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Proud owner of a P.Mauriat Alto!!

I've wanted a good alto for a while now, but I promised myself I wouldn't spend the money right now unless I was playing alto on a regular basis.

Well, I play alto in latin big band and I play alto in my advanced doubling quartet at school so when my OSAP came in (Ontario Saxophone Acquisition Program), I went shopping!

Anyway ... I played every horn I could find in the $2000-$6000 range (I think I played a good 18+ horns) including at LEAST 7-8 models of P. Mauriats and I LOVED mine compared to all of them.


For me, this horn feels like home as much as my tenor does. It has a nice full core. The biggest selling feature for me though is the flute key work. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to put flute keys on a saxophone is a genius. This keywork takes all the tension and pain in my wrist away!!

Long story short, I definitely recommend checking these horns out if you are in the market.

~Sarah



My Horn: -- (pic from P.Mauriat website)

PMXA-67RX (model exclusively by P.Mauriat)

[FONT=&quot]"Our Rolled Tone Hole saxophone is now fitted with oversized nickel silver key touches to achieve an effortless feel and to further facilitate natural vibration throughout the horn, bringing you even more in touch with your sound."[/FONT]



  • Rolled Tone Hole
  • Range: High F#
  • Neck: Super VI
  • Large Bell
  • Material: Gold Brass
  • Finish: Vintage Dark Lacquer
  • Hand Engraved Bell and Bow
  • Key Touches: Oversized Nickel Silver
  • Professional Class
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
What do you mean by "flute keywork"? That it's very light?

You want flute keywork, you get an Olds Super. (There were only a couple thousand made and many allegedly sank on a shipment to Europe during WWII.)
 
By flute keywork, I mean they took closed holed silver flute keys and put them on a saxophone. Obviously after they tried that, the actual keys on the horn are custom made for the saxophone, but that's where the idea came from. They were just fooling around with instruments parts in the factory one day according to the stories I've heard.

It changes the way in which my fingers interact with the "front six" ... not sure how, but it feels really good to play.


This is the closest close-up I could find of one of the keys.




=================
Vs. A more "traditional" keywork (note: pic not from a p. Mauriat)

 
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Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Sarah: Congrats on your new alto. So we are just writing about the finger touches on your horn and not the whole pad-cup?

I'll agree that touches can make a difference under the player's fingers but whether they allegedly come from a closed-hole flute or are merely smoothed out and the pearls are made to feel good (like my Ref 54 alto vs. my Medusa alto - the Ref 54 feeling like a million bucks and the Medusa - well, less than a million by a long shot) I doubt has much to do with the horn's sound (I'm thinking "resonance stone" here).

I'd prefer the horn seals all the tone-holes well and is in tune - and from what you write, it appears that is the case with your new PM. I'm leery of any marketing hype that accompanies any product, including a basic Taiwanese-made saxophone like the PM (e.g., the use of flute parts, etc.). Oh sure, some can be real players and it reads like yours is - that is a good thing. I just haven't played a PM yet that tripped my trigger any more than the inexpensive house-brand saxophones (like Kessler's) especially when comparing pricing.

I went to my 13-year old grandson's recital last night. He read a Charlie Parker transcription and it sounded fine on his Kessler Custom alto. One of the teachers at the place played a tune on her PM tenor and it sounded fine, too. It is probably more about the players than the hyped-up finger touches. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Still the 'flute key' touches look cool in a retro way. Nice that the sax speaks so well too.
Well, I don't know about "retro" looking. Of my seven altos ranging from early 1920's to a Ref 54, none of them have that PM appearance on their touches. What they have are pearls (I assume the material is pearl but then who knows?) in little round cups on top of the pad-cups covering the tone holes. Some are worn, some feel almost new, and the Ref 54 feels like butter under my fingers (and not slippery, just smooth and "rich").

PM would have us believe that the "flute" keywork makes the horn sound better or at least put the player in touch with the horn's sound, whatever THAT means. True, some subjective perceptions come from the player's fingers, but I'm a serious doubter as to the real effect of this design, other than it may feel better to the player (which I am NOT disregarding - feel is important). DAVE
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
Well, my 1920's Conn alto feels like a piece of junk in my hands, with fingers jumbled together on the top hand, and the thumb hook from hell. Sounds decent enough, mind you, but touch and feel here is anything but pleasant.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Just my two cents on finger touches:

As mentioned, I bought a YBS-52 a long while ago, over a YBS-62. One of the very few differences between the horns is that the 52 had plastic key touches that were cemented onto a little cup. The 62 had mother-of-pearl in beveled cups -- I don't think they even used cement, but I may be mistaken. The 62 did feel a bit better, IMO. Not enough to justify a difference in price, mind you.

It's nice that WD found a fairly good close up. In the original pic, I thought it was a regular pearl key and the "dark circle" around the keytouches was just an after-affect of the finish. I wonder how it'd feel, for me. I don't exactly have fat fingers, but that little indent might be a bit of a problem if I did.

Personally, I liked the the lack of pearls on the two very, very old horns I owned: a 1907-ish brass Couesnon bari and a 1920-ish silver-plated Conn stencil. Those felt slick. However, one wonders (even with the P. Mauriat) if sweaty fingers can do a good deal of damage. And, of course, therer are the folks wit nickel allergies ....

Regardless, I think the P. Mauriat is a pretty horn. Thanks for sharing it with us!
 

sideC

Artist in residence
Distinguished Member
Congratulations on the new horn, and hope that you experience many years of happy playing with your new baby.
You've got to hand it to P Mauriat for coming up with something different. And it's very important that it feels good to you, that should help create a positive force in your playing.

Nothing like the feel of breaking in a new horn......

Julian
 
I've tried a lot of their saxophones some time ago. I liked them so much, especially compared with prices of Selmers, etc. that I tried to find someone local to sell them. I haven't so now I'm considering selling them and I have some samples. However I've tried the models with the metal touch-pieces and for me they felt considerably less comfortable than the regular pearl touches. I think the reason is that I like the slight cup-shape of the regular keys and also because they are smoother. If the touches were the same shape just made of metal maybe it would be more comfortable. One advantage would be no risk when changing pads, sometimes a bit of a problem on sopranos. But this is a tiny problem IMO and there are relatively easy ways around it. One (maybe small) disadvantage of metal touches is when playing in cold temperature they would be colder.

As mentioned, I bought a YBS-52 a long while ago, over a YBS-62. One of the very few differences between the horns is that the 52 had plastic key touches that were cemented onto a little cup. The 62 had mother-of-pearl in beveled cups -- I don't think they even used cement, but I may be mistaken. The 62 did feel a bit better, IMO. Not enough to justify a difference in price, mind you.
Some real pearl touches are only held by the pearl cup walls. Some are also glued. Some are just glued. The metal walls holding them was a good idea in the past, but that was invented when modern glues weren't available. With modern glues, I consider this is a better method. Pearls held by the cup holder are sometimes a nightmare to remove. It is rare they need to be removed, which brings the point of plastic vs. real pearls...

Some people claim real pearls feel better with the main reason being that plastic ones are smoother. IMO, and most players I know, the difference is small. It is possible to slightly rough the surface of plastic pearls. IME the difference is significant only to very few players. However there is another issue. Although it is not so common, real pearls are sensitive to acid from some players' fingers. I recently repaired a Selmer Serie III from ten years ago, and the pearls were completely worn, lower than the pearl holders! They were held by the cups and it was hard to remove them. I definitely hope not to do this often. I replaced them with plastic pearls, which for this player have a big advantage of not wearing from his fingers like the real ones.
 
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SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I have "acid skin" (or whatever you want to call it), and can degrade the keys on a nickel plated clarinet in next to no time at all. (Silver plate seems to stop the problem, for whatever reason.) While on a clarinet it is a cosmetic issue, on a saxophone with brass covered with lacquer, I tend to lose the skin on my fingertips (as it blisters up from the contact with the horn), a real physical irritant in addition to whatever cosmetic damage to my body it might pose.

I've tried barrier creams (there are quite a few of these on the market, these to stop over-exposures to chemicals in industry), but they don't seem to work (and also present problems with holding onto the horn in some cases). So, I have gone to a rigurous schedule of hand washing every couple of hours or so when handling horns.

My silver plated alto does seem to present the same hazards as does my lacquered baritone. If I ever replace the baritone, I'll probably opt for a silver-plated horn, but for now it will just be hand washing.

This problem developed while I was a youngster, and it took quite a while to figure out what was causing it. Apparently, I am sensitive to copper, or the copper compounds formed when it comes into contact with my killer skin. The blisters mimicked the rings on my soprano clarinet, the tip-off that finally got the skin doctor onto what was causing things to go so wrong.

Bass clarinet playing caused the whole tip to peel, but the problem was addressed by putting clear polyester tape on the contact points on the horn. (This was before the washing solution was also proposed.)

So, in my case at least, the pearls are a good idea...
 
Thanks for the congrats everyone!

I definitely love this horn. It is a great feeling when you know through and through you found the right horn for you.
 
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