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"King In The Castle" & Distinguished SOTW Member
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I have been reading here and elsewhere on the Internet that Buffet horns are dark and most suitable for classical music. I have also heard that they are lost in crowds (or without a mic).

This seems contradictory to such a name as "Super Dynaction", does not it? And, not all Buffet players play in a classical setting, right?

So, Buffet players - particularly those who play the SDA - what can you say about the sound of your horns? What is so special about it? Is it too soft a sound that you cannot be heard if you play in a R&B or jazz gig?

I have asked this question before, but I will repeat it: Would you choose an SDA tenor over an SML Gold Medal (or Rev. C and D for that matter)?
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Frankly, I think it's silly to think a SDA can only do legit. Somehow they've gotten that tag on them, but that's like saying a Mark VI is only good for Jazz. I play my SDA alto in both concert band and solo rock, blues and jazz. It's the best alto I've played (and GAS runs through my veins). With the right setup, you can do whatever you want with a SDA or DA. The sound is lush like a Martin with a "French" core. I did have both a SDA and a DA tenors at one time. They can roar with any horn. I think SOTW mod Bill Mecca plays R&B with his Buffet.

SML's are also great, but I don't think there's a big overwhelming reason to keep one over a Buffet. It's just a matter of taste between the two.
 

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I play a 1961 SDA, only tenor I have ever played. Always in a R&R, R&B setting live(cover band stuff) , sometimes more jazzy on recordings.

I find the sound dark and rich and the horn responds well to mouthpiece changes. I prefer it with more of a high baffle mpc. I've played Bergs, Rovner, Jumbo Java, Runyon Quantum, Guy Hawkins, and a custom Link STM (for the past 18 months). the dark resonant quality of the horn is balanced by the brightness of the higher baffle and the horn just sings.

A good friend of mine plays a Six with a Berg 120/0 and says to his ears, I'm louder and my sound carries more than his.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2008
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Yellowhorn,
I remember you are presently playing a S20. If you are unsatisfied of that type of sound a Buffet I think can do it. You are not getting a Mark VI (not nearly...) but still a dark sounding tenor with, I agree with TJ, somehow of a Martin spread taste. Very different from the punchy, brighter sound of a S20.
If you want to radically change type of sound vs. your S20 it can be a good choice, as would be a Martin too (sometimes less expensive, but it depends...).

But, let me re-state, in my experience it's no "Mark VI on a budget".
 

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I had a guy tell me how dark and soft his sax was once.

Then I shoved a Metalite onto the cork and that was the end of that conversation.
 

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Buffet SDA tenors

Rispoli : If you are unsatisfied of that type of sound a Buffet I think can do it. You are not getting a Mark VI (not nearly...) but still a dark sounding tenor with, I agree with TJ, somehow of a Martin spread taste. TJontheroad: With the right setup, you can do whatever you want with a SDA or DA. The sound is lush like a Martin with a "French" core.------------------------------------------------->.>
GREAT OBSERVATIONS TJ and RISPOLI!!!!! I have the exact same impression, as is seen in my description of this SDA in which I compare it to my MArtin Commitee ll!! Similar vibe, but with a French sweetness... Just amazing how we came to the precise exact same opinion independently of each other!! Gentleman, we have a consensus!! :cool: Please see my decription--->


http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=290162174690&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=019
 

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I have to urge caution. I mean, you're trying to buy a horn based on the subjective views and preferences of others. I think you should have some familiarity with a model before buying one sight unseen. Otherwise, you may soon be selling it for a loss like the S20.
 

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rispoli said:
You are not getting a Mark VI (not nearly...)
I disagree. I played an SDA for years before I got my VI, and I think that in terms of sound quality, they are very comparable horns. The keywork is very different, but it doesn't take long to get used to the SDA's non-Selmer layout, it's still a very ergonomic design. I think an SDA can do just about anything a Selmer can do. I decided to keep my VI because 1. I got it for a steal, 2. it's a lighter horn (and I play 5 hour wedding gigs), and 3. it has slightly more high-end to the sound, which is good for me because I play with electric instruments all the time. But man that Buffet played and sounded great. I'd recommend one any day to anyone looking for a top-tier horn, regardless of budget. Rich, complex sounding horn.
 

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A colleague of mine has two SDA tenors and, to my taste, they are both very stuffy in the bottom end. Having said that, I only tried them with a couple of mouthpieces (his Selmer E and my Florida Link), not a thorough play testing.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Grumps said:
I have to urge caution. I mean, you're trying to buy a horn based on the subjective views and preferences of others. I think you should have some familiarity with a model before buying one sight unseen. Otherwise, you may soon be selling it for a loss like the S20.
I have to agree that I'm biased on the SDA. I do also think the altos are better than the tenors. Still, I don't think if you carefully shop around you'll get stuck. I think I made a couple hundred bucks after selling both tenors. But, like you said, that's just me. YMMV.
 

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I love my pair. No problems playing rock, R&B, funk, reggae, and stuff like that. No doubt about it, the SDA is one of THE classic pro horns. I love the big bore response, the warmth in the sound, the great intonation, and the smooth action. They're like a cross between a Conn or Martin and a Selmer Mk VI.

The horn being auctioned on Ebay looks a lot like my tenor. I don't think it has the sparkle lacquer. I can't believe I got mine for only $1250. And it has needed no work at all.
:D

And no, I would not trade it for an SML.
 

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I got mine back in oh, 1989 or therabouts, proceeds from the sale of my home to my ex. lacquer is a shambles but it sure does sound nice. paid a whopping $500 for it. had it overhauled a few years back with a wonderful tech Wayne Tarnowski in Rahway NJ, who wanted to keep it as original as possible, had to craft a reso or two to match the originals that were on there.

I looked like someone tried to to a spot re-lacuqer on the bell at one point, there is a drip inside the bell, just looks like a player's horn. ;) just wish I were player enough.
 

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Bunny Stewart said:
A colleague of mine has two SDA tenors and, to my taste, they are both very stuffy in the bottom end. Having said that, I only tried them with a couple of mouthpieces (his Selmer E and my Florida Link), not a thorough play testing.
I have a friend that plays one and uses an open modern Dukoff. he sounded like he had a towel stuck in the horn. This cat is Latin (not exactly masters of sublety in their playing for the most part) and blows pretty hard, but just can't get much sound out of the horn. If you are buying a Buffet thinking you are getting a "poor man's Selmer", you might be disappointed.
 

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I agree that Buffet's have a dark, almost gutsy sound similar to the Martins and other old American horns; I wouldn't say they have a French core. To me that brings to mind the famous Selmer core (i.e. focus). The two SDA tenors I have owned did not seem to be focused like the Selmer's I have played and the SML's I have owned; rather, they were darker and more spread. They also required a ton of air if you want to play at forte or louder (i.e., have significant resistance). I sold mine because I wanted a more free-blowing tenor.

Having said all that, the 1958 SDA I owned was probably the darkest, most resonant tenor I have ever played. The 1973 late model was a little brighter and possibly a tad more focused--more of what I think of as a French sax. I hear the 1974 tranny models are wonderful--more VI-like and with more ergonomic S1-style keywork.
 

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Swingtone said:
They also required a ton of air if you want to play at forte or louder (i.e., have significant resistance). I sold mine because I wanted a more free-blowing tenor.
I'm confused. (What's new, eh?)

"Significant resistance" connotes to me that it generates high back pressure, hence requires more PRESSURE to blow. "Free blowing" might require a ton of air as the horn accommodates a large volume of air passing through it. Either of these, I should think, may be paired with a mouthpiece of contrasting character to acquire the desired balance.

The most resistant horns that I've played just had leaks. ;)
 

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I understand what you're trying to say, but I think my position makes more sense. (I also think you're taking things to extremes--all saxes have some degree of resistance due to the design of the mouthpiece, neck, sax, etc.) The SDA is not a large bore/bow instrument compared to say, Yellowhorn's Super 20. Thus, it's easier to get more volume out of the Super 20 without having to blow hard. I know, I owned a Zephyr (poor man's Super 20) and an SDA at the same time so I had an opportunity to A/B them. BTW I actually think an earlier Super 20 sounds more French than an SDA! It's smoother, less gutsy, more focused and brighter--kind of like a Mark VI! Maybe that's why they call the Super 20 the American Mark VI. Yellowhorn, this does not necessarily apply to your horn, a late model Super that was pretty much a pure rock horn, not as smooth of a jazz machine as the earlier versions.
 

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Not to be contentious, but unless you have personally played a well-adjusted SDA with no leaks and an appropriately matched mouthpiece, your opinion may not be qualified; this is especially true if you haven't played well-adjusted examples of the other leading pro horns to which it is being compared.

I could talk all kinds of smack about my friend's Chu Berry tenor that I play-tested for five minutes, but my opinion on that topic just ain't worth much, so I'll defer to the folks with more experience on those horns.
 

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I agree. I also think that one member's opinion is just as valuable as another's, especially if they're all basically amateurs. BTW I have visited certain members' websites and have not been too impressed with the sax sounds that started playing upon my visit. One in particular, which featured a rather lifeless, bland rendition of Turrentine's signature "Sugar" probably had old Stanley rolling in his grave.
 

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Has anyone ever measured the bore on an SDA and compared it with a Mark VI, Super 20, Martin, Conn, or others?

I know the neck tenon on my SDA tenor is bigger than the tenon on a Mark VI, a modern B&S, a Yamaha, or a Yani.

I can also attest that my SDA alto appears to have a bigger bore through the body, bow, and bell compared to my Zephyr alto SN 280xxx. It plays that way, too. I always thought the vintage Kings had a smaller bore than a Conn or Martin, thus the more focused Selmer-esque sound.

And I tend to agree with this statement from the Cybersax website regarding SDA tenors:

These fine instruments are premium in every regard. They have precise, slick action, superior craftsmanship & finish, plus a robust, resonant tone similar the the vaunted sound of the vintage Conn tenors. They respond remarkably well to changes of mouthpieces -- going from Rock 'N Roll beast to smooth jazz seductiveness to dark, rich classical sounds at the player's whim. These Super Dynactions are heavily built & finely crafted. The sound & playability are much a cross that reminds of the Chu Berry Conns & Selmer Super Balanced Action horns all at once.

See: http://www.cybersax.com/features/buf_sdaten_9k.html
 
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