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IW C Sop by Eppelsheim?

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'm assuming that that's "Laksar Reese", the president of internationalwoodwind.com.

milandro from SOTW said:
I've seen it at Eppelsheim's booth at the Frankfurt Musikmesse. He has been designing it and has it produced under his supervision in Taiwan or China (he told me but I am not sure...).

It looked and felt pretty nice, but I didn't play it due to lack of a mouthpiece (and frankly speaking I wasn't all that interested that I would play it by disinfecting the mouthpiece on the horn...) but a friend of mine played it and it sounded very nice.

Certainly a nice horn for those looking for modern mechanics and modern tuning. The price is adequate but the question remains , do you need a C soprano that bad that you want to spend that kind of money? If the answer is yes, then, go for it!
Yah, that is a bit pricey: $3000. Aquilasax has also been toying with the idea of producing a C soprano to go along with their C melody tenor. It'd be lower quality than the IWW, but the question is by how much: the E&R soprano is only designed by Eppelsheim, not produced by him. I don't know what the quality would be in comparison to, say, the Tubax, Soprillo, etc.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
It's interesting that Eppelsheim would associate himself with a product produced in Asia. If the workmanship isn't up to the same standards as what he himself produces, this could really backfire against his name. I'm not sure people would draw the distinction between "designed by" and "made by". Ultimately it's still his name on the line, and since he is the man behind the name, it could be detrimental.

I'd be curious how the market research for this new product was conducted. Realistically, how much demand for C pitched sopranos is there, or will there be? Or is this a simple case of: Build it and they will come. Is anyone in the know as to how the market research was done?
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I'm guessing just another Asian-made saxophone - could be good, could be mediocre, etc.

My opinion . . . Epplesheim-designed is just like any other well-known company making contact with any of the Taiwanese/Chinese instrument makers and contracting for a model with the Epplesheim brand applied to it. The contractor sets forth what features he wants and what build-quality he wants, then pays the price and begins the distribution. Not all that bad, obviously, but the deal isn't THAT big.

Yes, the Kenny G sopranos sounded good and played good, but the PRICE!!! No way would I pay that sort of money for the G, or in this case, a C-soprano from Asia.

I wish them luck in this endeavor. DAVE
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'd be curious how the market research for this new product was conducted. Realistically, how much demand for C pitched sopranos is there, or will there be? Or is this a simple case of: Build it and they will come. Is anyone in the know as to how the market research was done?
I mentioned on SOTW that I've asked Benedikt Eppelsheim if he was going to re-introduce any of the F saxophones and he said something like, "If people REALLY want one ...."

I'm fairly sure that Eppelsheim's saxophones are not that popular -- I'm just talking pitch; the name is. While there are a few folks with Eppelsheim Tubaxes, Soprillos and basses, I doubt they've sold anywhere near the production totals of even Keilwerth's pro horns in 2009. (Although, I personally know more folks that own Eppelsheim instruments than Keilwerths.)

In any event, I understand economics 101: small supply + small demand = big price. The thing is that Eppelsheim's horns, up until this point, have been VAST improvements over previous instruments (from what I hear, at least; I haven't played them). I'm not particularly sure that a brand new E&R C soprano will be VASTLY better than a 1925 Buescher C soprano that costs half as much. It could be, though: time will tell.

Remember that Peter Jessen also has that G Mezzo-Soprano sax. I'd call that more unique than the Soprillo: at least one other company made a prototype Bb sopranissimo ....
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
I'm not particularly sure that a brand new E&R C soprano will be VASTLY better than a 1925 Buescher C soprano that costs half as much. It could be, though: time will tell.
Actually C sops can be had for about a fourth of the cost as they are not very popular. I've seen them sell for $50 because the pawn shop types thought they were off key Bb sops.

I pinged Benedikt to see if they were really based on work he did, and confirmed that. I wonder what they will cost a year from now though.
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Benedikt Eppelsheim told me he does the final construction of these C sopranos, meaning leveling toneholes, engraving. I'm going to take the plunge, but then, I'm a maniac.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
Benedikt Eppelsheim told me he does the final construction of these C sopranos, meaning leveling toneholes, engraving.
Interesting. I wonder if that means he's pretty confident about the quality of workmanship. I would think it does, but you never know.


I'm going to take the plunge, but then, I'm a maniac.
You know, there's probably a 12 step program near you that could help Randy. ;-) "Hi I'm Randy. I'm a saxaholic. It's been 2 months, 3 days and 4 hours since I bought my last saxophone." :emoji_smile:
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Interesting. I wonder if that means he's pretty confident about the quality of workmanship. I would think it does, but you never know.




You know, there's probably a 12 step program near you that could help Randy. ;-) "Hi I'm Randy. I'm a saxaholic. It's been 2 months, 3 days and 4 hours since I bought my last saxophone." :emoji_smile:
Actually, it's been about 6 months, and you know what the last one was. The slide sax has turned out to be in great condition, but I can't play it competently yet. Snub Mosely made it sound more like a trombone.

Next summer I'm going to work up at least one tune on that thing.
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
My E&R C Soprano arrived last week and I've been playing it ever since. I hope to post a blog with pictures and more detailed observations but in a nutshell here is it. The instrument is the first C soprano I would play in an ensemble. Key takeaways:
  • The intonation is great, especially when compared to the vintage instruments I've owned and tried.
  • The ergonomics are modern and as such, top drawer.
  • The high E - F# are hard for me to voice. My teachers have no problem getting them to speak however.
  • The engraving is excellent and the finish nice with no signs of problem areas.
  • The instrument sounds a lot different to me than a Bb sop. I notice a brighter and sweet sound. But my family can't distinguish it's sound from that of a Bb.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I still maintain that the "brighter" and other differences that we "see" between two "near twin" horns like a Bb and a C saxophone or a Bb and a C clarinet is in our thick little heads. Those who are only concerned about the sound can tell no difference when a C concert is played first on one horn and then the other.

I submit that we perceive the difference solely because we are used to playing (say) a Bb clarinet most of the time, and when we pick up the C instrument and finger a C in the staff, the note that comes out sounds "bright" for the fingering that we are used to on the Bb horn.

I've never been a proponent of "finger memory", but our mind does associate certain actions and the results expected from performing those actions. It takes a lot of time to "unlearn" that which does a certain thing on one instrument so as not to have the same expectations on that horn's near twin.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I do somewhat agree with what Terry says, but I've mentioned that I can hear a difference between not only Bb/C and Eb/F saxophones, but I can also tell the difference between high pitch and low pitch instruments.

Taking it in reverse order, Paul Cohen demonstrates the pitch differences between HP and LP by playing two Evette-Schaeffer sopranos, that were separated by a few serial numbers, on his Vintage Saxophones Revisited CD (buy it, BTB). In my opinion, the HP horn sounds a bit sweeter than the LP one. BUT, this is just my opinion.

As far as Bb/C goes, I do think that the C melody tenor, for instance, has a much more reedy/bassoonish tone. As for Eb/F, I think that the Conn-O-Sax has a much richer tone than an equivalent Eb alto. However, in both cases, I've heard the instruments played like their Bb/F brethren and particular ranges of the C/F instruments sound, to me, like the regular Bb/Eb equivalents.

Venturing an opinion, I think any difference in tone may be due mostly to how the user is playing the horns and the mouthpiece that's being used. In the case of the F instruments (as an example), particularly the Conn-O-Sax, you've got a mouthpiece that's smaller than an alto and very similar to a Bb soprano AND you're probably using the original Conn mouthpiece or one of the contemporary copies. Additionally, you're holding the instrument in a considerably different way because they're shaped differently. It makes you want to play differently.

Bottom line is that when I listen to Paul Cohen play a Conn-O-Sax, it really does sound like a different instrument, most of the time. When I listen to Rob Verdi play it, it sounds more like a regular Eb alto.

YMMV. Hey, I've also been tested and can hear frequencies a bit higher and a bit lower than most folks. Might be those subtones/overtones than make the difference for me.
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
First impressions of the new E&R C soprano sax

I've owned one of these horns for over a week, and sadly, or maybe not so sadly, I've been so slammed with work I haven't played it much.

However, last night I got to try it out with every soprano mouthpiece I own, which is quite a few, and I got a pretty good idea of how it plays. I can't come to a final conclusion until I play it with a band. Live performance is always different.

I usually use a stock Selmer hard rubber S80 F facing soprano mouthpiece on my Yanagisawa Bb soprano. The same mouthpiece worked very well on the new C soprano, but I finally settled on a Selmer Super Session F facing for the new C sax.

The horn has completely modern keywork, meaning screw adjustable Bb and G# bridge, alternate (front) high F mechanism, range to high F#, aperture style top C# mechanism (like a Mark VI), adjustable thumb hook, and a Selmer style octave mechanism.

Some extras that I liked are a large, comfortable metal left thumb rest, a metal thumb hook, and gorgeous floral engraving by Eppelsheim's famous engraver. It has the low B to C# "gizmo" like the new Yanagisawa saxes that makes it easy to slide from low B to low C# (I think the late Saul Fromkin invented this, but I'm not sure).

Springs are blued steel. The pearls may be plastic, but they look like real pearl. I'm not sure. The case is excellent.

There is no comparison between this new C soprano and the old ones from the 1920s. Intonation is worlds better, and the mechanism is as good as any modern pro horn, actually better than most. It feels great.

The high E, F, and F# are a little on the flat side for me, but that may be a blessing. On live gigs I often push in a little so that I can blow harder without going flat, and the highest notes can get sharp.

I've never dared to use my vintage C sopranos professionally. Now I'm sure I can use this horn.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
That's definitely a good review, Groove. How's it sound, though? I know you've got a couple vintage C sopranos. Comparisons wanted! (You, too, Gandalfe!)
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I think saxophone sound depends more on the mouthpiece than the horn. However, intonation on this new C soprano is so much better than the old ones, the player has a much wider selection of mouthpieces that work well.

Just dial in the sound you want. It's pretty big and fat, though.
 
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