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Discussion Starter #1
Having seen the thread entitled Toss Your horn it got me thinking as to the things I do not like about the tenors I have had/played

Not that this is supposed to be a negative thread but just wondered what others thought of horns they had played or owned

Yani T902 - key mechanisms sounded a little cluncky
Selmer MkVI -too tough to play and no High F# key
Yani TW020 - too heavy
Selmer SBA - really tough to play and no High F# key and an awkward Octave key mechanism

Dont get me wrong all are superb horns and sound superb in the right hands and I am being picky

The 902 is what I learned on so I probably bashed the keys too hard whilst the Selmer MkVI was just too difficult for a beginner

The TW020 sounded sweet and was so silky smooth to operate mechanically speaking

Now I use the SBA (definitely sounds the best not that I am any kind of expert) and I am getting used to it after a year of using it daily but boy did it take some getting used to
 

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I'm surprised you find the Mark VI and SBA tough to play, because they have very good key-work/action that became the standard for most modern horns to follow. It's also a bit tricky to mention things you didn't like if you only played one horn. Issues could be linked to that one example you played, but not apply to other horns of the same model/brand.

Here are some of my remarks, but sometimes also based on only having played one of that model (it's all about tenors):

- Selmer BA (1938) - Perfect horn with a very nice key action. Sound was a bit more focused than I prefer, low B/Bes a bit sharp, distance between B/Bes key a bit too big (not as bad as on Conn Tranny's, but less compared to the later SBA's).

- Selmer SBA (1953, my main horn) - Perfect key action and resistance. Only (small) downside is the metal right thump hook, but I developed some calluses on the right thump after playing this horn since 1995, so it's not a real big issue.

- Selmer Mark VI (1958) - Perfect horn. Played also some later ones, from which I didn't like the (for me) brighter sound.

- Selmer Mark VII - Good horn with a nice dark sound, about which I was a bit surprised after reading a lot of negative things about them. But the key work (placing and action) is not up to that of the previous Selmer's (BA, SBA, early Mark VI).

- Selmer SA80 (1983, my main horn before the SBA came) - Good modern horn, but sound is too bright. Key action not even close to that of older models like SBA and Mark VI. Play tested some SA80 II horns too, but none of them came close to my SBA for sound and ergonomics.

- Selmer Reference 36 and 54 - Liked the 36 for sound, but didn't come close to my SBA (in sound and key action). The 54 didn't have anything for me in sound and key action (but they are not bad, but compared to my main horn by far not as good).

- Conn Transitional (1932) - Loved the sound, didn't like the ergonomics (B/Bes space, octave key, strap ring position, position of the left hand keys in general (palm keys are in the way).

- Conn 10M (several years) - While I love hearing them played by a good master, I didn't care for the sound and ergonomics of the models I tried in some shops (probably not the best examples).

- Buescher Aristocrat (1945) - Good horn with good ergonomics, but maybe (for me) a bit too flexible in tuning. Didn't like the 'gritty' sound either. Played some other models too (all old), but most where too old.

- Buescher 400 (mid 60's) - Perfect horn, big sound. Only the looks (nickel keys and gold lacquer) looked a bit cheap to me, but I would love to have this horn as a backup for my SBA.

- P-Mauriat (don't remember the model) - Very nice modern horn, huge sound, but a bit locked into one direction and not coming close to my SBA.

- Keilwerth SX90R (modern) - Good modern horn with a darker sound. Didn't like the modern key action (same as with Selmer from SA80 onwards) and the sound was a bit generic.

- Yamaha and Yanigasawa (modern ones) - Played some in shops (don't remember the models), but didn't care for the sound (too generic, too bright, too clean).

*************

In the end what counts for me is the sound of a horn, most other things you can get used too (unless things are too much out of your comfort zone, like for me the Conn Tranny, which I loved for sound but couldn't get used to for ergonomics).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
LOL - Yeah - Forgot about the immovable thumb rest on the SBA and I have a decent callous to show for it too :)

As for the degree of difficulty in playing the Selmers I would say that I was trying out the MkVI after around 3 months of starting to play whilst the SBA followed on from the Yani TW020.

The Yanis are definitely much more ergonomically designed and hence easier to play IMHO not to mention both having High F# keys so whilst everything you dont know is always difficult to start with learning false fingerings for a high F# (say) is quite tricky on Selmers when you have gotten used to having a specific key to do it for you like on all the modern horns

Make no mistake I am totally hooked on The SBA which was a 60th birthday present to me last year and even though I have probably only just managed to get to around 2000 hours total playing time since starting 5 years ago (and had roughly 10-12 months off through injury and illness) is going to be the only tenor I will play prior to my expiry and will long outlast me.
 

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I actually also started on a horn with a high F# (Selmer SA80), but I've never missed it on my SBA. For me the top tones / alternative fingerings have never been an issue to play, but the tuning can indeed be tricky!
 

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I wish my Conn 12M had a low A, but without any changes to the tone quality or increase in weight.

I wish my Conn 10M didn't have terminally sticky pads, but I did it to myself by foolishly following the advice of "The Sax Doctor" and treating the pads with Old English Lemon Oil, despite my better judgement telling me that applying an oil-based treatment to pads was probably a really bad idea. Last time I will unquestioningly accept the advice of a guru.

I wish my Mexi-Conn tenor had less space between the front high F and the B touch.

I wish my Conn alto didn't have the low C# post right in the location where sooner or later it gets bumped and the pad starts leaking. I also wish it wasn't so gawdawful ugly.

I wish my Martin alto was more responsive in the altissimo.

I wish my Buescher soprano were lighter in weight and had a front F key.

I wish my Holton C soprano had a key placement a little more like the Buescher. All the keys are in different places and it takes me several tunes to realize where they are.

I wish I had bought that King Super 20 tenor with the pearls on the keys, in great condition, that I saw for sale at Pete's Pawn and Music in Garland, Tex. in 1978 for $400.
 

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'Buescher 400 (mid 60's) - Perfect horn, big sound. Only the looks (nickel keys and gold lacquer) looked a bit cheap to me, but I would love to have this horn as a backup for my SBA.'

You can say that again! What a horn the 'Selmer Buescher' was. Everything a Conn wanted to be.
 

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Couf Superba l & ll flat in the palm keys. drives me nuts. love the big sound though. Beautiful lower end. I play the ll all the time

Keilwerth SX (just before 90 models, 1987) intonation throughout horn is good, palm keys included. Other horn I play regularly.
ergonomics great, altissimo is easier than the Couf, big sound, just not quite as interesting as Couf, but very close.
I would sell one of the Couf's before I would sell the SX. It's a very good horn.

Martin Magna- great all around horn, which is also kind of the problem. Not really fantastic at any one thing. I found ergo's a little clunky.

Vito Duke (Beaugnier) smallest pinky cluster of any tenor I have played.

Conn 10M wonderful horn, big sound. My favorite sounding horn. Ergonomics are just awful. I could get used to it over time, but I don't want to bother.

Yamaha Allegro 575 Modern keywork. Good sound. Easy to play. A little bright. Would of never been my main horn, sound is just not as good. Fantastic horn for the price

Yamaha 52 same as the Allegro. Allegro is a prettier horn. Sound the same.

Jupiter- great for a student. very average sound. I couldn't stand it.

Holton Collegiate- I don't know if I just lucked out and got a good one, but that thing sounded great, and it could of used an overhaul. Just hated the nickel rods and key work.
very cheap looking horn. I ended up selling it because I didn't want to pay for an overhaul as I would of never got my money back. Should of kept it.

King Super 20 1968 1st year Eastlake. Love that horn. Just could not keep it and Coufs & SX too. Too much money just sitting in sax cases. Really should sell one of my Couf's,
just can't bring myself to do it. My horn of choice, other than my Keilwerth's.
 

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Buescher 400 (mid 60's) - Perfect horn, big sound. Only the looks (nickel keys and gold lacquer) looked a bit cheap to me, but I would love to have this horn as a backup for my SBA.
1saxman said:
You can say that again! What a horn the 'Selmer Buescher' was. Everything a Conn wanted to be.
Interesting, you don't often see such praise for the post-buyout 400's. I'm assuming you're talking about the models that still had the back-mounted bell keys, amber rollers, and underslung neck?

As for my own Buescher 400 TH&C B12, the LH pinky table can be a bit of a stretch, and my tech says it's a pain to repad. And unlike the B11's, the B12 engraving has no castle. But otherwise, it's pretty fabulous.
 

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I wish that it...

Hmm, I’ve got nothing to say against my Borgani tenors. Nothing at all.

If there is anything they cannot do, it’s on me.
 

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The fixed thumb-rest on my Cleveland Super 20. So, I had it swapped out for a Yamaha Baritone sax thumb-rest back in the late 1980's. The horn was never going to be a collector's instrument anyway. We also moved it a bit to the right, making it a touch closer.

View attachment 240162
 

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Interesting, you don't often see such praise for the post-buyout 400's. I'm assuming you're talking about the models that still had the back-mounted bell keys, amber rollers, and underslung neck?

As for my own Buescher 400 TH&C B12, the LH pinky table can be a bit of a stretch, and my tech says it's a pain to repad. And unlike the B11's, the B12 engraving has no castle. But otherwise, it's pretty fabulous.
No, mine had LH bell keys but it did have the under-neck key bought it new in 1964. I don't remember about the rollers but I don't think they were black. We have actually had several very positive posts on this horn with most of the negative ones from people who had never tried one but were quite sure that it could not be a 'real' Buescher if made by Selmer USA. BTW, that's a 130/0 on it and it was a great one.

 

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Interesting, you don't often see such praise for the post-buyout 400's. I'm assuming you're talking about the models that still had the back-mounted bell keys, amber rollers, and underslung neck?
This one was post buyout, but had the bell keys on the other side of the bell (so not back-mounted). Indeed with amber rollers and an under slang neck. Never played a 'real' Buescher 400, but loved the two later models I did play test (the horn of a pro friend and one in a shop, but they asked too much for it and didn't give me a good offer for my SA80 old backup horn, so I didn't buy it).
 

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Low C# on my VI Tenor - Gurgle thing
Low C on my VI Alto - Very Flat
A2 on my Soprano - Octave Key sometimes gets partially block with spit.
 

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I'd love to find a contoured case that actually fits a Keilwerth tenor !
 

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I'd love to find a contoured case that actually fits a Keilwerth tenor ! Not a Protec !
 
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