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  1. #1

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    Default Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    I'm thinking about getting an unlacquered tenor. I know a few of the manuracturers are making them these days, like Yamaha, for example. I'm thinking about getting a P Mauriat 66R from Tim at SaxAlley. I've played a 66R in the lacquered version (I think they call it antique) and I like it. Has anyone compared the two? What are the differences in sound and maintenance between lacquered and unlacquered in general? I doubt I'll be able to try both versions before I buy so I'd like to get your opinions.

    Thanks!

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    matsuo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    not this again, if you look around you'll see MASSIVE arguments over finish. They don't effect the sound. I would think the unlaquered sax would require more maintenance
    Soprano: Yanagisawa S9030, Selmer S90, Vandoren V12 3
    Alto: Reference 54, Jody Jazz HR* 6M, RJS 3 Hard
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    i'm new to this board... What makes you think unlacquered would require more maintenance?

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    The lacquer would be protecting the brass. The unlacquered models... Well... Don't have lacquer...

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Ok. I get that unlacquered horns don't have lacquer and that lacquer can protect from scratches but assuming I'm not banging it up, what's the maintenance difference over time?

    If there's no sound difference between the two, why do manufacturers make unlacquered versions or black lacquer? Just marketing?

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    SOTW Contributor 2011 jbtsax's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    The bare brass of the unlacquered saxophone will react to the atmosphere and will tarnish over time. The original look can be restored by taking the sax completely apart and polishing the body and keys with a polishing cloth or with a polish such as Brasso. This is very labor intensive and quite expensive if you have a shop do it for you. For this reason most players who choose unlacquered saxes accept the "patina" that occurs naturally over time and don't try to reverse the process.

    John

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    matsuo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamtva View Post
    Ok. I get that unlacquered horns don't have lacquer and that lacquer can protect from scratches but assuming I'm not banging it up, what's the maintenance difference over time?

    If there's no sound difference between the two, why do manufacturers make unlacquered versions or black lacquer? Just marketing?
    You can sell them for more, and some people just like how they look.
    Soprano: Yanagisawa S9030, Selmer S90, Vandoren V12 3
    Alto: Reference 54, Jody Jazz HR* 6M, RJS 3 Hard
    Tenor: Reference 54, Otto Link Vintage 7*, RJS 3 Hard

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    SaxMoose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamtva View Post
    Ok. I get that unlacquered horns don't have lacquer and that lacquer can protect from scratches but assuming I'm not banging it up, what's the maintenance difference over time?

    If there's no sound difference between the two, why do manufacturers make unlacquered versions or black lacquer? Just marketing?
    Lacquered and Plating do not protect from scratching, they scratch too, but on unlacquered saxes, since the bare brass is exposed to air, the metal will react and get like a brownish patina on the sax.

    Why do manufactuerers make different finishes? Because some people believe that silver plating has a brighter sound, or such. Also, some people including myself just like the look of silver plating (or some finish) better.

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Ok, I know, most of the guys don't believe, I don't want to start a fight here, I just wanna give an answer from the other party.

    I'm sure, that the finish has an effect. And I could compare lots of intruments of the same model but different finish.
    Also I could play the 66R UL and the laquered version in Frankfurt on the Musikmesse. The UL blew me away, one of the best horns on frankfurt (only the Inderbinen and Brancher were better)
    Unlaquered horns gerenrally are sounding compared to their laquered brothers more fat and wider it spreads more, it has more charakter but it has definitvly a loss of center.
    Classical Music won't sound on this horns, but for rock'n'roll it will be orthsome.
    In my oppinion this difference is quite noticeable, and you should think what you wanna gonna play with it.
    besides I like the optik.

    If you wanna fight about laqueres revive one of the old threads, if you want to argue generally about those small gimmicks and effect
    http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=93337

    there I lost also some words, how the finish can affect the sound

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    As someone who owns a tenor and alto 82ZUL, I understand how you think that the UL horns are more freeblowing. I think that this is probably more noticeable to the player than the audience, however. I think all types of finishes sound the same when listened to on a recording. BUT, if you think that a horn sounds a certain way, then that's more than half the battle.

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    Forum Contributor 2012 Mark R's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Different strokes , different folks I don't find much difference between a clear or gold lacquered sax VS an unlacquered....there is some nuance slight difference in the tone colors. The lacquer on the antiqued/vintage finished P. Mauriats is IMO much thicker...and probably made used different substances than your pedestrian lacquer...and it does affect the tone to a greater degree. I think that is part of the reason for P. M's success in marketing a brand new horn that imparts a vintage horn vibe. It's also why I was frustrated with them...I think they are a very well made horn but there is something about the tone that has a bit of a huskiness, smokey...raspy color that I sometimes want to get away from...looking for more clarity..ala Getz on palm key notes on a ballad.

    I also feel black lacquer is thicker too that is used on the Keilwerth, Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa making for less vibration yet maybe a bit richer...I wouldn't say darker but warmer tone..a more velvety quality. Whereas to get that little bit of sizzle, buzz, complex harmonics/tone texture many seek...to get that "thang" that Sanborn, Berg is more easily accomplished with an unlacquered MKVI...or of course these days tons of players have gone to the Unlacquered Yamaha82Z...Jeff Coffin, Phil Woods, Bob Franchino (sorry for mis-spell...cat with Mike Stern), Dino Givoni, etc.

    Plating is an entirely different animal since it is done on both the inside and outside of the horn...it is bonding another layer of metal on top of metal and yes I hear a difference in the horns....silver plating makes for a bit more brightness, brilliance in tone....gold plating makes it richer,darker and nickel plating makes it darker...just a taste less vibration...more focused "harder" toned to my ears.

    Much of what I'm stating is how I feel playing behind the horn...what's coming out of the bell may not make as much of a difference...But it matters to me since I'm the one trying to produce the sound.

    I'm partial to gold lacquered horns most happy with my Yamaha 82Z lacquered...and I've owned nearly every finish at some point...except gold plating...maybe that's next! Again this is my take on the cake and a personal preference....I know there is a lot more to the equation (like mouthpiece, reed, player) but I noticed a huge difference when flipping through Youtube last night hearing Pete Christlieb on a silverplate SBA, Gerald Albright on Black Nickel plated Cannonball, Bergonzi on an old gold lacquer Conn, Pete Christlieb on a Cannonball..maybe goldplate/lacquer...much preferred him on the SBA, Don Menza on a nickelsilver Keilwerth, Stan Getz on a MKVI.

    Yes I know very different players with very different concepts but I do think the instrument/finish made a significant impact on their sound as well.
    “What I reach for first when I play is sound. Technique maybe, but there is technique in sound.” –Dewey Redman
    “Hipness isn’t a state of mind; it’s a fact of life.” - Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark R View Post
    I also feel black lacquer is thicker too that is used on the Keilwerth, Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa making for less vibration yet maybe a bit richer...I wouldn't say darker but warmer tone..a more velvety quality. Whereas to get that little bit of sizzle, buzz, complex harmonics/tone texture many seek...to get that "thang" that Sanborn, Berg is more easily accomplished with an unlacquered MKVI...or of course these days tons of players have gone to the Unlacquered Yamaha82Z...Jeff Coffin, Phil Woods, Bob Franchino (sorry for mis-spell...cat with Mike Stern), Dino Givoni, etc.

    Plating is an entirely different animal since it is done on both the inside and outside of the horn...it is bonding another layer of metal on top of metal and yes I hear a difference in the horns....silver plating makes for a bit more brightness, brilliance in tone....gold plating makes it richer,darker and nickel plating makes it darker...just a taste less vibration...more focused "harder" toned to my ears.
    I heard the nearly the same differences and would also describe them like that (Just coincidence? Who knows? The truth is somewhere out there... ;-) )

    Just a short notice, the Keilwerths are Blacknickel plated and I can confrim that the black laquer is thicker than the normal. I asked it on a yamaha pro workshop. It's also more rubber like. I didn't like the horn, because this "thick rubber laquer" just took all the higer frequenzes. Like a cut in the sound.


    Quote Originally Posted by DannyZ View Post
    As someone who owns a tenor and alto 82ZUL, I understand how you think that the UL horns are more freeblowing. I think that this is probably more noticeable to the player than the audience, however. I think all types of finishes sound the same when listened to on a recording. BUT, if you think that a horn sounds a certain way, then that's more than half the battle.
    Of course you will never hear what finish is played. but I can't also say which reed is used or which MPC is played on with which ligature.
    When it is a preofessional I can say it's a Mk6 with a chance of 50%.
    You got the point. All this small differences are just hearable when compared dircetly and then not by every one (trained ear). But this can be a big difference two me, how well the horn suits me. When I like a bright clear sound and like keilwerths than propably the silver plated keilwerth will be my sax.
    And in the end what the audience hear is the sum of me and all my equipment. The audince can't honour every little detail, they won't know why they like my sound, they just hear me and view my finish.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    I think that your best decision point is appearance and maintenance. The mood your reed is in will change daily. Compared to that, finish will be nothing.

    Simple questions:
    * Do you want an attractive finish which is even in appearance on all parts of the instrument?
    * Do you want a saxophone which is shiny?
    * How much time to you intend to spend cleaning the body?
    * When the brown and green spots begin appearing on an unprotected brass saxophone, will you rejoice or will they drive you buggy?

    These questions also apply to high contrast finishes like black. When you get a scratch on a brass instrument with a black finish, it really stands out.

    Here is a current thread from a new member on a similar subject:
    http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=93636
    D.R.
    Martin and Grassi tenor. HR Link Phil-Tone. Grassi jade alto.

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by DavyRay View Post
    I think that your best decision point is appearance and maintenance. The mood your reed is in will change daily. Compared to that, finish will be nothing.
    Oh yes, mood and reed conditions change daily but both make a very big difference. Sometimes people say, today your not sounding so good. (so not only for me hearable)

    The finish do also a differece (perhaps not as big as mood and reed) but this is constant.
    Rethink that.

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    matsuo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Oh yes, mood and reed conditions change daily but both make a very big difference. Sometimes people say, today your not sounding so good. (so not only for me hearable)

    The finish do also a differece (perhaps not as big as mood and reed) but this is constant.
    Rethink that.
    No sax is a constant, do all saxes have the EXACT same evenness of coating? are they all set up the EXACT same with equal key heights angles etc. There are too many variables that are present to get a true understanding of finish.

    Mods, if you want to delete some of these posts go ahead, I think we might be getting off topic.
    Soprano: Yanagisawa S9030, Selmer S90, Vandoren V12 3
    Alto: Reference 54, Jody Jazz HR* 6M, RJS 3 Hard
    Tenor: Reference 54, Otto Link Vintage 7*, RJS 3 Hard

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Come on, nearly every thread here goes offtopic in the 6th post.
    matsuo: You missunderstood me. DavyRay said, because Mood and Reed change every day, so the finish is not important because the effect is not bigger.
    I meant, the effect my not be bigger, but it doesn't change every day, so it is important.

    You are right: No sax model ot totally constant, not even the japanese. So you can't say of just testing two instruments that the difference lies in the finish.
    I have played silverplated Mk6 which sounded totally stiffy.
    But after testing over 100ts of alto saxophones (and always also had the finish question in mind I constated a trend). In other post in other topics I wrote a lot of this. Just look in the "Epur si mouvo" Thread if you are interessted in this kind of topic

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    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Adamtva View Post

    If there's no sound difference between the two, why do manufacturers make unlacquered versions or black lacquer? Just marketing?

    Yes, marketing folks of instrument companies (all companies for that matter) realized long ago that P.T. Barnum's famous quote is one of the most prolific ones in history!
    JR

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    As you all know, I am sure, that the finish has a sound difference.

    But RandyJ is not so wrong. The companies don't think, "we offer a lot of finishes, so that the palyer has a choice in sound"
    If the player would only choice of sound and like this brand the effect is nothing compared to an other brand.
    I was at Keilwerth, and when I was there I asked the same question, and he was honest enough to say, that they started with the different finishes (blacknickel) just because of the optic. Afterwards they were asthonished that this has also this "huge" effect for the sound.

  19. #19
    matsuo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Come on, nearly every thread here goes offtopic in the 6th post.
    matsuo: You missunderstood me. DavyRay said, because Mood and Reed change every day, so the finish is not important because the effect is not bigger.
    I meant, the effect my not be bigger, but it doesn't change every day, so it is important.

    You are right: No sax model ot totally constant, not even the japanese. So you can't say of just testing two instruments that the difference lies in the finish.
    I have played silverplated Mk6 which sounded totally stiffy.
    But after testing over 100ts of alto saxophones (and always also had the finish question in mind I constated a trend). In other post in other topics I wrote a lot of this. Just look in the "Epur si mouvo" Thread if you are interessted in this kind of topic
    I guess I did misunderstand you, and I apologize
    Soprano: Yanagisawa S9030, Selmer S90, Vandoren V12 3
    Alto: Reference 54, Jody Jazz HR* 6M, RJS 3 Hard
    Tenor: Reference 54, Otto Link Vintage 7*, RJS 3 Hard

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    Default Re: Lacquered vs. Unlacquered Tenor

    no problem, no need to apologize. As you propaby have guessed I'm no native speaker and I should appologize for all the wrong spelling, horrible grammer, strange use of words and sometime totally lack of sense.
    Sometime when I read my comments again, I can't believe what I've written.

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