a tribute to SAX

in a playable STATE, 1

Assembling everything we've made thus far, this is what we've got: an alto sax with a wide bore and a wide bell, like Sax's first generation of instruments. No longer – as the original intention was – going down to the written low-A but to a low-Bb. Not built as a straight alto but curved. It is more or less stable, down low, but the embouchure should definitely not be not too tight. The three necks provide ample opportunity to experiment with different truncations. The text on the bell reads as follows:

à monsieur Sax
saxophone alto en Mib à cône parabolique
perce selon l' example du 24495
grâce à L. van Oostrom, musicien
M. Postma, Yzendijke

It's always easy to boast about its sound. As far as dynamics are concerned, everything you might wish for is there; there is even more than I expected. Playing softly produces a good sound, though there is a tendency to give wind-to-the-tone, especially in the lower range. On the other hand, it can go really loud and still produce a fine quality of sound. I think it sounds more ‘heavy’ than an ordinary alto, more tenor-like. Well, that's not exactly it, but a conventional alto now sounds kind of ‘light’ to me. There is something quite peculiar to the timbre as well, which makes it stand out among the other altos in the band. Someone said: “I didn't at first recognize an alto sax in it” (which is of course grossly exaggerated). Yet, there are some issues intonationwise in the lower range of the instrument. I might have to redo the bell and some of the lower tone holes.

right hand side

left hand side

bore shape

As it looks rather like a saxophone, you might just wonder if there is, apart from the stange bell, indeed any substantial difference between this sax and a conventional one. A quick answer is provided by the neck, comparing it to the neck of a Yamaha 62 (it might have been of any other instrument). A euro-coin sits nicely on the tenon of the Yamaha neck, but a similar coin falls almost four centimetres deep into the neck of my saxophone. No photoshopping involved here! So much wider..

Its main conicity is 1:17¼ and the truncated volume amounts to 13¾cc., values that are more comparable to the first generation of Adolphe Sax's instruments than to the modern alto.

February 2018