What's the Best ...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by pete, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    ... put together instrument you've worked on? I'm somewhat surprised nobody's specifically asked this here. As a saxophone example, is a Selmer Mark VI put together better than a Yamaha 62? I'd also like to know if "best instrument you've worked on" correlates with "really good playing instrument."
     
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  2. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    You mean "build quality" or "construction cleverness"? I mean, there can be instruments that are built very carefully but somehow aren't adjustment-friendly while others might have a sloppier finish but are easier to keep in regulation.

    So...which one? Or a combination of both?
     
  3. jbtsax

    jbtsax Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    That's an interesting question Pete. It is not as simple as it sounds. There are different factors that are interrelated but not necessarily at the same level of quality on all instruments. The ones that come to mind are: 1) Design, 2) Quality of components, 3) Manufacturing detail, and 4) Key Fitting. Three of these factors can be summed up with the term "quality control".

    I have worked on more saxophones than other high end woodwinds so I can attempt to address the makes I am familiar with. Saxophonists are fortunate today in that there are many high quality instruments to choose from: Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, Keilwerth all appear to be well designed, constructed, and have good quality control. As a disclaimer, most repair techs do not see instruments fresh from the factory on their bench unless they work for a music store that "sets up" the instruments before they are sold. Most of my work now is on instruments that have seen better days.

    Some of the top saxes from Taiwan are being made every bit as well as the "big four". Cannonball and P. Mauriat are the two I am most familiar with. Mainland China is getting better, and it is just a matter of time before they are competitive with the rest.

    To put the question in the proper perspective---if I asked you which is the best put together computer, how would you respond? See, its not that easy. :smile:
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    You really could rate both, but "construction cleverness" doesn't necessarily imply "good idea." As an example, I can sit back and marvel at the complexity of the Loomis "Double-Resonance" horns and Leblanc Rationnel (and variants) and understand that the complexity makes the horn more difficult to repair without providing that much benefit to the player. Conversely, I know that the octave mechanism on the Buffet-Powell saxophones are both clever and work very well.


    That's easier than you think, jbt. As an example, it takes me approximately 90 minutes to remove the hard drive from a snow Macintosh iBook -- and that's after I've done about a half-dozen replacements. It takes about 10 seconds to remove the card drive from a Compaq Armada laptop that's about the same age. One was designed to be repair-person/upgrade friendly. One wasn't.

    When someone asks me what's the best computer to buy there are an awful lot of hardware design things I have to keep in mind after the user tells me what operating system he wants. It's taking this ginormous flowchart of features and determining which ones are what my user actually needs that makes me a good computer consultant.

    Looking at it another way and using another example, I can understand why Apple made the Mac Pro series of machines (not the new one that looks like a Coke Zero can) with so much extra space: if they used less space, they'd have to use faster fans to pump through the same amount of air to keep the thing cool. They were going for "quieter" over "smaller." However, I still don't think that was the best design (closed-loop water cooling would have been a more elegant solution) and there really isn't a good reason why the SATA and power cables are so short. But the old Mac Pro cases certainly look cool. And weigh a ton.

    Possibly you're wanting to go into the arena of "purpose built" instruments, such as, "Feature X is designed this way on horn Y because students beat the heck out of feature X." I don't mind that being discussed at all.
     

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