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I kind of find that some persons try to clasify saxophones (or anything else) into determine labels and then, That's it! Series II is a classical saxophone...

I do not agree. I have a Mark VI, a Series III, a Reference and a Series II. My setup is a Jumbo Java A45 with Plasticovers 3 and Optimum Ligature.

I play blues and rock on my Series II and cannot find why has to be considered as a classical horn, always.

The range is the best, better thah the other horns and needs its neck to go as high as I like.

I can imagine a Mark VI blowed with a Selmer mouthpiece to sound very classical, and a Series II with a Jumbo Java to sound very Rock and Roll...

Talking about altos...

Does anyone agree?

All the best,

JI
 

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Given the proper blowing techniques and mouthpiece/reed combo, any horns can be made to sound classical or rocky.
 

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It's been a few years since I've played a Series II alto, but I can definatly see where you're comming from. The II seems to project like crazy, and with the right mouthpiece would be perfect for blues.

The Selmer I'm most familiar with is my S80 I tenor. For all intents and purposes it's a series II with older style keywork. I've compared several II's to my horn with the only differences being the auxilary F key and high F# key. I'm not sure if the same is true with the alto. I've modified my horn with a Series III neck because it improved the response and made the horn much more "free blowing". Projection was also improved with the neck swap.

Now I have a theory as to why Selmer has deemed the S80 I and II as "classical horns".

THE LONG ANSWER

The simple fact of the matter is that the needs of the classical musician are more demanding than that of a blues musician. Classical ensemble players require a horn with excellent response, fantastic ergonomics, and most of all SPOT ON INTONATION. Though it is true that no saxophone has perfect intonation, the Selmer S80 I and II as well as any Yamaha I've ever played have very good intonation and require the player to make fewer embrouchure adjustments. The neck position and overall ergonomics of the S80 I and II feel like they're designed for a player who is sitting down, like a classical player.

A blues/rock saxophonist requires a horn that is loud and flexible with a tone that is meant to stand out. Intonation is not as big of a deal especially with the blues. If you study some of the old delta blues, the vocalists are constantly sliding in and out of "perfect pitch" in order to create tension or express deep emotion. Meaning that if they are singing a flat 3rd over a chord, the pitch may have started on the 2nd degree and may eventually lead to a major 3rd. The saxophone is used in a very similar way to the human voice in the blues thus the saxophonist has more of an input as to what "playing in tune" is. This is also true with old rockabilly and some duwop. (Check out some Boots Randolph to hear this in action.)

In addition to great intonation, the S80's are also easy to play in the lower register. While it's very easy to get a low B at pp on an S80, doing the same on an old CONN, Martin, or King may take considerble more work even if the later horns are in perfect playing condition. In my experience this is especially true with the alto. This is not to say that the 80's are not capable of being good rock horns. Quite the contrary. If you pop on you're favorite STM, Java, or Deep V you have a saxophone that is more than capable of tackling rock and the blues.


THE SHORT ANSWER

So why does Selmer lable the series II as a "classical horn"? Well, how else are they going to sell the series III as a "jazz horn"? :twisted:
 

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zorroperro said:
Does anyone agree?
I do. :)

I've got a Serie II alto and ~for me~ it worked best for what I want in a classical sound. But it is also a great pop and jazz horn. But I think those terms are relative, because for me the Serie II is great for jazz and pop but for someone else with a different tonal concept, they might like a King Super 20 better. But in and of itself, there's no reason to confine the Serie II to being only a classical instrument.
 

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With your jumbo java slapped on any of those horns it's going to swerve way off course from a classical sound.

Every horn is different and that includes the same make and model.

My alto was any early S80II and it was really stuffy. I wouldn't even play classical with that horn, until I slapped a III neck on it and every thing worked very well.

Of course I don't play classical saxophone, I've always wondered why anyone would want to play classical on a saxophone.....that's what clarinets are for.
 

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heath said:
I've always wondered why anyone would want to play classical on a saxophone.....that's what clarinets are for.
Yep. And why play baroque on the flute...that's what recorders are for. :twisted:
 

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gary said:
Yep. And why play baroque on the flute...that's what recorders are for. :twisted:

Why play an instrument at all when you could just beat-box?
 

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heath said:
Of course I don't play classical saxophone, I've always wondered why anyone would want to play classical on a saxophone.....that's what clarinets are for.
I almost never appreciate music for alto saxophone and piano, but enjoy very very much saxophone quartet's music.
Also baroque music with soprano or baryton saxophone is:p
 

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Martinman said:
Why play an instrument at all when you could just beat-box?

And why...oh, nevermind

Just fill in your own on this one ;)
 

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saxandstrings86 said:
And why...oh, nevermind

Just fill in your own on this one ;)


He he he...I got it...huhuhuh you said beat, Beavis.
 

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When I was looking for a modern alto a few years back, the II was my top candidate (though I eventually went vintage). I guess what I hear as a dark, rich flavor, some folks will hear as a classical sound. Either way, I was going to use the horn for jazz/rock/blues, not classical, and would prefer to add my own modern effects rather than play a horn that starts out as shrill.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Grumps said:
When I was looking for a modern alto a few years back, the II was my top candidate (though I eventually went vintage). I guess what I hear as a dark, rich flavor, some folks will hear as a classical sound. Either way, I was going to use the horn for jazz/rock/blues, not classical, and would prefer to add my own modern effects rather than play a horn that starts out as shrill.
Yeah, I found a dark, rich flavor, but I have heard tons of fellows complaining that an alto should sound like a tenor! Please, forgive me... I know it is absurd... but if what they want is a rich, full of harmonics (inside every note, you get it!), then... Series II. Of course there is the mouthpiece and the reed and I may even add, the ligature.

That is what I think.

On the other hand, I have heard myself recorded and I can still do not why, but the Series II is very picky.

The Mark VI goes fine with any recording system, but the Series II demands a better stuff.

Maybe it is the "dark sound".

All the best,

JI
 

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Superaction80 gave a very good answer to this question (especially the short answer). I really don't think there are "classical" vs "jazz or blues" saxophones. Although I might agree that some horns (with the best intonation maybe) might be more suited to classical, I think any horn can be used for jazz & blues. What is far more important is the mouthpiece. This is where you can differentiate the classical vs jazz/blues/r&r sound.

It wasn't, and still isn't clear to me whether the original post was about alto or tenor. Maybe both?? Or bari perhaps (probably not)?
 

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heath said:
I've always wondered why anyone would want to play classical on a saxophone
Someday when I retire and can practice 70 hours a week rather than work 70 hours a week I will play Bach's Goldberg Variations on baritone, tour the world, and you and other skeptics will realize why the saxophone is perfect for classical music. I know - keep dreaming. At least I can hear it in my head. Anyway Sax made the sax to replace that pitiful instrument called a violin and in the process invented the greatest music instrument in existence so why wouldn't you use a sax for classical.
 

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JL said:
It wasn't, and still isn't clear to me whether the original post was about alto or tenor. Maybe both?? Or bari perhaps (probably not)?
Thank you for the kind words JL and I believe that the original post was regarding alto. Alto saxes seem to be the most predominant saxophone in the classical setting with the tenor being a distant second. Mind you that I'm not now nor do I ever intend to be a legit classical player. This is rather an observation I've made from watching classical ensembles.

It is kind of funny that the same marketing techniques that apply to alto and tenor are not applied to soprano and bari. I've wondered if that is because the majority of players use alto or tenor, or if it's due to the fact that the sop and bari seem to be less finicky horns. What I mean is a soprano sax in general requires a very good ear and very good embouchure. Once mastered, a soprano is very flexible in terms of intonation and it is feasible to lip a note up or down to get it in tune. From my experience this even applys to all but the worst Chinese horns that are simply impossible to play. My experience on bari is very limited, but I have played examples of a Chinese Bentley, Jupiter (800 series I think), Yamaha 52, and even a low A Mark VI. I did not have any trouble playing any of these in tune through their entire range. Or maybe the truth of the matter may be that there simply is not much use for the soprano and bari, as well as the other rarer pitches, in a classical setting outside of a saxophone ensemble.

Brasscane, I agree that the saxophone sounds very good in classical music. John Williams hopped on board a few years ago with a sax lead for the music of "Catch Me If You Can". Check out some of the soundclips on Jay Eastons website. He has clips of an entire saxophone ensemble playing. The string section can ALMOST be completely emulated with saxophones, though I'd imagine that trying to emulate individual string solos would be much more difficult. And I have to admit that I like the sound of the violin.:D
 

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brasscane said:
Someday when I retire and can practice 70 hours a week rather than work 70 hours a week...
You keep working 70 hours a week and you may never see retirement. ;)
 

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brasscane said:
Anyway Sax made the sax to replace that pitiful instrument called a violin and in the process invented the greatest music instrument in existence so why wouldn't you use a sax for classical.
I thought he invented it to give woodwinds a stronger voice in military bands. Not exactly an initial classical route.
 

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Grumps said:
I thought he invented it to give woodwinds a stronger voice in military bands. Not exactly an initial classical route.
FWIW, my impression was to replace violins in military bands because they could not be heard outdoors. I read it in a biography of Sax.

Whenever I play my classical sax cd's for friends who are not into saxes and ask them to name the instruments being played, they always come up with string instruments.

BTW, I love viola, cello, bass so just kiddin'
 

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brasscane said:
FWIW, my impression was to replace violins in military bands because they could not be heard outdoors.
I think we're on the same track here, but it brings up an interesting question: Would military band music at the time be considered classical?
 
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