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Just got a Paris Selmer Modèle 22 curved sop :)

kymarto

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I was lucky enough to run across one of these in really nice condition.

On the down side, it has its collection of little dings and scratches, one resoldered guard foot, and some small ripples at the top of the body where it must have been repaired after taking a hit.

On the bright side it is otherwise immaculate--keywork tight and silver plate 100 percent.

I'm trying to chase down one small leak, but otherwise it plays great. Intonation is very good, and the short-tube C#s are spot on--unusual for a vintage sop IME.

The tone is most interesting and rather unique, again IME. The only horn I have at hand for comparison is my Conn New Wonder I straight.

Very different animals. The Selmer has much more edge--brassier with more presence. The Conn is quite mellow in comparison, with just a hint of reluctance. The Selmer is right there, front and center, with the kind of response that we all love in the Mk VIs (though not necessarily the sops). NOT a ballad horn.

It has the flexibility and aliveness of the good vintage horns but the pitch center and note to note intonation seems very even. You land right on the note, but it is also easy to move around if desired. I like the stability of modern horns, but the immediacy and agility of this horn are very impressive.

I'm super busy at the moment with a documentary, but I'm hoping to have some pix up soon, and maybe sound file comparisons as well.
 
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sideC

Artist in residence
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Congratulations on the new horn. Sounds like you're having fun with it. I've never seen a curved Selmer Paris soprano, so it must be a pretty rare horn.

Julian
 

kymarto

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Pictures Please :)

Is it keyed to high Eb?

I read someplace that those (very, very few out there) were left over from the Adolphe Sax inventory ...

I took pix, will try to post soon, but I have a 10 hr. flight coming up today. Yes, keyed to Eb. I know that there are a few BA curves out there as well.I saw a pic of one and actually it looks absolutely identical to my 22, except for the logo on the bell and a pearl touch on the alt F#.

It certainly is a different horn than the 26 straight I played some years ago. I haven't had time to do any measurements, but the neck end diameter is significantly larger than that of the Conn.
 

jbtsax

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Congratulations on your new baby. The only Modele 22 I have worked on and played was an alto. Believe it or not, it belonged to a junior high school out somewhere in the sticks in Utah. I tried to talk the teacher into trading it in for a more practical school sax, but she wouldn't budge.

I recall, that it had a very small sound compared to my SBA and the intonation was kind of "wonky" in the extremes of the registers. I hate to see nice horns in the battle zones that we know as junior high school band rooms---especially those owned by the school where kids have no pride of ownership whatsoever.
 

pete

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Conga rats on getting a horn that allegedly doesn't exist!

That being said, one of the prettiest I've seen is this one. Keyed to only altissimo Eb. (It's really silver and I do have more pics. This specific one has been bought and sold at least 3 times. It'd be interesting if kymarto got this same one!)
 

kymarto

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No, mine is [HASHTAG]#3309[/HASHTAG]. But this was also sold by Brian Rennie, who had that horn at some point. He says he sold that one and bought the one I have around the same time. Maybe he has a factory in China making them for him ;-)
 

kymarto

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some pix

Here are a few pix of the Selmer curved sop.
 

kymarto

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some more pix

And again...I have been comparing it to my straight Conn from the same period (New Wonder I). The Selmer has a larger cone angle--slightly smaller neck opening (.76 cm compared to .79 on the Conn), but larger bell. I did not measure it numerically, but it is quite clear slipping my hand in the bell that the Selmer is around 10% larger. When I have time I will do a series of measurements and calculate the cone semi-angle for both.

The effect is the same as it is with my two tarogatok. The Remenyi is larger at the top, smaller angle compared to the Stowasser. The feeling is the same: the smaller angle is more mellow and less "wild", in the sense that it does not want to move off its pitch so easily. The larger-angle horns seem to project better, with a somewhat more "present", sharper tone.

I must say that the Selmer is right on intonationally, whereas the Conn seems to vary more note-to-note. The Selmer is great to play because it doesn't take any embouchure adjustment to play in tune--like a modern horn--but unlike a modern horn it is very responsive to the slightest change in embouchure--oversteer!

If anyone wants any other pix of specific parts or mechanisms, let me know.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
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Sweet horn Toby. The keywork is quite interesting. Thanks for the closeups. The octave mechanism is simpler than the True Tone curvie that I just worked on. The upper stack is similar, although not identical. The C key (small key at the top) is closed by a "front bar" instead of the "back bar" found on larger saxes. The B closes the C, and the Bis closes the C. The Bis itself is closed by the A which gives the required A closing the C.

Like the Buescher, it appears that the G also closes the A. Now there is no real purpose for the G to close the A key except to control its key height because there is not foot on the back of the key.

This is where the regulation gets a bit squirrely. (Does squirrelly have one "l" or two?) Any adjustments to the octave mechanism where releasing the G key closes the body octave changes the key height of the G key which in turn throws off the key height of the entire upper stack and introduces lost motion and/or key venting concerns---not to mention lost motion where the lower stack F# contacts the Bis lever.

These little vintage curved sopranos are proof of the repairman's saying "everything affects everything".
 

kymarto

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Sweet horn Toby. The keywork is quite interesting. Thanks for the closeups. The octave mechanism is simpler than the True Tone curvie that I just worked on. The upper stack is similar, although not identical. The C key (small key at the top) is closed by a "front bar" instead of the "back bar" found on larger saxes. The B closes the C, and the Bis closes the C. The Bis itself is closed by the A which gives the required A closing the C.

Like the Buescher, it appears that the G also closes the A. Now there is no real purpose for the G to close the A key except to control its key height because there is not foot on the back of the key.

This is where the regulation gets a bit squirrely. (Does squirrelly have one "l" or two?) Any adjustments to the octave mechanism where releasing the G key closes the body octave changes the key height of the G key which in turn throws off the key height of the entire upper stack and introduces lost motion and/or key venting concerns---not to mention lost motion where the lower stack F# contacts the Bis lever.

These little vintage curved sopranos are proof of the repairman's saying "everything affects everything".

Yes, exactly. The horn plays well, but there was slack in the upper stack. Had to adjust that by shimming a foot that rests on the body octave key. And the G closing the A, like on my old Conn, makes the altissimo F# near impossible. But then, there is no high E or F, either. But damn, this horn plays nice....
 
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Groovekiller

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I think this Selmer soprano is wonderful. I've always wanted a Selmer curved soprano, but my collection of "odd" sopranos got so big that I finally stopped looking. Despite the little defects on your horn, which are actually quite minor considering its age, I think this sax is in great shape.

I cut my teeth on restoring 1920s saxes by overhauling early sopranos. I learned a lot, FAST! There was a lot of hand work at the factory back then, and the factory assembly-line cats were incredible at making things work. Problem is, if you aren't as good as they were, an overhaul can be a major project. The more you see of these horns, the better you get at making them play. Not really an illogical statement.

Usually, the mechanism has been bent up to make improperly sized pads or corks work. It's hard to find the original geometry. When in doubt, thinner is better, both in corks and pads. Don't be afraid to use bass clarinet pads.

I've never been a fan of early Selmer straight sopranos, circa 1922 - 1930. I've owned two and serviced many more. Something in your description makes me think that this curved horn will be better than the straight ones. It's also a rare collectable sax. If it sucks, it's still worth money! Let's try to make it not suck.

Watch out for play in the mechanism, especially in the octave mechanism and the left hand. A little extra work in these areas before the horn goes back together will pay off big time. When resoldering guards on silver plated horns, use lead-free solder. Not only is it healthier, but if a little solder shows, it stays shiny, at least as much as the silver plating, and the sax stays pretty despite repairs.
 

kymarto

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I think this Selmer soprano is wonderful. I've always wanted a Selmer curved soprano, but my collection of "odd" sopranos got so big that I finally stopped looking. Despite the little defects on your horn, which are actually quite minor considering its age, I think this sax is in great shape.

I cut my teeth on restoring 1920s saxes by overhauling early sopranos. I learned a lot, FAST! There was a lot of hand work at the factory back then, and the factory assembly-line cats were incredible at making things work. Problem is, if you aren't as good as they were, an overhaul can be a major project. The more you see of these horns, the better you get at making them play. Not really an illogical statement.

Usually, the mechanism has been bent up to make improperly sized pads or corks work. It's hard to find the original geometry. When in doubt, thinner is better, both in corks and pads. Don't be afraid to use bass clarinet pads.

I've never been a fan of early Selmer straight sopranos, circa 1922 - 1930. I've owned two and serviced many more. Something in your description makes me think that this curved horn will be better than the straight ones. It's also a rare collectable sax. If it sucks, it's still worth money! Let's try to make it not suck.

Watch out for play in the mechanism, especially in the octave mechanism and the left hand. A little extra work in these areas before the horn goes back together will pay off big time. When resoldering guards on silver plated horns, use lead-free solder. Not only is it healthier, but if a little solder shows, it stays shiny, at least as much as the silver plating, and the sax stays pretty despite repairs.

Thanks for your comments. I've had some time to play this horn now and fix a couple of small shim problems, and I have to say that the more I play it, the more I like it. The keywork is tight and precise; aside from a few dings and one (or two?) resoldered guard feet it is pretty much perfect. It appears to have been overhauled not long ago. The intonation is truly astounding for a vintage sop In my (limited) experience. My Conn is OK, but it takes some work--the Selmer just lands in the right places, but is still very flexible. I have heard from others that the straight 22s had intonation issues, but this curved seems very good. I will try to post some sound files, comparing it to the Conn, although I am hardly more than a casual player.

I'm super busy at the moment shooting for a documentary and preparing a photo exhibition, so it will probably be after the 11 Mar. anniversary of the Japan triple disaster.
 
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