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YTS 82Zii
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So I flew into Washington DC for a conference this week. Arriving a day early, I did what any responsible adult would do. I brought my mouthpiece so I could stop by a music store to try some tenors. I went to Chuck Levin’s Music Center and went upstairs to the woodwind and brass department. First of all, the guys up there were super nice, especially Perry, their sax guy.
So here are my thoughts about the tenors I tried. They didn’t have everything I wanted to try, but I tried a good bit. Keep in mind that:
a) I am not the greatest player.
b) I’ve played an 82Zii for the last four years.
c) Over the years I’ve owned and played: 2 King Super 20’s (one gold with silver neck and the other a Silversonic), a Cannonball Big Bell, a The Martin, an original 82z (got stolen), a Mark VII, a Saxgourmet Super 400 (anyone wanna buy it?).
d) These are my impressions and opinions only, in no way do I assume anyone else would feel the same way.
e) I played many of these horns several times over a 3+ hour period.
f) I play R&B, funk, even some “smooth jazz” in a loud band. Do plenty of ballads as well. I don’t play straight ahead or classical type music.
g) I was using my metal Gaia 3 (8).
h) This was my first experience playing all of these brands except the Mark VI.
I) All these horns were setup well and had no noticeable leaks or anything that effected their playability.

Keilwerth SX90 Gold Lacquer
Tone- Big sound, jumps right out of the horn. On the darker side of things. Rich and spread. Honestly I wanted to hear something a little more out of this horn based on what I’ve heard about them. Some kind of unique character, but it wasn’t there. It was very good, just missing something special.
Playability- Easy to play. Free blowing, but not like you run out of air. Keys spaced a bit far apart. It was noticeably heavier than the other horns.

Schagerl T1-VB
Tone- This Taiwanese horn sounded great actually. I had never of it before. Full sound, slightly bright, but more right in the middle.
Playability- Ergonomics felt great. It was actually fun to play. Wasn’t a huge fan of the finish.

Schagerl Unlacquered
Tone- Same horn as above but unlacquered. This was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to A/B the same horn sans finish. It made a bigger difference than I thought. Opened the sound right up, more punch and not as focused.
Playability- Same as above. I liked the finish or lack of better than it’s brother horn, but I guess it will patina soon.

Schagerl T900L Gold Lacquer
Tone- Hated it. Sounded like a buzz saw. This is their intermediate model. Played nothing like the other two of the same brand.
Playability- Felt like similar key work. But I can't say for sure; I only played it for a minute because the tone was so bad.

Rampone & Cazzani Solid Bronze
Tone- Wow. This was the special one. From the moment you put air into this horn, you can’t stop playing it. Incredibly free blowing. Not too bright, but definitely not dark. The partials in the tone were crazy. You could hear so much in one note. The altissimo spoke so clean and effortlessly. Fairly focused sound. The most unique horn I’ve ever played.
Playability- Effortless. The horn felt good underneath my fingertips. It was light in weight, almost felt too light. Action was crisp and fast. Table was very comfortable.

Mark VI (134,xxx)
Tone- This was a good VI. It played like a VI. Very focused.
Playability- Felt like a VI. Quick action, comfortable. Played with appropriate resistance.

Yanagisawa TWO10 Gold Lacquer
Tone- Very, very bright. I didn’t care for it. Very focused.
Playability- Very little resistance. I did not like the feel of the ergonomics at all. All the horns felt a little different, and we all get use to that. But, this felt small and cheap under my fingers. This was the only horn out of the bunch that I would not have felt comfortable playing a gig on that night. I was very disappointed in this since I had heard about these horns for years.

P Mauriat 76 TDK Dark Vintage finish
Tone- Full, rich, a tad bright, loud with some guts. A bit spread, not as much as the Keilwerth.
Playability- This horn just played. Easy to blow. Altissimo jumped out. Little resistance, but there was just enough push back. Very comfortable in my hands with three exceptions I think I would get used to. The G# felt a little short, the Eb had a lip on it that felt strange, and the thumb hook felt a bit too far to the right. None of that was bad, just noticeable. The action was light and snappy. I think the finish looks a bit cheesy.

P Mauriat PMXT 66RX Unlacquered
Tone- Big sound, spread, very rich. Played great in all ranges.
Playability- I didn’t care for the flute touch on the keys. But other than that, great action, and comfortable.

I was most impressed with the R&C and the P Mauriat 76. The R&C would almost be scary to play on an R&B gig because of all those partials, not sure people in the audience would dig it, but I would. The P Mauriat seems like it could be the everyday workhorse.
 

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Your experience with the Keilwerth mirrors mine, except I owned an SX90R for a few years so I know for sure that you're right. (For me anyway) It was so spread and big that there was no core. It was way too "extra" for me.

And now I really, really, really want to try an R&C now (or maybe I don't). How much $$ was it?
 

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Days like that are so much fun, end very educational. I did this with sopranos a few years ago, tried 10 different horns over a day in the shop - it was a real eye-opener. Reading your post makes me want to try an R&C...too bad they don't seem to be available anywhere up here.
 

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Perry is a great guy, very helpful and honest. Glad you got to try a bunch of horns, few places are better than Chuck Levins. Rampones are awesome, a very different vibe than most of what is out there now. Do not discount the Keilwerth, with proper setup these horns are fantastic.
 

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Rampone & Cazzani Solid Bronze
Tone- Wow. This was the special one. From the moment you put air into this horn, you can’t stop playing it. Incredibly free blowing. Not too bright, but definitely not dark. The partials in the tone were crazy. You could hear so much in one note. The altissimo spoke so clean and effortlessly. Fairly focused sound. The most unique horn I’ve ever played.
Playability- Effortless. The horn felt good underneath my fingertips. It was light in weight, almost felt too light. Action was crisp and fast. Table was very comfortable.
...
With a glowing impression like that, did you buy it?
 

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Do not discount the Keilwerth, with proper setup these horns are fantastic.
I second this, I got my Keilwerth from chuck levins around a year ago and haven’t looked back since
 

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YTS 82Zii
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Discussion Starter #10
Do not discount the Keilwerth, with proper setup these horns are fantastic.
I wouldn’t say I’m discounting it. I would happily play it on a gig. Honestly, it probably isn’t lacking anything more than my 82Z is. Both play well, although different horns. I think maybe 20 years of hearing and reading about them, I made them out to be something it had no chance of living up to in my mind. Not sure if I’m conveying what I’m thinking very well.
 

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YTS 82Zii
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Discussion Starter #11
With a glowing impression like that, did you buy it?
No, I didn’t buy it. Coming back home with a $4,600 “back up” horn wouldn’t make sense I guess. Then I’d have to sell my Yamaha, etc., etc. Easier to stay status quo. Maybe not as much fun, but easier.
 
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