Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

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    Default Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto produce a good classical tone?

    I've found an affordable Leblanc system Vito Model 35 alto (1950's - 60's?), assembled in Kenosha, WI (from Beaugnier parts?). Seller says, "In excellent rebuilt condition. New pads corks felts totally adjusted. Plays great." Pics show normal wear, scratches. No mention of dings, solder, etc. Looks like original case in good condition. I can pick up locally. Does $400 sound like a fair price? Many comments on SOTW say the Model 35 is underrated and plays very good. I'm cognizant of individual differences in players and instruments. Nevertheless, has anyone played or heard how one (or a Model 135) sounds in classical performance, especially on solos, whether in a symphonic band or with just piano accompaniment? For reference, does it sound comparable to any better known "classical" horns? I've tried producing a resonant classical tone (dark or otherwise) for concert band from my 1949 Conn 6M alto. Gear wise I've experimented with numerous mpc and reed combinations and a few ligatures. Tried embouchures advocated by both Teal and Allard. Nothing comes near close to producing the "liquid gold" tone I have in mind. Idealistic, I know, but I have to have a worthy target. Funds are very limited. Thanks for anything you can share about a Vito Model 35, suggestions for other horns, or something to try with my Conn 6M. I'll also post this in the "Playing/Performance Styles, Classical Saxophone" forum.
    Last edited by playagain; 01-10-2017 at 04:04 AM. Reason: Insert word "produce" in title

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    I had one that was a semi-rationale model a few years ago. It played well and the intonation was good. I just had a little issue with the ergos. I probably did not play it long enough to get comfortable with the the keywork, because I had other normal altos that I could pick up and feel a little more comfortable with right away.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    I had one for a few years. I would say that it is well suited for classical. On the spectrum, for me, it was easy to play smooth and more difficult to play nasty. My Kohlert is easy to play nasty and difficult to play smooth. My 6M is middle of the road.

    The intonation on the Beaugnier was very good. It and the Kohlert were two of the first horns that I actually plotted graphs as to intonation on each note. The Beaugnier was a smooth line with a little undulation of maybe 10 cents. The Kohlert was a jagged line and had a couple of 20 cent outliers that you just had to be aware of before you hit the note. Strange thing is, I still have the Kohlert.

    I think that if you played the 35 with an old hard rubber piece, like the earlier Buescher large chambers, it could be so smooth you'd have trouble staying awake.

    Mine was torn down, repadded with Roo pads, in perfect shape and ready to go. I think I sold it for $350, which was a real bargain for the buyer, but about what these horns sell for.

    Mark

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    The Leblanc Vito 35 would be exceptionally suited to play classical music and as remarked above more suited to classical music than to play Funk.

    Remember that most saxophones started their lives as Classical and Marching Band (which at the time involved a lot of classical repertoire) instrument and their use in Jazz was only a by-product of the circumstances, the most important of which was their diffusion among many soldiers who took the instruments home after WWI.

    Rasher ( Buescher) Mule ( Couesnon & Selmer) and Hemke (Selmer) were all consultants for saxophones which ended being Jazz or even R&R instruments .
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    In fact, the Leblanc model 100 altos and 120 tenors came with a booklet explaining the different fingering options using various classical pieces as examples.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    If I'm not mistaken, Jimmy Abato played a Leblanc for a while, which is a fancier version of the model 35. He also played a Selmer Cigar Cutter. Today, Ted Nash plays a model 35 with the Jazz @ Lincoln Centre Orchestra.

    I mention this because I have had the occasion to play Ted Nash's Vito 35, and it is like a cross between a Buescher Aristocrat and an old Selmer. Although I am a jazz player, my conclusion is that a Vito 35 is versatile enough for classical AND jazz, just as an old Tru-Tone or Aristocrat can be.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    +1 ^^^

    I had a 38 alto which a close friend also thought to be Aristocrat-like. No wonder Johnny Hodges liked the Boney/Vito.
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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    Of course! I oscillate between a Vito model 35 and a Buffet SuperDynaction and the Vito can be as smooth as my Buffet.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    Give it a play test and see if you like it. Bring a tuner as well. I had one of these for a while that I just could not play in tune. Maybe it is just me or could have been this one horn since these have a good reputation. I have a Conn 6M that I can easily play in tune. Tonewise, I found the Vito to be a lot brighter than my 6M.

    Some mouthpieces that I have played on my 6M to get a more classical tone are the standard Selmer S80 C*, which can be smooth and projecting, and the 6M stock mouthpiece Conn Standard Steelay, which is a bit darker but worked good for me blending with a violin in a duet.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    The tuning, I found absolutely perfect, and the sound was very reminiscent of a Couesnon, lyric.

    Sometimes there are individual horn’s issues with tuning, sometimes people find difficult to switch from one horn to another and blame the horn while all it is is dat that horn requires a different ear-embouchure combination .

    There are many such examples of people who all of a sudden switch to another horn and find the intonation impossible and if you would go trough them in the archives you will see that these cases affect, episodically, all brands and models.

    Our bodies have memory and tend to take some time to adapt to a new horn of a different design. When you switch you body is still dealing with the embouchure as if it was the old saxophone and takes time to adapt but we generally get fed up before.
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    My sincere thanks to all who have commented on the Vito Model 35. So far, all have been positive. I'm feeling much more comfortable about pursuing the horn. Now, with your additional insights and help, to put the finishing touches on matter. To any who have played a Model 35, please tell: (a) any mpc and reed recommendations for producing a good classical tone you could pass on, and (b) if you owned one and played it for awhile, but didn't keep it, or relegated it to a backup horn, what was it lacking that you found in another horn, or did you later wish you had kept it, and why? Thanks again for your very constructive comments!

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by playagain View Post
    My sincere thanks to all who have commented on the Vito Model 35. So far, all have been positive. I'm feeling much more comfortable about pursuing the horn. Now, with your additional insights and help, to put the finishing touches on matter. To any who have played a Model 35, please tell: (a) any mpc and reed recommendations for producing a good classical tone you could pass on, and (b) if you owned one and played it for awhile, but didn't keep it, or relegated it to a backup horn, what was it lacking that you found in another horn, or did you later wish you had kept it, and why? Thanks again for your very constructive comments!
    The Rousseau "R" chamber mouthpiece worked very well on one I had. A lot of what is in the Yamaha line of horns can be traced back to Charles Houvenagel, who designed he Leblanc Rationale/System horns because Eugene Rousseau was a student of his and Dr Rousseau was the chief design consultant for Yamaha up through the 875 line of horns. I had one for a while, and it was a good horn, but as my daily driver I always wind up with Yamaha because it's what I'm the most used to playing. I don't know anyone who plays a Vito or Leblanc as his/her primary horn for classical music.
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Rousseau RC3 (refaced by Joe Giardullo), Ishimori lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Ishimori lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, Ishimori lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    I did try a few mouthpieces with it but the horn wasn’t adjusted too well and I ended up selling it in the States through the good office of Kim Slava.

    I recall it working well with Yanagisawa HR.

    The reason why I sold it was primarily the fact that my techs discouraged me with their comments about this horn and his maintenance being problematic ( as they saw it).

    I don’t want to comment on who this tech was, but another Dutch member, as I recall, had this horn sent to a very famous technician whom I certainly respect, apparently he too ( but I wasn’t part of the process so I don’t know the circumstances) gave up on regulating this and gave it back to the SOTW member unrepaired or only partially repaired.

    I like special vintage horns and I love them even more when they posses unique mechanics (when they do), however this can be a daunting task for a busy tech.
    Life is just a bowl... some have cherries in it, some don’t. Those who have the cherries aren’t likely to share them though.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009 warp x's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    I'm not a classical player (but I did study it) and I don't play alto. But FWIW, I have a Caravan mouthpiece here that sounds just fabulous on my LeBlanc System tenor. Big warm sound somewhat reminiscent of a cello.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    On my Vito-Leblanc, I use a Selmer Concept mouthpiece --but a Vandoren AL3 works well and would also be a great choice. Maybe it's me but the Selmer SD20, which works well on my Buffet , doesn't like the Vito.

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alain Gen View Post
    On my Vito-Leblanc, I use a Selmer Concept mouthpiece --but a Vandoren AL3 works well and would also be a great choice. Maybe it's me but the Selmer SD20, which works well on my Buffet , doesn't like the Vito.
    You know, that's interesting. The SD20 just isn't being used by very many people...do you play this as your primary,outhpiece on the Buffet?
    Current setups:
    Yamaha YSS-875EX, Rousseau RC3 (refaced by Joe Giardullo), Ishimori lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YAS-875EXS, Rousseau RC4 (refaced by Brian Powell), Ishimori lig,Hemke 3.5
    Yamaha YTS-875EX, Rousseau NC4, Ishimori lig, Hemke 3.5
    Unison Black Nickel Bari, Rousseau NC4, BG Tradition lig, Hemke 3.5

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    Default Re: Can a Vito Model 35 Leblanc System alto a good classical tone?

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Max View Post
    You know, that's interesting. The SD20 just isn't being used by very many people...do you play this as your primary,outhpiece on the Buffet?
    On the Buffet, I oscillate beween the Concept and the SD 20 -maybe with a slight preference for the SD 20.

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