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Discussion Starter #1
So I am about to order a TaiShan Straight soprano - I have read enough reviews on here to know that it's worth the punt given that it'll be years before I'd have the money for a yani or something like that on the Australian market... and I HATED the Yamaha I played - tone, ergonomics, everything!

I am able to choose from a variety of options - what's everyone's opinion on whether to go for a one-piece straight, or to get the options with separate necks - which will be a curved and straight neck. Do people like the curved option generally? (I've never played one.)

Also, to get a high G key or not? Any downsides to doing it?
Soft case or hard? (So many options!)

I'm also wondering if anyone has any experience with the pink phosphor copper material. How does it hold up over time? I love the look new but concerned it might patina strangely or discolour easily. (My other option is brushed brass or nickel silver with gold keys and abalone pearls. Very nice.)

Lastly - I can choose whether to get the TaiShan logo on it, or to get it without logo. What would you guys do?

TIA!
 

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much depends on whether you like to play with traditional posture with the head straight and the saxophone at a 30º to 45º angle in front of you or if you like to keep your head somewhat bent forward and the sax next to the body.

The curved neck gives more comfort for the second position and not everyone likes the “ traditional” position of a not separate neck soprano (some players had the necks bent and some brands started making saxophones with bent necks, therefore with a double neck they can cover the needs of two types of players).

Some people also think that the cirved necks are detrimental for sound emission (I am not sure).

The high G adds an extra complication while offering an easier option to play that note. You chose whether that is useful to you.

Phosphor bronze ( generally lacquered) holds very well over time, the mechanics and keycups are generally made of brass even on these.

If you think that the “ Original Taishan brandname” would helpt reselling this horn at a later date, do it, otherwise it doesn’t matter either way.
 

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Fixed neck, no high G, and save up for a Yani if you can and you’ll end with with a much better built and sounding horn. A used secondhand s901 would be a great buy. Good luck.
 

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In your position, you should get both the dual-neck option and the high G key. The reason is that buying a relatively inexpensive but decently made (hopefully) soprano is the perfect time to try them out. Since you've never played a soprano with a curved neck, how are you going to know whether it's a good fit for you or not? "I play a straight-neck horn because SOTW told me to play a straight-neck horn"? No. You must do the test yourself. Give both necks substantial playing time, and then you'll know. (You may even like both necks, for different types of music or in different playing situations.)

The same thing applies to the high G key. If you discover that you don't really like it, you don't have to use it. But just having it won't hurt the horn.
 

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@nicolelh, If you were unhappy with the Yamaha, arguably among the best horns on the market, I doubt you'll find a TiaShan or the recommended Yani much different. You need to look into something completely different than a traditional straight soprano, necks aside. A curved soprano may be more up your alley.

If you want to stick with a straight soprano, as Milandro said, the straight or curved neck mainly impacts the angle at which you can hold your head. I don't much mind looking down when I play, so straight is fine for me. If I really need to play out, I'll point my head and the horn up. Easy to do without a neckstrap, which I don't use on soprano.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all. I have decided I definitely need curved neck option because after thinking about it, I realised that I get a sore back if I hold my arms out too far and I don't want to be looking down either. Thanks for getting me thinking.

mdavej - it was an intermediate level Yamaha and I didn't like the tone but more of an issue was that the pinky table was far too far to the left of my pinky and I kept missing keys. I have an old dodgy Chinese straight sop on loan here and I actually like the ergonomics on it, so I know it's not a straight soprano problem - just so happens the Yamaha shape doesn't love me. As for tone, I just found it too much like an alto and not enough like an oboe - I know I'm saying something probably sacreligious here, but I like an oboe-esque tone on a soprano. I can return the taishan if I don't like it, but I do like the sound of them from videos I've heard.

I already have a curvy. I like it but it's a trumpet substitute, not an oboe substitute - always wanted an oboe as a kid!

milandro thanks so much for the info about phosphor bronze. I think that's my choice. Cheers.
 

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Good luck!

The “ looking down” is not so much a problem but by doing so you constrict your airways with a detrimental impact on sound.

Kenny G has one of the best positions when playing straight neck saxophone. His head is looking straight ahead (as youn should with any saxophone) and the arms position support the sax consequently.

 

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Thanks all. I have decided I definitely need curved neck option because after thinking about it, I realised that I get a sore back if I hold my arms out too far and I don't want to be looking down either. Thanks for getting me thinking.

mdavej - it was an intermediate level Yamaha and I didn't like the tone but more of an issue was that the pinky table was far too far to the left of my pinky and I kept missing keys. I have an old dodgy Chinese straight sop on loan here and I actually like the ergonomics on it, so I know it's not a straight soprano problem - just so happens the Yamaha shape doesn't love me. As for tone, I just found it too much like an alto and not enough like an oboe - I know I'm saying something probably sacreligious here, but I like an oboe-esque tone on a soprano. I can return the taishan if I don't like it, but I do like the sound of them from videos I've heard.

I already have a curvy. I like it but it's a trumpet substitute, not an oboe substitute - always wanted an oboe as a kid!

milandro thanks so much for the info about phosphor bronze. I think that's my choice. Cheers.
Well, I would suggest that all current production sopranos are probably copies of the Selmer Super Action 80 as to keywork, so I doubt very much that you would find much difference amongst Yamaha, Yanagisawa, or Chinese ones of current production.

One of the older Yana sopranos that is a copy of the Selmer Mark 6 (which was really the same as the 1930s Selmer sopranos, mostly) might be more to your liking in that aspect.

As to "oboe-like" sound quality, that's going to be about 90% mouthpiece and tonal concept and about 10% horn, especially since all the current mass production Asian horns you're talking about, appear to be pretty much the same as each other.
 
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