Gear4music Soprano Saxophone Review

Saxophones Gear4music Soprano Saxophone Review

There are plenty of cheap chinese Sopranos around in both styles to choose from but in the UK none as cheap combined with a no hassle 28 return warranty which Gear4Music offer . There is currently only one model, the Straight gold laquer model retailing at just under £200, it`s the standard fare Yani 901 clone with 2 necks, plastic pimply case and gloves like most lower end Sops......

this one was a "nearly new" sold through the website which is basically a return which isn`t falling to bits wheres the "knackered but too cheap to send back to China" ones end up on fleabay as "ex Demo" or "Slight fault" , they sell these from time to time at a big discount .

G4M-Soprano-4.JPG


The Horn arrived in a box a bit bigger than the case with a bit of cardboard wadding only at one end, nothing at the other end or around the sides, the case itself doesn`t fit the sax at all tightly so it`s a miracle any horns from Alto & bigger arrive in one piece let alone playable.. 0 out of 10 for packing! - all stuff was present bar the end plug (which could have been disasterous), it comes with a crude plastic mouthpiece with lig and reed already fitted, cap , basic hook sling (Alto size), the two necks and the ubiquitous white gloves which the low end chinese makers love to throw in, the cork bell-key wedges were in the case and hadn`t been re-fitted (remember though this is a 'Box-shifter' store, not a musical instrument "shop") ..

Build is pretty much as expected, not the best finished around the smaller toneholes, there`s little play in the action though, only a couple of places which don`t affect pad placement, the keywork for the high F# and G are crude plates but at least no rough edges like chinesers of old, I really like the lower slung bell key rod system, its less likely to get wrecked than the tall system the higher end Taiwanese ones like the Elkhart Deluxe uses . the necks amazingly both have smooth mechs and decent pads, both needed the tenons rubbing with wet&dry to remove laquer which was making them an uneven tight fit.

G4M-Soprano-6.JPG


This "nearly new" example had been played but not for long, a few bits, on looking the horn over, the front F touchpiece is a bit "loose" , there`s no way of tightening it as it`s a collar but it`s just a mech and not a key as such so shouldn`t be an issue (hardly the most used key on a sop anyway) . there were a few sticky pads which are expected on a Sop with chinese pads though comically not the G#, the worst was the body octave key which was stuck down and probably why the horn was returned in the firstplace, easily sorted I`ve now gone through all the pads with Lighter fluid .. one pad (top stack B) has what looks like a manufactured split on the edge but on inspection its where the leather of the pad has folded to get it in, it`s not where the tonehole touches though . I don`t know what glue they use but there`s some on a couple of the keys ... I`ve gone through it lubing and tightening loose screws in the action and there were a few .. A couple of the rods don`t sit in the carriers but above them and the high Bb Trill hits one if you press it to enthusiastically (needs a thicker cork) ..

G4M-Soprano-5.JPG



After this I gave it a blow with the straight neck and stock door-wedge (after checking and then flattening the table on a piece of Wet& dry) ) this piece is a stuffy affair which is better at the high end than the low, the horn with this Handicap amazingly plays in tune, Intonation isn`t a mile out too ! , I have to say that the action is pretty smooth , this is no Elkhart Deluxe but "nearly new" at £130 half the price of a minty used deluxe, it ain`t half bad, remember that a Jericho is well over £300 , the G4M off the shelf costs £190 and both will need a setup .

after this check, I setup the RH table key tension and stuck a leak light in it (easy in a straight Sop, just powerful LED Lamp) and miraculously only ONE pad was leaking, the G# - OK playing C or higher but when you press the bell notes was lifing, it was the two regulation screws which were loose and out of adjustment causing a warble on the low notes , I adjusted them (inc the other which pushes the bis key) and fixed in place with nail varnish , all is fine now, I was amazed that the high F# and even high G mechs work well and smoothly ..

Again, the only shonky bit left is the slightly loose front F touch piece but it maybe like that on most of them, at least it doesn`t need vice grips to operate like some Asian tenors do !! . the whole thing plays and feels a lot better and you could almost say, the keywork is rather slick through most of the range, pressing the A isn`t "Yani slick" of course like the Elkhart 300 Curved was as it operates so much stuff and it`s a £200 Chinese soprano at the end of the day


Would I recommend it - as a new Purchase, I`d make sure you definately couldn`t get a used Taiwanese made Elkhart 300 or Deluxe first and if you do get the G4M, I`d get them to ship it to a Tech you can trust such as Stephen Howard so they can get the thing working properly or send it back and demand another depending on the state of the thing. it remains that ordering a G4M is pot luck regarding QC and going by the abysmal packaging (and poor fit of horn in the case) , issues could be compounded in transit , it`s a shame because the basic horn is pretty OK even after a bit of minor fettling by me . another well known Forum member had to "repair" his own G4M soprano also but his Alto was fine out of the box...
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Thanks, ads! Personal experience and opinion is worth hearing.
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Thanks , I`ll add to it if anything falls off or it turns out to be very reliable etc .

it`s funny really, with the supplied toy mouthpiece, it sounds rather nice playing Bach in the upper register, though not easy flicking between upper and lower due to the awfulness of the Mpc, I guess it`s a miracle it even works even after rubbing the table on Wet and dry
Really useful thanks Ads
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Thanks Jeanette . I don`t pull punches or gloss over - LOL
Excellent review
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Thanks Jon ..
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