plus cash, if there was the chance. Unfortunately I can not afford to be a collector... I prefer playing music than collecting instruments!

Thanks a lot for any input!

Cheers to all

Andrea
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for your comments!

Well, I knew that sopranos SBA are rare but the fact that only a few of you have seen or even tried one, surprises me. How many of them are out there? A few hundreds were made, how many survived to our days?

Whaler, so in your experience it plays and sounds like a MKVI, right? Is it possible that there could be a difference in sound between the SBA, early MKVI and later MKVI, like with tenors for example? Or soprano are just one thing, maybe because the tube is smaller and the smaller amount of brass used in the various years can't make much difference, always compared to the tenors?

Dr. G, you are the Borgani guy... Have you seen the Borgani Jubilee soprano that Taras has put up for sale some weeks ago? I was actually thinking about that one, but without knowing soundwise and ergonomically how it behaves, I am not willing to spend so much money just to try it out. Do you still play with one, or you have another with bent neck now?

Kreacher, the extra left pinky key is not an extra key. It's just that the whole table is set up differently compared to modern horns. MKVI's sopranos have the same. As you see the picture, the long low key to your left is the Bb, the long to your right with the two black rollers is the C#, the smaller key in the centre-left is the B and the oval on top is the G#. So they are the same key, just with different shapes. Whaler wrote it faster them me, while I was typing...
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks all for your great comments that actually help me to decide what to do with my soprano quest!

Paul, your experience with the SBA, MKVI's and Rampone is really invaluable. You confirm my choice for the latter as the modern horn that I should be looking for. About the SBA, I believe your "negative" experience with yours is not what I am having with mine. But I don't have a great MKVI to compare it with, so maybe if you tried mine you would still not be happy with it, who knows. I too managed to tame its tuning high up with embouchure and voicing, but I can't completely get over the difficulty with the palm keys. The pinky table is ok though, I actually like it. In any case, I think that I would be more comfortable with a modern horn, so I will go for a Rampone, and I actually love the idea of a Saxello, so I will look for one (silver I believe)!

One last question to Paul. Have you got an idea of what could be the value of this SBA? If I decided to trade it for a Rampone, how much would I be looking for from it? As I said above, I am not a collector but a player (even if not a Pro) and I prefer to keep just the horn that I actually play instead of having more horns.

Thanks again all for you great comments!
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
I have seen that sop: https://www.saxontheweb.net/threads...x-vintage-finish-2-bells.386943/#post-4351302

It is exactly the same as mine - only different. Here’s the thread from when I found mine (see posts #113-): Borgani serial number starting with "OB"???


I still have mine and continue to enjoy it. Mine has a bent neck, silverplated mechanism, and silver power bell - pretty much the same as Taras’ except with a bent neck and a lil’ older (mine is OBS26).
Thanks George on that.

Do the power bell really work on the Borgani? How can that be exactly? And how does the silver differ from the bronze and brass ones? I was always curious... Do you also think that the price that he asks for it is fair?, sorry for asking but I have really not many other references to compare. There is actually a gold plated one with silver bell on the Italian musical market that looks great at the same price (https://www.mercatinomusicale.com/mm/a_sax-soprano-borgani-gold-24k_id4143285.html). So which is the right price for a Borgani? thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Thanks George for your further info! I believe that the curved neck must be more comfortable to play. That's why I have thought of the R&C Saxello. I didn't know that Borgani had a curved neck model. Now, I have had an input from another SOTW member regarding the soprano rampone. He found that his copper one was way too resistant compared to his SBA soprano (yes, there is another one who plays with it!), and he neded up selling it. he claims that the SBA is like no others and he plays only with that!

So in your experience, are soprano borgani resistant or free blowing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I'm sorry but I do not have an accurate estimate on the value of your SBA soprano. I'm not a dealer, so I am sure to be not up to date on these values. For other discussions about the Rampones, etc, feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
Paul Cohen
Thanks a lot Paul, I will do, because I just had a conversation with another musician who has the SBA soprano and plays with it all the time, who had a copper Rampone soprano and he didn't like its resistance. He finds the SBA is very free blowing and he prefers that. I will write you directly, thanks a lot again for your help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
I have a silver plated 1952 SBA soprano. I love it. The tone is very big and warm.

I have no problems with the intonation, but my alto and tenor are also 1952 SBAs, and I have been playing them since I found them at McBride's Pawn Shop in Denton Texas in 1972 ($225 for the tenor, $175 for the alto. Back then everyone wanted the Mark VI and you couldn't hardly give away an SBA.) so I guess I may just be fully attuned (no pun intended) to playing 1952 SBAs. (My low A bari is a 1952 SBA which also plays great.)

My repairman says this soprano is the best soprano he has ever played on, so I am not the only one who thinks it is a good instrument.

My only dislike is that the keyword tends to be a bit weak. I guess it is a function of the older springs.

Mark Lanus (guess when I was born)
Born in 19...25??:ROFLMAO: So did you do it on purpose to find them all from you birth year or was it just a chance? So cool! What are the odds... And wow, those were lottery wins at that price!

So until now, of all of you who wrote me (here and in a PM) saying that you have a soprano SBA, you really but really love it and play with it as main soprano professionally, except for a couple of you who found them not so good. As Paul stated, it is very likely that because there was so much hand making back then, some came out not as good as others.
As Milnak reminded us, only 530 of these were made, which is few. How many still exist? So this soprano is really rare compared to other horns, and I was actually told that it is really valuable also in term of $$, because it is also quite sought after. So I guess that we who own one should keep it very dear and never sell it...

I finally found a straight gold plated R&C at a good price that I have decided to buy and try, thank you all for helping me clear out my mind on what to do. I especially thank Paul for his hints on the R&C's, that's what made me decide to go for a straight one actually, and George for his info about his beloved Borganis! - I haven't find any Borgani yet, so probably fate wanted me to go for a R&C... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
For the first two, tenor and alto, I had no idea when they were made. Only that I loved the tone better than my Mark VI tenor and alto that I had at the time. Bigger, fatter, darker.

After about 30 years, I figured out that they were made the same year I was, and thought it would be cool if I found a soprano and bari from 1952.

I bought both my sop and bari from Mark Sepinulk, aka 10MFan, although I had to pay him a few dollars more than I did for the tenor and alto!

m
Small world, Mark told me that he had an SBA soprano, and here we now know where it is now... along with all other 1952 SBA brothers and sisters!:cool:
 
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