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From: LeliaLoban
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 20:07:47 EDT
Subject: [CB] [Contra Digest]

Lawrence Johns wrote:
>>The high register of the bari sax is very weak, thin
>>and less characteristic. I would suspect the bass sax is even more

My 1926 C. G. Conn B-flat bass sax plays a 3-1/2 octave range easily and
clearly.  I haven't worked on expanding the practical range beyond that (if I
want high notes, I get out a clarinet or a recorder), but I don't sense that
the instrument is wimping out up there, or anywhere else.  There's nothing
weak-sounding about it in any part of its range and the tone quality is so
powerfully resonant throughout the range that if I want to practice playing
loudly, I go to an acoustical "dead spot" in the room.  Otherwise this sax
literally makes my ears ring.

Gerry Mulligan played a gold-plated Conn E-flat baritone sax from about the
same period.  It's on display in the Library of Congress now and I have CDs
of some of the recordings he made on it.  It doesn't sound a bit weak to me.
It sounds like a typical 1920s Conn: huge.

Some individual reeds haven't worked well on my bass, which has a Buescher 3
hard rubber mouthpiece that's probably the original that the first owner
bought with the sax.  With few choices of reed available that fit this
mouthpiece, I prefer the cheapest Ricos, although I don't like that type of
reed on any other instrument.  (I use Hemkes on my other saxes.)  I have the
impression that maybe these big instruments are less fussy about their reeds
than smaller instruments are.  But on a few bad reeds, I've heard poor tone
quality around the throat tones, especially.


From: "Quist, Jean"
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 09:21:28 +0200
Subject: [CB] the weak baritone

Here's my view to the discussion about:

>>The high register of the bari sax is very weak, thin
>>and less characteristic. I would suspect the bass sax is even more


In music it should be like in photography: it's the eye that makes the
picture. The camera is only a tool. Or like in architecture: an interesting
detail is not a guarantee for an interesting building. An instrument is only
a tool. What counts is the music you make with it. Concerning modern
standards for instruments my late 19th century baritone surely won't meet
any of them. Just like my over 80 year old bassclarinet and century old
Bbclarinet. But as long as they function and mix well with the other
instruments I can't see any disadvantage. Although I must confess I'm using
modernday mouthpieces and ligatures. Once again: it's the overall result
that counts, for me anyway.

Or... is the above only valid for jazzlike music which deals more with
'personal' sound than with 'technical correct' sound???


Jean Quist
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