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Discussion Starter #1
From what I can find, it seems that the effect of different resonators is another grey area. The only consensus seems that resonators give a horn more volume and that pads without give a horn a smoother, richer tone. I sure don't need to be louder, and like some depth in my tone. When did resonators become standard equipment? Why are they so preferred? Why are there so many different ones? Are there any benchmark comparisons?
 

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It's 'we don' need no steenking pbadges'

...from Treasure of the Sierra Madre
 

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Yes, yes, yes, and did I say YES!!! I dislike resonators. The only time I liked them was on my Buescher tenor, the darkest horn in existance, and they were the small original ones. The saxophone was a such a powerful instrument even before resonators were invented and widely used. The overuse of resonators does nothing for the tone, in my opinion. For me half the fun is blowing the crap out of the thing, all the resos do is make it sound bright and I can get all the volume I need just with air. I use rivet pads on my Martin Indiana alto which is my main axe right now. I think the popularity of resos today has to do with the idea that louder/more powerful/more dynamic range is better, but I don't always agree with that.
 

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Adding domed metal resonators to a Model I Bundy appears to give maturity and complexity to the tone. It takes a custom neck to help with intonation issues but that's another discussion.

Based on my experience with putting metal resonators on my old Bundy school horn, I'd say they do make a real difference over the flat plastic Selmer resonators that came on the horn.
 

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Also a lot of horns like the 6M/10M for example were originally designed to be used without resos, and I have heard some conflicting opinions on whether or not different types of resos can affect intonation. I guess adjusting the key height can compensate for this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I've never been able to sit through an entire Humphry Bogart movie. I only remember it from "Blazing Saddles". I'm with you, coolsax2k7. The Holton I just got (without) is much more fun to blow than my 10M or SA80II (with).
Sure there are other variables, but it also seems like I don't have to blow nearly as hard to get a hellish Websteresque tone. Leaks and all.
 

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I recently played a friend's early '30's Conn alto - it had no resos. Nice, sweet sound. The trumpet player sitting next to me commented that the Conn lacked some of the edge that was present in my Big B alto (with snap-ins). That was my impression too, but both altos had nice tone and I'm not prepared to claim that the presence or absence of resos made a difference.

I am not convinced that resonators make a difference, either by their designs (plastic vs. metal, NOYEKS vs. domed non-rivetted, snap-ins vs. whatever, etc., etc.). I don't think a one-horn comparison, especially after a tear-down and re-pad is a valid test of the premise, either.

There could be several reasons why the horn sounded different after the re-pad. Like so many things saxophone, there are many myths floating about. To prove the issue, one would need to play, tear down, re-pad, re-assemble, play again . . . and do it over and over with a whole bunch of saxophones before reaching any conclusions about resos, lacquer (or absence thereof), plating, and other beliefs.

However, I admit to having a Yanagisawa soprano recently done and I opted for black Roo pads with smooth domed chromed resos (non-rivetted that pretty much filled the tone holes). It plays great but I honestly believe it was the way the horn was reassembled and not the resos. The response improved but as far as the tone goes, it always sounded good. DAVE
 

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hornimprovement said:
Also, the bore of the sax is brass, so why not make the inside of the toneholes match that surface as closely as possible?
I like my Martin Committee with flat metal resos very much too. But in 1948 when it was made I think they were being used by Martin, so I wouldn't want mine without them. I guess it's sort of a machoism, like the thicker reeds are for real men philosophy, etc. because it reminds me of the old days before resos were used. I love the that old big band sax tone from the 30's, Ellington, Calloway, etc. It sets itself apart a little from the contemporary sax tone, where more projection is the norm. Anyway, I live in an apartment, so sometimes don't want to disturb the neighbors too much, and I love getting a mellower sound by default, and then being able to push it some to get more edge when needed. My ears are somewhat sensitive and I'm also paranoid about losing my hearing over time, so I go with a darker sound when possible. I love both my altos, one with resos and one without, and they play differently. Overall, I think the Committee is actually better in that it's more flexible and powerful, and very expressive. What could be better? I think, but then the Indiana just has "the sound." So it's hard to decide sometimes.

Someone once called Martins "flute-like" in their tone quality, so I'm thinking, do flutes and clarinets use resos? I always thought the Conn foil-backed pads sounded interesting. I once had a 10M repadded and asked for these, but they gave me flat metal resos instead. I felt it was too bright and so I got rid of it, but later regretted this thinking it would have been perfect if I had gotten rivet pads instead. So I think it depends on the horn and the style of playing. Maybe I shouldn't be so opinionated but that's just been my experience so far.
 

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Mope said:
I've never been able to sit through an entire Humphry Bogart movie.
Please allow me to extend my most profound condolences.
 

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coolsax2k7 said:
Also a lot of horns like the 6M/10M for example were originally designed to be used without resos, and I have heard some conflicting opinions on whether or not different types of resos can affect intonation. I guess adjusting the key height can compensate for this.
The Conn "Reso-Pads" factory installed in saxes from this era in addition to the metal ring around the perimeter have a relatively small diameter flat metal "resonator" held in place with a rivet. My "closet" 10M made in 1940 has the original Conn pads with these "resos".

I have repadded an early Conn C Melody with white Roo pads with flat metal resonators from Music Medic and they seemed to be a good substitute for the reso-pads. Ferrees supplies a modern replica of the metal ring Reso-pad, but they have a bad reputation among repair techs, so I haven't tried them.

Acoustic tests suggest that there is less "acoustic loss" when the soft flexible pad material is covered with a harder reflective surface. Whether resonators make a significant difference in how a sax plays is certainly "in the ear of the beholder".

John
 

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Clarinet resonators

rbur said:
Flutes use resos, clarinets not, but the pads are much smaller there. And you would have to make them of wood, of course ;)
I often fabricate clarinet resonators from Grenadilla or Cocobolo wood for use with Valentino pads on the four large pads. They sit flat and level with the pad surface. Player response has been very favorable.
 

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hornimprovement said:
I have used these on many vintage Conn overhauls without any problems.
What is the cause of the "bad reputation"?
There were a few posts on SOTW a while back complaining about the fit and the limited number of sizes available. If you have had success with them, I will give them another look. Thanks for the info.

John
 

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No expert here but Ive been told by a reputed tech that the use of oversized resonators can lead to intonation issues. A lot of great horns didnt have much in the way of resonators. I dont think I would have the nerve to repad without them because of the expense but Id sure be interested.
 

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hornimprovement said:
I often fabricate clarinet resonators from Grenadilla or Cocobolo wood for use with Valentino pads on the four large pads. They sit flat and level with the pad surface. Player response has been very favorable.
Ok, I'll bite. How do you attach them to the pad?

John
 

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jbtsax said:
Ok, I'll bite. How do you attach them to the pad?

John
Center punch the pad with a flute open hole punch (9mm?), Turn the wood to a dowel of same dimensions, part the wood into a .110" disc and glue in with super glue. Install with hot glue or shellac or whatever works for you.
THis is for Valentinos only. It could get messy with a skin pad.
 

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Sigmund451 said:
No expert here but Ive been told by a reputed tech that the use of oversized resonators can lead to intonation issues. A lot of great horns didnt have much in the way of resonators. I dont think I would have the nerve to repad without them because of the expense but Id sure be interested.
This is interesting. I have never heard this before. Perhaps if the resonators had an exaggerated dome shape that protruded quite a distance into the tonehole when the key was closed, it would affect the bore dimensions and "geography" enough to have a noticeable effect upon the intonation. I don't know.

I find it hard to accept that using "oversized" flat resonator would affect the intonation. The timbre and response of the notes could be affected, but the pitch? Even if the "protruding" resonators had an effect upon the pitch and venting through an open tonehole, that effect could be mitigated by adjusting the key opening. If you can get more information on this it would be most appreciated.

John
 

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hornimprovement said:
I have used these on many vintage Conn overhauls without any problems.
What is the cause of the "bad reputation"?
I just wanted to share that I find Ferrees replacement resopads to be just fine and dandy - no complaints from me either!
 
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