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Anyone who posts on this sub-forum should be interested in THIS ARTICLE .
It would be great to compare a $20,000 MK VI to the best offerings from Yanagisawa, Yamaha and others. It's hard to make it fully blind though because of network differences; need to find a neutral advocate for the evaluation to do the playing

Thoughts?
 

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It would certainly be interesting (and pretty easy), to do a test with saxophones and an audience. My feeling is that a really good vintage Selmer is going to beat out the competition. But of course that is what all these violinists thought about their Stradivarius'.

Actually, I heard Benny Golson live playing a Reference 36, and it sounded pretty amazing. But he has a huge sound, and is maybe more suited to the newer horns than someone like Jimmy Heath or Mark Turner. Sax players and wind players have more variety in their sounds than violin players, so it would be hard to do a very scientific test.
 

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VI Soprano, Searchlight Alto, TH&C Tenor
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But he has a huge sound
i'm sure influence of the fingering and bowing techniques that the best violin virtuosi apply, but i'm guessing that the diaphragm and embouchure on a sax figures a more robust % of the sound, one note at a time. on the other hand, since brass instruments don't seem to deteriorate much, and at the very least the player can recognize differences between an 80 year old Conn, a 50 year of Selmer and a modern Yamaha. discussions of model, vintage and craft aren't going away soon.
 

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Sure there are more or less subtle differences and string older string instruments outrageous value doesn't have ANYTHING to do with sound quality. It's just that they are very few and collectable for billionaires etc.

My son plays a 5000$ chinese made cello setup by one of the best luthiers and I can tell you that to my ears he won't have to step up even if he would like to go processional. And I listen to a lot of classical cello.

And 200, 300 year older string instruments is also way harder to play generally.

Vintage saxes are a the same, they don't make them anymore and people collect and that will drive the value up over time, but we know that they are no better than a Yamaha or Yanagisawa. I play a Martin Magna tenor, freaking good sound but a nearly impossible horn to play in a wind section. I would gladly play a new Yamaha z82 but the Martin tenor payed 1200$ for so there it is. I would certainly not pay 7000$ for a Selmer who is no walk in the park either when it comes to intonation.
 

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Soprano: 1983 Keilwerth Toneking Schenklaars stencil
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First, I can't imagine playing on an instrument for which someone had paid $16 million. That's crazy. I thought the prices collectors pay for saxophones indicates they have more dollars than sense. Wow!

Creation of a saxophone is always about compromise. The compromises made to create a vintage horn will rarely be the compromises to make a modern horn. It is no wonder that modern audiences prefer the modern to the vintage. For example, intonation, I think that intonation in all saxes, but especially sopranos, is a bigger priority today that it was 50 to 100 years ago. That change changes the whole game plan, so to speak. Perhaps even more influential is the instruments saxophones are playing along side. Generally, this is a need for volume, but the timbre to blend with a synthesizer may be a little different than the timbre to blend with a piano. It's not that one is better or worse than another, but as needs have changed priorities in design have changed.

However, the biggest place saxophones have changed is in their mouthpieces.
 
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