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  1. #1

    Default Curved or Straight?

    Aright so I've been looking around and i was wondering whats the difference (other than the obvious shape) in a curved and straight Soprano Sax? Also which has a better sound quality?

  2. #2
    Forum Contributor 2014 patmiller's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I have owned and played both types. I sound the same on either. The straight I now find too heavy on my right arm when holding it that extended position. The curvy makes me feel slightly ridiculous when playing because of its toy-like proportions. But it's more comfortable and the sound comes from a better place for me - not as remote.
    Pleasing everyone is impossible; pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.

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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Yes, I feel the same as patmiller. Straights make my right arm really tired, unless I do the Miles Davis head-tilting-downwards thing. I sound the same if I record myself, but I like the sound of a curvy more when I'm playing it, sounds more saxophon-y.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 kwgrinnell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Ditto all the above. Additionally, to me the curve is less nasal.

    K
    45 yrs of happy sax

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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I agree with the above as well. I find the curvies to sound more like an alto or tenor and less nasal than the straights.
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    Distinguished SOTW member/Official SOTW Sister bandmommy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I've played both. A soprano is a soprano no matter what shape it takes.
    As for which has the better sound quality.... It all depends who's on the backside of the mouthpiece.
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I find it to vary more by brand and age rather than shape. Modern sopranos play different from vintage. Pick a horn that plays well for you but consider all brands and shapes. I pretty much agree with the other posts. The best in tune soprano I have owned is a Conn Chu. Best keywork is on modern horns.

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    to me first and foremost came the fact that I never got along wit straight sopranos, part of it had to do with being a rookie at saxophone in general and soprano in particular but then, as I progressed and hopefully got better my playing in general improved and so did the soprano playing too, but the discomfort of playing a straight horn became bigger and bigger.

    Nowadays because of a shoulder impingement playing a straight soprano has become nearly impossible and so I play a curved one which, it also happens to be the sweetest soprano that I have ever played (and its sweetness has improved with the right mouthpiece).

    So curved it is for me. Bauhaus Walstein AI bronze (a nearly faithful copy of a Yanagisawa latest model) and Ponzol Hr Vintage 70.

    I have played other curved ones like a ’70 Borgani and a Orsi which were nice but not as nice as the BW.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I agree, the actual sound differences are not to do with the shape , but the brand and model. A curved or straight sound different to the player (as with altos) as the sound is coming from a different place, but once you get beyond a few feet, it's not relevant IMO.

    However if the difference in sound to the player's ears, or indeed the comfort of the instrument, does maker a difference to how you play, then of course it does have a wider impact but that is more to do with the player than any inherent different tone due to the shape of the instrument.

    I say this after having compared several horns of the same brand and model, both curved and straight.

    I also agree with milandro that the BW is the sweetest sounding soprano out there, though for me it's the straight one.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2012 dexdex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Keep in mind that a curvy is much easier to record/amplify. This even more if you double with other saxophones. If you double with clarinet, the straight shape might be a better choice from a miking perspective.
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I use the curved neck that comes with most modern sops,I cannot play a straight sop anymore.One of the many benefits of advancing years.

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    SaxTon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Just mostly restating what has been posted in this thread and many others on the same subject.

    From the listener side: no difference in sound (assuming a respectable listening distance and not your ear in the bell)

    From the player side: curved gives better acoustic feedback to the player, and IMOT, is much more enjoyable to play soundwise and comfort. also it is much easier to schelp on a trip

    For me it a yani bronze with selmer D
    Great horn and set up

    Do not commit to curved or straight until you try out both
    To each his own.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Quote Originally Posted by SaxTon View Post
    Do not commit to curved or straight until you try out both.
    Or do it the ol' fashioned way... Commit to one or the other - whatever you can find that plays well. I played straight sops for 20+ years before even thinking about trying a curved horn. Now that I've owned more than several of each, I know that I could play either and be equally happy.

    Although my sop of preference was a SC-992, I found that I didn't like most other curved sops because my right fingertips would hit the bell of the horn and distract me.

    Just to throw in a third consideration - the option of a curved neck on a straight sop is another consideration. I had a fine-playing Selmer Serie III for several years and preferred that combination on that horn.

    Just get a nice TrueTone and run with it - simple mechanics, pure tone, easy maintenance, bliss...
    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Having played both a curvy and a straight (with a bent neck) in an orchestra setting, I found that I can blend with the orchestra much more easily to my ears and seemingly play much softer with a straight soprano. Even tho it really isn't much louder, the curvy "sounds" so much louder that it overpowers the rest of the orchestra on soft passages. I find I just can't play soft enough and that ruins my sound on the curvy.

    But, the curvy sure is fun!

  15. #15

    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I've got a Yanagisawa soprano with a straight and a slightly curved neck.
    I always use the curved neck, I prefer the sound (though the difference is minimal) and it's easier on the arms.

    Great horn, great sound!
    Compositions in Music Compositions in Oils Tenor: Selmer Mark VI 92,xxx, Ponzol M2 PLUS 110, Alexander NY 2.5 Alto: SML Gold Medal 15,xxx, Otto Link 6*, Alexander DC 3 Soprano: Yanagisawa S991, Ponzol M2 65, Alexander DC 3 Baritone: Keilwerth 'The New King' 34,xxx, Rico Metalite M7, Rico Royal 3

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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    There's been agreement on some points as well as difference of opinion on some others.As for the nasal tone ,that comes from certain brands as well as individual embouchure and mpc.As for the curvy sounding more sax like,I totally agree with it.The straight model is really a horn far removed from the tonal characteristics of the sax family.I played a Weltklang straight for some time because I could get a sound more like a trumpet.I now use an old La Fleur Varsity straight because the notes sustain longer.Personally I prefer the straight because it has a better 'FEEL' with the hands positioned like on a Tenor or Alto and you get a better playing stance especially when you take off on an improvisation and you have to bite hard to hit those high notes.For me THE CURVY is too toy-like to get a good grip when improvising .As someone remarked in an earlier comment,'TO EACH IT'S OWN.Try out and find out which suits you best.I have a Taiwan 'no name ' curvy in black gun metal and gold lacquer,but it's seldom used as it cannot provide the punch that my straight model gives. HORNLOVER . Colombo

  17. #17

    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    Quote Originally Posted by patmiller View Post
    I have owned and played both types. I sound the same on either. The straight I now find too heavy on my right arm when holding it that extended position. The curvy makes me feel slightly ridiculous when playing because of its toy-like proportions. But it's more comfortable and the sound comes from a better place for me - not as remote.
    I'm with you, the curved soprano is much easier to hold, but you feel rediculous holding such a small instrument. The only other instrument I have played that feels more toy like is the oboe LOL!!

    I find that the curved soprano has a warmer tone as well, much like the difference between a straight and a curved tenor.

  18. #18
    SaxTon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    [QUOTE=squawk;1867857]Having played both a curvy and a straight (with a bent neck) in an orchestra setting, I found that I can blend with the orchestra much more easily to my ears and seemingly play much softer with a straight soprano. Even tho it really isn't much louder, the curvy "sounds" so much louder that it overpowers the rest of the orchestra on soft passages. I find I just can't play soft enough and that ruins my sound on the curvy.

    From my experience in sax quartets, combos, etc. the curved sop is louder only from the players perspective especially the bottom notes
    but in ensemble or solo from a distance it is the same dependent on player skill and sensitivity

    I would never go back to a straight having well adapted to curved.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    I own both and the experience differs with both.
    honestly, I prefer the straight soprano (Selmer SA II) more though the sound is more distant.
    As for the curvy (Taiwan made Chateau), I use this for gigs requiring projection like blues, rock, etc.
    each horn a totally different experience.
    For me the straight brought out a more feminine approach and the curvy, more masculine ... ... if this makes any sense
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  20. #20

    Default Re: Curved or Straight?

    the straight horn seems more an outlier, differentiated from other horns by more than pitch. probably nonsense, but i hear curved sops blending beautifully in the upper register of acoustic ensemble, while the straight cuts straight through a mix of electronic keys and guitars. there's also, maybe, a trace of synesthesia to it, as the fingering and action all takes place right before your eyes. (one's tempted to get that low pinky action involved just for grins.)

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