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As someone who came to the saxophone late in life from playing the classical guitar and lute, I would like to offer my thoughts on what the saxophone should, and perhaps will, become.
Let me use the old cliche: If we can put a man on the moon then.....

1) we can sure as hell make a pad that works well and virtually never wears out.

2) we can certainly create key material with a memory that almost never needs to be regulated.

3) with the help of micro technology (and Mr. Tessla's technolgy) we can make the sax stay at 79 degrees if it is within relatively close proximity to an electrical outlet. (I've checked the internal temperature of my YAS 62, and that's when things sound at their best.)

4) with the help of micro technology we should be able to make all saxophones able to automatically play through any near by amplifier without a microphone.

5) and guys, while were at it, let's make the damn thing play in tune. I mean, we are about to go to Mars and imagine how embarrassing it would be to run into aliens and have to explain to them that our musical instruments don't play in tune.
 

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As someone who came to the saxophone late in life from playing the classical guitar and lute, I would like to offer my thoughts on what the saxophone should, and perhaps will, become.
Sooner or later someone will use a lighter material than brass for keywork. Take all the gubbins off the horn and see how light the body is by itself. Unfortunately it will be more difficult to repair such keywork. You could also improve the design of the bearings (point screws, pivot axles) for longer wear (for example, if the keywork were 6061 aluminum, the point screws could run on carbide inserts).

Fiber reinforced plastic would give a body that would be highly dent resistant, but very difficult to repair if it took a shot hard enough to be cracked. There might be some weight savings.

I would like to see baritone and bass saxes built for light weight, as above.

Sooner or later someone will develop a synthetic pad that works as well as leather-covered felt and lasts longer.

I am a bit surprised that no one has ever (to my knowledge) developed a little finger system for saxophone similar to the Boehm clarinet.

Longer axles on the palm keys would help when the horn gets some wear.

Sooner or later someone will launch a sax that isn't a copy of the Mark 6.

The standard neck tenon is a pretty kludgey setup, with a lot of wear built into the design. I think the functions of clamping and sealing should be separated? Alternately, maybe a taper joint like a trumpet mouthpiece?

I note that Eppelsheim use cable actuation for a few long runs; if this works well it could be applied by other manufacturers for things like bell keys on bari and bass saxes.

A C bass would be a pretty cool thing to have, though probably no one will ever do it because you would hardly ever sell any. Seems like someone might have built a few at one time in the last 10 years or so.

I think the standard places for folding the tubes on the big saxes could be re-thought. I know there have been some approaches to this on the giant saxes (Tubax, etc.)

Sooner or later someone is going to figure out a better way to hold the thing than hanging it from your neck. I've tried a few different harnesses and haven't been convinced yet; but I haven't tried all of them.

As for intonation compromises, the Loomis Double Vent sax is reported to largely solve them; but at the cost of greatly increased complexity and weight.
 

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The thing to consider is that innovation as far as the sax goes...I mean something fairly dramatic, cutting-edge or newly introduced...is usually met with a lot of resistance from the playing community. There's a lot of 'tradition' which players hold onto i.e. "well I've been playing a horn like this for 40 years and it's been working out just FINE for me, thank you".

So, innovation is oftentimes met with the same response as marketing gimmickry in the sax world, IMHO.
 

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With regard to #5, saxophones don't play out of tune---people play out of tune. Maybe the solution can be found in genetics.
Well, actually, they do. Start with the compromise of two octave vents; then add the compromises of the different numbers of tone holes open below the first closed pad (sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes three); then add the fact that the theoretical "complete cone" can't be achieved with a mouthpiece that has to have a certain volume in order to work; then add in the bore distortions caused by folding it in a couple places; then add in the need to have tone holes of a sensible size so the tube doesn't just fall apart; and you are guaranteed to have numerous intonation compromises.

What actually happens is that the compromises are small enougn that people are able (usually) to force notes into correct intonation. It would be more accurate to say "saxes play out of tune, people play them in tune".
 

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The thing to consider is that innovation as far as the sax goes...I mean something fairly dramatic, cutting-edge or newly introduced...is usually met with a lot of resistance from the playing community. There's a lot of 'tradition' which players hold onto i.e. "well I've been playing a horn like this for 40 years and it's been working out just FINE for me, thank you".

So, innovation is oftentimes met with the same response as marketing gimmickry in the sax world, IMHO.
Yup...You spend a lifetime figuring something out and then some damn fool comes along and changes it :)
 

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Sooner or later someone will develop a synthetic pad that works as well as leather-covered felt and lasts longer.
They already have. The "valentino" style synthetic pads have been around a long time and do just that. Unfortunately they work best in smaller keycups and when covering clarinet/oboe style toneholes. They are still working to perfect a synthetic that works equally well on larger saxophone style toneholes. There are some sax pads currently available that employ a synthetic leather type covering, but they are "cost prohibitive" for general use at the present time.


I am a bit surprised that no one has ever (to my knowledge) developed a little finger system for saxophone similar to the Boehm clarinet.
They actually have. The Evette-Schaeffer apogee system featured keys that allowed the player an alternate fingering for low Bb, B, and C#. The D key had a tab which also closed the E key which freed the 2nd finger of the right hand to operate the 3 levers. Pictured is the soprano version.

 

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Sure, let's 'reinvent' the Stradivarius violin and make it up to date with today's tech! Or, you could just learn to play a real instrument.
 

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About pads that last forever, check out the Codera saxes made by B&S. The special “gasket” pads didn’t last forever but they did last a very long time.
 

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Almost anything is possible if the cost doesn't matter. The first question to ask is whether you would be OK with a standard saxophone price of, say, $50,000. If so, fire away with the suggestions.

Along those lines, my personal view is that relying on finger pressure, springs, and gravity to close and adequately seal large holes on an instrument is primitive! The flaws in this archaic approach are amplified by the Boehm system and any keywork arrangement influenced by Boehm, which assigns the task of operating the biggest, heaviest, most far-away keys to the smallest, weakest fingers. That's absurd!

The saxophone of the future will have tiny servomotors that instantly and precisely close pads, or at least the bigger pads. Just tap the sensor on the key, and the job is done. No leaks. No need to press hard, ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
With regard to #5, saxophones don't play out of tune---people play out of tune. Maybe the solution can be found in genetics.
No, they are out of tune, but people who have the talent and/or work hard, can make them close enough. So genetics is involved.
 

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With regard to #5, saxophones don't play out of tune---people play out of tune. Maybe the solution can be found in genetics.
+1
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sure, let's 'reinvent' the Stradivarius violin and make it up to date with today's tech! Or, you could just learn to play a real instrument.
For you who love the vintage saxes, you must know that the Strad is BS. No one can tell the difference between a strad and a well made modern violin.
 

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GPS could be incorporated into the horn so that you can not only find your way to the gig, but also activate the 'find my sax' feature if it's lost or stolen. A heating element could be added to keep your hands warm on those chilly outdoor performances. Best of all, a saxophone could be invented that would play no wrong notes, ever. An altissimo key that let you play the same fingerings as normal range would be very groovy. Or maybe not.
 

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Never mind the fancy pads and fingerings! I just want a bari sax that weighs the same as a present-day alto and that can be folded up into a sensible-sized case. This needs to happen before I become too frail to lug my current horn around, but earlier would be nice.
 

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Enjoy all your electronic toys. Except for some refinements, the saxophone has been invented a long time ago.

Some folks will just be happier playing something else.
 

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As someone who came to the saxophone late in life from playing the classical guitar and lute, I would like to offer my thoughts on what the saxophone should, and perhaps will, become.
Let me use the old cliche: If we can put a man on the moon then.....

1) we can sure as hell make a pad that works well and virtually never wears out.

3) with the help of micro technology (and Mr. Tessla's technolgy) we can make the sax stay at 79 degrees if it is within relatively close proximity to an electrical outlet. (I've checked the internal temperature of my YAS 62, and that's when things sound at their best.)


5) and guys, while were at it, let's make the damn thing play in tune. I mean, we are about to go to Mars and imagine how embarrassing it would be to run into aliens and have to explain to them that our musical instruments don't play in tune.
5) it's like my violin, even if the open strings are in tune ... The solution for that has been the slide sax that was around for awhile but folks apparently rather put up with tone holes and pads.

3) you don't need much of Tesla for that nor an outlet, just add a hamster wheel to the neck that is coupled to a dynamo, which then powers a light bulb in your bell ... and put a blanket over it to keep the temperature constant .. No, in all seriousness, a friend of mine converted his hi-hat on his drum kit to pneumatic action and it works great. Pneumatic may be a bit sluggish but has the advantage that you don't need to have break fluid "in your face" for the long key action.

As for the weight, I am waiting for a carbon fiber instrument. They make all kinds of car parts already and you would never have to worry about dings.

1) They already have self-healing cutting boards so ...
 
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