Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
As a regular nino player I enjoy the tone/timbre of the nino more than the soprano. It's however a niche market and Lost Con is right about manufacturers and small markets. It's also the most difficult to play in tune and sound good. The usual sneers about dog whistles doesn't help much. Many have complained about nothing being written for them...which is true, but doesn't bother an improvisor like me.

OK, some history...the soprano sax went way out of fashion from the late 1930s (you don't see them in big bands) and many manufacturers stopped making them. Fast forward to the late 1960s and suddenly they are back. It's fashion! For those of us who play a nino there's no issue as horns are definitely available. Some of the Chinese horns are not bad, and certainly good for the price!

My personal take on the Yanagisawa nino was that it desperately needed a redesign. The tone was very good, but the increased embouchure required for the top of the horn was a killer. The R&C and Selmer are much better in that regard. Even the Chinese horns were easier to play. So lack of demand killed off a redesign of the Yani nino. Not the end of the world...and certainly no determinant of how many nino players will continue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
It's not the determinant, but I think it's a determinant. It hurts any kind of sax when the support from the Big Three is either half-hearted and unaffordable (Selmer), fading away into obsolescence (Yany), or permanently nonexistent (Yamaha).
OK lets repeat the history lesson: There were very few makers of sopranos from the late 1930 until late 1960s. Did the soprano disappear permanently? Not hardly! The Nino has never been a super popular instrument. It's always been fringe. Those who play it and like it are likely to continue.

Saxes aren't exactly like cars that get junked after 15 years. Saxes well over 100 years old are still around, some treasured! The number of sopraninos continues to increase...with or without Yamaha or Yanagisawa. They are not decreasing. The price of quality sopraninos is not going down either...which would be an indication of less demand.

Methinks you're prematurely trying to bury the poor little chap when he's ambling along just fine. It's unlikely it will ever be a super popular instrument for the reasons already stated (best played by very experienced players and no sheet music). Your point is well made that manufacturers don't like lines that they sell few of, especially if they think they need to put out a new model. There are probably more sopraninos being made now than 30 years ago and as said those made previously are also still around.

Bring this up again when/if you see a major drop in sopranino prices because nobody wants them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
great find, Lambros (the Magenta nino)!
Did someone try out the cheap jinbao selmer copy?
I got a Jinbao at the same time as i had a my Yani. It was easier to play and darn good for the $$. It didn't have the tone of the Yani, but intonation was better. I've recommended them in this forum probably five or more years ago.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
Yes, there is a tenor and sopranino part in the rest of the piece. I have often played all three parts, with 5 beats of rest between the tenor and soprano solo. A nerve-wracking but so far successful, highly choreographed instrument switch with no safety net. And with the number of sopraninos that I own, most of them professionally playable, I look for any opportunity to use them.
Paul Cohen
Hi Paul, Was wondering when you'd jump in. Hopefully you'd join me in thinking that sopraninos aren't likely to die out just because Yanigasawa and Yamaha aren't currently making them. Well one thing I'm sure of is that neither of us will stop playing them for that reason!

I recently sold my Buescher nino to Roger Manins who is probably the best sax player from this end of the world. We share the opinion that the nino is a better sounding instrument than the soprano. He's in the process of becoming a specialist on it to go along with his amazing tenor playing. Look out for recordings coming from him using the sopranino.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
The thought comes to mind that many can only think of the sax (including sopraninos) in the limited context of Classical or jazz. Hey folks there's a whole world of music out there for which the sopranino is more than suited. Below are some examples of improvised tracks using the sopranino. I have around 200 recordings using the sopranino.

Apogee Celestial Tango
Faces In The Cave
Atonal Bubbles
Funky and Foxy
Little Beastie in a Hot Pan
Endless Horizon
Smell the funk in that jam!
https://www.wikiloops.com/backingtrack-jam-195203.php

I play most all of the sax voices. The above tracks to my ears sounded right for the sopranino instead of some of the other voices. Some could have certainly been played on the soprano (range wise), but it's timbre is (to my ears) is significantly different and less desirable than that of the sopranino. Other pro players like Roger Manins are of the same opinion. The door could be just opening for this unique instrument. Sopranos were totally out of fashion until Coltrane started recording with it. That started up lots of companies making them as there was more demand. There are currently thousands of sopraninos out there with few dedicated players...still considered a novelty, but lots of instruments regardless and more being made all the time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
What era Buescher did you sell him? What mouthpiece do you /he use? I love the sound of the sopranino, but not yet ready to concede superiority. It is played often in my studio, by myself and my students. I only see evidence of the interest in sopranino expanding, even with the uneven availability. There are quite enough to go around, and still being made.
Paul Cohen
Hi Paul. I sold him one that had an added high E key (or was it F?). I'd sent you pictures of it a few years ago. I think it's from the early 1930s with silver plate. I gave him a Vandoren mouthpiece Ihad and didn't like playing to go with it as he's a "bright" player. He gave me in exchange a Selmer that has the most wonderful mellow tone. I have another two Selmers, but nothing like the one he had...just one of those magic players. Roger is a good friend and I'm very happy to see him getting heavily into the nino. As a major instructor at Auckland University's school of music that could also have an impact/influence towards students picking it up. I doubt that there are many other Universities where sopraninos are heard or featured. Watch this space/place...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
720 Posts
After three busy years I'm revisiting SOTW with some Nino News.

For a number of years I owned sopraninosax.com, but I never created the site. The .com registration lapsed, but I decided it was more appropriate to register the .org instead.


(At the time of this writing, the site registration is so new your browser won't have a site to find.)

For the diehard sopranino player & post reader, read down to the "Relevant experience" section below about why I think it's worth having such a site.

The site's going to build up slowly. It'll also be super simple: just HTML + CSS. I have my reasons.

My plan for the site is the same as before:
  1. List of songs on which sopranino sax is featured.
  2. History of the instrument
  3. A link pointing back to this subforum and/or to a specific thread.
  4. Some other info, perhaps
Also:
  • No ads
  • No posts or contributions from other people
  • No blog
  • No dependence on other IT folks (i.e. I won't accept offers to design, maintain, etc.)
It'll just be me posting stuff.

Posting stuff with the help of folks like you.

That's what keeps the other site going. People submit info in various ways, and then (as time permits) I post those updates.

Relevant experience
A similar website I created for an unrelated, hardly popular obsession has been running for over a decade. Lots of folks have used the site to find what they need, where they need.*

And it's had an impact.

The Big Person in the U.S. for this particular hobby even helped with the site, and Big [for tiny community] National Organization's website links to the website I created. Whether the hobby is in decline, or holding steady, or actually regaining popularity, the most important thing is that hobbyists can find what they need, and find each other.

So there's some evidence that creating such a site and maintaining it for years will help get the word out about the sopranino sax. I aim to find out.

First I need to find the list of sopranino songs I compiled. A year ago I may have (gulp) recycled the list--and it wasn't a short list--but the list can be revived. It overlapped online lists, but included some unusual entries. And since the list was/is about sopranino only, no searching! No waiting! Literally nothing but 'nino!


* It's better if I don't mention the other hobby site I maintain. You'll likely imagine something way cooler than what it is. The interface is kept very simple: it runs in any browser, and it's just a bunch of data with no extraneous words, graphics, etc.

One of you out there may have visited the site. Possibly. Well, let's say there's a 3% chance you live within fifty miles of someone who has used the site. Close enough! You're practically best friends with that site visitor, whoever it is.
As said earlier in this thread I have a large number of original recordings using sopranino. I posted eight on Mar 8, 2021 reply #31. Contact me by PM if interested.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top