Saxophone Forum


by musicwriter2001
(14 posts)
16 years ago

to holton, or not to holton

okay, i hear a lot about vintage sax brands, conn, buescher (i have a 400 tenor) king, all the usual suspects. why are holtons held in such low regard? i have a mid 20's silver alto that just screams, and a really old 1910's silver tenor that is getting a rebuild,(yes i like the silver horns). to me the old holtons play just as well as anything else out there, and i think the extra keywork on the old tenor and the rudy weidoft alto that i just aquired is pretty cool. does anyone have have any real reasons outside of personal preference why holtons are regarded as second class citizens? just curious.

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  1. by David Murray
    (2 posts)

    16 years ago

    Re: to holton, or not to holton

    Is sad but i think that is the popular demand and voice (plus, of course, quality reasons) that makes a sax brand legendary and more valuable.Talking about holton i can almost assure you that is a really a second class sax just becouse build elements quality, and in the other hand we have the sound.If you know somebody that have a Conn, please, ask him for play and compare the sound.

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    1. by blackfrancis
      (396 posts)

      16 years ago

      Re: to holton, or not to holton

      I have a Holton soprano (mid 20s) that I've played for over 30 years and it plays brilliantly. Tone, intonation, structural integrity, etc. all as good as anything else out there. And yes, I've played a Conn or two.

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      1. by Radjammin
        (255 posts)

        16 years ago

        Re: to holton, or not to holton

        Well first off, I have never owned a Holton Sax. I have owned 2 conns, 1 yamaha, and a cannonball. I had owned a Holton T602 Collegent trumpet for about 13 years only recently selling it. Also I have seen the same trend out on ebay. No matter what type of Holten, Sax Trumpet, Trombone, they don't go for much. From reading I haven't heard of any miracle holton that was much better then the rest. So maybe you have a good player but I don't think they have ever gotten to "This horn is amazying" quality. They seem to have allways makde reliable but lower end horns. Maybe I am wrong but I haven't read anything to suggest different. Oh my holton trumpet, how did it play? Pretty good for the years I had it. Easy to hit high notes (Small mid bore) Action started to stick after about 7 years but I delt with it. Recently replaced it with a Olds Super Trumpet. The Olds Super was 39 years old vs. my Holten that was 17 years old. Though the Olds Super was more worn looking the Values were amazying. 39 years old and they never stick. Ever!!! I have played it for 3 hours and not a stick once. So maybe the amazying brand names are amazying for a reason...?

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        1. by blackfrancis
          (396 posts)

          16 years ago

          Re: to holton, or not to holton

          First point: horns aren't amazing- players are. If it has all the elements (tone, intonation, ease of playing, durability, etc.) that's enough- it really doesn't need snob appeal. Second point: a trumpet isn't a sax. While on the subject of brass, check out the Farkas model french horn. Third point: e-bay trends and reading are poor substitutes for actually picking up a horn and blowing it to see if it's "amazying" or not. While I agree that a Holton will probably not bowl you over or bring on an epiphany, they can be good quality, solid, serviceable horns that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

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        2. by blackfrancis
          (396 posts)

          16 years ago

          Re: to holton, or not to holton

          P.S. the Olds Super is, I believe, a pro horn (and a good one to boot- congrats!) while the Holton is a student model. Bad Comparison.

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        3. by definition
          (963 posts)

          16 years ago

          Re: to holton, or not to holton

          One thing to know on Holtons - they were and are a primarily a brass maker. They have more of a history with their brassinstruments. Maynard had a number of custom horns built for him by the company, including his firebird trumpet, and superbone trombone Second - all evidence Ive been able to see is that Holton serial number charts dont work for woodwind horns, they are for the brass. The charts for woodwinds are gone to oblivion somewhere. You have to knock some years off of what the brass number charts to get the real age and then its still a crap shoot Holtons arent especially well known for amazing anything like tone, intonation, etc, but the biggest thing people recognize on the horns is the plethora of extra gizmos and gadget keys on them, especially on the RW horns. extra trill key here, alternate whatever key there.... Makes them a p[ain to set up right and keep adjusted sometimes, but once they are, they cn be very sturdy and reliable players. If you've got one you like, enjoy it! On the Olds Super trumpet, that is one of my main trumpets also, great pro horn(mine is in perfect satin Goldplate, with highly polished trim - beautiful)! The valves are just as smooth and reliable as my Shilke B1, and Getzen Capri valves and they are 41 years old this year! There is a reason harrelson trumpets starts all his custom builds from an Olds Ambassador(the student model!!!) valve block, they are simply that good, and worry free.

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        4. by musicwriter2001
          (14 posts)

          16 years ago

          Re: to holton, or not to holton

          wow, lots of opinions, i guess i will just have to paraphrase the biker types and say its not what you play, but that you play that is important. and just for the record, i had a mark six alto that just never sounded the way i wanted it to though others loved it, and i had a real clunky old king tenor that had the worst action imaginable, but had tone by the ton. another question would be "who has what and why?"

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