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For the soprano guys out there:
How would a B and S soprano compare say to a Kessler Custom (500 dollar horn)?

BY B and S I mean probably a later 1000 model (serial number in the 10,000s).
Thanks!
 

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New? Used? Can you play them side-by-side? I own a B&S Medusa alto - nice enough horn (great sound) but I don't know about their sopranos. I don't recall ever seeing one.

If made in Germany, it may be decent. What I DO know is that Dave Kessler's sopranos are good players especially for an inexpensive horn.

If buying new, I'd stick with Kessler, a known entity and an established business. I don't think B&S is in business anymore. Doesn't mean the B&S soprano is bad, just weighing the back-up. DAVE
 

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I don't know the Kessler horns at all, sorry to say.

The older B&S horns (German) that I've played have all been good with the exception of the palm key notes. All the ones that I have played have had the palm note tone holes all in a row and they would most always present a problem speaking easily.

The sound has been more American than French, in comparison, bigger bore and requiring a bit more air.
 

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The position of the palm-key tone holes makes no difference. Selmers from early-on through the MKVI models had in-line palm-key tone holes, as well as the early Conns and Yanagisawa MKVI-clones and others that copied the MKVI. I've owned a MKVI, an early Conn, and I still have a Taiwanese-made MKVI clone and they all played the high notes okay. The problem is that those horns had/have their palm keys in-line as opposed to the larger saxophones' forked palm keys. Some are okay with in-line palm keys and others aren't, but solely because of ease in manipulating them, not because the horns don't play with those in-line tone holes.

I doubt there is a difference in bore-size, too. See my recent post about bore sizes. DAVE
 

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Dave Dolson, nice to see you back on the board. The B&S sopranos and baritones were not quite in the same class with the altos and tenors which had been redesigned and updated a few times in the 1990s and 2000s. Still good horns though. I've heard favorable reports about the 1000 model you ask about. That should have the more modern palm keys (not in-line). Some are labled "Musica" but make sure they are marked as Made in Germany. B&S made the Musica sopranos up till the end of production, so you could find one in near new condition.
 

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In-line palm-key tone holes probably means that the keys that open them are also in a straight line. Well, maybe not an exact straight line for the keys, but pretty much straight, and for sure NOT forked like most sopranos and bigger saxophones.

Look at any old Selmer up to the MKVI, old Conn sopranos, and the MKVI clones from Japan and Taiwan and you will see what I mean. I have never seen in-line tone holes with their respective keys being forked like bigger (and most soprano) saxophones. Doesn't mean they've never been made - I am not claiming to have seen every saxophone made. But what I am claiming is that the in-line tone holes mean nothing as far as playability goes AND that the bores are pretty much all the same . . . AND I'm sure they don't require more breath than do other sopranos. DAVE
 

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In-line palm-key tone holes probably means that the keys that open them are also in a straight line. Well, maybe not an exact straight line for the keys, but pretty much straight, and for sure NOT forked like most sopranos and bigger saxophones.

But what I am claiming is that the in-line tone holes mean nothing as far as playability goes AND that the bores are pretty much all the same . . . AND I'm sure they don't require more breath than do other sopranos. DAVE
Virtually every soprano I've encountered with in-line tone holes for the left hand palm keys have been less responsive there. Not maybe. 3 or 4 have passed through here in the last 5 years

And the bore size issue is just a fact, Dave.

It makes a significant difference in the feel and response of a soprano, and it is one of the main reasons why a mouthpiece will play great on one horn and not so great on another.

I've got 7 different sopranos lined up here now and I confirm this every day I work.

There's no maybe about it.
 

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I measured the inside bore diameters at the neck of 5 sopranos just now.
The differences, from the smallest initial bore, varied from over 5% to 8.8%, quickly calculated.

That's pretty much DIFFERENT in my book, not pretty much the same.
 

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I don't know much about sopranos, but my JK alto definitely has a larger bore than most other altos.
 

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Joe, I guess you and I must agree to disagree. To me, the bore size is the entire cone from top to bottom, not just the neck opening. Show me the measurements of the entire cone, compared to others, and I might back off. As far as the in-line tone holes, no problemo with any of the ones I've owned or played. DAVE
 

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the bore size is the entire cone from top to bottom, not just the neck opening.
I agree. The neck opening is just a hint. The bore may or may not be consistent as it enlarges.
 

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Let's be clear about this: the air transitions from your oral cavity, through your mouthpiece into the END of the horn.

That is where the initial action/ transition is, and a smaller bore or larger bore right there MEANS something.

A tighter throat in the mouthpiece MEANS something; a smaller tip on the mouthpiece MEANS something.

I'll leave the rest of the horn to the engineers but I deal every day with that transition and it is real. I really don't know a player who thinks otherwise, truly.
 

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For the soprano guys out there:
How would a B and S soprano compare say to a Kessler Custom (500 dollar horn)?

BY B and S I mean probably a later 1000 model (serial number in the 10,000s).
Thanks!
I used to own a B&S soprano with a serial number in the 5000 range.
Overall the horn was not bad, but what really annoyed me about it was that the note A1 (A without the octave key) was flat.
I exchanged some PMs with one or two other SOTW users who said their B&S (or Medusa) soprano had the same issue with A1.
Others have said their B&S soprano did not have any issue with the intonation of the A1 note.
Based on how I hear other people describe certain B&S tenor and alto models as being pretty good horns, I suspect Soybean is right about the B&S soprano not really being in the same league as their better tenor and alto models.

I have never played a Kessler Custom soprano sax, but based on the generally good feedback I have read here on these horns, if I had $500 to spend on a soprano sax, and my two choices were a Kessler Custom and a B&S, I would go with the Kessler Custom.

I don't know anything about any later B&S soprano sax models (you mentioned something in the 10,000 serial number range). If they exist, they might be a totally different animal than the one I used to own, and about which I exchanged some PMs with some other SOTW people.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks guys.

This leaves me to think of the B&S sop is a decent horn maybe for the beginner or intermediate player but there are better horns out there.

I think an experienced player would have no problem with a horn like this, but with me just getting back into it Id rather go with a horn that was a bit more playable, or at the very least had more modern ergos and technology-
Thanks
 

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The ones made in the last 15 years or so have the more modern ergonomics.
 
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