Saxophone Forum


by vipegrad
(47 posts)
9 years ago

low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

For the past year I have been learning to play soprano on a 1911 Holton. My main instrument is the tenor which I have played for 5 years. The soprano is extremely light in weight and my director has played it and said it is very responsive. I however am having problems with response on low D and down. The tuning is also a little unpredictable, but i have been told that most sopranos are problematic when it comes to tuning. The mouthpiece is a C*. If you have any information of ideas on how to improve my response in the low register and overall tuning, it would be very appreciated. Thank you

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  1. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

    It's a 1911 saxophone! AND it's a soprano! Your C* Selmer mouthpiece probably isn't the best choice either. Try a Meyer 5M. They have a fairly open chamber which should work better, but still, your tuning and intonation is going to be somewhat sketchy.

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    1. by blackfrancis
      (396 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

      Good points, Jim (as usual). I play a 1912 Holton soprano, and indeed, the C* is not the piece. This horn needs the open chamber. They made me play a C* in college and I had nothing but trouble! Another thing to keep an eye on is the state of repair- any leaks, adjustments, etc. Lastly, when I play soprano, I find that I have to blow differently as it's a LOT smaller bore and reed. Still, no reason the Holton shouldn't sing for you. Good luck!

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      1. by vipegrad
        (47 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

        Thank you for your help. I have been considering mouth piece shopping as I have never been fond of the mouthpiece that came with the sax. It is currently a rental but will likely be mine after one more rental year. The sax came with a C*. I do not know if it was the mouthpiece used by the previous owner or if it was put on by the music store. The sax was overhauled one month ago and they did find it had some leaks which they said have been fixed. I will look into other mouthpieces in the near future. Do you reccomend i look into other choices in a soprano? The asking price for the Holton is about $1,300, but after two years of rental we will ove about $700-$800. I know that my parens will not contribute to a more expensive horn and i do not have much money lying around being a musician and a high school student. (i believe the contraction for high school musician is "flat broke" if im not mistaken. Once again i thank you for your help in the matter.

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        1. by blackfrancis
          (396 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

          $1300 is pretty steep for a Holton (7-800 is better), and it surely doesn't hurt to try some others out. Do beware of Chinese horns. If it still feels like the best one, go for it.

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        2. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

          A 1911 Holton soprano is good condition is only worth about $750, so I definately think they are charging too much. The Holton saxophones were good instruments for their time, but I try to discourage most people from buying saxophones made much before about 1925, because of tuning and intonation issues as well as other problems associated with age. The older Conn and Buescher soprano saxophones from about 1925 or later are good horns. Of the newer horns, the Yamaha sopranos are very nice. I have also tried the Antigua Winds, which I really liked. Kessler Music sells them, and they're very reasonably priced. (www.kesslermusic.com)

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      2. by frasermanx
        (9 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: low tone problems on 1911 holton soprano

        Check your lower C pad... is it in good condition and sealing perfectly if not lower notes very hard to get properly. I fixed my Tenor and its a new horn!!

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