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Olds Super Tenor

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
I was wondering if anyone here has any experience with the Olds Super. IIRC, I think someone on the WF has an alto they found at a garage sale or something.

I am going to be play-testing a tenor one next Thursday. Although I really have more tenors then I need, there are a couple of brands that I would really like to get. The Olds Super is right at the top of my list. That said, I haven't played one, so it will all come down to what it sounds/plays like.

I was just wondering from the techs/players out here what your experience with them might be, and if you have any sage advice for me.

This particular one is virtually untouched, and appears to have its original pads. It is in need of a total overhaul/restoration. That said, it is playable. The shop where I'm going has lots of other horns that I know I could fall in love with, so I better leave my plastic at home, or I'll end up leaving with a car-full of stuff... :emoji_smiling_imp:
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
Mmm... Well the silence around here is a tad bit deafening. ;) I was hoping Randy or John might chime in.

In any event, I ended up with the horn. If anyone would like to read more about it, you can find the article on my website.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Well, I did comment on your website. Looks like you've got the makings of a love affair with this horn.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
I reached out to F.E. Olds, and have received a reply. I have a contact person there who will talk with me about their saxophones. It doesn't sound like they have much in the way of information unfortunately. :(
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
Well, I did comment on your website. Looks like you've got the makings of a love affair with this horn.
Yes, thank you. I do appreciate it. I am quite smitten with it. I will be even more smitten when it comes back from its restoration. At this point it could best be described as a diamond in the rough. She plays, but not very well--especially now that I removed the mould from the pads. :D
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
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now that I removed the mould from the pads.
Ewwww.

I do know there are different pad colors out there. I think it'd look cool with blue pads.

Roffee-Woodwind-1-set-Blue-Leather-Alto-Sax-Saxophone-Leather-Pads-Copper-Resonators.jpg
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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My Super is coming home this week!!!! My tech is putting the finishing touches on it over the next couple of days. Now normally he would keep it for a few days, but he has had a family emergency and has to fly to Switzerland on Sunday. He wants it out of the shop before he leaves, so I will be getting it on Friday or Saturday. I'll play it for a couple of weeks--and take photos before it tarnishes ;) --and then take it back for adjustments when David's back.

I am quite excited about this actually. I'm not sure that I've ever been quite as excited about getting a horn back from a restoration before.

Why the excitement? Because of the unknown. We have no idea what this Olds is going to sound like. Play like. Perform like. I am somewhat nervous at the same time. What kind of MP is it going like? Will it like my standard Dukoff set-up? Will it want a big-old chamber piece instead?

Patience grasshopper.... All answers will be revealed in a few days... :emoji_saxophone: :D
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Glad you are OK Pete. I was a bit worried about you. You appeared MIA for a couple of days. Glad you popped up. Thought I'd check in, in the few minutes I had between things I had going on today.

Well the Super is visually a 10/10. Sonically it is something to behold. I wish there was a really good way to captures live sound. It is capable of extreme volume; extreme differences in tone: everything from 40s sax sound--which appears to be what it defaults to--to edgy rock/blues which it does very convincingly.

I will take it with me to jazz rehearsal tonight. However, a non-musician friend who dropped by this afternoon while I was playing it asked me if it shouldn't be in a locked cabinet somewhere. She seemed horrified that I was taking it out of the house. Yes Pete, it is museum quality. It clearly was played very little. The finish is about 99-98%. And even the plating that is lost, is in a place that doesn't make sense. So to sum up: no repairs; no solders; no dents; no swedging required during restoration. Just: Chemical bath; polish; re-pad; re-strung with piano wire; and new flat, sterling silver resos for a Mark VI bari sax that seal all the holes perfectly when the key is closed.

Pictures will follow in the coming days before any tarnish builds. ;)
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
The more I play this horn, the more I am confused by it. It is very fussy when it comes to reeds & mouthpieces. It is like the horn has a mind of its own, and decides what it likes and doesn't. What works one day might not work at all the next. I am starting to think that the Olds Super is very much its own thing--complete with infused spirit and personality.

I realize that it sounds like I've crossed the line to personification, and perhaps I have, but I can honestly say that in 30 years of playing saxophone, I have never came encountered a saxophone that behaves the way this one does. When it finds somethings something it likes though, the tone is to die for. It is an amazing solo jazz horn. Now, I just have to find it the right set-up that will give it the sound I am looking for, and that the horn will put up with as well. ;)
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I worked on one of these, but it was over 35 years ago and I don't remember much. Don't even choose a mouthpiece before your repair person does the final check. Little things sometimes mean everything. A friend hated his Keilwerth tenor for over 10 years. Then a small fix (loose octave pip) made it his all time facorite horn.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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.....Don't even choose a mouthpiece before your repair person does the final check. Little things sometimes mean everything. ...
Thanks Randy. You confirmed what I was already thinking.

David had to fly to Switzerland b/c of a family emergency, so I am supposed to play the horn for a couple of weeks in order to really play it in, and then take it back to him for final adjustments. The more I play it, the worse it seems to get. I keep looking at myself as the problem, but thinking about it, it would make sense that perhaps it's the horn that needs its final tweaking.

Normally it would have stayed a few more days, but David wanted it out of the shop before he left. Thank you for reminding me of this. :)
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Possibly a bad fit on the neck socket. I had a Mark VI with that, and it drove me crazy until it was fixed. It wasn't particularly obvious, but I sometimes felt like I was blowing into a blocked up tube, and then a few minutes later it would clear up. Maybe thermal expansion and contraction.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Possibly a bad fit on the neck socket. I had a Mark VI with that, and it drove me crazy until it was fixed. It wasn't particularly obvious, but I sometimes felt like I was blowing into a blocked up tube, and then a few minutes later it would clear up. Maybe thermal expansion and contraction.
Interesting... It does feel a bit like that.

I haven't had a chance to spend more than maybe 4 hours total playing the horn since I got it. This last week was especially hellish. The rehearsal I took it to it was great at once I had the tuning figured out. Then when I went to play it with my student 3 days later... It had all gone to shite...

I am going to spend some time this afternoon to see what I can or cannot do with it, and then depending on the outcome, might take it to rehearsal with me again tonight. However, I will certainly take a back-up with just in case.

David will be back in a week, and I'm supposed to see him the day after he's back in his shop. I'll be most happy when that day arrives. :)
 

saxhound

Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Old solution, but if you have some teflon plumbing tape, try wrapping it around the tenon. Also around the MP cork if it's a bit loose. Not a permanent solution, but it is a temporary seal.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
I don't think the leaking is at the tenon or the neck cork. The neck cork is brand new and was fitted specifically for the MP I am using. I checked the tenon last night, and it fits in fine with no wobbling and no extra movement. That said, I'll try a bit of plumbers tape later today to see if it makes any difference.

Whatever the culprit is, it does get worse as the horn warms up however. David's back in a week, so until then I know the horn safe & sound here. I'm sure he'll figure it out in no time, and then I'll go: Oh, of course: that makes sense... Duh... ;)
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Administrator
Well finally got things figured out. This horn really likes a large-chambered MP--something that I don't have a lot of.

Funnily enough however, what worked 100% correctly when the 1st tenor player in the big band I play in tried the horn, was his Claude Lakey The Original Tenor MP. Mark played the Olds Super with the Lakey, and found he needed to make hardly any different facial adjustments than he makes on his Mark VI. He's been using the same Lakey for over 30 years, and gets the most lush subtones out of it, as well as the greatest volume of any tenor player I have ever heard. The Lakey is as versatile as my Dukoff S7.

When Mark played the Olds that night, his ballads could make you weep, while the loud blues tune solo would rattle the windows. The Olds was wildly versatile with the Lakey.

So I bit the bullet and ordered a Lakey from the company, and it works just like magic. All intonation and playing issues have magically vanished.

Being a Dukoff player for over 20 years, switching to Lakey I find I'm of course having to learn to play the piece to get all the nuances out of it that it is capable of. I have not yet mastered that rich subtone that it can produce.

Sure I can subtone, but it isn't as lush as on my Dukoff yet. I'm coming close at times, but it takes a lot more air (the Olds) compared to my Zephyr, which is my main tenor. Its air requirement are also more than on either my Mark VI or Committee III baris.
 
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