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· Registered
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello SOTW:

I was doing some playtesting this past weekend exploring different mouthpiece/sax combinations on tenor. In the process, I was re-acquainted with how all three tenors I own (Cannonball Vintage, BP MAC 8 (Barone Vintage), and Reference 36) sound fabulous. All have effortlessly-good intonation, very good to outstanding ergos, but have noticeably different tone colors.

These tone colors I would say lie along a spectrum of spread and sweet (Ref 36), more focused and clear but sweet (CB vintage), and pure guts/power that retains significant complexity in the tone (MAC 8). This difference generally holds irrespective of mouthpiece (i.e. when I play a certain mouthpiece on all three).

Honestly, it was hard for me to decide whether I had an overall absolute aesthetic preference. It was like how when you listen to a jazz station on the radio or Pandora, the tenor giants all have really nice tone, but you can tell the tone is different, but they're all engaging.

Honestly, after putting the tenors away, I came away feeling truly blessed that I have such nice instruments to play! Yes, it sounds cheesy, but it was sort of an epiphany in what I think should be a season of reflection.

Going forward, it just seems like the Ref 36 is "it" for trios, the CB is "it" for big-band (especially with my RPC piece) or party gigs where I go from playing a dinner set to high-energy, and the Barone is perfect for pure R&B or worship gigs.

It seems, though, that most people on here have a single go-to tenor (or alto) for everything, but maybe I mis-read. Does anyone else maintain a "stable" of multiple tenors or altos that all see regular action depending on the musical demands?



P.S. The question still applies to soprano/bari but most players if they have one, ONLY have one...

P.P.S. Please don't get hung up on what my particular tenors are. It's not really relevant to the question.

· SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
25,289 Posts
Yes, I have the same 'problem' (actually a good problem to have, kind of like having too many gig opportunities).

I have 3 great tenors: '65 MKVI, '40 Buescher Aristocrat ('series one, art deco'), '50 Buescher Aristocrat (156).

They all play and sound great. My only problem is I don't like switching around on horns or mpcs because there is at least a minor adjustment period. So I tend to stick with one horn for a time, then switch for another period of time. Mostly my 'default' horn is the MKVI because it just does everything well and seems to work under all circumstances. But the Bueschers have a tone quality that I can't dismiss, so I play them when I feel like it.
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