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Thread: New Sax Innovations

  1. #1
    Forum Contributor 2008 Michigansax's Avatar
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    Default New Sax Innovations

    Thought I might stir up some conversation......

    I attended a band directors convention in San Antonio over the past few days and got to look at some saxes I've never seen before. Jean Erich alto and tenor saxes now come with high G keys. Some models also feature a "C whisper" key (a tone hole actually) which raises the pitch of the notoriously flat middle C.

    I know it's pretty much commonplace amongst pro level sopranos to have a high G key. Do you think it's only a matter of time until the more popular manufacturers (i.e. Selmer, Yamaha) include them on altos and tenors? Or is it just a gimmick?

    Selmer Series IIIs have that nifty C# speaker hole which makes open C# usable. When I owned one, I found it to be more of a hinderance. It was always leaking and it didn't really bring it up that much. This "C whisper" key seems like a really good idea. Probably the most out of tune note on my EX alto is middle C. If I have to sustain for any length of time, it I add the side C key to raise the pitch. The biggest down side I could think of to this added tone hole is that it remains open when fingering an altissimo A (I'm assuming most of us do not have LH1 down while fingering this note). This would make a sharp note sharper.

    It's probably safe to say that Adolphe Sax was a guy that was always trying to make instruments better and easier to play. I think he would welcome these ideas to his masterpiece. Ever seen a Loomis sax????

    So. What are you opinions on these things and what innovations might you want to see in the near future?

    Joey

  2. #2

    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    I have problems with middle C I just add RH 1 and 2, great tip I picked up from John Harle, it makes it more in tune and a much brighter sound.

    In terms of the high G I think it'll be difficult for them to put it on the Tenor and Alto, look at all the problems selmer had with the Harmonic model, the problem is that the G key would have to go on the crook!

    However, they might be able to get away with putting one on bari, which might be handy.

    Well the sax has changed quite a lot and probably for the better since Sax's day and I'm sure he'd welcome the changes, I'm sure he'd do the same if he had all the technology we had!

    Anyways, just my thoughts!

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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    A G key is handy in a handful of tricky places (quick runs over the break), but it is not necessary. We can't just keep adding keys for the whole 4 octaves. 95% of serious players can play G and F# just fine without a "cheater" key. Never-the-less, there's a lot of times I wish I had an F# key on my Aristocrat (Maslanka Sonata, Milhaud Scaramouche, etc.).

    As for raising a flat middle C, it's nice that modern makers are trying to smooth out the saxophone scale. However, every wind instrument is a series of compromises, and it is impossible for any instrument to be built that will play perfectly in-tune. This is a good thing, since everybody blows a little differently, and the details of good intonation are constantly shifting (a C that's the root of a chord vs. a C that's the third must be placed differently).

  4. #4

    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    This topic has been discussed at length on this forum, but I will respond anyway. I preface this by stating that this is all IMHO.

    I would hope that high G keys do not become standard from sopranino through bass because I think they are, on the whole, unnecessary. I also play a Buescher sans Hi-F#. It took me a little time to get used to having only one good fingering for this note, but I find it to be a natural bridge between the standard and altissimo ranges. To be honest, on many instruments I have played the normal Palm F seems detached from the rest of the range in tone-color/complexity of sound. Palm F# skews further down in this direction. I can only imagine how shrill a Palm G would sound!

    I do not really know that there will be any serious innovations in saxophone design in the near or not-so-near future. I already think some things have been taken too far, like the emphasis on slapping more and more metal parts e.g., ribbed construction. Most people that try out my instrument remark on how much lighter it is than their alto. To me, lighter=more time the instrument remains comfortable around my neck, and I feel I have a complex, robust tone without these extra "benefits".

    At this point, all is needed is to take a serious approach to learning your instrument, no matter what brand is engraved on the bell.
    Alto: Buescher New Aristocrat with original mpc. and lig.
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    SOTW Contributor 2011 jbtsax's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Ok I'll bite. I have never heard of "Jean Eric Saxophones" and a Google Search tuned up nothing. Can you supply any more information about the brand or where they are made? Thanks.

    John

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    Forum Administrator and Contributor 2009 drakesaxprof's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Quote Originally Posted by jbtsax View Post
    Ok I'll bite. I have never heard of "Jean Eric Saxophones" and a Google Search tuned up nothing. Can you supply any more information about the brand or where they are made? Thanks.

    John
    J. Erich Saxophones
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    E-mail problem patchmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    I guess we will need to acquaint you with "He Who Has No Name"

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    SOTW Pragmatist cpete's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Am I the only person thinks palm keys suck? Be nice to see a better design.

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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Quote Originally Posted by saxsaxsax69 View Post
    ...
    look at all the problems selmer had with the Harmonic model...
    WHAT problems?? I've owned an 'H' Series II alto since 1996 and have never had any problems.

    Works great, helps tuning a lot(is more of a tuning thing than an altissimo helper), doesn't get in the way of anything else.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    I think palm keys suck too...making them obsolete should be the next problem for engineers to conquer.

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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    steve goodson makes high G saxophones. vintage saxophone had G# trills...

    it's not that these are all new things. it's more of a matter on whether we want to make them. it doesn't seem like so much to add a high G key but when your company makes thousands of saxophone a year, that one key costs you money and most big pros much prefer altissimo over the use of F# and G keys.

    that's why many companies don't make double arm keys for their keys. yanagisawa does on a few but if there were double arms on every key say goodbye to tons of saxophone problems. one thing though. it costs big money.

    Take key guards for example. Yamaha saxophones don't have a key guard on one of their keys, the one CLOSEST to the bow. this is serious if you drop your horn. but they don't have it because the key is a closed hole key and it saves cash.

    It's not that companies don't have this. I've seen 1 saxophone that had a second octave key for the altissimo range. basically you hit the second octave key and your D fingering because altissimo D. yeah it's nice but the horns cost loads of cash for things that not everyone's willing to pay
    The cure to procrastination is the realization that procrastination in its essense is the failure in understanding that the work you are doing is to your own benefit, not the benefit of others.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    J. Erich is Brook-Mays private label brand. J. (Jean) Eric sounds a lot like Generic. Get it?

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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    The biggest thing I see interesting in say a high G key for alto, or a low A for soprano, or whatever the case may be, is it adds a huge potential for new quarter tone fingerings, new altissimo fingerings, and new multiphonic fingerings and sounds. For me this would be an advantage as this is the path I'm leaning towards. I know for some people these things wouldn't matter one bit.

  14. #14
    Angel's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Wait'll y'all see the keywork improvements on the Houlik saxophone...
    Concert Saxophonist ~ Artisan Barman
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Quote Originally Posted by Angel View Post
    Wait'll y'all see the keywork improvements on the Houlik saxophone...
    Oh??

    Interested!

    PLEASE ELABORATE!
    [Impnt]

  16. #16
    Angel's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    I'm not sure if I'm at liberty yet to expound, but there are several changes he made that I find to be significantly smarter and user-friendly.
    Concert Saxophonist ~ Artisan Barman
    YSS875EXHGLAS • SG2RS • S27 • M/O • 4
    YAS875EXS • AV1AG • A28 • M/O • 3

  17. #17
    Distinguished SOTW Member NissanVintageSax's Avatar
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    Default Re: New Sax Innovations

    Cannonball also had a Tenor model out in the late 1990s with High G. Didn't last long.
    '60s Vito (France) Mo 38 A.Sax; '22 Harwood Professional C(Buescher Stencil); '26 King Bari; '70s H. Couf Superba II Tenor Sax;'20s Beaufort American Curvy Sop (Conn stencil) w/white Roos blueminorjazzcombo@groups.facebook.com

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