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Saxophones Cannonball alto sax - need advice

Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
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693
Need some advice from the wise warriors of saxdom. :) A neighbor of my Mom's in Florida just took up the saxophone and has been taking lessons and doing very well. However, he has been having intonation problems with the cheapo alto sax he is learned on. Keen to take a step up, he wrote me this email today.

"Lori,
Today at the music store I tried a $2,500 sax with brand name Cannonball. Have you ever heard of it? It was black nickel and played very good. It even played a true C# with all holes open. I just never heard of that brand, and wondered if you knew anything about it."

Sad to say - I know nothing of the Cannonball - except the jumping off a dock into a lake kind.

He is a very dear soul and I would hate for him to spend $2500 on this if you have better advice for him.

Thanks!
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Hi Lori

It's an established brand, with a pretty good reputation, and I think one of the Cafe Sax regulars plays one. They use a lot of US-centric marketing (including some very dubious claims about the tonal benefits of bits of stone being glued to parts of the sax!) but are essentially one of the many good quality Taiwanese saxes which are available. Whether $2.5k is good value really depends on the market rate for this sort of sax in the US, something I'm not familiar with.

Jon
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Lori

I'm probably the Cafe Sax regular that jonf refers to. I can only speak from my own experience but I have had a Cannonball tenor for a couple of years and love it - I am no Stephen Howard, but it looks, feels and handles like it's very well built and in 2 years of regular use it has spent just 1 day in a workshop. They are a respected brand with a legion of endorsers.

Whether $2500 is a good price for an alto though, I am not sure. Your friend could take a look at the Cannonball section of SOTW where he will get a better idea of what is seen to be reasonable value. Maybe a trawl around a few other dealers might be worthwhile, but Cannonball have a strange marketing policy where there seems to be no established retail price and dealers charge what they think they can get away with. Be aware also that the second-hand value of them drops pretty harshly - he could probably find a lightly used example for half that price.

The Cannonball site itself is worth a look as well - http://www.cannonballmusic.com/

PS - don't let him be distracted by the nonsense of the stick-on semi-precious stones - I think they look great, but the claims that they contribute to the tonal quality are hotly contested and have led to suggestions that Cannonball are just a bunch of charlatans. I don't think they are - they just have some weird ideas. After all, they are based in Salt Lake City.....
 
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Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
Messages
693
Jon and Bill,

Thanks so much for your speedy input. I have forwarded your opinions/info along. I truly appreciate it. This neighbor of my Mom's was my late Dad's best buddy. It means a lot to me. Thanks again.
 

ATG

Member
Messages
36
while Cannonball is a much better sax these days than when they first came out years ago you can get a very good gently used Selmer Paris Serie II in excellent condition for $2500 that would hold it's value better IMHO.
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
655
Hiya Lori

I don't think he needs to spend anything like that amount for a decent horn.
The Conn-Selmer alto is a great instrument for the money. It is well built, plays in tune and is an easy blow. I've had one for over two years without any problems.
It just needs a decent mouthpiece ie: Link, Meyer, Selmer etc.
In fact I've been playing mine today and have found it more satisfying than my Mauriat.

All the best, Alan
 
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