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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Disclaimer: Im a younger guy so maybe it doesnt effect me as much as other people.
Why do people care so much about weight and how it effects the quality of the instrument?
Same question about ergonomics, I feel like most horns are set up just fine and easy to get used to.
Excuse my ignorance if it really is a very big deal.

Edit: thanks for the information everyone
 

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Disclaimer: Im a younger guy so maybe it doesnt effect me as much as other people.
Why do people care so much about weight and how it effects the quality of the instrument?
Same question about ergonomics, I feel like most horns are set up just fine and easy to get used to.
Excuse my ignorance if it really is a very big deal.
I think you nailed it with the "I'm a younger guy" thing. I have some repetitive-motion injury issues in my right wrist and thumb, to the point that I had to ditch a straight sop and go with a curvie for ergonomic reasons. It also isn't comfortable to play my Martin Comm III tenor unfortunately because of the way things are laid out.

I guess my point is, enjoy it while it lasts? lol
 

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Ergonomics are partially subjective - bad ergos to one player may be fine to the next. When you encounter ones you don't like it diminishes your enjoyment - Which is really the entire point of playing unless you're doing it for the money.
 

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It can be very important if you have a health condition (arthritis, back or neck problems, etc.), are older, or shorter, or have small hands, etc. Many possible reasons. If you live long enough, you might understand it one day.
 

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I don't think they DO, quite honestly.

The ergonomics thing is, in most instances, something which is a marketing tag to make one brand more desireable than another.

This is NOT to say some horns have uncomfy ergos....because it is true, some do. But a lot of ergonomics is, as Fader says...subjective.

I have played supposed "VI-inspired" horns which felt like crap under my fingers.....and I have played 1920's horns which felt really comfy and very responsive.

I have said this many a time - the human body is quite capable of acclimating to any tool or piece of hardware, providing the design isn't just poor or dumb. It is not as if if we are 'used' to playing a Yamaha, we will short-circuit if a Martin is placed in our hands. With some quick woodshedding, your hands become familiar with what they are holding.

Same question about ergonomics, I feel like most horns are set up just fine and easy to get used to.
Yes, indeed...most good, reputed brands and models ARE designed just fine...and when set up nicely do everything just fine.

Weight...again, no big deal for 90% of players...and I find it sorta funny that nowadays contemporary companies use 'light weight' as some sorta 'selling point'. If the horn is light weight, this means what ?
.....Well, providing it is still made of metal alloys, it means the body metal may be lighter (thus thinner gauge) or the keywork weighs less (also a VERY spurious 'attribute' to try to turn into a 'positive')

The situations, as Buddy and Gulo mention, where things become different would be where in fact the player's physical condition results in a certain 'something' being necessary to maintain an acceptable degree of comfort.
 

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Indeed very subjective.

I can't stand the layout of the Martin Horns. To me the left hand pinky keys are impossibly close to the body tube. My whole hand has to arc in this weird way just to touch those keys and it makes the whole experience horrid. But other people love them to death and really don't care for more modern horns.

Also, 90% of the modern horns being produced these days have similar key layouts. That is that everything new is some sort of variation on the Selmer SBA/ Mark VI lay out. So from horn to horn there's not a whole lot to get used to.

Weight is an odd one. The difference from the heaviest horn and the lightest horn out there may only be about 1lb. For us younger folk that might not seem like a lot. But I know that long periods of playing do cause my neck to cramp a little. I imagine this would get worse if my horn was 15% heavier.
 

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Same question about ergonomics, I feel like most horns are set up just fine and easy to get used to.
A saxophone is a precision device intended for subtle artistic expression. This means that small improvements at the margin can be very important to a player. With a vacuum cleaner, such marginal differences might be irrelevant. "I can grab it well enough and roll it around; who cares about the exact shape of the handle?" But many musicians prefer an instrument that fits them close to perfectly, as opposed to one that they have to make an effort to adapt to. Maybe we're talking about only a 5-10% advantage in efficiency or ease of use, but sometimes that can mean the difference between playing a passage fluidly and fighting a bit to get it out. Why do you think palm key risers are so popular?
 

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The average age of the posters on SOTW (esp. by post count) is over 60 years old...that may be the best explanation.
 

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The average age of the posters on SOTW (esp. by post count) is over 60 years old...that may be the best explanation.
I'm not old. I'm just well broken in.

I've played sax since I was 10. That was 54 years ago. I am developing osteoarthritis in my cervical vertebrae. Playing without pain is important to me. I've always had good ergos, and have never gotten a repetitive stress injury. However, everyone eventually wears out.
Different branded saxes of the same voice are relatively close in weight--within a pound. (If you do a search, you'll find at least one thread where everyone weighed their horns.) I'm trying solutions for alternative neckstraps this year.

Good ergos are important. All the little injuries add up. Just look at all the piano players and viola players that do things like Alexander technique. All so they don't mess up their backs from playing.
 

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Disclaimer: Im a younger guy so maybe it doesnt effect me as much as other people.
Why do people care so much about weight and how it effects the quality of the instrument?
Same question about ergonomics, I feel like most horns are set up just fine and easy to get used to.
Excuse my ignorance if it really is a very big deal.
What is your range of "most horns"?

I am in the 60+ years old group and have owned a lot of horns over 5 decades of playing.

I tend to agree that ergos and weight are a non-issue. The only niggling ergo issue that I recall grabbing my attention is the difference between pinkie tables on the Buescher Big B and TH&C. If you've never played the two, you probably don't get that. If your experience is limited to all modern horns with similar pinkie tables and palm key layouts, there is less difference to consider.

I play tenor - a couple ounces difference makes no matter to me. I do prefer to use a neck strap that distributes the force - Ray Hyman straps for the first few decades, now replaced by Just Joe's Gel Strap. If weight ever becomes too much an issue, there's always alto. Failing that, go to sop.

My perspective is that people perseverate on mass because it's easy to quantify. Ergos are subjective so it's easy to have an unassailable opinion.

You've got a good horn in the SX90R - FWIW, I don't care for the feel of the pearls on a J-K, but if it was my only horn, I would have nothing to compare it too, and it would be perfectly fine.

Enjoy the experience.


Tenor - it's all that matters. :twisted:
 

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I had an SX–90R many years ago and the weight did bother me.
I love the big sound but in the end, I ended up getting rid of it because it was just too heavy. It was really uncomfortable on my neck over time. Neck straps have come a LONG way since then, so I would probably enjoy those horns again with one of the newer straps that takes a lot of the weight off the neck.
As far as ergonomics go, I think most just get used to whatever they have and it feels like home after a while.
There is certainly a difference between a nice mark six and a Conn 10m as far as ergos go, but I adjust. Most horns feel totally fine to me.
 

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Lighter weight and better ergonomics usually mean a better quality sax.
I agree that a lesser quality horn often feels "overbuilt". Beyond that, I am more concerned with the fit and finish of the mechanism (ie, Is there slop in the fit?, Will it maintain adjustment?), as well as its response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
What is your range of "most horns"?
This is a good point, I mainly am talking about modern horns but I also have no issues ergonomically with a mark vi as an example.
 

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This is a good point, I mainly am talking about modern horns but I also have no issues ergonomically with a mark vi as an example.
I consider the Mk VI as the beginning of "modern" horns - modern features include: offset stacks, tilting pinkie table, adjustable thumb hook, etc.

Pre-modern features, in contrast, include in-line tone holes, non-tilting pinkie table, bell key positions, fixed thumb hook, lack of adjusting screws, etc.
 

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A saxophone is a precision device intended for subtle artistic expression. This means that small improvements at the margin can be very important to a player. With a vacuum cleaner, such marginal differences might be irrelevant. "I can grab it well enough and roll it around; who cares about the exact shape of the handle?" But many musicians prefer an instrument that fits them close to perfectly, as opposed to one that they have to make an effort to adapt to. Maybe we're talking about only a 5-10% advantage in efficiency or ease of use, but sometimes that can mean the difference between playing a passage fluidly and fighting a bit to get it out. Why do you think palm key risers are so popular?
But the reality is, 'fits them close to perfectly' is incredibly variable from player to player....

and once again, this notion that ANY mass-produced instrument is just gonna naturally 'fit folks close to perfectly'...again, highly debatable.

Fact is, 'make effort to adapt to' is gonna be a requirement of any horn anyone picks up.


As far as ergonomics go, I think most just get used to whatever they have and it feels like home after a while.
There is certainly a difference between a nice mark six and a Conn 10m as far as ergos go, but I adjust. Most horns feel totally fine to me.
This.
 

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Lighter weight and better ergonomics usually mean a better quality sax.
An incredible generalization. I know plenty of excellent models which are on the heavier side, & plenty of lighter horns which are quite bad....even just staying in the 'modern horn' realm.....
 

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Ya ever noticed that no one makes a more ergonomic piano?
 

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With regards to weight, I had a friend that swore his VI was heavier than other VI's. When you picked them up, it even felt heavier. I have a digital bike scale that you can attach to the neck strap ring to weigh horns, so we did a test. Both of my non-high f-sharp VI's weighed in at 7 lb 3 oz. We took his "heavy" VI and it weighed in at...….7lb 3 oz. We then took a Yani T991 with the full rib construction and high f-sharp and it weighed in at 7 lb 4 oz. The weight thing is all in your head, it's not a factor.
 

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However, a brass mouthpiece is significantly heavier than a hard rubber one.

Anything Solid Silver is 1.228 times heavier than brass. Bronze is also slightly heavier than brass.
 
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