Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In the middle of the 2000s, I decided to get several rare Dave Guardala tenors. Their production has already stopped, and Dave himself seems to be still in prison... The total quantity of saxophones produced by B&S it is seemed to me was no more than 16-17 thousand. All saxophones made by B&S (original B&S, Dave Guardala, LA Sax "Chicago Jazz Series", Allora, Antoine Courtois, F.Shmidt, Ernie Northway, Musica) have a common numbering. And so we can assume that Dave Guardala horns was made possibly from 1000 to 3000 horns only. Those we can say that it's rare collector item. Reviews about these saxophones were good. And it was not surprising. After all, the designer of cult expensive mouthpieces cannot organize the production of not good saxophones ...

I bought two tenors on Ebay and received two tenors in exchange/trade from my exbuyer, also a SOTW member, a good man from California. Hope all is well with Chuck!
So I had silver plated, gold lacquered and black nickel Dave Guardala (all were Artist series, DG500) and LA Sax “Chicago Jazz Series” gold lacquered. Also wanted to buy Allora model. But the sellers refused to send the package abroad from the United States.
LA Sax “Chicago Jazz Series” is not Dave Guardala. But since I received them almost at the same time, I also speak about it. All saxophones were made in Germany (B&S).

So. All saxophones had a different sound. The black tenor had the worst sound. And I hated it. I bought this tenor for $2500 on Ebay (normal Ebay cost almost 20 years ago) and was very happy with the purchase. But was very disappointed when it arrived. It was an empty, hard and uninteresting sound. On the forum I read opinions about DG black nickel gold brass saxophones. And the man was allegedly pleased with the sound (except he wrote problems in lower register). But my tenor was not gold brass and it sounded terrible. Silver plated tenor had a more interesting sound. But also not great. On the other hand, the lacquered Guardala tenor (received by exchange) had a very good sound. LA Sax "Chicago Jazz Series" lacquered had the most beautiful appearance and more advanced mechanics. But the lacquered Guardala sounded better than the lacquered CJS.

That is, the saxophones were allegedly the same and had the same pads with metal resonators, but they sounded completely different. I started looking for answers to my questions on the forums, but did not find any useful information. And I decided to start by removing the black nickel finish. It was not an easy task. Strange finish – looks like a mixture of black paint, lacquer and small fraction of nickel. It is very easily damaged and scratched (I saw a lot of shabby saxophones). But it's hard to remove when you want to do it.

So I removed black nickel. And the sound without this finish has become much better. Then I removed metal resonators on the original pads. I don't like metal (on the other hand, the lacquered Guardala with metal resonators sounded very good...). And installed rivets instead metal. The sound became definitely better. But now I put plastic resonators instead rivets on the bottom 4 keys and I think I'll put plastic everywhere.

Silver plated tenor. I also put plastic resos instead metal. The sound improved and was almost identical to my vintage Martin Magna tenor. And this was very strange (because Martin was made 30 years earlier in a different country and from a different metal). Now I decided to experiment a little and put very small plastic resonators (almost rivets) instead of the normal resos on the bottom 4 keys. And the sound seems to be a little better.

I know there are a lot of people who think that resonators and finish don't affect the sound in any way. But there is also the opposite opinion, and this is normal.
It is interesting to hear the opinion of other members of the forum about the sound of their tenors (musical instruments are items that sometimes defy the known laws of physics a little, and therefore it can be assumed that the sound of Guardala altos with different types of finish or pads will not be so different). On the photo my tenor bare brass (without original BN finish).
Musical instrument Idiophone Automotive tire Auto part Automotive wheel system
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,929 Posts
On your 'Artist' DG500, check to see if the 'gold lacquer' is really gold plating. Look for bright silver showing in wear spots. I bought one recently thinking it was lacquer (it was sold as lacquer) and it turned out to be gold. SN 0034xx. It was completely original and like new, having plastic tone boosters. Its a great tenor.
 

·
Registered
Keilwerth SX90R NS Tenor, Yamaha 82Z,Powell Flute, Yamaha 62 Alto and Fender American Telecaster
Joined
·
249 Posts
Tom Scott recorded with a Black Guardala for years and he sounded pretty damn good to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
On your 'Artist' DG500, check to see if the 'gold lacquer' is really gold plating. Look for bright silver showing in wear spots. I bought one recently thinking it was lacquer (it was sold as lacquer) and it turned out to be gold. SN 0034xx. It was completely original and like new, having plastic tone boosters. Its a great tenor.
My lacquered tenor had late serial number. This was good sax, but one friend asked me sell it and I sold this horn and therefore can not now exactly to say about pads and finish (gold plated or lacquered), but it is seems to me pads were with metal resos. On the other side your words say that plastic resonators are best variant for DG. And I agree with this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Tom Scott recorded with a Black Guardala for years and he sounded pretty damn good to me.
There are artist series (72% formulated Copper alloy yellow brass) and gold brass (85% copper alloy) and Tom Scott it is seems to me played on the gold brass horn. And sound of black gold brass could be different and better than Artist series (my ex black (now bare brass) tenor is Artist series).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,929 Posts
'On the other side your words say that plastic resonators are best variant for DG. And I agree with this.'

No, I merely stated that the horn was original and had the brown Nylon tone boosters. You cannot from that draw the conclusion that these boosters would be best for any other model DG tenor. In fact, Dave Guardala specified these boosters because he wanted the saxes to be as much like a MK VI as possible. Now if I were to have it re-padded, I would use the same/similar pads and boosters, because this is an incredible tenor and i would not want to change anything.
Musical instrument Dress Gold Wind instrument Music
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thank you for photo. Great horn. I am sorry for my English. Plastic resos and nylon tone busters - Are these different terms for the same thing?

On the other side I have seen Guardala saxophones with metal resonators only. It is seems to me Selmer dome type. But I think that this is an unfortunate choice of the manufacturer.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
Joined
·
2,357 Posts
Great overview! I had the same experience with a B&S black lacquered alto, fairly dead and lifeless compared to a gold lacquered 2001 or Medusa Goldbrass, the best of breed!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,929 Posts
Thank you for photo. Great horn. I am sorry for my English. Plastic resos and nylon tone busters - Are these different terms for the same thing?

On the other side I have seen Guardala saxophones with metal resonators only. It is seems to me Selmer dome type. But I think that this is an unfortunate choice of the manufacturer.
Yes. The original term by Selmer was 'Tone-Booster'. They work by reflecting sound back into the horn that would otherwise be absorbed by the soft pad. They are also slightly curved to enhance this process. The term 'resonators' is unfortunate since it doesn't describe what is actually happening.
 

·
Just a guy who plays saxophone.
Joined
·
5,094 Posts
I don’t know how different the specs are between the B&S 2001, Medusa, and DG models as they were all in production at about the same time…but I borrowed a black nickel 2001 from a lesson teacher for a few weeks and it was a beast of a horn in all the best ways. I’ve played examples of all three but never at the same time to A/B and they’re all great horns. Anyway, Nothing stuffy or dull about it. No idea what resonators it had.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,400 Posts
(musical instruments are items that sometimes defy the known laws of physics a little, and therefore it can be assumed that the sound of Guardala altos with different types of finish or pads will not be so different).
Horn looks great without the BN. Interesting discussion but I'm prepared to go out on a limb and state that ALL INSTRUMENTS OBEY THE LAWS OF PHYSICS AT ALL TIMES. Because thats the nature of the laws of physics, no one gets to pick and choose which ones apply when.

There are so many variables in play with how instruments sound, and as they are not produced by the million there is always a very small sample size available to take subjective / objective measurements from. Whatever is behind the perceived differences is definitely covered by the laws of physics, but perhaps we just haven't figured out yet what exact combination of things in the material and setup it is that is influencing that output.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
About THE LAWS OF PHYSICS. Many year ago I had Selmer Mark VI tenor 5 digits serial. But this horn had very bad sound. The reasons are unknown. In my city in the state orchestra (I don’t remember, in the circus or the opera house) there were two Selmer Mark VI tenors. They were made on the same day (according to serial numbers). One sax sounded very good, but the second very bad... And nobody could say why.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
37,029 Posts
About THE LAWS OF PHYSICS. Many year ago I had Selmer Mark VI tenor 5 digits serial. But this horn had very bad sound. The reasons are unknown. In my city in the state orchestra (I don’t remember, in the circus or the opera house) there were two Selmer Mark VI tenors. They were made on the same day (according to serial numbers). One sax sounded very good, but the second very bad... And nobody could say why.
Start by getting rid of leaks, fitting the neck tenon properly, venting the keys, and regulating the mechanism.

Regarding your resonator experiment: You say the horn sounds better with nylon/plastic resos - that’s an opinion only. Surely the manufacturer had the opportunity to make a choice and preferred the metal resos - likely because they preferred that sound.

As far as sounding different - did you measure the size of the metal resos? How did that compare with the resos you prefer?

Asking for a friend…
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,400 Posts
About THE LAWS OF PHYSICS. Many year ago I had Selmer Mark VI tenor 5 digits serial. But this horn had very bad sound. The reasons are unknown. In my city in the state orchestra (I don’t remember, in the circus or the opera house) there were two Selmer Mark VI tenors. They were made on the same day (according to serial numbers). One sax sounded very good, but the second very bad... And nobody could say why.
I can tell you why, and its not to do with the physics of airflow and vibration. Its because these are hand fashioned lumps of brass made with at best 1950s manufacturing techniques and controls, that have then worn and been adjusted both intentionally and unintentionally over a number of years. Frankly it would be amazing if they did sound the same.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I saw information about the Dave Guardala on the Wordwidesax website. At the bottom of the text is an online comparison of sound of Dave Guardala tenor, Selmer Mark 6, King Super 20, Zephyr, Buffet S-1:

But it is not clear this sound of lacquered (s/n 00832) or silver plated tenor (s/n 03822), because the recording seems the same:

Silver plated DG tenor (s/n 03822):
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
Joined
·
3,400 Posts
But it is not clear this sound of lacquered (s/n 00832) or silver plated tenor (s/n 03822), because the recording seems the same:
Because the finish has zero measurable effect on the sound perhaps ;)
Did anyone else think it odd that beautiful honey gold lacquered horn had a non matching silver bell support ring?
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top