Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
340 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The conventional wisdom here seems to say that the particular sound made by a sax is the neck and mouthpiece. Well of course I call Bulls**t on that as I've been playing my 41" Naked Lady for 40 years, and it has that 'sound' regardless of what else is on the horn. So question; What makes a Conn a Conn?
 

·
Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
Joined
·
8,588 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
593 Posts
good luck with with this one. I haven't seen one good scientific answer here on similar questions.

Plenty of people will tell you what they think its not.

the Sax manufacturers don't seem to be able to reproduce these vintage sounds either.

it could also be that its impossible to overcome the mystique of the oldies.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
Material, thickness and most importantly, the taper of the body tubing.
+1

Let me see if I can build upon this from everything that I have researched and been told......

A saxophone in it's simplistic form is a cone. That cone (and the volume their in) is what determines Tonal quality.

If you cut the end off (where the mouthpiece goes) - the volume of the missing Cone's section should match the volume of the mouthpiece in order to play in tune.

Now try to imagine what a series of tone holes does to the Volume of the cone. Now you are dealing with complex equations to deal with what has happened to the Cone's volume.

The neck seems to be where they try to make up for what the tone holes have done to the cone. They change the taper throughout the neck to compensate for the body tube.

Now I will be the 1st to admit that this is a simplified explanation, and that I understand all of this to just a little bit further than what I just stated.

Charlie
 

·
Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
the Sax manufacturers don't seem to be able to reproduce these vintage sounds either.

it could also be that its impossible to overcome the mystique of the oldies.
Now, while this is pure speculation, my belief is that today they cannot build a saxophone without using a computer in it's design. I think the human imperfections in the design of vintage instruments are what creates the "mystique" that people seem to look for.

Modern saxophones perfected in design by computers, seem to be "too perfect" and become generic in sound ( **** WARNING - THIS IS ONLY AN OPINION AND OTHERS WILL ARGUE AGAINST IT ******* )

Regardless of opinion, I think it is safe to say that a man designed saxophone will play differently (not better or worse) than a computer designed one.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2017
Joined
·
687 Posts
+1

Let me see if I can build upon this from everything that I have researched and been told......

A saxophone in it's simplistic form is a cone. That cone (and the volume their in) is what determines Tonal quality.
Ah, this is where it gets interesting -- I thought that many, if not most, if not all, vintage saxes had an elliptical cross-section, which is what gives them their richness and complexity of sound. I've heard say, and I think this has been discussed here at length, that many, if not most, modern saxophones have the round cross-section which would then make them cones...please feel free to flame me!

Kenneth
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
44 Posts
Now, while this is pure speculation, my belief is that today they cannot build a saxophone without using a computer in it's design. I think the human imperfections in the design of vintage instruments are what creates the "mystique" that people seem to look for.

Modern saxophones perfected in design by computers, seem to be "too perfect" and become generic in sound ( **** WARNING - THIS IS ONLY AN OPINION AND OTHERS WILL ARGUE AGAINST IT ******* )

Regardless of opinion, I think it is safe to say that a man designed saxophone will play differently (not better or worse) than a computer designed one.

Hmmm... Crafted vs manufactured, man vs machine. Interesting.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,969 Posts
What makes a Conn a Conn?
The right player?

For me, what I like about Conn tenors and baris, I don't like about their altos and sopranos. So it's not love across the board.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,937 Posts
Ah, this is where it gets interesting -- I thought that many, if not most, if not all, vintage saxes had an elliptical cross-section...
Vintage horns were formed on a mandrel - you cannot easily make an elliptical mandrel on a lathe. How might you explain your assumption?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
4,315 Posts
Vintage horns were formed on a mandrel - you cannot easily make an elliptical mandrel on a lathe. How might you explain your assumption?

Raising my eyebrow....and waiting.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2017
Joined
·
687 Posts
Erm, I read it here: Article on the saxophone, among other places, but I think it's also been discussed here on this forum, although I may be totally way off base...

Kenneth
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,937 Posts
If you read it on the web, it must be true.

My question stands - and I have worked with some great old-school machinists in the last several decades - How do you make a mandrel with an elliptical cross-section? To explore that in the context of "What makes a Conn?": What horns have been measured to have an elliptical cross section - was it all vintage horns, all vintage American horns, only Conns... - and when did such a practice stop?

I sincerely curious about this. Please give me some data.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
Stupid me. I thought it was the engraving that said "Conn" that was the giveaway. As for the sound I am no expert as I have only compared them to Selmers (US & Paris) and Cannonball saxes. In my limited experience, I have found that the Pre-1930 Conn's can be pushed harder and the tone continues to develop in a pleasant (at least to me) way. Why this is, is a mystery.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,042 Posts
Ah, this is where it gets interesting -- I thought that many, if not most, if not all, vintage saxes had an elliptical cross-section...
Kenneth
Hadn't heard that myself. Are you sure you're not referring to the (also ill documented in terms of concrete exemplars) "parabolic" bore referenced in some early 20th century sax literature?
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2017
Joined
·
687 Posts
If you read it on the web, it must be true.

My question stands - and I have worked with some great old-school machinists in the last several decades - How do you make a mandrel with an elliptical cross-section? To explore that in the context of "What makes a Conn?": What horns have been measured to have an elliptical cross section - was it all vintage horns, all vintage American horns, only Conns... - and when did such a practice stop?

I sincerely curious about this. Please give me some data.
There you have me. You definitely know a lot more about horns than I ever will, and I was hoping that you, and the others with way more experience than I have, would be the one to provide the data. I guess the one way to solve this would be to actually cut a Conn horn into sections to see if it is actually elliptical, and even then, that might not be the explanation as to what makes a Conn, or any other vintage sax for that matter, sound the way that it does.

Incidentally, I like Bruce's explanation, "Material, thickness and...taper ".

Regards,
Kenneth
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top