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Thread: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

  1. #1
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Other than the obvious "get rid of the high F#", are there any ways to reduce the weight of a saxophone? I love my VII but being a small guy, its weight during long practice sessions / gigs progressively gets hard to bear. It's also not one of the heaviest horns out there (it seems pretty average actually, even lighter than most modern horns)

    I suppose the simple answer would be to get a lighter sax, but it seems I'd have to spend loads of money to find something that suits me. Modern horns are all heavy, and I just can't deal with pre-SBA ergos so it leaves either an SBA or a VI (of course... :tsk: )

    Any ideas guys?

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Maybe switch to a harness?
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    All of this is just like, my opinion, man.

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    I am using a harness already and it eases the pain but the issue is you just can't adjust a harness (I've tried most of them) so the sax rests in the same position as with a regular strap and as a result it causes unnatural and unnecessary tensions in the back, neck arms and hands.

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    If you rarely play below low D (I know I don't) you could cut the bell off with a hacksaw. This may possibly put off the collectors if it ever goes to ebay though ..

    Another idea might be to do 20 press-ups every morning and every evening. This will make the horn seem lighter.

    My invoice for this advice is in the post, Victor.
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    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    If you rarely play below low D (I know I don't) you could cut the bell off with a hacksaw. This may possibly put off the collectors if it ever goes to ebay though ..

    Another idea might be to do 20 press-ups every morning and every evening. This will make the horn seem lighter.

    My invoice for this advice is in the post, Victor.

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    If you rarely play below low D (I know I don't) you could cut the bell off...
    Hmmm, I had typed a similar witticism and then thought better of it. Ah well... Obviously, it was too hard to resist for others.

    If you want to see if lightening the horn has any perceivable, you might try removing the mechanism for the low B/Bb keys. I suspect that it won't make a sufficient difference for your needs. If that's the case, you know that this path is a short one.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Play sitting down and keep the horn in it's stand. This is called the pretzel position. Or, switch to alto or soprano or better yet sopranino sax.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaman View Post
    Play sitting down and keep the horn in it's stand. This is called the pretzel position. Or, switch to alto or soprano or better yet sopranino sax.
    There's not much "better" about the lesser horns. Might as well take up the tin whistle.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    The Ergo Freeneck Harness takes the bite out of a Bari and makes the Alto disappear... Alas they are hard to get. i got mine at Roberto's but i haven't seen them listed there fore a while. German or British online dealers are the best bet...
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    Distinguished SOTW member daigle65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Blow helium into it instead of air.
    " M'enfin ! " ....Gaston Lagaffe

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    Distinguished SOTW Member Dr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by daigle65 View Post
    Blow helium into it instead of air.
    Eh, that'll mess with your pitch.

    I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the standup style of horn supports - our colleagues in England must be snoozing or boozing.
    Go for The Tone,

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by magical pig View Post
    Other than the obvious "get rid of the high F#", are there any ways to reduce the weight of a saxophone? I love my VII but being a small guy, its weight during long practice sessions / gigs progressively gets hard to bear. It's also not one of the heaviest horns out there (it seems pretty average actually, even lighter than most modern horns)

    I suppose the simple answer would be to get a lighter sax, but it seems I'd have to spend loads of money to find something that suits me. Modern horns are all heavy, and I just can't deal with pre-SBA ergos so it leaves either an SBA or a VI (of course... :tsk: )

    Any ideas guys?
    If a VI is any lighter than a VII it would only be by ounces, I've had VI tenors since 1959 and owned a VII tenor for 30+ years as an alternative horn. I have never been bothered by the weight of either, truthfully never have noticed the weight of a horn while playing it....and I'm a little AND old guy. Trust me--you'd regret it if you sold the VII tenor--I do.
    "there are two means of refuge from the misery of life-music and cats," Dr. Albert Schweitzer

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    If the people who claim that material doesn't matter are correct, you could just have a horn made out Styrofoam. That would be nice and light!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    I use a Lebayle belt arnes with my low A bari. For me, it is very comfortable, and for a tenor or an alto it is wonderfull. You can see pics here:

    http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/Lebayle_straps.html

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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    Another idea might be to do 20 press-ups every morning and every evening. This will make the horn seem lighter.
    I agree (seriously) although a schedule with a bit more variety would probably work better. A MKVII tenor should not feel heavy. Low A baris are a different matter.

  16. #16
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    If a VI is any lighter than a VII it would only be by ounces, I've had VI tenors since 1959 and owned a VII tenor for 30+ years as an alternative horn. I have never been bothered by the weight of either, truthfully never have noticed the weight of a horn while playing it....and I'm a little AND old guy. Trust me--you'd regret it if you sold the VII tenor--I do.
    I know when I tried some SBA's and VI's, the weight difference was VERY noticeable to me. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to it.

    Quote Originally Posted by conntentin View Post
    I use a Lebayle belt arnes with my low A bari. For me, it is very comfortable, and for a tenor or an alto it is wonderfull. You can see pics here:

    http://www.sax.co.uk/acatalog/Lebayle_straps.html
    I thought about using something like it but I'm afraid of the "wedgie" effect (pants being pulled up). What's been your experience with it?

    Edit: I had good luck with Joe's Gel Strap and I could probably do a short jazz gig with it, but no way could I practice a whole day.

    Quote Originally Posted by brasscane View Post
    I agree (seriously) although a schedule with a bit more variety would probably work better. A MKVII tenor should not feel heavy. Low A baris are a different matter.
    Well, I have mild scoliosis so that may be why I'm super sensitive to the weight. My neck muscles also have the irritating tendency to be really stiff at times and pinch whatever nerves are there, giving me headaches.

  17. #17
    Distinguished SOTW Member 1saxman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    Try doubling on baritone or playing duals (alto+tenor) - the tenor alone will begin to feel like you have to hold it down to keep it from floating away. Realistically, there is very little you can do in the mechanical sense to lighten it. You already mentioned one thing, which is to remove the complete high F# system and it's posts that are otherwise not used. This is a major step and I would not recommend it unless you are sure you will keep that horn forever. The problem in this procedure is how to plug the F# tone hole. A strategy is to remove just the key and linkage (so you can put it back) and use a piece of cork to plug the hole. Play the horn like this under all the conditions you normally encounter to make SURE you want to complete the job. I'm planning to do this on my Selmer USA back-up tenor, and have thought about the tone hole sealing quite a bit. I want to not only seal it with a round piece of brass, but I want to fill the little chimney with epoxy and make it even with the bore on the inside. I plan to epoxy the 'slug' over the tone hole. After that cures, I'll lay the horn down and fill the chimney, shaping it as well as I can, then carefully sanding to match the bore later.
    Okay, the only other thing is your mouthpiece; if you play a metal piece, maybe you can switch to a compact Delrin piece. I think you might shave a max of about 8 oz off by doing both. Is it worth it? I'd say no, assuming you like the horn and your current set-up. In my case, I have another reason for doing the F# key, involving contact of that bullet-shaped F# rod guide with the alto when playing duals. I also change horns a lot on gigs and have to pick up the tenor fast by grabbing it just above the side keys. This always flexes the high F# rod and so the pad is constantly moving on the tone hole. I grew up with non-high F# horns and never use it at all, so it's just a nuisance for me all the way around.
    A dream horn to me would be a standard brass body and bell, but all-Titanium cups, rods, screws, hinge rods, guards and linkages. Gold lacquer on the brass and all the Titanium nitrided for that gold look - or just polished, which is a very different look - kind of coppery/silver. I doubt if such a horn will ever be produced.
    So, bottom line, use a harness and leave the sax alone. The sax will still be just as heavy, but it won't bother you as much.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    A few ideas for you:

    • as 1saxman says, don't use a metal mouthpiece
    • a non-ribbed sax will be usually lighter than ribbed ones
    • most older Euro saxes are nice and light: Cousesnon, SML, etc
    • Keilwerth made (makes?) saxes out of solid nickel: shadow and sx90NS. These are lighter than brass saxes.
    • buy about 10 helium balloons and tie them to your sax.
    • Vibrato sax company may make tenors soon
    Life is too short for long tones

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    One word:

    "Vibratosax"

    Good Luck,

    Enviroguy
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    Buescher 400 Tenor, Pre-War Big-B Aristocrat Tenor, True Tone Alto, Conn New Wonder Bari, Antigua 590 Soprano

  20. #20
    Forum Contributor 2011 thadnoland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ways to reduce weight of a horn

    What about trying the Cebulla?

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