Putting P. Mauriat’s New Greg Osby Signature Alto to the Test
To date, I have play-tested the P. Mauriat 67R, 76 2ND edition, and the 86 model alto saxophones at various NAMM conventions. Recently, Craig Denny at Saint Louis Music sent me one of the limited edition model altos that P. Mauriat just released as the “System-76 3rd Edition Alto” – aka “The Dragon” – aka the “Greg Osby Signature” model.
I received #4 of 100 that will be produced. I will be reviewing this alto on appearance, build quality, tone, response, action, and intonation.
At first glance, the Greg Osby Signature alto reminded me immediately of a King Super 20. The silver bell and bow, cognac lacquered body, and nickel silver neck made the horn really stand out compared to a traditional gold, black, or silver finish.
The detailed engraving on this model reminded me of a Yanagisawa 9937 which features extensive engraving on most of horn. The engraving on the Greg Osby Signature model was on the body, bow, bell, and even the low C, C#, B and Bb keys. The design on the bell was a dragon, which reminded me of the Selmer Reference 54 Dragon edition but a different dragon design.
In addition, the Greg Osby Signature alto had abalone key touches instead of white or black mother of pearl.
The overall build quality looked great. The body material on this model uses yellow brass and the pads are Pisoni professional pads with gold plated metal resonators. This model comes equipped with blue steel springs and headed bullet point pivot screws. The body to bow brace surprised me because it was 4 pointed, and I have only seen this design on the Theo Wanne Mantra tenor saxophone.
In addition, there are double arms on the low B and C key as well as an extended thumb rest which I have rarely seen come on an alto saxophone unless it was a special add-on. This alto incorporates the System-76 body design, which from my recollection reminded me more of the vintage saxophones when compared to the 66 model which has the rolled tone holes.
The Greg Osby Model, being the 76 3rd edition model is the first to carry the design improvements which I hope P. Mauriat will add to some of their current models to enhance these models even more.
Tone & Response
I found the overall tone to be clean, spread, and even throughout the horn. This alto is incredibly free blowing and resonant, which I believe is due to the gold plated metal resonators.
I found this model incredibility easy to control from a dynamic standpoint, and it required very little effort to make it respond. I believe when Greg Osby was working with the company, he was trying to make a horn that combined the King Super 20 and Mark VI with P. Mauriat’s craftsmanship to give the player a modern alto that sings like a vintage horn, but responds with the easy and consistent intonation of a modern saxophone.
The action on the horn felt great. The height of the keys were neither too high nor too low, and each key sealed well with the tone hole. I would say that for me, the action would almost certainly feel better over time once the horn has been broken in a bit, but this is my personal preference and some players might find it perfect right out of the box.
Intonation is a subject that comes up a lot. Although there are some saxophones out there today that are not as well regulated in terms of intonation, this is definitely not one of them. I found from working through my overtone exercises that this horn played in tune, and even the altissimo lined up nicely.
The player plays a major role in making the saxophone play in tune, but it appears that this sax gave me a strong advantage almost certainly due to a thorough play test and setup before it came into my hands.
I believe that the P. Mauriat Greg Osby Signature Alto is the best alto that P. Mauriat currently has to offer. The appearance, build quality, tone, response, action, and intonation were clearly closely considered when producing this signature model alto saxophone.
The few changes I would have had done to this saxophone are:
- Instead of abalone, I would have used white mother of pearl
- The Bb bis key is further from the B, A, and G keys which I would have kept it in-line with the B and A key.
The sax comes with a great contoured hard shell case from P. Mauriat.
I would like to thank Craig Denny, over at Saint Louis Music, for sending me 1 of only 100 of these great altos.
I’d love to get your comments or questions, so please do leave a comment below if you’d like to discuss this horn or any other P.Mauriat sax.
Audio Comparison of the Greg Osby Signature alto and a vintage Selmer Balanced Action alto
The P. Mauriat Greg Osby Signature alto
Selmer Super Balanced Action alto
May 12, 2015 @ 7:18 pm
I own two 67 RGL altos and really enjoy them. I have listened to the Youtube clip. Excellent but I can’t find any online examples of the Osby Signature alto really being pushed for some serious volume and a brighter tone. Do we know if it has the ability to go in that direction as well with the right mouthpiece? Thanks.