Eastman 52nd Street - ETS852 'DS Mechanism' - Tenor Saxophone
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Designed alongside tenor legend Bob Mintzer, this has now become Bob’s ultimate dream saxophone.
Eastman has now taken this instrument to an even higher level. Completely kitted out with the patented DS mechanism and the new ‘M’ neck, the 52nd Street is now better than ever.
This latest model from Eastman includes all of the latest design upgrades of the recently released 652 model – from the newly sourced lighter and harder brass to the improvements in key ergonomics – and they have now added their famous DS mechanism, giving the player the most sublime playing experience. The inclusion of the newly designed neck, branded ‘M’ for Mintzer, offers extra breadth and warmth due to its particular taper.
As in the 652 models that will now sit alongside it, this new 852 model is significantly lighter, utilising thinner, but harder, brass. The benefits are that the sax responds more instantly and at the same time there is greater clarity of tone with a more defined core.
DS mechanism explained
Eastman is the parent company of WMS Haynes, specialist flute makers, based in Boston, and has such have enlisted the expertise of their head key designer and body maker, David Schipanui, to apply some World beating technical innovations from their flutes to this new top-series 850 range.
The big innovation on this saxophone is that the main right and left key hand action has been redesigned to offer a much more fluid and light action. This has been achieved by altering the pivot point between the feet and the regulation bar behind each stack; traditionally the contact between these two parts was directly under the bar, whereas now the contact point is on the opposite side of the bar, essentially lowering the resistance. The mechanism involved to create this system features solid square feet that align with symmetrically identical tabs on the opposing side of the regulation bar.
Beyond this the ergonomic and aesthetic features are countless:
Completely redesigned the placement and shape of the right-hand side keys, side F# and top F# keys.
They are sculpted and rounded to perfectly suit the shape of finger placement of the right hand.
Redesigned palm keys - The shaping and positioning of each key have been reconceived, involving bevelling, and shaping of each key to suit the average hand shape.
Redesigned table key ergonomics to allow for extra ease of finger movement, including a sculpted C# key that allows for a seamless transition to all other surrounding keys (G#, B, Bb).
Completely re-designed thumb rest and octave key configuration. The traditional shaping of a circular thumb-rest has been ditched in place of a crescent shaped one, while the adjacent octave key has a circular, sculpted shape, creating a new level of comfort for this important area on the saxophone.
Nickel Silver Key touches - creating a new aesthetic and responsive feel.
Rounded Tone-Hole Cups - paying tribute to the aesthetic of the vintage horn, as well as lightening the key work to some extent
Innovative bell-to-body brace, featuring an intertwined cord, giving a beautiful look.
The keywork has been re-positioned to suit both large and small hands! It is now closer to the layout of the Vintage American saxes that inspired it. This includes a reduction in size of the table key block, which is now narrower and sleeker in design. Eastman have abandoned the double key arms on the lower bell keys for single ones – yes you could argue that they are sacrificing some stability of the keys but the weight saving is worth it. The bell-to-body brace is now two-point ring rather than three points. There is now a nickel silver neck tenon clamp. In terms of the set-up materials there has been an upgrade of pads, felts and corks. Eastman have decided to ditch the adjustable palm keys in favour of just fixing them exactly where they feel they need to be! One thing that has remained consistent from the previous model to this one is the use of rolled tone holes.
As mentioned, Eastman have sourced a different brass material that has allowed them to make a huge weight saving (in combination with ergonomic changes, it is around 400 grams). The brass is now thinner and harder, offering a greater degree of core tone, but still retaining the depth and fullness of the previous model. They have even included a steel wire in the bell, as was used in pre–World War II instruments, and this is thought to add a certain sparkle to the sound. The intonation has been tweaked and refined, from bottom to top. Overall the tonal quality that the 52nd offers is akin to those classic vintage American horns, like the famous Conn 10M tenor. Think big, full-bodied, plenty of core, but not overly focussed like a Mark VI. Due to the lighter build the response is very quick, and its unlacquered finish just gives air to those higher overtones having more presence. The addition of the ‘M’ neck only adds to the warmth and breadth of tone on this 852 model.
- Material: Aged unlacquered brass
- Finish: Unlacquered
- Key Touches: Nickel Silver
- Neck: Eastman ‘M’ neck
- Engraving: Hand engraved neck and bell
- Case: Deluxe, with backpack straps
- Mouthpiece: Eastman
- Made in: Eastman's Chinese factory
- Free Professional Set Up & Free Check over within a Year
- Recommended for: Advancing students, professionals
"Initially when I heard about these horns I saw that they were connected with Bob Mintzer and knew he had great things to say about them. However, it wasn’t until I met him out at the NAMM show, representing Eastman, that I realised first-hand just how much he actually loves his tenor! I then tried one for myself and couldn’t believe how full-bodied and deep the sound was, as well as being effortless to play throughout the entire range.
We’re now on to the second generation of these saxes and even though they have made so many changes, including a revision of the brass being used, they have not lost the basic character that was on the original models. Instead, they have channelled it into a tone with more core and slightly less spread. There are arguments to be made for both approaches and I guess it’s personal preference. More core is certainly useful when trying to play with others in the same frequency range as it allows you to lift your sound above everything around you. Overall, I just love these horns – the sound is great, and they have the feeling of solidity and sturdiness under the fingers which just added to the joy of playing it! This sax has the hallmarks of a being a classic." - Jim (sax.co.uk)
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Jim Plays The 52nd Street DS Mechanism Tenor
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