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I have noticed that some of the older players have very dull and ugly saxophones and the younger sax players have shiny bling saxes . I ma yself have both but prefer the beater variety that sounds great. I mean every time I take my shiny silver sax out I am always so careful about not scratching or bumping it lol We should take a poll lol

Doug
 

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Some of the older players (like myself) are, well__older. We know that looks can be deceiving! I bought my newest tenor over two decades ago. We're growing old together!
 

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Interesting topic...although I would like to take a moment to clarify that not all horns with worn finishes are 'beaters'....y'know ?

When I hear that term, I take it to mean horns with some body damage & other 'issues'...

With that said...I will say that many people here feel (as I do) that the finish/looks of the horn are not even on the priority list when they are looking for a sax. As it should be, IMHO. Personally, when I see a glistening lacquered horn.... I usually recoil slightly.....

I also add: I do lose about 10% of sales due to customers absolutely wanting the horn to be pretty and shiny....which most pre '80's horns are most definitely NOT. And, although I would not tend to generalize....now that you mention it...those parties have overwhelmingly tended to be younger players...am talking 25 or under....
 

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It's not just old guys that play dull and ugly saxophones.
There are a few old WOMEN out there that play them too!
I for one own 3 that have had most of thier lacquer played off.
 

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before the '80 very few players would consider letting their horn look like most " vintage " horns look nowadays and re-lacquering a horn was standard and common practice . From the '80 onwards some great players started playing horns which were no longer shiny and clean, shabby became chic and a symbol of greatness by proxy also for those who were not such great players to have been wearing out their horns by bringing it to countless gigs.
This is a process that was not very different from the fashion of Jeans.

From the second half of the '60 no one would ever wear jeans that didn't show some wear even if brand new.

I remember folks using sand paper to " age" the jeans. We then went into the age of " stone washed" in the '80. These days you can buy all sorts or garments with stains and holes on it. I once received a bag to be photographed which had some oil stains on it. It thought there was a mistake and it got damaged but I was told that that was the way it was intended to be.

You can buy " relic" guitars which are pre worn out one so that you don't have to take them through the process of actually playing them to look like an old beater and buy them already looking like ****E .........it really takes all sorts!
 

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I agree with Milandro about the reverse snobbery of crummy looking horns. But it's my belief that the message being sent by a manky, dirty looking saxophone is only received by a rather narrow set of musicians. Instead of getting the message "Hey, this player must be really good, look how filthy that saxophone is" I believe most audience members get the meassage "What, s/he's gonna put that thing in his/her mouth?"

Without being pedantic I've always tried to keep my horns looking bright. I currently have as my gigging instruments a Barone tenor and alto, a Aquilasax C-melody (all gold lacquer) and a Pan American silver clarinet. Call it bling if you like, but when I see them all arranged and shiny I get a real kick.
 

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My The Martin bari is fugly but oh my gawd does it sound good.
 

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...it's my belief that the message being sent by a manky, dirty looking saxophone is only received by a rather narrow set of musicians..
Quite right! I'm only guessing, but I'd be willing to bet most of the audience really doesn't notice or care how shiny your sax is (or even less so what brand it is). They do care how you sound when you play it, though.
 

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Could it be that the older horns absorb the souls of those who have given their hearts to the music? Imagine those who have passed on thru the horn the songs once, there in played. Older horns like people are more experienced and have loved, suffered, greived, and expressed all the emotions told in the tunes. My King Alto is 90 years old and if I let it, it plays me.
 

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I agree with Milandro about the reverse snobbery of crummy looking horns. But it's my belief that the message being sent by a manky, dirty looking saxophone is only received by a rather narrow set of musicians. Instead of getting the message "Hey, this player must be really good, look how filthy that saxophone is" I believe most audience members get the meassage "What, s/he's gonna put that thing in his/her mouth?"

Without being pedantic I've always tried to keep my horns looking bright. I currently have as my gigging instruments a Barone tenor and alto, a Aquilasax C-melody (all gold lacquer) and a Pan American silver clarinet. Call it bling if you like, but when I see them all arranged and shiny I get a real kick.
With due respect...I gotta say I disagree with almost all of this. A lotta presumption going on here.

I don't think the audience particularly makes any sort of judgment based on an instrument's looks, nor do I believe that there is any 'reverse snobbery' going on regarding horns with worn lacquer and patina.

And, jeez...the "message being sent by manky looking saxophones is only being received by a narrow set of musicians" (!?)

Seriously...can you consider for a moment that...perhaps...there is NO message being SENT nor INTENDED...beyond the fact that the player just really digs their old horn because it kicks for them ??? Nor is there a message being received by the audience due to a horn's appearance.....

I mean....come, now....:tsk:

I do think (know, actually) that those folks who use aesthetics as an important requirement...have missed out on many an amazing instrument.....sort of a shame, really.

 

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Could it be that the older horns absorb the souls of those who have given their hearts to the music? Imagine those who have passed on thru the horn the songs once, there in played. Older horns like people are more experienced and have loved, suffered, greived, and expressed all the emotions told in the tunes. My King Alto is 90 years old and if I let it, it plays me.
I might not quite phrase it that way, myself...but I dig where you are coming from and indeed...part of the beauty of a nice old horn is something which is holistic and intangible....
 
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