NAMM, NAMM, NAMM. What a great time. I got to try out a gaggle of saxophones, and best of all, I was able to meet in-person so many super-cool folks who I’ve come to know through starting this website. Folks like Charles McNeal, Tim Price, Bob Reynolds, Adam Larson, and Zach Sollitto, along with long-time heros such as Greg Osby, and Pete Christleib.
The video below is me hanging out at NAMM, trying out a bunch of different horns including those made by Selmer, P. Mauriat, Cannonball, Jupiter, Antigua Winds, and Chateau (I might be forgetting a brand or two, check out the video to see for sure). I also tried out some cheapo horns which were so terrible as to be literally, barely playable. Those manufacturers will remain nameless, but my heart goes out the poor students who get saddled with these saxophonic atrocities.
Also, to clarify, on the video, before the clip where I play the Chateau, you’ll hear me say “it’s my favorite of the horns I’ve tried here.” What I meant by that was that it as my favorite out of the Chateau horns that I tried. Same deal with the Cannonball horn, when I say “this is the one I like best.” I meant that was the Cannonball horn that I liked best. Still not sure what my favorite overall was, but I will say that the Chateau and Cannonball did play a lot better than I would have predicted.
One major bummer was that I also had footage of myself trying out a horn from RS Berkeley’s Virtuoso line, but that individual video file got corrupted and I simply could not get it into the final video try as I might.
Other Cool Stuff
You’ll also see me trying out the E-Sax saxophone mute made by Best Brass. As you’ll hear, it makes a huge difference in curtailing the volume of the horn, but man is it awkward to play. Not sure I could get used to it, but maybe if I could find one used for $100-200, it might be worth a try.
The was also the Synthofone which is an actual alto saxophone that serves as a MIDI controller, so you can play any synth or sampler via MIDI, which to me would make for a nice alternative to wind controllers such as the Yamaha WX7 or the Akai EWI, since both the Yamaha and the Akai come with significant learning curves before the average sax player is able to become fluent on those instruments.
Anyhow, I’d say just watch the video for the real lowdown. Enjoy!
To see some photos from my visit to NAMM, hop on over here.
So which of these horns sounds best to you?