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Discussion Starter #1
SML Rev B & D comparison

Recently I acquired a second SML alto, a 'Revision B' as it's known. It's the older brother/sister to my beloved 'Revision D' and after extensive cleaning (it was black mostly and splattered with superglue) I thought I'd take some photos showing the pair side by side. The upper stack still needs to be cleaned properly.
Later I'll get out the measuring tape.

Here are the known/visible specs:

SML 'Revision D'
Stamped 'Strasser Marigaux'
Serial # 10xxx
1952?
Silverplate
'White' pearls
Rolled Tone Holes
Switchable Articulated G#
Adjustment screws
Non-adjustable buffers on bell key-guards
Movable Neck Tenon screw
Engraving on bell and clothes-guard
'SML' emblem on neck

SML 'Revision B'
Stamped 'Strasser Marigaux Lemaire' & 'Alliance' (on bell RH and Front)
Serial # 49xx
1942?
Silverplate
'Black' pearls
Rolled Tone Holes
Articulated G#
Adjustment screws
Rat-trap style keyguards except on F#
Non-adjustable buffers on bell key guards (which are on the RH side)
No clothes guard
Fixed Neck Tenon screw
Engraving on bell and bow
Different octave mechanism


Notable points:
The Rev. B's neck is very similar to the later Rev. D and Gold Medal style necks, with the brace and the octave key shape identical to the Rev. D.
I thought I'd try the B neck on my D but no dice it's at least 0.5mm smaller in diameter and the octave ring doesn't meet the mechanism - the angle and length is all wrong. See the photos.

Since the B needs new pads, some new springs and some swedging here and there I could only play from low C to high F and not without a lot of squeaks. Still it sounded a lot darker than my D. And fat! It's a lush, velvety tone with round low-end despite the leaks. My D is dark but with lots of edge by comparison. I really can't wait to take this beauty to my tech and get it back into proper playing state :D

The ergonomics of the LH platter are surprisingly comfy if not more comfortable than the Ds popular platter. The rest of the horn feels identical to the D.

Silverplate. The B seems to have thicker silverplate (only by microns, of course) because the wear down to brass must be around 5% whereas the D is 15% and yet visibly the B has many more scratches and plating abrasions. An abused closet horn? The upper and lower stacks show a decent amount of wear so I think the plating is just a bit more generous.

The RH thumbrest and strap-rings are in identical positions (too the left like the bell alignment)


Two-shots
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_rh_wide_small_zps51e9ac78.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_lh_wide_small_zps6ff72783.jpg

Rev. D RH side
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_rh_revd_upper_small_zps3f5e755f.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_rh_revd_lower_small_zps3eded79b.jpg

Rev. B RH side
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_rh_revb_upper_small_zpsca3f6612.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_rh_revb_lower_small_zps2119da83.jpg

Rev. D LH side
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_lh_revd_upper_small_zpsfb3b4239.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_lh_revd_lower_small_zps80080d6d.jpg

Rev. B LH side
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_lh_revb_upper_small_zps2278c29a.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/top_lh_revb_lower_small_zps9af3a572.jpg

Rev. D Neck
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/neck_revd_lh_small_zps93751396.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/neck_revd_front_small_zpsf6b7cfd6.jpg

Rev. B Neck
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/neck_revb_lh_small_zpsb1898bcb.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/neck_revb_front_small_zps6456e128.jpg

Rev. D Serial stamp & clothes guard
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/revd_serial_small_pixelated_zpsa20cbbe5.jpg

Rev. B Serial Stamp
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/revb_serial_small_pixelated_zps4f114b7b.jpg

Rev. D bell stamp/engraving
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/bell_revd_rh_small_zpsf950dd3a.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/bell_revd_front_small_zps6658fb22.jpg

Rev. B bell stamp/engraving
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/bell_revb_lh_small_zps38ecf70f.jpg
http://i1088.photobucket.com/albums/i333/dubrosa22/SML%20Rev%20B%20and%20D%20Comparison/bell_revb_front_small_zpsb3417746.jpg

:mrgreen:
 

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Hi Dubrosa as well as the SotW community,

you seem the right guys to ask :)

I am an advanced amateur (nothing more) looking to trade up from the YAS 23. Now I could go out and buy a Mark VI. However I am intrigued by the history and story around SML (I love old cars as well, plays to the same type of emotion) and have been offered a Rev B alto Coleman Hawkins.

My question is: Provided it is set up correctly, would I get an instrument that is sensible for me to be in the best position to advance my learning / do the best I can. Or is it too quirky (I gather Keywork is still cumbersome on these earlier models) and rather a collectors / afficionado's instrument to be played once in a while but not the right platform to use every day?

First priority is to have a really good instrument that sets me up for being able to trade at some point to e.g. Selmers. Second priority is the 'mystique' and story of the vintage instrument I am buying.

I gather the Rev Ds are very practical instruments similarly set up to a Mark VI. What do you think about the Rev. B? Have you ever come across the Hawkins edition?

Thanks a lot for sharing your experiences / thoughts!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Personally I wouldn't hesitate buying a decent condition Coleman Hawkins SML if the opportunity arose. Basically they're like Rev. Bs but on steroids!
Very collectable (even more so than regular SMLs which is saying something!)

I haven't seen or played a Hawkins model. Member B-Flat (Nick) here has a Rev A or B that is almost a Hawkins model features-wise. Honestly, for me, playing the Rev. B side by side with the Rev. D only the LH pinky table was a tad different. And not much. A lot of folks are not fans of the Rev D or Gold Medal LH pinky table even. But I love it. I was a new player on a Yamaha YAS275 and the switch to the SML Rev D was easy, but I'm pretty easy going with keywork. I play simple system and long renaissance flutes now too. My fingers like to be stretched!

I bought my Rev. D around 3 or 4 months into starting to play sax and it didn't hinder my progression (I'm the guy guilty of any hindrance!)

If the price is right and you're prepared to put some vintage sax money into getting it into shape (anything from $75 to $600 depending on its condition, damage, parts etc.) I say go for it. The rolled toneholes can get pricey to repair/level so that's one thing to pay close attention to.

Good luck :)
 

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…The Rev. B's neck is very similar to the later Rev. D and Gold Medal style necks, with the brace and the octave key shape identical to the Rev. D.
I thought I'd try the B neck on my D but no dice it's at least 0.5mm smaller in diameter and the octave ring doesn't meet the mechanism - the angle and length is all wrong. See the photos.…
Have you tried measuring the internal volume to see if they are the same? there is an easy blow test you can do too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1d3ACFPGzU

When I do the test, i get a fuller flute tone, which makes it a little easier to hear the differences.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Have you tried measuring the internal volume to see if they are the same? there is an easy blow test you can do too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1d3ACFPGzU
Cool! A very clever approach!
Unfortunately I sold the Rev. B about a year ago. I try to keep my horn collection to one apiece.

Soybean, you say you get a fuller tone. With what compared with what?

V
 

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I had a RevD tenor that was amazing, I let it go after 10 years, the only reason was I didn't like the flex in the low Bb table rods and went the selmer. I think the rev D had a clearer tone and excellent intonation.
 

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Thanks a lot for the good input ! I'll give it a shot. If all is good I will post pics and descriptions to lift a bit more of the vail on what made the hawkins specials special
 

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Cool! A very clever approach!
Unfortunately I sold the Rev. B about a year ago. I try to keep my horn collection to one apiece.

Soybean, you say you get a fuller tone. With what compared with what?

V
V, I just meant that when I do that neck test, I blow it like playing a flute. The sound I get is solid and full, not airy and whistle-like as in the Youtube video. I do not do the trumpet buzz because I am not good at that. Btw, you can also do the "flute blow" on both ends of the neck when comparing pitch.

Before I learned of this blowing test, I used to compare the inner volume of necks by using water. That method is a bit more complicated because one has to tape the octave pip closed and measure water carefully. The blowing test was a revelation for me and saves a lot of time.
 

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Hi,

just moved part of this post into general discussion. well I am still looking for 'my' SML. I saw the pictures of the Rev B you once owned, beautiful. Also listened to the sound recording, super nice!

But my primary concern is sound! Therefore, what did you think of how the sound of your Rev D and the Rev B compared. The seller of the Suepr 41 also sells the Rev D, he is suggesting the Rev D despite making less money, he believes the sound is better....

Any other thoughts/ comments / ideas welcome.

Here are some pictures

Gold Medal
http://s1210.photobucket.com/user/Topocalma/media/IMG_1697.jpeg.html?sort=3&o=0
http://s1210.photobucket.com/user/Topocalma/media/Alto_RevD.jpg.html?sort=3&o=1
http://i1210.photobucket.com/albums/cc414/Topocalma/Alto_Super_41.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Topocaima:
For me, the 'Revison D' was/IS my alto sax sound. Big, smooth with an easy-to-get edge when asked for.
The 'Revision B' had a lovely, creamy 'vintage' sound. Amazing, but not what I was looking for.

You mention a Rev D and then you link to photos of a Gold Medal?

V
 

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Dubrosa,

sorry somehow missed this. There should have be several pictures of the saxophones I was considering. I actually went with an alltogether different Rev D. I am receiving it this weekend, very excited :)
 
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