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My eyes! My poor eyes!

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
CE Winds "Diamond Series" saxophones.
Who says you shouldn’t stand out on stage? Say hello to the CE Winds Fire Gold Diamond Series Alto Saxophone! #SaxBling is a real thing!

CE Winds Diamond Series Saxophones are for saxophones for performers! Join the growing list of musicians playing the Diamond Series Saxophones!

These saxophones are beautifully silver plated and covered in over 4,000 Genuine Swarovski Crystals, the only crystals worthy of the Diamond Series Name!

Using a special bonding agent, our professional stoners spend over 12 hours hand placing each crystal for maximum coverage and long life. Each Diamond Series Saxophones comes with extra replacement stones as well as a small tube of bonding agent to keep your saxophone blinging for years to come!

Each Diamond Series Saxophone is stoned to order, so please allow 4-6 weeks for completion and delivery.
I'll just say that yes, I did see the phrases,"Professional stoners," and "Stoned to order," I promise not to comment.

The CE Winds folks do have accounts here, so, if they're around, please tell me how many of these y'all have sold since 2015.
 
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At first I thought you were offering a critique of their images as someone who used to take marvelous pictures of saxophones. The pictures do look a bit washed out and lack sharpness. The magnification offered produces a pointless and blurred image.

As for the concept, looks like someone busked through a land of psychotic Bedazzler fetishists. I kinda like it, though it would be far from my first choice of finishes, it wouldn't be the last (I abhor the faux vintage patina stuff).

I'm sure there are those out there that would look at these horns and find that it suits them well..
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
A few comments (I'll behave myself. Promise. ;) )

The fact that extra crystals and a tube of bonding agent is included is both reassuring, yet worrisome. Just how many of these crystals fall off, and over how long a period of time?

I have a skull bracelet that has about 15 crystals or more on each of the 10 skulls. It is one of my dress bracelets, and I do wear it for performances--depending what band I'm on stage with ATT--b/c it does catch the lights. I am gentle on my jewellery, and yes, over the years I have lost a couple of the crystals. Perhaps the stoners at the jewellery creation place, use a less adhesive bonding agent than those at CE Winds?

As for saxhound's question what these crystals might do to the sound, I suspect it deadens it.

Years ago I played in a 10 piece R&B band that was fronted by a retired Motown sax player. Ray had a cheap, Asian-made alto with a dark blue metallic finish, and his wife attached all kinds of bling to both sides of the bell and bow, as well as the left side of the body tube. Not only was the horn heavier, it deadened the sound considerably. The metal did not vibrate as freely when the alto was played.

I don't know what CE Winds' other horns sound like, but before I forked out money on a Swarovski Crystal-encrusted version, I would want to try out their other ones and compare them.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I reviewed one of their student horns many years ago. Putting it nicely, CE Winds found my review less flattering than they hoped. I did say that if their intermediate model was a step better than the student horn, I'd call it close to a Yamaha 23. Again, several years ago.

There are a few videos of various players trying out the "crystallized" horns at NAMM in 2015. However, that's far from an ideal place to test the horn. Sax.co.uk has a few videos of this guy playing a few different horns. IMO, the Yanagisawa sounds the best. The other horns sound like he's fighting them. However, this guy sounds really good.

Anyhow, there's also a black nickel version, which I think looks kinda like an alligator that's been forced into a saxophone shape (it does look a lot better under light), and a flute. I'd assume, then, that CE Winds has been moderately successful at selling them.

The silver plated alto is $3182 in US dollars. A YAS-62 III is $3153 in US dollars. I have to go back to the CE Winds lacquered versions to compare those prices. The "Studio Pro Hollywood Edition" is $1849 and the "CE Winds Gold Diamond Series Alto Saxophone" is $2795. However, it looks like the "Hollywood" horn is based on a Yamaha and the "Diamond" is based on a Yanagisawa -- I'm just going by key shapes and noting that the neck is different. In other words, no way of comparing with/without crystals.

How much do just the crystals cost? Google: about $170. I think the labor could easily be $800 (burden rate; incl. taxes, health care, etc.) ... if the "professional stoners" are in the US.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
From an acoustics standpoint, the wall vibrations of a saxophone do not contribute in any way to the sound, nor do they interact with the soundwaves inside the tube. What is wrong with the saxophones is a visual problem rather than an aural one.
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
/S = sarcasm. Not trying to stir up trouble. I remember some famous flame wars at SOTW when Cannonball came out with their "resonance stones". It was amusing at first, but got to be tedious after a while.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I was actually waiting for someone to say something like, "Cannonball has to sue CEWinds! They've also got stones!" Then, of course, riff on that for a while. (FWIW, Cannonball at least has a patent that says that their stones impact the tone. I'm not saying good/bad or how much, just that it impacts the tone.)

I'm not a sax tech, nor do I play one on TV, but one would think that working on one of those horns would be very difficult and you'd knock off a bunch of those stones.

Anyhow, going back to the "deadening" thing, Jim Schmidt, the guy that built the chromatic C tenor, has done a few studies where the overall mass of a flute headjoint influences the tone.

Y'know, I am interested in how much weight this adds to the saxophone. CE Winds only lists what I'd think is a shipping weight that's the same for all their models: 20lbs for altos and 24lbs for the tenors.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
From an acoustics standpoint, the wall vibrations of a saxophone do not contribute in any way to the sound, nor do they interact with the soundwaves inside the tube.
I know this has been debated to death on this and other forums, but I tend to disagree. My own experiences tell me otherwise.

I agree that the majority of the sound of particular saxophones come from the shape of the bore. However, in my estimation there are still variables that come into play from horn to horn of the identical model--or at least there were before things were computerized and made nearly identical like they are today.

For example: What makes my nearly delacquered King Zephyr such a killer, compared to the identical ones varying only slightly in serial numbers, but having their full lacquer when I play-tested them at at WWS? I can't say, but the one that is now my horn vibrated in my hands even before it was rebuilt by Sarge.

Sarge and I play-tested 6 Zephs when I was looking for one, and the ugly duckling I bought was amazing. Now perhaps it was a killer horn to begin with, which is why it was played to the point of losing all its lacquer. We will never know, but whatever the case, there is something special about my particular tenor that gives it a sound like no other. It also vibrates in your hands like no other tenor I have ever played, and it vibrates stuff in the room like no other tenor I own.

Same is true for my Mark VI bari. It is an ugly duckling that was a relac job before I bought it. My bari sax teacher from NY told me to never, ever change anything on this horn. Not the MP, reed, pads, resos, key heights, and never re-plate the horn when I go to get it overhauled eventually. According to him, I have the quintessential bari sound with my Mark VI. I just had my Selmer bari overhauled, and my tech and I discussed the tonal characteristics of the horn before he did any work on it. He listened carefully to it when I played it, and thought long and hard about what to do with the ugly lacquer.

David has been a tech for many years, and originally learned his craft in a four-year program in Switzerland, before doing his apprenticeship with Buffet in Paris. Since coming to Canada, he was the head tech at a prestigious music house in Vancouver, and now has his own shop. He has overhauled many of my saxes, and always does an amazing job.

David's experience has been that in some cases removing the lacquer may change the tone. Why? He is not sure either. I asked him if it could with the vibrations of the metal, and he said that it could be possible. For that reason, we opted not to remove the remaining lacquer on my Selmer bari. Although it might not change the tone, on the other hand it might--there was no way to tell for sure. If it was one of those horns that was affected by lacquer removal, of course there was no way to put it back again and restore my bari's tone.

Now my bari is back, as ugly & sounding as amazing as ever... Funny thing that.... Out of my approx. 30 vintage saxes, my 2 with the most amazing tone, are those with the ugliest finish. Go figure....

So to wrap this all up in a neatish bow: I believe that the different bore dimensions on different models/makes of horns contribute towards their different sounds, but I also believe that back in the day of handcrafting--sans computerization of everything--individual horns of the same make & model had enough variation that their tone may have varied as well. Add 50+ years of use to these horns, and all bets are off. What gives horn A a better sound than horn B? In many cases it is impossible to say with any level of certainty if both horns have never been abused.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Yup. I once designed a test for this and one or two steps in, you had so many variables you'd be testing for the rest of your life. That being said, I again point to the above post I made about the guy playing saxophones at Sax.co.uk: I can pretty easily tell which horn he sounds the best on, but it'd be (almost) impossible for me to tell you the make and model, much less the materials used to make the horn.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I'm not sure I have ever stumbled onto that page before Pete. Thanks!

Interestingly enough, on that page there is a Mark VI tenor, and this is what presumably Sarge wrote about it in 2008:

Project from 1-2008
We restored this one to it's former glory by stripping, silver plating and totally rebuilding a 5 digit MK VI that had been relacquered with epoxy lacquer and the tone compromised.

All done and playing great. removing that epoxy lacquer really opened up the horn and helped it to really vibrate again.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Is it my imagination or does this page scroll faster than normal. It's about times faster than a FB page!
It's normal for me. ATM, I'm using a Kensington Orbit trackball with Scroll Ring on my Windows 10 machine.

I'm not sure I have ever stumbled onto that page before Pete. Thanks!
I'm not 100% sure when, but WWS decided to completely update their website a few months ago. It's now based on WordPress.

Some of the content was on the old website, but there's a lot more now.

I really like the look of some of the full restorations, but I think some go beyond that and make the horn look better than new. However, again, you can't play the shiny. I'd love to see how, say, the Mark VI you mention plays.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
From an acoustics standpoint, the wall vibrations of a saxophone do not contribute in any way to the sound, nor do they interact with the soundwaves inside the tube.
I know this has been debated to death on this and other forums, but I tend to disagree. My own experiences tell me otherwise.

I agree that the majority of the sound of particular saxophones come from the shape of the bore. However, in my estimation there are still variables that come into play from horn to horn of the identical model--or at least there were before things were computerized and made nearly identical like they are today.
What I have written is not my opinion, it is scientific fact. I could send you a half dozen studies where acoustic scientists, many of them fine players themselves, have searched for any connections between wall vibration and the inner soundwaves of both brass and woodwinds. There is some evidence of a connection in the brasswinds---especially those with a bell constructed of thin brass and a large surface area. and it takes place at the louder playing levels.

This is not true of the woodwinds however which being constructed of a "tonehole lattice" and thicker walls (except for some flutes) behaves much differently than the brass family. The logic is quite simple and easy to understand. If, in fact, neckstraps, weighted neck screws, lafreques, oversize right hand thumb rests, etc. have an effect upon the soundwave and the sound emitted from the instrument into the room---then by what mechanism does that effect take place? It cannot be by wall vibrations having an effect upon the soundwaves inside the instrument. Science has looked for that effect and has found that only to occur when the walls of the tube are .2mm thick and the tube is slightly oval.

Minute differences in the interior geometry of woodwinds can have a great effect upon the soundwaves emitted into the room. I have polished the insides of clarinet body tubes with Carnauba wax to have the sound come alive. I have chemically cleaned the inside of saxophone necks and experienced the same effect. When something is added to or taken away from the outside of the body of a saxophone and it feels different to the player it is a normal reaction. Especially good players are very sensitive to even the smallest differences. What I tend to disagree with is that a difference in how the instrument feels equates to a difference in the soundwaves emitted into the room. I have not once heard or read about any of the instances of "anecdotal evidence" being validated by a well controlled "double blind" study in which neither the player nor listeners know which trials are played with or without the outside apparatus or whatever. Leaving soapbox now that I have said my piece. Peace.
 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
jbt, I have a question that may be very basic: I know that, say, a violin's tone is greatly impacted by what it's made out of. Why is that not the case when we go to certain other instruments/instrument families?
 

TrueTone

College Student who likes wind instruments & music
jbt, I have a question that may be very basic: I know that, say, a violin's tone is greatly impacted by what it's made out of. Why is that not the case when we go to certain other instruments/instrument families?
While I'm not jbt, to my knowledge it's because for a string instrument, the tone production from the strings is greatly influenced by the resonator it has, the body of the violin, otherwise it would have a rather quiet and weak tone. (Also probably they'll give you any reason to get a Strad, Amati, or Guanerius. =P )
Meanwhile the main means of tone production on a woodwind is the reed producing a vibrating air stream. (or for the flute, it's the air from the player being caught by the headjoint and going in. I haven't studied flute acoustics before, so I should do that some time.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
the tone production from the strings is greatly influenced by the resonator it has, the body of the violin, otherwise it would have a rather quiet and weak tone.
If you think about it, it's actually two different things: if I have a violin without a body (resonator or whatever you'd like to call it), it's going to be quieter. There will also be an impact on tone. I know this from direct experience: one of the many schools I attended gave students "bodiless" violins to practice on because of the significant noise reduction. Tone? Well, I'd say that the "fretboard" doesn't vibrate anywhere near as easily as the violin's body.

IIRC, I read a recent article that said a company has finally built a violin that people who should know say sounds better than a Strad.
 
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