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Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 11:55:53 -0800
From: Grant Green
Subject: Re: [CB] The gang of six...

>General question for List:  Does anyone know if prototypes
>tend to be good instruments?  My assumption that one purpose
>of a prototype is to work out bugs, which may mean moving
>things around a bit.   Is any of this likely to have a

 From my correspondence with the owner, it appears that the prototypes
here are Orsi model instruments.  All Orsi instruments are made by
hand.  For instruments like the sarrusophone, they first make a model
or prototype to get the exact bore dimensions and positions of all
the pads: this involves making holes to a first approximation,
testing the instrument for intonation, and then repositioning some or
all of the tone holes.  The process reiterates until the intonation
is satisfactory.  The sarrusophones in question apparently show signs
of the process, with multiple patches where tone holes have been
closed and repositioned.  As they were not meant to be commercial
products, the sarrusophones are all in raw brass, without lacquer or
other finish (except for the soprano, which was apparently made in
1981, not a model, and has a nickel finish).  At this point, I would
expect the brass to be very dark.  His opinion is that the old
prototypes play better than more recent Orsi instruments, and that
the old factory management and workers did a better job.

I also asked about pitch.  The owner is apparently a flute & sax
player, but says he's had trouble obtaining reeds of the correct
size.  Certainly, the reed will have an effect on intonation.  It
doesn't sound like he's ever played the instruments in an ensemble,
where absolute pitch would make a difference.

>bearing on how well the horns work or how long they would
>last?   Do production runs reproduce the prototypes or are
>there likely differences?  Are many horns in collections
>actually identified as having been prototypes?  Such an
>unusual think to (presumably) know about such old

I've never played a prototype (except for the Orsi cimbasso), so
can't really say from experience what a prototype sarrusophone should
play like.  My *guess* is that there may be timbre and/or intonation
peculiarities due to the number of patches on the bore (depending on
how the bore is patched).  It is likely to be less than attractive in
appearance.  It might have additional value to a collector, if there
is any historical value to be attached, but I suspect that most of
the differences are not likely to be positive for someone who is
mainly interested in playing them.

That said, I notice that someone has made the opening bid...


Grant Green        
Professional Fool  ->
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