Bows

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Thread: Bows

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    Default Bows

    Why did Selmer change to the long bow on their VI altos ? I've owned my 108... long bow since the late 80's and bought it from a dealer new still wrapped in Selmer plastic bag with Soloist mouthpiece, ID clasp and original London deluxe case. When I bought it I knew nothing of long, medium and short bows. My previous alto was a 1974 VI bought new for me by my mother and my first horn. That horn had excellent tuning but got severely damaged when my new neck strap broke and it hit a concrete floor. The neck was also damaged by an accidental drop.

    My long bow was much improved especially in the palm keys which were sharp and hard to control by the purchase of a used VI neck from 10M on SOTW. I had tried a few different necks that had no or minimal effect but this unlacquered one that came from an excellent NY player really did ( the tuner doesn't lie) I've used this neck for several years now. My 108... has excellent tone quality and projection however some of the bell notes are flat. I can lip them somewhat if I sustain notes down there which is pretty rare. Other than that the tuning is good.

    These days my alto playing is shared with a King Super 20 series 2 that I'm still working with but like a lot. I can see it taking over from the long bow.

    Any long bow insights from owners.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Ward View Post
    Why did Selmer change to the long bow on their VI altos ? I've owned my 108... long bow since the late 80's and bought it from a dealer new still wrapped in Selmer plastic bag with Soloist mouthpiece, ID clasp and original London deluxe case. When I bought it I knew nothing of long, medium and short bows. My previous alto was a 1974 VI bought new for me by my mother and my first horn. That horn had excellent tuning but got severely damaged when my new neck strap broke and it hit a concrete floor. The neck was also damaged by an accidental drop.

    My long bow was much improved especially in the palm keys which were sharp and hard to control by the purchase of a used VI neck from 10M on SOTW. I had tried a few different necks that had no or minimal effect but this unlacquered one that came from an excellent NY player really did ( the tuner doesn't lie) I've used this neck for several years now. My 108... has excellent tone quality and projection however some of the bell notes are flat. I can lip them somewhat if I sustain notes down there which is pretty rare. Other than that the tuning is good.

    These days my alto playing is shared with a King Super 20 series 2 that I'm still working with but like a lot. I can see it taking over from the long bow.

    Any long bow insights from owners.
    Michael, you just answered your own question! This is exactly the reason (surely?).

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike F View Post
    Michael, you just answered your own question! This is exactly the reason (surely?).
    Hi Mike
    I mean why did they change from their first bow ( The Short Bow) which a lot of people say plays better in tune to the Long Bow... it seems they were experimenting but got it wrong..then they got it right with the Medium bow. My guess is being Selmer they had to have two goes to get it right...n'est-ce pas ?

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Ward View Post
    Hi Mike
    I mean why did they change from their first bow ( The Short Bow) which a lot of people say plays better in tune to the Long Bow... it seems they were experimenting but got it wrong..then they got it right with the Medium bow. My guess is being Selmer they had to have two goes to get it right...n'est-ce pas ?
    Have you ever read "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"?

    But it does make one wonder why they had to have a production run of long bows to determine that it wasn't quite right.

    How many "wrong" ones did they produce before settling on the correct answer? There was a similar issue with Balanced Action tenors (sharp bell tones).

    I wonder what changed. Were these horns playing in tune at the time, and then, some time later, expectations, norms, standards shifted???
    Go for The Tone,

    g



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

    As a Veteran for Peace, I am already against the next war.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Yes and I have an original Arthur Rackham print in my kitchen...

    I don't know maybe they were just having a laugh.. The French have a great sense of humour ( vis a vis the Mark VII)

    I have switched over to playing Kings now anyway other than nino and baritone.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Sorry, Michael, didn't read it carefully enough. I think you might be fundamentally right, but it's worth noting that in fact their were four iterations of bow length (there's an oldish thread about it somewhere) - short, medium short, long, and medium (there were pictures on said thread from sax pics showing all the various lengths). My 82xxx is medium short, and as you know I have a 106xxx which is long bow like yours. The short bow is certainly sharp at the bottom and even my medium short is still a bit sharp. One would have thought that Selmer could have made a few prototypes and actually got it right sooner than they did, but............

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    Default Re: Bows

    Ah thanks.. I didn't know that. Better sharp than flat though . At the end of the day how many sustains do we do on alto bell keys? As I said the new neck really improved my VI alto. I ought to check the bell keys with this neck. I used it throughout my recently finished solo album and it sounds wicked with no intonation problems I can hear. I won't be selling my VI alto unless I buy another one... There's a lot of short bows for sale on Ebay. The late 60's medium bows are going for a lot of money in great condition.. like the early VI sops,, a lot of money.

    One thing I find annoying is there is a big disparity in international values between US and Paris engraved horns. I guess it's good if you're buying. It never used to be that way and it makes no sense now.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Ward View Post
    One thing I find annoying is there is a big disparity in international values between US and Paris engraved horns. I guess it's good if you're buying. It never used to be that way and it makes no sense now.
    Totally agree. I think it's because of the Japanese market where they apparently prefer American horns. It's just silly VI lore which may have had some historically based reason (original setup differences), but, as you say, makes no sense now.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Yes the Japanese market . When I was in the US I sold my VI to a repair guy in Detroit and the engraving was a none issue. Same in NY when I went around the horn places. It makes trading in the US impossible.

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    Default Re: Bows

    I think all the experimentation with bows was to optimize intonation. They say the final design (medium bow) was the best compromise. It's certainly better than the old long bow I owned.
    Life is too short for long tones

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    Default Re: Bows

    The tuning and scale of my 99xxx is fantastic. Also low B and Bb are perfect. Not all the saxes with the long bow suffer from tuning problems. They have a totally different voice than the sweet and centered sounding early five digits and earlier models. And that is exactly why I like them. The high E is as big as the low Bb.
    Don't know of the model in between with the medium bow but do know the later ones and it seems to me that the scale of these instruments can also be a hit or a mis. Probably this is the whole issue. A saxophone can be good or bad and they can even be very good. I think this is also the case with the king super 20. All these models/series and what people think is the best doesn't say very much to me. Hear these videos from saxquest where they demonstrate all these super20's they put up for sale. One isn't the other no matter the serial numbers. I had a lot in my hands and was not very enthusiastic about them (until 2 month ago). My colleague has a silversonic from 1960 and the sound is fantastic but the scale is something else. My Silversonic,which came to me by surprise, is from 1975 and is superb. The scale is perfect although the Low B and Bb are just a little too sharp(!) and the sound is amazing.......

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    Default Re: Bows

    Very true. The handmade aspect of these models plays a big role too. I have a Series 2 S20 tenor that is phenomenal for me.. the palm keys are solid... my other two.. The !A had a great sound even though it was a little dark tonally but the palm keys would not be centred and I had to " think" them in tune( it was well set up by George Bunk at Sax Quest).. My Series 3 I felt was mediocre ... I have owned several Mark VI sopranos ..maybe 6 or 7. The very best by a huge margin was one I bought new in 1978. Such a great horn in every way.. the others were so so including an early 60's version. So yes I agree with you.

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    Default Re: Bows

    The intonation was probably not the only reason behind the changes in the bow. They also had to cope with a warble on the low notes (on at least some of their saxophones). Indeed, Selmer fought this probleme for years: already with the balanced action there were two versions, one with a short bow and problematic intonation on the bell notes and an other with a longer bow but more resistant bell notes.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Alain Gen View Post
    The intonation was probably not the only reason behind the changes in the bow. They also had to cope with a warble on the low notes (on at least some of their saxophones). Indeed, Selmer fought this probleme for years: already with the balanced action there were two versions, one with a short bow and problematic intonation on the bell notes and an other with a longer bow but more resistant bell notes.
    Interesting. I've often read about warbling on altos but I've never experienced it. My 108... has terrific tone but I didn't enjoy it as much until I changed the neck to another VI neck. I've owned it a long time so I guess I'm used to any intonation quirks now. I'm really enjoying my Super 20 though now I got the venting right.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Alain Gen View Post
    The intonation was probably not the only reason behind the changes in the bow. They also had to cope with a warble on the low notes (on at least some of their saxophones). Indeed, Selmer fought this probleme for years: already with the balanced action there were two versions, one with a short bow and problematic intonation on the bell notes and an other with a longer bow but more resistant bell notes.
    Sorry, I know remember more precisely: on the BA it was a short and a long bell. Nevertheless, it shows that the Selmer design met some problems with the bell notes.

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    Default Re: Bows

    The gurgles caused by all these different bow designs Selmer made are all in a leak of their own

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Ward View Post
    Very true. The handmade aspect of these models plays a big role too. I have a Series 2 S20 tenor that is phenomenal for me.. the palm keys are solid... my other two.. The !A had a great sound even though it was a little dark tonally but the palm keys would not be centred and I had to " think" them in tune( it was well set up by George Bunk at Sax Quest).. My Series 3 I felt was mediocre ... I have owned several Mark VI sopranos ..maybe 6 or 7. The very best by a huge margin was one I bought new in 1978. Such a great horn in every way.. the others were so so including an early 60's version. So yes I agree with you.
    I still have my Buescher Tophat from Saxquest and they did a marvelous overhaul. Its no compare with what they are trying to do here. The scale is also excellent and it has a beautifull voice.
    The last mark vi soprano I had was much better than the one I had before but still it needed a lot of attention. When going to the practice room I always grab my alto and my flutes. Just needed a soprano which was a little more reliable. I found it in a Yani 902 and for me it's a joy to play. But I get it when people want this mark vi soprano thing. It could be real gorgeous but with much more effort.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Alto? The Buescher underslung is a great horn. Yes the VI sopranos vary a great deal as I guess all VI's do. The most expressive soprano I ever owned or played was a Buescher TT curved soprano to Eb... the tone and response were unreal. I remember taking it to the gig and the band were laughing at it until they heard it wail. I wish I'd held onto that. The thing with me with the Y's is I get very bored with them after a while.. I just find them one dimensional tonally..great tuning and everything but boring. I prefer Yamaha to Yanagisawa. At the moment I am using my King saxello for soprano and I also have a Mark VI sopranino 1960 that has amazing tone...very thick sound. I will get a soprano again.. I would be interested in a nice King Marigaux.( SML). I would be hesitant to buy a VI without trying it first.



    Quote Originally Posted by bakkiemetkoekie View Post
    I still have my Buescher Tophat from Saxquest and they did a marvelous overhaul. Its no compare with what they are trying to do here. The scale is also excellent and it has a beautifull voice.
    The last mark vi soprano I had was much better than the one I had before but still it needed a lot of attention. When going to the practice room I always grab my alto and my flutes. Just needed a soprano which was a little more reliable. I found it in a Yani 902 and for me it's a joy to play. But I get it when people want this mark vi soprano thing. It could be real gorgeous but with much more effort.

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    Default Re: Bows

    I have the warble in my short-bow Mark VI--put a piece of cork in there and it mostly fixed it, but still harder to play than low Bb. Intonation-wise I'd just judge by the individual horn--I love the intonation of some short bows, and they're quite variable. I always thought the medium-short was the happy compromise. Played a killer 90k so I don't put much weight into the bow length.

    Even with the short bow there is a slight variation in length. Some short bows have the bell and body side the same length, while others are slightly longer. My short bow has a slightly longer bow. Too subtle to say whether it makes any difference.

    About King Super 20--I played a Silver Sonic with insufferable intonation quirks, beyond redemption. Never knew if that was the norm.

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    Default Re: Bows

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Ward View Post
    Alto? The Buescher underslung is a great horn. Yes the VI sopranos vary a great deal as I guess all VI's do. The most expressive soprano I ever owned or played was a Buescher TT curved soprano to Eb... the tone and response were unreal. I remember taking it to the gig and the band were laughing at it until they heard it wail. I wish I'd held onto that. The thing with me with the Y's is I get very bored with them after a while.. I just find them one dimensional tonally..great tuning and everything but boring. I prefer Yamaha to Yanagisawa. At the moment I am using my King saxello for soprano and I also have a Mark VI sopranino 1960 that has amazing tone...very thick sound. I will get a soprano again.. I would be interested in a nice King Marigaux.( SML). I would be hesitant to buy a VI without trying it first.
    Yes an alto tophat from 49.
    I don't think the Yani is boring but like i said i don't play it every day, just when i need it and than i have to blend in with the rest of the bunch. I play it with a wonderfull early Morgan 0,070 opening and its sweet and it is loud enough to carry the sax section. I tried the 901 and 911 and that didn't do it for me though. A King saxello would could cost me my job.
    When i was looking for a new soprano i tried one SML soprano and i wasn't impressed.
    Like you said, try before you buy but maybe with everything. Its a pity i can't try reeds before i buy....

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